Im planning my south america trip and have been reading up on the inca trail, something we'd really like to do. Though it sounds insanely difficult and ive been slightly put-off by reports of walkers dying from not having the right equipment etc!
Have you walked the trail? please tell me its not as treacherous and only for extreme walkers as it seems??
I did it in April 2006 and had a great time. It's not an easy walk, but niether is it only for expert hikers.
It's now a requirement that you do the Trail with a trekking company, and they should have all the gear required. The company I went with provided drinking water at the start of the day and had someone who stayed with the slowest person in the group, and carried an oxygen cylinder. We were always encouraged to just go at our own pace.
It's a good idea to allow a few days at least in Cusco before the start of the trek to help with acclimitisation.
It was the highlight of my 9 months traveling the world. The feeling you get when you arrive at the sun gate over looking Machu Picchu, after 4 days trekking, is amazing. I went with LLama Path and would recommend them 110%. They treat their workers the best out of all the other companies. This is very visible to see when you do the trek and see the poor equipment some porters have. There are a few others who are nearly as good but I cant think of their name.
If anyone tries to tell you not to do the trek because it is full of people they are talking crap. Once we set out each morning me and my girlfriend were on our own until the next meeting point.
Reports of dying?!! Maybe it has happened but you would need to be very unfortunate for it to happen. The trek is far from difficult as well. Just get acclimatised to altitude well before you do it and you'll have the time of your life.
I can second that you don't really notice the numbers of other trekkers, except maybe at passport control when entering the trail, and a couple of rest points.
I disagree with you though WW that Llama Path are the only good company. While I can't comment about them directly I would happily recommend Peru Treks who I went with.
Take spare camera batteries and memory cards :-)
Sorry, I didn't mean they were they only good company. Peru Treks were the other company name I couldn't think of. Dark Blue or Purple clothes?
The equipment llama path had for their workers appeared to be better than all companies though. Everyone commented on this. LLama Path are probably the most expensive though.
Do book through the company in Peru and not with and agent in your country. Most of the money goes to the agent where as if you pay directly to a Peruvian company the money stays in Peru.
Wanderly wagon, how much was your inca trip then?what did it include?
How long would it take to get acclimatized? i wouldnt want this to ruin my trip!
Thankyou guys for your comments its making me feel better about doing it now ^_^ x
Around $500 in total, including some equipment and a porter.
The price includes food and water for all the trip. Sometimes the food is too good and you wish you could slum it a little bit more. Sounds stupid I know but it's how I felt! Sleeping bag and hold all for you to put things in that you don't want to carry at day time, the porter then carries this.
I was over a month at high altitude between Bolivia and Peru before the trek so I was well acclimatized. If you are traveling South America there is a chance you will have spent a most of your time before the trek at high altitude. If not, 2 days minimum and 5 days if you have it. It will just make the trek more enjoyable.
Make sure you try and book 6 months in advance as well. There are sites (if you Google it) that will tell you how many positions are available/left for each day.
If you go on to Peru Treks, LLama Path or GAP(they are another good company I couldn't think of)websites you can book through there.
There is a part on trek called Dead Womens Pass that they say is the hardest. It's tough but not the worst in the world.
There is a trek in Peru into the Colca Canyon and I would really recommend that as a practice run. It is much harder and makes every thing look easy after that! There is also lots of good free trekking in Argentina if you want to practice.
Have a look at some of my blogs if you want!
Amazing trek up to snowy Las Tres
Colca Canyon - It's F-in deep!
Inca Trail - Super Hikers!
One other tip when doing the trek is to control your breathing. I learned after a few different treks how important this is.
First off, it's not a race.
Second, if you can walk at a pace where your breathing is like normal, you will have to take less breaks and will actually be faster completing it. The first 10 minutes of each trek you will be breathless but then when you find your rhythm your breathing will come back to normal. Slow and gentle will get you further faster over long distances than fast and furious!
I've seen some/most people racing into it and burning up all their energy straight away. They don't enjoy it. There is lots of fantastic scenery to see. Dont pass it all by.
Absolutely! You'll see so much more by going at a comfortable pace 😊
Would you guys do the Salkantay Hike or the "official" Inca Trail in March?
Ive heard differing accounts and it seems like a very similar hike. I would like to hear from anyone, and those who have done both
From what I hear the Salkantay is a harder trek than the Inca Trail. As far as I know you dont arrive on the side of the sun gate to witness Machu Picchu from above and arriving at the Sun Gate was my highlight, if only for the reason that I had trekked 4 days to get there and then you look over the magnificent Machu Picchu. It was an amazing feeling.
You can book Salkantay very last minute where as the Inca Trail has to be booked nearly 6 months in advance. Anyone who tells you that you wont get tickets to climb Waynu Picchu if you do the Inca Trail is telling a bit of a fib. I had talked to a good few who got tickets no problem and I got one as well, there was also still a good few remaining when I got mine.
Nice, thanks for your reply. I had no idea about the side of the sungate difference. Do you know if I can book my Inca Trail Trip within a few days of arriving in March (since that will be the rainy season)? I wont be able to do that until I get there, so thats why I'm asking now. Thanks again!
Doubt it very much. Salkantay might be your best option. The are sites that do up to the day counts on the amount of spaces left for each day. The companies websites I have mentioned before should have this information.
I personally wouldn't wait until you get to Cusco to try and book for the Trail. Once the trek permits are sold they can't be transferred, and you normally need to book a couple of months ahead at least judging by the day counts.
You should be able to book online. Not sure how the other companies work with payment, but I paid my deposit through Western Union, then we had to turn up at the Cusco office in person at least two days before the start (to make sure we had a couple of acclimitisation days) and pay the rest.
Just had a quick look there and there are some days with availability. If you go to inca dash trail dot com (hope I dont get in trouble!) you can see real time availability.