Machu Picchu, is a sustainable tourism destination and an excellent option

Machu Picchu, beyond being a destination full of mysteries and excellent attractions, is also considered the first carbon-neutral destination in the world. Making this wonder of the world, an attractive destination for more people. There are many tourism agencies, private and public institutions and thousands of tourists who seek to generate sustainable world tourism. Tourism is one of the activities that generates the best retribution and economic movement, but unfortunately, many times this massive movement causes a strong environmental impact. In this blog, we will learn more about Machu Picchu and all that makes it possible to generate a real change.

Permanent information on sustainable tourism is crucial

Machu Picchu neutral carbono destiny

Solid waste collection process in Machu Picchu

The entire natural sanctuary of Machu Picchu reaches approximately 37 thousand hectares. That is why this territory is home to a great amount of biodiversity where the flora will highlight the beautiful orchids and also the fauna with multicolored birds such as the national bird of Peru, the cock of the rock. In reality, much more ecological diversity can be found, which is why it is considered a Natural Sanctuary.It is important to clarify that the archaeological site of Machu Picchu expands over only 12 hectares. The rest of the hectares were set aside so that the biodiversity was not affected by tourism.

Around the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, you can find several mountains. In these mountains were arranged the Inca Roads or Qhapac Ñam. These roads laid out by the urban planners of the Tawantinsuyo served effectively to unify and promote the exchange of products among the population. Thanks to these roads it was also possible to find more than 10 archaeological sites that connected in the past with Machu Picchu. Thus understanding that Machu Picchu is much more than an archaeological site as we will also find a small district. It is in this district where all the activities will be carried out to make possible the reduction of carbon.

In Machu Picchu Town or Aguas Calientes, which is the district where everyone arrives. It is the place where the tourist presence has the greatest impact since it has to accommodate thousands of tourists daily. There, you can find restaurants, hotels, bars, and other services that make it possible for everyone to have a pleasant stay. At the time of congregating large numbers of people is the time when the largest amount of waste is produced.That is why Machu Picchu began with several sustainability measures that gave it the recognition of the first carbon-neutral destination in the world.

This recognition was granted by Green Initiative, an agency that seeks to reduce the environmental impact in different parts of the world. Una de las metas más grandes es Paris, cuya meta es concretar la disminución de gases de carbono para el 2050. Estos cambios requieren todo un proceso, de ahí que resulta que se requiera gran tiempo para lograrlo. In the case of Machu Picchu, they started with more emphasis on the work in 2019. Making great achievements in a short time. Thanks, in part, to the paralysis caused by the pandemic product of COVID-19. For the fortune of all humanity, Machu Picchu could be the first destination in the world to have and at the same time, to demonstrate that the impact of carbon can be diminished. Thus begins a series of good news for the environment, since it is possible to reduce and establish adequate control over all the waste that can be generated by tourism worldwide.

Aspects and characteristics of sustainable tourism

Collection of plastic bottles for organization and proper distribution for recycling

To understand the role of sustainable tourism, it is important to recognize some activities that manifest activities to maintain and care for the environment. Taking into account, the tourism activities that are carried out. Therefore it is important to highlight several factors to do it in an effective way and can last in time. These principles are related to environmental, economic and even socio-cultural measures, since these are the three fundamental elements to achieve a balance between the use of natural resources and their replenishment.

As for the environmental element, we must be aware of the impact that we can generate when visiting a place. That is why we must generate awareness in both the tourist and the organizations that provide services. Environmental resources must be used optimally in the sense that the ecological process of each resource must be maintained to control natural diversity. This should also apply to non-natural products.

It is equally important to have respect for the cultures visited. This sociocultural level has to be seen from both perspectives, that is, from both the visitors and the hosts. Each one should have a respectful role in the other’s culture. This will allow a better understanding and an accurate care of the destinations visited. In this sense, it will allow for the understanding and preservation of cultural traditions. Although it may not seem so, it also guarantees the respect of archaeological sites, guaranteeing the cultural essence of the places visited.

On the economic side, according to the UN, sustainable, viable and adequately budgeted activities will be established where everyone involved can generate income or profits. These activities must be accompanied by plans, with the opportunity for secure and stable employment and where each participant or host has the opportunity for personal growth, guaranteeing their economic income. In this way, it is prioritized to put an end to some social gaps such as poverty and other similar factors.

Machu Picchu’s tasks and functions to achieve this recognition

Planta de valorización de residuos sólidos de Machu Picchu

Now that we know the elements that make sustainable tourism possible. Let’s get to know the tasks that Machu Picchu Town or Aguas Calientes has been carrying out to achieve a considerable reduction of the carbon impact. Junto a otras estrategias que permiten avizorar grandes cambios ecológicos en otras regiones y destinos turísticos en todo el mundo. As mentioned, some waste control activities were massified during 2019, but this work began with recycling and similar activities years before.

These measures were taken to generate an ecological balance in the face of the threatening climate change and the excessive amount of diverse waste in Machu Picchu. Reducing or mitigating climate change has a lot to do with sustainable tourism. Developing these actions requires commitment from both the people who offer services and the visitors or tourists who come to this place. The best way to calculate the changes is to compare the percentages before and after the reforms employed. For example, since the changes began to be measured, the improvement of waste control in Machu Picchu was of a great percentage since it was achieved almost in its totality.

Another high-impact work being carried out in Machu Picchu Town is the pyrolysis of solid waste. We work directly with the organization and separation of organic solid waste. Thanks to this process, biochar can be extracted, which helps absorb carbon dioxide. We also work on the compaction of non-organic solid waste. These are then recycled and stored for proper treatment.

In Machu Picchu, they are also aware of the importance of trees. For this reason, and even though there are a large number of trees, they continue to encourage and promote the planting of trees in the protected areas. These future large trees will be essential for the absorption of carbon dioxide. Similarly, the exploitation and production of biodiesel was established. In other words, energy sources were replaced, especially for transport buses, and used oil is also being reused. Another positive factor of the changes is that, since the green buses started operating, carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced.

For all the above mentioned and as a way to support everything that has been achieved to date. Tourists are asked to comply with the rules and indications that they have both when touring Machu Picchu, and also during their stay in the district. Special care should be taken when selecting waste and also in generating it. Machu Picchu will remain a carbon-free destination if all visitors support the process.

Pyrolysis, a way to support waste control in Machu Picchu
It is a suitable treatment for organic waste. It proceeds in a controlled manner with the chemical decomposition of a large amount of matter. Thanks to this process, carbon emissions are reduced, because the treatment consists of emitting heat so that the organic components are fractured. This process greatly facilitates the decomposition process. However, pyrolysis cannot be used on metals and glass, so other processes are used to reuse these wastes.

A commitment by all?

It is everyone’s task to maintain sustainable tourism in Machu Picchu

Exactly. It is important to highlight the active participation that tourists and travel agencies should have. Suppose travel agencies promote a more focused attention on environmental conservation. It is possible that everything that has been achieved in Machu Picchu can be expanded little by little in Cusco and even spread throughout the Peruvian country. The intention of this recognition, from our perspective, is to demonstrate to the world that it is possible to achieve that any population can significantly reduce the production of solid waste and thus reduce environmental pollution.

To continue with sustainable tourism in Machu Picchu is a task of all those who are related to the wonder of the world. That is, it should not only be taken care of by visitors, but also by those who offer services so that more people can reach Machu Picchu. Although it may not seem like it, any good will such as carrying the waste and throwing it where it belongs is a way to continue this work. Only in this way, will we all be able to enjoy Machu Picchu in the future, in addition to having a cleaner planet.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, February 23, 2024

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