I am tentatively planning a 2 week trip to Peru, Bolivia and possibly Chile. I would like to keep it as cheap as possible and would like to include a lot of hikes...of course Machu Picchu is on my list, but does anyone know how far in advance you have to book a guide to climb the mountain. Does anyone else know of good hikes in those countries? And, are hosels a good choice for accomodation in that region or what is the cheapest option out there?
I have just finished a three day two night trek in Colca Canyon near Arequipa and it was amazing. Defo worth it. I paid for a tour which was $43 US, meals included and accomodation.
Remember you will need to acclimatise properly
Please see the following thread regarding you Machu Picchu question - in sum - YES, you need to book in advance.
I too, enjoyed the Colca Canyon hike - the three day/two night is worth the extra day in the canyon. (there are some 2d/1n tours, but you are constantly moving with no time to enjoy the canyon's microclimate).
And as sazaward says, acclimitation is no joke, take care at the altitudes you're going to visit.
When you are booking the Inka Trail just let the tour company know that you will need a porter. Although, on our tour, people were actually able to get porters to carry some things for them after Day 2.
There are a LOT of hikes you can do in Peru. Aside from the Inka Trail, there are many ones in the Sacred Valley which are less strenuous. The Colca Canyon is gorgeous, but a lot of people feel that it is more difficult than the Inka Trail. Also, in Arequipa you can organise hikes of the volcano, El Misti and nearby Cochani (not sure if thats spelt right).
I´m going to Bolivia next and have been doing some research, and apparently there is some amazing hiking to be done in the Cordillera Real, near La Paz, such as the Choro Trail and the Takesi Trail. These are pretty easy to do without a guide. You can also do the Yunga Cruz trail which is more difficult.
Hope that helps!
So helpful...thanks for all the advise guys!
Whilst in Arequipa we stayed at Hostel Santa Catalina , was clean and lovely, and the owners were extemely helpful. I would defo recommend staying there. They recommended the tour agency, Land Adventures. The guide we had, Oliver was very helpful and we couldn't have asked for better.
Have a great trip!!!