I remember that about two years ago (plus or minus 6 months), there was a thread in which someone knowledgeable listed all the major Inca trail operators, and specifically how they treated their porters, if they invested in the local community, if they paid attention to environmentally sustainable practices and things like that. I remember thinking at the time that that was an extremely useful thread, and I should remember it for whenever it'd be that I'd be looking into doing this trek myself.
Well, that time has now come, but of course the silly search here on the forum only goes back a year (Peter: honestly, that needs changing; performance be damned) and I can't manage to dig it up with Google either.
So... I'm hoping that whoever wrote that post is still around, and remembers.
Otherwise... from my searches, I've found that "SAS Travel" and "United Mice" are the two big dogs as far as tour operators go, and that (almost) everyone who's travelled with them have been happy (excepting a single "first time poster" who accused SAS from trying to make them pay too much for everything, and that their tents were shoddy affairs; it didn't feel to me like a post from a competitor, but...). However, I've also found that they reportedly treat their porters quite badly (underpaying them) - although again, that information only came from first time posters and budding members.
"Llama Path" and "Peru Treks & Adventure" are supposed to be really good in how the porters are treated, and Peru Treks in particular is supposed to contribute to various educational projects in the region, but I've seen far fewer experiences from people who travelled with them.
So... Can anyone separate fact from fiction for me? Or dig up that original thread I vaguely remember? Or just reiterate the same recommendations they've been giving in the dozens of other Inca Trail threads that are out there? Thanks!
i cant talk about others tour operators, but i run a travel agency here in lima and usually use sas travel services for my inca trail passengers. they give very good service..
hope to be helpfull
Yeah I used SAS last August and they were great. I would recommend them to everyone. Its a great trip, enjoy.
Hey Sander - hopefully one of these threads is the one you are looking for...
Inca Trail Operators
Inca trail - tour operators
It is hard to choose. Most of the tour outfitters offer the same, the main differences are:
> Guide: english skills and enthusiasm
> Porters: how they are threat and how much they are pay.
A cheap tour (less than 350 dollars in 2008) involves:
> Cheap guide: regular english and not very enthusiastic about his job
> Under-paid porters.
On the other side, over-priced tours (more than 400 dollars in 2008) involves:
> Fancier train (vistadome train instead of the backpacker train),
> Big profits for the company, not necessarily shared with the porters and staff.
A good reference is the price, for 2008 a fair Inca Trail price is 350 US dollars, due to the lower exchange rated between the US Dollar and the Peruvian Sol, and the higher train fares. Make sure your tour includes the following:
> Train back to Cusco.
> Bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes town.
Some tours seem to be cheaper, but it is only because they are not including the above.
Have a safe trip,
well I´ve just got back from the trail today... so as promised I´ll put up a detailed overview of the whole shabang ....so to speak...... as best as I can in the next coming days....
I have to sleep now... It´s quite tiring you know this 4 days of walking !!!!
Hope you can wait a day or two as I´ve spoken with loads of tour operators etc. and will put the latest prices etc. and train times etc. and costs for buses and trains and transfers and entry and water and a ham sandwich at the site
Taffski, u woken up yet? just waiting for ur post
we are waiting for new fresh info
Will try and get this updated tonight.... hopefully I can convince the other half to give me a hour to get the details all on.
Wanted to do a good post so have to organise all the crap I've collected and try and make it slightly coherent and correct more importantly.
Won't be much longer... promise!