With “overtourism” reportedly putting a strain on some of the world’s most popular destinations, travel providers are increasingly developing lesser-known alternatives. Travel Agent spoke with Darshika Jones, regional director, North America for the Intrepid Group, regarding how the company is handling trips to Peru, where one of the country’s top attractions – Machu Picchu – has grown crowded in recent years.
“It’s about finding alternatives and educating customers,” Jones says.
For example, the company is now promoting The Quarry Trail as an alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
“It’s a longer trek and goes a bit higher,” Jones says. However, the Quarry Trail does not require a permit to book – unlike the Inca Trail, where permits have begun to require increasingly long wait times.
On the Quarry Trail, which also runs through the Sacred Valley, travelers will pass five ruins and learn how local stone was excavated to build structures in the nearby town of Ollantaytambo – structures which are still standing today. Parts of the trail, which takes an average of two and a half days to trek, are also still in local use today.
Another up-and-coming alternative is northern Peru, Jones says. This region is home to sights such as the Gocta Falls, which, despite being one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, was not known outside of Peru until 2005.
“We spend less time in Cusco, which is also getting a bit overcrowded,” Jones says of Intrepid’s northern Peru itinerary.
Other sites in this area include the ruined Chachapoya fortress of Kuélap, which is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Andes. Intrepid also runs an excursion to the cliffside Karajia Sarcophagi and Quiocta Caves.