Peru’s Sustainable Machu Picchu Pueblo

Apr 2019

While I’m a firm believer that every day should be Earth Day, it is always exciting when a major environmental achievement coincides with Earth Month. Peru’s sustainable Machu Picchu Pueblo has reached an exciting environmental goal.  The city has been crowned the first in Latin America to become 100 percent sustainable.

Sustainable Machu Picchu

As the area struggles to cope with overtoursim, Machu Picchu has introduced timed visits to the famous Unesco World Heritage Site. While this might help deal with the crowds, the city still has to cope with the trash produced by the industry bringing in the bountiful tourist dollars.

Alison Abbott reaching the Unesco World Heritage site of Machu Picchu

The author reaches the Unesco World Heritage site of Machu Picchu

How Did Machu Picchu Pueblo Become Sustainable

It is a major accomplishment to hear  of their success and this positive step towards eco-friendly living. Inkaterra, Peru’s leading group in sustainable tourism and the AJE Group, a Peruvian beverage company, joined forces to achieve the admirable goal of recycling 100 percent of their solid waste.  Together they presented the first Organic Waste Treatment Plant to the city. The construction of a Biodiesel and Glycerin Plant took 3 years and was completed in 2018.

Town center of sustainable Machu Picchu Pueblo

Over 6,000 liters of oil/month are generated from homes, lodges, hotels and restaurants. The plant processes this vegetable oil into biodiesel (a clean burning fuel) and glycerin, which can be used to replace cleaning chemicals on the stone floors. I first witnessed this type of process in India.

Through the process of pyrolysis, in which the waste is decomposed at high temperatures without oxygen, seven tons of trash is processed per day, generating bio-diesel, a natural fertilizer that will be used to restore the Andean cloud forest and contribute to the agricultural productivity of Machu Picchu.

In addition, a plastic compactor plant was donated by the two brands, processing over 14 tons of polyester plastic daily.

The strategic alliance between Inkaterra, the AJE Group and the Municipality of Machu Picchu aims to change perception of our wonderful city into a sustainable destination and become an example of management for ecotourism worldwide. We have managed to awaken the ecological conscience of the local community, which now segregates waste from homes and establishments. Today, we present an innovative technology that will contribute to traditional agriculture and help restore the Andean cloud forest in Machu Picchu. ~ José Joechlin, Inkaterra’s Founder and CEO.

InkaTerra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Visiting Machu Picchu lives up to all the hype. What a thrill it was for me to visit Machu Picchu Pueblo as they were in the midst of working towards the goal of 100 percent sustainability. The icing on the cake was a stay at the award winning Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in the Andes.

Lobby of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

The Inkaterra Association is the conservation arm of the hospitality group. Their mission is conservation through the sustainable use of natural rescources :

  • Forest Conservation managing over 30,000 acres of Amazonian forest
  • A Production Program through organic practices that co-exist with the forest
  • Biodiversity Management monitoring key species and implementing conservation strategies.

The Guides Field Station in Tambopata, Machu Picchu and Cabo Blanco is active with volunteers and serves as a base for training courses for new developments in ecotourism. Passing on information to the local community encourages appreciation of the value of conserving biodiversity as well as stimulating development in the local economy.

Guides Station Inkaterra Hotel

Guides Field Station © Inkaterra Hotel

With over 40 years of experience with responsible tourism, Inkaterra has an emphasis on preserving Peru’s environment, customs and cultures. Tourism options and programs throughout have the ability to transfer that mission to guests.

Next to visiting the actual site, my guide Silver was responsible for one of the most memorable experiences I’ve encountered in my travels. His love of culture and desire to sustain, support and promote the indigenous population was infectious and unforgettable.

Guide Silver Ballon explains the benefits of coca leaves.

Visiting one of many traditional markets with my guide Silver Ballon

Beautifully nestled into the cloud forest landscape, Inkaterra claims real-estate alongside the majestic site found on bucket lists around the world. Representing both luxury and eco-responsible hospitality, the hotel provides guests with an authentic Inka experience both before during and after visiting the wonder of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Pueblo’s Outdoor Connection

In addition to other spa treatments, guests can indulge in a self guided Forest Bathing, a wellness trend gaining traction and receiving particular attention during Earth Day. Be it rain forest, pine forest, or Machu Picchu’s cloud forest, the health benefits are hard to ignore.

While I’m not crazy about the term forest bathing, retreating to nature, unplugging and immersing yourself in the surrounding environment signals our brains to switch to a restorative state. After walking the grounds, stone pathways and terraced hills of the 12-acre property, it would be impossible to deny the positives from being outside and walking along the Urubamba river.

Machu Picchu Pueblo, in the middle of the cloud forest, represents the access point for over 1 million tourists a year to the Lost City of the Inca’s. I think we can all agree that in an increasingly urbanized culture, hearing a story of sustainable success in a cloud forest gateway to such an important historical and environmental site is reason for travelers and environmentalists around the globe to cheer!

Wait-There’s More From Peru

Read about:

My 14 Best Experiences in Peru’s Sacred Valley

Why I Fell so Hard for Lima 

My Awesome Peru Cruise-Dolphins+Snakes + Piranha- Oh My!


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  1. I was working in travel PR many years ago when Machu Picchu changed rules around tourism due to over tourism and I’m delighted to see such a focus on sustainability now – your pictures really make me want to go and see for myself.

    • alison says:

      Such an incredible site deserves the attention to preservation. I’m so glad they are focused on keeping life and their culture sustainable. Hope you get there soon Jaillan, the country really stole my heart!

  2. It is so great to read this about Machu Picchu Pueblo. I was supposed to visit Machu Picchu several years ago, but it was too wet when we were there and the site became inaccessible. Now, I have even one more great reason to visit.

  3. Lucy says:

    Great to see that the area is focusing on sustainability, and shows what can be done even in a place that is so popular.

  4. Tom Bartel says:

    So glad to hear of all the work being done to minimize impact on Machu Picchu, clearly one of the most magical places on Earth. Too bad so few other major attractions around the world lack this foresight. Looking forward to getting back there one day.

  5. Cindi Conley says:

    What they’ve done in Machu Picchu is an inspiration and example for both over traveled destinations and for those that visit these places. Great photos and great info – thanks for this post!

  6. This is the first I’ve heard that Machu Picchu Pueblo has become 100 percent sustainable. That is very impressive.

    • alison says:

      Honestly Carole, I was surprised as well. With such a magnificent site at their doorstep, I’m thrilled to see this effort to make the area sustainable.

  7. An excellent report on what Machu Picchu is doing to be 100 percent sustainable. I great example for what we should all be doing!

  8. nickmarise says:

    Looking such a beautiful place for enjoying holidays with family, this will be helpful for them those are planning to tour. I’ll wait for updates.