With the increasingly popularity of the Inca Trail Trek, obtaining permits, especially during peak season, can be particularly difficult. We offer two incredible alternative eco tours to Machu Picchu: the Weavers’ Way to Machu Picchu and the Inca Quarry Trail.
The Weavers' Way to Machu Picchu
Behind the Urubamba mountain range in southern Peru there is a region of high altitude valleys, where the Quechua people preserve an ancient way of life. They herd alpacas and llamas, farm the Andean slopes, and make and wear beautiful textiles.
Day 1 to Lares/Huacahuasi
The trek is rated moderate and day 1 will take you to Lares/Huachahuasi. Travelers leave from Cusco early in the morning and drive to the town of Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, then climb north to a beautiful high pass before descending to the villages of Lares located on the east slope of the Andes. Enjoy a dip in the hot springs and a picnic lunch outside of town. This is followed by a relaxing half day hike up the valley of the rushing Rio Trapiche, which will lead to the highland village of Huacahuasi, where the first camp is located.
Volcanoes Safaris, our in-country partner in Uganda and Rwanda recently added a new eco lodge to the Volcanoes Collection. The new lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge, is located in western Uganda on the border of the Kyambura Gorge and Queen Elizabeth National Park offering incredible views with the peaks of Rwenzori Mountains in the background. The lodge was carefully constructed to ensure practical ecotourism initiatives were in place and that the lodge could help further conservation efforts and work with the local communities.
Kyambura Gorge Lodge participates in a wide array of community projects that educate the local people. Projects emphasize wildlife preservation, increased tourism income for the communities, and community development. Some initiatives in place are creating football, netball and fitness classes for local children, working with women’s groups to produce organic coffee and a vegetable garden, restoring a wetland, and creating a buffer zone along the gorge to protect the 20 endangered chimpanzees living on the gorge. Kyambura Gorge Lodge differentiates itself from other accommodations by playing a pivotal role in the community and expanding ecotourism initiatives to protect the area. The lodge has created a 150 acre mini wildlife reserve which protects the chimpanzees, preserves a wetland, and minimizes human wildlife conflict.
Mainland Ecuador is often just a stopping point before travelers embark on a Galápagos cruise. However, mainland Ecuador travel, with the colonial capital of Quito, lush cloud forest of Mindo, and tropical rain forests in the East should not be overlooked. October and November is typically the off season in Ecuador, meaning travelers can avoid the crowds and take advantage of reduced rates. Further, travelers can avoid the rainy season, which begins in December in most regions of the country.
As part of our new Tanzania safari options, we work with Nasikia Luxury Camps to offer our clients an affordable Tanzania safari that includes all the highlights. Nasikia Camps are mobile and semi-permanent luxury camps situated in the prime wildlife viewing areas of Tanzania. The tents utilize high quality canvas and have comfortable beds and hot showers, allowing you to experience the sights and sounds of Africa while still enjoying comfortable accommodations. There are 2 camp options, Nasikia Luxury Mobile Camp and Nasikia Central Camp.
Inside the tents will be a desk, chair, storage chest (with extra blankets), matting, luggage racks, bedside tables and beds. Travelers can choose from double, single, triple and family tents, each with beds that are fully netted to protect from mosquitoes and insects. Each tent has its own bathroom with running water, a toilet, and a shower. The tents have an extensive solar lighting system as well as a patio area. The camp grounds have a separate lounge tent and dining tent. Chefs prepare delicious bush cuisine using fresh produce from Tanzania. Breakfast is buffet style, lunch at the camp is 2 courses, or a lunchbox for those that will be on game drives, and dinner is 3 courses.
Vietnam is one of the countries we specialize in and have an abundance of first hand knowledge of. With seemingly limitless travel options including Halong Bay cruises, tribal village experiences in Sapa Valley, and beautiful beaches along the coast, Vietnam is the perfect destination for those looking to experience several aspects of a country in a limited amount of time. Here are a few Vietnam tips from our travel experts.
When is the best time to go to Vietnam?
The weather is very different in the north, south, and central areas. The north and south have opposing monsoon seasons, making it difficult to coordinate your Vietnam travel with ideal weather conditions in all the different regions. However, this means there is never a bad time to visit Vietnam, as one region is always enjoying great weather.
The north is the coolest part of the country. Winter, lasting from November to January, can be cool, particularly in the mountain regions. Be prepared for cold temperatures if you are visiting Sapa. Hanoi, as well as the coastal regions including Halong Bay, experience humidity year round and a rainy season from May to October. The ideal time to visit the north is from November to April, though it can be quite cool in the height of winter. The central coast has warm weather from July to October and wet, cooler weather from November to May. Typhoons can hit the coast during the summer, from July to November. The south is hot and humid year round. Temperatures range from 70°F to 90°F and summers are very hot, humid, and rainy.