Synopsis

Leoncio Monteagudo is a porter on the Inca Trail to the ruin citadel of Machu Picchu in southern Peru. Working conditions are deplorable, but the porters have organized in a struggle for basic rights. A majority of the workers are of the Quechua people, descendants of the empire that constructed the Inca Trail as part of a vast network of roads. On this narrow mountain path the porters live a different reality than those advertised by the tourist agencies

Machu Picchu recently became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and thus expected to receive a greater number of visitors in years to come. Along with more tourists come consequences for the porters’ working and living conditions and the need for action becomes greater every day as the porters increase in numbers.

The film also takes place in other locations than the Inca Trail. In Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire, a historical insight is given by Luis Figueroa, one of Peru’s foremost classical filmmakers. We meet the chairman of the Porters’ Federation in the village of Urubamba, and in the neighboring village Ollantaytambo we get a glimpse of Leoncio’s life and his porter friends in the area, such as a chief porter of 28 years from the highland community of Willoc where many of the tourist agencies’ broken development promises lie, particularly the impoverished school.

 

On the Inca Trail we meet three English tourists on the journey of a lifetime. We also meet one of very few female guides and in Machu Picchu we interview the head of the Machu Picchu National Park.

An aspect of the documentary is the call to action. Part of our Crowdsourcing project is to make it available with Runa Simi subtitles, the language of many porters, and as such it would be a first ever to be subtitled in that language. For more on this visit our get involved page. 

We aim to inform tourists visiting the region of the porters’ situation, to raise the voice of the porters' labor unions and to pressure the authorities into action. Our strategy is to support those who follow the ILO guidelines, and to encourage responsible tourism.