Two of my favorite countries suffered tragedies within the last month. Peru was struck by massive flooding in the beginning of February and Chile just experienced a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami.
The flooding in Peru was in the news mostly because almost 1000 travelers were stranded at Machu Picchu due to washing out of the train line. The travelers were rescued, the train is under repair, and the Inca Trail was untouched. The real tragedy, however, was the devastation to villages and fields in the Sacred Valley, which is low-lying land along the Urubamba River.
In Chile, a massive 8.8 earthquake hit off the coast of southern Chile. This was followed by a tsunami that wiped out several villages along the coast. The death toll as of this writing has reached 799 people and the economic cost of reconstruction will be staggering. Luckily, none of our Chilean tour areas were affected much and our local guide and other partners are all safe.
Including Haiti’s 7.0 earthquake, that makes three big disasters this year. We all want to help and those of us at Zephyr received a personal plea from our Peruvian partners to help the small native village of Cachiccata, located in the Sacred Valley and the home of most of our porters and cooks on the Inca Trail. It turns out their water system was destroyed and their crops are now in peril. For $1500, we can purchase a new electric water system that will be a vast improvement on the old, destroyed one. Want to help? We will match your donations up to $750. For full details, see our new blog at www.IncaTrailHiking.com/blog.