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tel.  (51) 84 241070

INCA EXPLORERS Peru adventure 2019 - 2020


The People

Inca Explorers is a Cusco based travel company, with an international reputation for excellence, specialising in Adventure, Ecological, Mystical and Cultural Tours. The company is owned by Maria Calvo, the first full-time female Inca Trail guide. The director of operations with special responsibility for trekking is Jaime Vasquez, Maria’s brother. Between them, they have walked the trail to Machupicchu over 700 times, and have worked on all the programmes that Inca Explorers offers.

Maria and Jaime have lived in the region of Cusco all their lives. Their formative experiences have helped them develop a compassion for people who suffer misfortune or who are less well off than others. This is reflected in an employment policy that has always treated employees well and is committed to investment in human resources. Maria is also active in protecting the cultural heritage of the Andes; working to ensure that the twin city of Machupicchu (Choquequirao) is protected from over-exploitation. A proposed road into this sacred citadel has already been stopped.

Family and management duties means that Maria does not have time to guide clients these days but her brother Jaime still does due to the demand for his incomparable abilities. Maria and Jaime personally know all the destinations in the Inca Explorers’ programmes. This combined experience has been invested in the recruitment and training of guides that meet their exacting standards and are able to offer clients the type of personal service they require.

The philosophy of “a reputation through excellence” extends to all our staff, especially the cooks who have a crucial responsibility for restoring moral at the end of a hard day’s walking. Inca Explorers put an emphasis on co-operation and there is a genuine family atmosphere that is vital to producing a personalised trip for our groups.


If you have not come to Inca Explorers through referrals you may wish for reassurance that we will meet your expectations of a service provider. All reputable companies should be members of the appropriate national and regional agencies of tourist operators.

In addition, Inca Explorers are recommended by the following prestigious publications and associations:

  • South American Explorers Club
  • Lonely Planet
  • Let’s Go
  • Grand Reportages (France)

But to choose between several well-recommended companies offering similar trips can be more difficult. Therefore, we invite you to contact our past customers or read their comments in what people said, which include extracts from independent articles written about us in the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph of Great Britain.

Ethics and Indigenous Peoples

We are aware that our customers are concerned with the ethical and environmental consequences of tourism and want to know what they can do to help. A general guide is to pay more for your trip. And don’t be fooled by plausible claims. There are now regulations in place that should guarantee a minimum wage for porters, cooks and guides. Inca Explorers has always paid a higher wage than this. We provide tents and sleeping equipment for our staff and the same food that you eat. Crucially, we do not deduct the cost of their permits from their wages. More than this, we promise to reinvest a minimum of 5% of our profits into the porters’ communities. If you want to be certain you are not exploiting local people, book with Inca Explorers. We are not the cheapest but we are the best.

Inca Explorers tackles the problem of tourist income flowing to urban centres by using rural people as much as possible on all of our treks, and by reinvesting our profits into their communities through various projects focused on the well being of the children.

This year, one of our clients donated money for us to distribute gifts and food at Christmas on his behalf to the rural communities of the Cusco region. Why not emulate this generous sentiment by contributing to our projects through sponsorship and appear in our projects page? In 2006 we are working with the Borders Exploration Society from Scotland to build a healthcare facility in the highlands between Cusco and Machupicchu. Here in Pomatales surrounding villages will be able to receive medical attention in their own catchment area.

Inca Explorers are also encouraging the retention of artisan skills through the sale of products and the provision of participative vacations. This is not intended to turn people into a living exhibition, but instead to protect a living vital society from decay and destruction through recognising and encouraging their knowledge and creativity.


Inca Explorers always operates a policy of not only removing our own waste materials, but we also run clean up walks on the most popular treks. These are charged at a reduced cost for customers who share our inclinations.

And we promote the care of the environment amongst the indigenous peoples too. To preserve the mountain ecosystems we use for our trips is of the highest importance to us. We hold meetings with local communities about conservation - for example, proper trash disposal, protection of native wildlife, and the importance of keeping agricultural fires under control.

"This is our home, and we want it to remain as fascinating and beautiful as it is for all the generations to come."

Fortunately, the issue of environmental impact by tourism on the classic Inca Trail to Machupicchu is now under stricter control (please see article in Daily Telegraph for further details). Once a year the trail is closed (in February) and a clean up undertaken. This is paid for, in part, by the permit charged for entry to the trail. Similar arrangements are also in place for the Santa Cruz trek in the Huascaran National Park (see our Inca Trail in Huaraz page). But the fact that these measures are still necessary, even though all treks on the Inca Trail to Machupicchu are now in guided groups, means that pollution is still occurring. Our guide and porters regularly report seeing events such as rubbish dumping and washing up in streams. So common sense suggests that the problem has not been solved completely. Therefore, it is important to choose a company whose environmental policy you can be sure of. If these issues are important to you then your choice of Inca Explorers will ensure that your concerns are taken care of. We operate to stringent standards that have always been ahead of the official regulations.

  • Visit the Inca Explorers project page
Tour Operator

Calle Peru W - 18 Urb. Ttio

Cusco - Peru
tel.  (51) 84 241070
Skype: inca.explorers.maria

design & development by Inca