hiking the inca trail?? advice please

Feb 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 15
hiking the inca trail?? advice please

Hi,

Three of us around 25 years old are going to be in Peru in early June. Machu Picchu is a definite must and since we are adventurous and in good shape we're thinking of doing a 4 day hike of the inca trail from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.

Has anyone done this and if so would you recommend it? Is it a strenuous hike or more of a steep walk? Hiking shoes neccessary? Recommend tour operators? (we all have large student debts so cheaper end of things would be nice)

THANKS!
travelling_addict is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 05:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 122
Hello,
I went with Llama Path on the Inca Trail in early April 2008. They came highly recommended and they were fantastic. Our guide was Casiano and he and the rest of the porters were awesome. The hike itself was easier for some, harder for others, like me. It's not so much the hiking, but the altitude that gets you. For us, we hiked to the furthest camping point the first two days, which was good and bad. It meant longer hikes, but we were ahead of most groups each morning. Looking back, I am glad we did it this way.

The food Llama Path prepared was amazing, with each meal outdoing the previous. And there was so much food too, never once went hungry.

There were eight of us in the group. Most of us wore hiking boots, but two of the Aussies wore tennis shoes. They didn't have any problems, although it rained two nights and one day so the trail was slippery.

The cost was around 450 dollars if I remember correctly. I actually paid a little more to hire a porter to carry my stuff. Very well worth it! Don't try to be a superhero with your bag to save the money, you will regret it. Two of the people in our group did that and after the fourth hour, they wished they had hired a porter... and they had three more days of hiking. It's better to pay the money and enjoy the hike and scenery, rather than worrying about your bag.

While hiking, we ran into a group traveling with SAS and the hikers had positive things to say about this company. I actually hiked with two people and a guide from this group for a few hours on the third day. We also saw GAP Adventures which also had good recommendations from its travelers.

Hope this helps... it's an amazing experience and so worth Machu Pichu at the end... if you can see it. (It was fogged in for most of the day we were there)
producerkoof is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 07:34 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 101
as producerkoof's mssg suggests, many of the trekking groups are comparable. i used peru treks in sep 2008 and was very happy with them. it's amazing what the cooks do in the kitchen tents!

i also agree the biggest factor that will impact how difficult you find the trek is altitude, and you can't predict how you'll react. that said, it's helpful to spend a few days getting acclimated as best you can beforehand. the next biggest factor, i think, is the speed of your group. my group was very fast and, though i trained beforehand and am sorta fit, i had some altitude sickness and the speed of my group was very challenging. eat. it's a hard hike to do on an empty stomach!

i was also a bit foolish and tried to carry my own stuff. if it was only my personal items, i think i'd have been okay...but the sleeping bag i rented was much heavier than i expected...and i, along w/ 3 of the 4 others in my group who tried to carry his/her own items, ended up hiring an "unofficial" porter from the local area after the first night. the only one who managed to carry her own stuff is a professional hiking guide herself. a heavy pack at altitude and w/ a lot of elevation gain is no joke.

re: shoes, i would get something w/ good tread.

go for it, it's such a great experience! just make sure that you get a reputable operator, of which there are quite a few. you want to make sure the porters who are absolutely vital for the group are well treated.
_cjw_ is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 10:49 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,498
Last year we did the Lares - Ollantaytambo trek with Miguel Joves who is based at South America Explorers Club who have an office in Cusco and other places in SA. It is a non profit organisation and is well worth joining if you are spending a lot of time in SA.

http://www.saexplorers.org/club/home

Miguel comes with the highest recommendation (and beleive me, I am VERY picky!). I cant recall the exact cost of our trip but it was considerbly less than the mainstream operators in town.

Miguel can be contacted at SA Explorers Clubhouse in Cusco alternatively his full contact details are:

Miguel Jove
Telephone:
(51 84) 984792227//084-245484
Email:
[email protected] - [email protected]

NB. You will need to act quickly as the permits for the Inca Trail itself get sold out months in advance.
Hiking shoes are necessary and I would also suggest a fleece, waterproof jacket and thermal underwear as it can get very cold at altitude. Finally any reasonably fit person can do the these treks but the altitude can affect anyone, regardless of fitness. I strongly recommend that you spend at least a couple of days in Cusco to acclimatise to the altitude before heading off. AMS can and does kill.

Here is a link to our trip report on Lares
crellston is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 05:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Trail MP and especially HP climb

VERY stressful on arch and ankles.

support critical

go with light hikers like Hi Tec

many injuries all wearing

poor foot gear tennis shoes

cross trainers joggers

without support...

Bring pairs of Gore-tex socks

to change too your feet and ankles

will thank you...
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2009, 01:36 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 15
thanks so much for the input and for the recommendations. We're just deciding who to go with and then booking it this week. Thanks again!
travelling_addict is offline  
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