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24-02-2011, 16:09   #1
mac123
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Inca Trail

I have a few questions about the Inca Trail.

First of all...what companies are the best? Has anyone tried perutreks.com seem to be relatively cheap? Iv seen SAS recommended by a few people on here too.

Around how much does it cost in total? What are the extra charges on top of the fee which seems to range from $500-$600. Sleeping bags, Tips, etc etc.
What kind of budget would I be looking at for a month in Peru including the Inca Trail?

Is the 4D 3N the best way to do it? How hard is it? My girlfriend isnt too pushed on doing much trekking.

Is the Porter necessary? I mean do you have to carry your full backpack with you or can it be stored in a hostel back in Cusco?

I can probably do it anytime between Nov and Feb which is supposed to be the wet season...ideas? Its looking like Dec/Jan would be the most convenient time for me based on everything else I want to do but im in the early planning stages.

Anyway any other tips etc would be great.

Last edited by mac123; 24-02-2011 at 16:17.
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25-02-2011, 07:30   #2
doriansmith
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Originally Posted by mac123 View Post
I have a few questions about the Inca Trail.

First of all...what companies are the best? Has anyone tried perutreks.com seem to be relatively cheap? Iv seen SAS recommended by a few people on here too.
Haven't heard of perutreks or SAS but I did it with Llama Path last year. They're really good & treat their porters well, which a lot of companies don't.

Quote:
Around how much does it cost in total? What are the extra charges on top of the fee which seems to range from $500-$600. Sleeping bags, Tips, etc etc.
What kind of budget would I be looking at for a month in Peru including the Inca Trail?
Cost us just under US$500 each. You can rent other items such as sleeping bags, walking sticks, air mattresses. We only got walking sticks as we had our own sleeping bags. Their website & the guides gave a recommended amount to tip. Can't remember how much it was but we ended up giving more 'cos our group was full of rich Americans not on a budget like us, and those Americans love tipping & decided we were all giving more!

Quote:
Is the 4D 3N the best way to do it? How hard is it? My girlfriend isnt too pushed on doing much trekking.
Yeah I did the 4D 3N & it was great. It definitely wasn't as hard as I expected. I mean it's not easy & the second day involves a LOT of uphill walking but it's all manageable. Just go at your own pace, it doesn't matter if you're slow as one of the guides will stay back with the slowest walkers.

Quote:
Is the Porter necessary? I mean do you have to carry your full backpack with you or can it be stored in a hostel back in Cusco?
You don't bring your backpack. Most hostels will store it for free. Pariwana hostel in Cusco is a really good hostel I'd recommend. We hired a half porter each. Even though you're not bringing much it's still good to have someone else carry your sleeping bag/clothes so I wouldn't go without a porter. Don't see the need for a full one though. Basically a 'half' porter means they'll carry about 7kg which is plenty.

Quote:
I can probably do it anytime between Nov and Feb which is supposed to be the wet season...ideas? Its looking like Dec/Jan would be the most convenient time for me based on everything else I want to do but im in the early planning stages.

Anyway any other tips etc would be great
I did it in August during the dry season, not sure what it'd be like in rainy season. I'm sure it'd be grand. It's closed in Feb for maintenance. Just make sure you book a few months in advance as it does sell out.

The main tip I'd say is to try & be at high altitude for as long as possible before doing it so that you're adjusted. We had a few weeks at high altitude & so it didn't affect us on it. I would have hated to have done it after only a few days as you get out of breath just walking down the street at first at high altitude, let alone doing a four day hike! The rest of our group were Americans who'd only come to Peru to do the Inca trail & had only been in Cusco a few days. They all found it much harder than us & we flew ahead of them for most of the trail, one day we arrived at camp a couple of hours before anyone else! Not 'cos we're super fit but because we were well used to the altitude & they weren't.
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25-02-2011, 10:19   #3
darrenh
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I had pretty much an identical experience to doriansmith with Llama Path. I would seriously recommended them.
I too had the problem with high tip paying Americans. THEY MADE the decision how much we should all pay. Us few backpackers pointed out that this was too much for us. I suggested sending the envelope to each tent and the person could give their own tip in private with out embarrassment. The envelope was then to be given the the guide. Some of the Americans decided to open it and count the money. It was short what they calculated as money from one tent, going on what they suggested. Because I'm a wuss I gave the amount the Americans suggested to the envelope. I knew which tent didn't, but I also knew they were skint at the end of their trip and every penny counted. The Americans then proceeded to make a huge fuss out of it. They accounted for 8 out of our group of 14. All others were slightly embarrassed by them. One american girl had brought, dresses, different types of bikini's, all her trekking gear, a huge cosmetic bag. She was basically prepared to go to a Ball and not a 4 day trek. They also had spent no time at altitude and were very slow. If you have a month or so at high altitude the Inca Trail will be easy enough. There's far harder trek's in South America that you can do.

All in all, after 10 months travelling, the Inca Trail was my favourite thing I did, all helped by Llama Path.

ps At our pre trek meeting one of the american girls asked would we encounter any muck!!! YOUR GOING ON A TREK YOU SILLY F****R!!

http://www.travelblog.org/South-Amer...og-403910.html my blog on the Inca Trail!
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25-02-2011, 14:14   #4
mac123
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I had pretty much an identical experience to doriansmith with Llama Path. I would seriously recommended them.
I too had the problem with high tip paying Americans. THEY MADE the decision how much we should all pay. Us few backpackers pointed out that this was too much for us. I suggested sending the envelope to each tent and the person could give their own tip in private with out embarrassment. The envelope was then to be given the the guide. Some of the Americans decided to open it and count the money. It was short what they calculated as money from one tent, going on what they suggested. Because I'm a wuss I gave the amount the Americans suggested to the envelope. I knew which tent didn't, but I also knew they were skint at the end of their trip and every penny counted. The Americans then proceeded to make a huge fuss out of it. They accounted for 8 out of our group of 14. All others were slightly embarrassed by them. One american girl had brought, dresses, different types of bikini's, all her trekking gear, a huge cosmetic bag. She was basically prepared to go to a Ball and not a 4 day trek. They also had spent no time at altitude and were very slow. If you have a month or so at high altitude the Inca Trail will be easy enough. There's far harder trek's in South America that you can do.

All in all, after 10 months travelling, the Inca Trail was my favourite thing I did, all helped by Llama Path.

ps At our pre trek meeting one of the american girls asked would we encounter any muck!!! YOUR GOING ON A TREK YOU SILLY F****R!!

http://www.travelblog.org/South-Amer...og-403910.html my blog on the Inca Trail!
So youre saying I should try and avoid Americans Now how much would be considered high tipping?

Thanks for the advice though...il check out Llama Path.

Also how was the food? My girlfriend has a bit of a sensitive stomach!
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25-02-2011, 16:23   #5
maggiemissy
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I went with SAS Travel, really very good and no rich americans, all backpackers, so deciding on the tip was no problem, you gave what you could afford, there is a rough guide for amounts on their website. I would highly recommend them. As regards the porter you can leave you pack in cusco in any of the hostels and just bring a small pack with a dry change of clothes and some basic toiletries. I did the 3 night, 4 day trek and its not that hard, except for the end of the second day. I was in Bolivia for the month previous and had no problems with the altitude, so i would recommend spending a bit of time getting used to that before you set off.
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25-02-2011, 16:26   #6
darrenh
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Originally Posted by mac123 View Post
So youre saying I should try and avoid Americans Now how much would be considered high tipping?

Thanks for the advice though...il check out Llama Path.

Also how was the food? My girlfriend has a bit of a sensitive stomach!

99% of the Americans we met were sound to be honest. Everyone on this trip was on holiday rather than traveling. They were just so frustrating. Getting up late, delaying everyone, whinging (which in turn made me whinge!) and just generally acting like the should be treat like royalty, even though they were embarking on a trek for 4 days.

The food on the other hand was excellent. Plenty of rice, vegetables and meat. We even had freshly made cake on the fourth day. I know this will sound ridiculous but the food was too good. It didn't feel like we were roughing it, if you know what I mean. It felt a bit pampered. I also wish we could have sat every evening together with the porters for dinner. It was them doing the hard work! They always stayed outside the tent. This though is the same for every company.
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12-03-2011, 21:37   #7
Ciara471
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I'm doing the Inca Trail this September. I don't have much time, around 2 weeks. Is there anything else to do while in the area apart from the Inca Trail that doesn't require too much extra traveling? Any suggestions welcome.
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12-03-2011, 23:01   #8
cailinoBAC
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We went through these - www.inca-trail.com.pe
It all went very well. We had our own sleeping bags, but after having been frozen on the top of roraima we decided to hire out the warmer ones, definitely appreciated it on the 2nd night, slept soundly when others couldn't sleep for the cold.
Our friend came out to Peru for just 2 weeks and this is what she did-
She flew from Dublin to Lima, stayed the night in Lima and flew to Cusco the next day. The day after that we went to Pisaq and other places in the sacred valley.
After that we did the inca trail. The plan was to get the bus to Arequipa after that, but there were blockades on the roads. If it was just the two of us, we would have waited for the bus, but because our friend had less time we booked flights there instead.

From Arequipa we did a trek in the Colca Canyon. Again, because of the time limits it meant that we were getting up really early to get a bus there, like, they called around to pick us up at 2 or something like that. But it was worth it.

We took a night bus to Nazca and arrived there in the morning. We took a taxi straight to the airport and booked an overflight. It's well worth doing, but there's nothing else there really to hang around for. We headed straight to Ica and Huacachino, some sandboarding and relaxing.

Then on to Lima and our friend went home.

You can do a lot in two weeks. The transport between cities is generally reliable, but you do have to be flexible, in case things like blockades happen.
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16-03-2011, 22:01   #9
themacman
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Peru Treks are absolutely fantastic. I did quite a few treks in South America and they were head and shoulders above anything else.
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17-03-2011, 13:14   #10
mac123
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Peru Treks are absolutely fantastic. I did quite a few treks in South America and they were head and shoulders above anything else.
Cheers man, might go with them so. They seem to be a bit cheaper than the rest, just under $500. Still seems a little pricey to me though.

Has anyone done both the inca trail and one of the alternative but cheaper ones that bring you to Machu Pichu? Is there any comparison?
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17-03-2011, 14:42   #11
themacman
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I didnt do it myself, but i heard good things about the "jungle trek" (i think thats the name) - it involves a day each of biking, rafting and hiking as far as i know. More fun and less challenge I suppose, depends what you are into.

If you want to try to get the classic Inca Trail for cheaper, you could arrive in Cusco and start bargaining with some of the agencies. I know a couple of people who did this. But you would have to be prepared to hang around Cusco for maybe a week until a slot becomes available. (Cusco is a decent place to be hanging around, for the record).

Hope this helps!
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18-03-2011, 02:34   #12
Ciara471
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I decided to go with Peru Treks. They seem to get the best reviews online anyway. let's just hope they're good. Looking forward to this trip now.
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23-03-2011, 11:51   #13
Ciara471
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Ok, so my plan is to stay 2 nights in Lima before heading to Cuzco to get used to the altitude. Flights are booked as far as Lima. Has anyone booked return flights from Lima to Cusco? Are they reliable? They seem to be quite expensive too. Tourists get charged extra. Anyone know the best company to go with for this?
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24-03-2011, 09:09   #14
HankScorpio1985
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There's no point in staying in Lima to get used to the altitude as it's right on the Pacific coast....sea level. The flights are very expensive alright and I don't know much about them. When I was there nearly 3 years ago we took the 24 hour bus and got graudually used to the altitude that way. There is plent of stops on the way. The majority of people who got altitude sickness had taken the flights but it all depends on the person. I would take the bus and stop in one or two places along the way....if time isn't an issue.
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