I have a few questions regarding the Inca trail. I truly appreciate all responses, thank you.
-Is it difficult to hire guides when you first get to Cuzco?
-How much does a guide cost for the longer (7day) hike?
-Is there a minimum or maximum number of hikers per guide?
-In general, how is the hiking in March?
I am an experienced hiker with all the necessary equipment.
Also, I will be traveling to Peru from Chile in March of 05'. Does anyone have any suggestions on the most affordable mode of transport? Time is not an issue and I have a tent. Thank you for your responses and creativity!
I hiked the inca trail 2 years ago--things may have changed in that time, so take this with a grain of salt.
The trail is highly regulated. You cant go without a guide--there are various checkpoints. The trip takes 4 days--ive never heard of longer. Pick up your guide (group) in Cuzco--i remember it being around 120 american (not including water--but including all meals, tents, sleeping bags, etc.) There are alot of companies so you shouldnt have any real difficulty. It doesnt really matter which one you choose--everyone in my group booked through a different company. I think my group was full at around 20 or so people.
The trail was closed in February for cleaning and it rained the whole hike when i did it in march. Oh, it was cold too--so not the most ideal time--but it is not as crowded and it's clean.
The hiking gets painful as youre basically climbing up and down steps the whole time--my knees were shot by the time we finished. If your looking for some more serene and less crowded trails, think about Huaraz--you can pick up your own guide and do an extended hike--whatever you want, theyll do.
excellent info urbancow, saw heathers thread, and was the same question I was going to ask, heading there from auckland new zealand (home) thanks for the time for answering people question, that what makes this site gret
I am planning to do the Inca Trail in Jan next year and have been lookig for information on the hike as well and have found out some info that may be useful to you. I have looked at several companies and have found out that you generally need to book around 5/6 weeks in advance as there is a limit to the number of people who can be on the trail every day! So you may want to take that into consideration, many also require deposits, although some do not require this-strange I know! On this website I found many companies which also have websites - have a look it was pretty useful to me and some have prices! http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/companies/peru/more_peru_tour_operators.html with prices what urbancow said could be wrong as I have foud prices to be almost double that around $260 - $290-but check that!
I am also planning to travel from Cuzco, Peru to Santiago, Chile, so the other way around to you and from reading the Lonely Planet guide "South America on a Shoestring" I have found that you can get a bus from Cuzco to Tacna in Peru which is about 17hrs then a train from Tacna to Arica in Chile which is about 2 hrs then another bus from Arica to Santiago which is about 30hrs! Very long but I think it is the cheapest way-so you could do that in reverse-however I do not know if any of this is true as I am planning to do it in Jan!
Hope it helps!
I took the bus from Arica to Santiago. I got a sleeper, which had seats that reclined about 75% of the way to flat. Not bad, if you can sleep on buses and have a book. At least you save on a hostel for the night.
Arica is not a bad place to spend the night, also, and get some beach time in.
thanks everyone for all the information! safe and adventurous travels to all...