I was thinking wether it would be practical to hike the inca trial without the use of one of the tour companies.
I hear you can rent equiptment in cusco, and i thaught it might be a good idea as maps seem readly available. My camping experience isnt the greatest but i live by the mountains and im up them 3 times a week. i can understand the sky and i know my basic bearings with a compass. if i take a guide up then im thinking it would be a lasting experience rather than ye old tour operators. i like to do things on my own iniative,so im considering it as it is possible from what ive read
its an idea and if anyone has any suggestions let us know...
As far as I have been told, you actually can't hike the Inca Trail without a tour company.
The Peruvian government tightly regulates permits on the Inca Trail and they are limiting those permits to those traveling with a tour operator.
Sure you can then hike by yourself, but you will need to "keep up" with your group and camp at the designated camps, etc. You would still be part of a tour companies group.
Yeah, as far as I know you have to do it with a tour company. It is a pretty dangerous trek in many ways. That said, I did meet someone in Ollyantaytambo who said he had done it himself....so who knows, maybe you can.
I would have to say, trekking it with a group really made the experience. You dont realise how good it is for your mental state to have those ppl to kick back with every evening, talk about your experiences on the trail and just for moral support too. Everyone pushes everyone else along at some point.
The thing I loved about it were that there were plenty of times when you could just split away from ppl and wakl by yourself. By the 2nd day everyone has stopped trying to outdo each other and just takes it at their own pace. There were many times when I walk alone and it was a great time to think about things. The whole scenery and mysticism of the surroundings lends itself to reflection of some sort.
If you are worried about it being too touristy, its really not. In Cuzco, it is. Its ALL about the Inca Trail, but once you are actually up there on the mountains with those other ppl in your group, they arent really tourists. They are your friends for 4 days and, for me, they really enhanced the whole experience.
I concur; accompaniment by a qualified guide is required, although the reasons for that are economical and environmental rather than safety-related...
There's a lot of alternatives however, that you can do yourself without any problem, and the advantages are obvious (mostly, less of your views get spoiled by other tourists). Consider the Salkantay trail, but there's probably others, too.
Hey thanks for the advice folks.