The porters are the most valuable people of the Inca trail or any other tours. The Inca Trail truly could not function like it does without them. They are the hardest working people on the trail and have the hardest jobs – and they do it with a smile on their face. They have an innate pride and joy in providing comfort and making things easier. They run from camp to camp! They sometimes make us feel lazy, and they always make us happy.
When you have individuals with such an inner motivation, the kind of people who will do absolutely anything they are asked to do with a smile on their face, sadly it is possible for the porters to be taken advantage of. Fortunately we rarely see this anymore for many reasons. One reason is that the government took action in 2001 to protect their rights.
The provisions of the Inca Trail Porters Protection Law No 27607 are listed below. Fortunately even before the law we provided these benefits! Runas Expeditions has always paid our porters more than average salaries. They also frequently receive excellent tips because of their impeccable service.
Inca Trail Porters Protection Law No. 27607 (Dec 6 th 2001)
Decreed Laws Numbers 19990 and 25897
Article 3 Conditions of work:
- Transport up to the point of departure to the end of the trip.
- Limit of load up of 20 kilograms.
- Warm equipment and accommodation
- Special belts to protect their backs from injuries
- Appropriate rest and sleep during the trip
- Provision of sufficient food, and appropriate clothing
- (warm jacket, rain ponchos,walking boots and backpacks)
- Fair and decent Payment on time on Day 4 at 10am
- Life / Accident Insurance the Social Security of Health
- Social Assistance to our Porter`s families not only in Christmas.
Article 6 Single, fair and decent payment to our crew.
Article 7 Minimum age of a porter is 18 years.
The Congress of the Peruvian Republic Lima, on December 6th 2001
Choosing a reputable tour operator for your Inca Trail or any tours adventure begins with an understanding of the unfair treatment and work conditions experienced by some porters. And Runas expeditions is far the best tour company.
The Peruvian government introduced the Porter Law in 2001 that set work standards. Among these legal requirements, porters should carry a load weighing no more than 44 pounds and receive a minimum wage of S/. 45 (US$16) per day.
To enforce Porter Law standards, the pack of each porter is weighed at the beginning of the Inca Trail and again at a second checkpoint. If the pack exceeds 44 pounds, the tour operator receives a fine and too many notifications will result in the company losing their license for the Inca Trail. Some operators cut expenses by using fewer porters, resulting in unfair treatment. These companies might ask trekkers to carry their own bags across the checkpoints so that their pack weight isn’t considered: after the checkpoint the trekker’s pack weight is distributed and loaded to the bags of the porters whose own bags temporarily satisfied regulation. Additionally, of the 44 pounds of pack weight, 11 pounds are permitted by law for the personal equipment of the porter. Companies can also limit the personal weight of each porter so that there’s room for more group camping equipment: such action often results in porters not having adequate clothing and personal gear to keep them warm at such high altitudes. Runas Expeditions has the best equipment for our porters.
Many porters are also landowners who farm crops or raise animals and earn money working the Inca Trail to support their families. By law they should earn at least S/. 45 a day, an amount slightly higher than Peru’s legal minimum wage. Licensed tour operators sometimes reward the hard work of their porters with higher wages, but porters are often paid much less. Many porters don’t complain and settle for wages as low as S/.30 per day while signing payment receipts for S/. 45 because they don’t want to lose their jobs. Runas Expeditions pay their porters more than average salaries which is 60 soles per day.
Questions to consider
Consider the following details to ensure porter welfare before booking your reservations for the Inca Trail or any tours:
Why is this price so much lower? “Too good to be true prices” are a red flag for porter welfare. Often companies offering severely reduced prices do so because they cut corners with weight restrictions and pay their porters very low wages. It’s unlikely that porter welfare is high on a company’s list if they charge under US$500 for a 4 day Inca Trail trek or any alternative treks.
How many porters will be accompanying your group on the Inca Trail? The number of porters on a trek depends on the size of the group. Responsible tour operators generally use about 4 porters for every 2 trekkers. Runas Expeditions respect all rules according government, that’s why our porters are happy about.
Thank your Runas porters
Porters are a trekkers best friend on the Inca Trail and showing your appreciation is important.
During the trek: Interact with the porters on your trek. Take the initiative to spark up a conversation and learn about their life in the Andes. If you don’t speak Spanish, a smile and simple gracias will show your gratitude for their help.
After the trek: Tipping is a nice way to thank your porter for a job well done. The amount is up to your discretion, but most Inca Trail operators suggest a collective S/. 80 – S/.90 sole tip for each porter from the group. This may not seem like much by Western standards, but the amount should be seen in perspective to country standards. Donations, such as clothing and school supplies, are universally useful and a nice way to thank your porters in addition to a standard tip.
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