Meet Maritza, the Intrepid supervisor cleansing up Peru


Together with getting trekkers safely and securely round Peru’s many mountains, Maritza Chacacanta can also be one of many nation’s loudest voices in sustainability. We sat right down to learn how she’s cleansing up Peru’s climbing trails.

Should you’ve ever been trekking in Peru, you’ll be accustomed to not less than two issues. One: climbing these trails is difficult work, however your chief and staff of porters make it infinitely simpler. Two: together with some fairly spectacular vistas, there’s a heck of plenty of garbage on the path. Like, literal luggage full.

Maritza Chacacanta has lots to do with each. Because the deputy supervisor of Intrepid’s trekking division in Peru, Maritza is accountable for overseeing each trek within the nation. She supervises workers – over 250 male and 15 feminine porters, 25 cooks and assistant cooks and round 150 wranglers, who use horses to hold gear. She organises the logistical facet of Intrepid’s small group treks, like arranging permits and entrance charges, shopping for tenting gear for porters and speaking with suppliers to kind out elements for meals.

You can say she’s a lady with lots on her plate.

A Peruvian woman stands with a porter on a trek in Peru

However along with *waves palms round* all this, Maritza additionally spends her time educating her ever-growing staff in regards to the significance of the setting. Not littering. Choosing up garbage while you see it. Recycling.

“We discuss lots with our workers about how vital it’s to maintain the setting,” Maritza says from her workplace in Cusco. “For us, the setting is Pachamama. It’s a part of the Inca’s faith; an ideology that we respect our Mom Earth.”

Maritza has been trekking in Peru for 15 years. She’s walked the Inca Path 500 instances, and has explored the Lares, Quarry and Choquequiaro trails numerous others. Seeing how a lot litter is unfold throughout all these tracks spurred her to take motion. “I really feel responsible, and I really feel upset,” she says. “So selecting up garbage is one thing I can do for our planet, for Pachamama.”

A group of porters wearing red caps on a trail in Peru

Below Maritza’s steerage, Intrepid was the primary tour firm to start out actually taking good care of the setting on Peru’s Inca Path. Every porter was accountable for selecting up any garbage they noticed alongside the path and to kind and recycle it after they returned to Cusco.

“It wasn’t straightforward, as a result of porters from different firms began laughing at us,” Maritza remembers. “They’d say, ‘That is the corporate accountable for amassing our rubbish!’ they usually’d snicker and throw their garbage on the bottom. It was extraordinarily insulting.”

Maritza labored arduous to coach the porters, instructing them in regards to the significance of preserving the path. She did such an important job, she received a letter from the federal government congratulating her on her work; the truth is, it’s now legislation in Peru that no single-use plastics are allowed on the path, and her staff of porters, cooks and wranglers are actually amassing garbage on trails throughout the nation.

A woman takes a selfie with three Peruvian porters in the background

It’s an enormous achievement, however one which requires ongoing work. At first of every trek, Intrepid’s leaders and guides clarify to travellers that, together with carrying tenting gear, meals and provides, the porters can even be amassing any garbage alongside the path. In addition they hold garbage that’s produced by the group, together with natural matter and even cooking oil. “Typically, our travellers begin amassing the rubbish as properly!” says Maritza. “It’s so good that also they are respecting our Pachamama.”

Together with educating her staff, Maritza has additionally been working with native communities, explaining the significance of recycling. “We don’t actually have this form of schooling in faculties, significantly in smaller communities,” she says. “If Peru goes to turn into extra sustainable as a rustic, we have to contain the communities, and we have to educate individuals when they’re kids. They should know the way straightforward it’s, and that it needs to be a part of their day by day life.”


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