At the start of a 3,000-mile journey down the Amazon, our writer witnesses the benefits of community tourism projects on a less crowded option to the Inca Trail

‘It’s very simple,” Bruce says. “If travellers go far, on long-haul journeys, they should go for longer.” I’m sitting in a Peruvian mountain village with Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, a Canadian travel company with a mission. Below us on a narrow rocky terrace, a group of brightly dressed women in bowler hats are chatting while they work. Some are spinning alpaca wool, others are knitting, and a couple are weaving narrow strips of cloth. “Travellers need to connect with locals,” Bruce continues, “but they should also bring economic benefits to communities.”

I am in South America on a mission myself. I want to see how, or if, tourism can help with the huge challenges of social inequality and the climate crisis. I’m taking Bruce’s advice about travelling for longer to heart: I am going to loop south through Bolivia, then start a 3,000-mile journey down the Amazon to where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. En route, I want to see how the individual tourist can support worthwhile projects, particularly with Indigenous peoples, and also enjoy a wonderful experience.

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Source: Gaurdian

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