In march I will be hiking the famous inca trail. I will be in Ecuador approximately 2 weeks before and I'm a little unsure about some things. For example I'm bringing my own tent/sleeping bag for the trail; Is this a good idea? And which is the best tour company to go with? I'm travelling alone and this is the first time I've ever done Peru so any other tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh.. A bus from Ecuador to Peru...any suggestions which bus line I should choose? I heard about ormeno bus group online, does anyone know about them?
i've heard of ormeno buses too..so think they should be ok.
..good luck with your trip..i'll be traveling to Peru in 20 days
In march I will be hiking the famous inca trail. I will be in Ecuador approximately 2 weeks before and I'm a little unsure about some things. For example I'm bringing my own tent/sleeping bag for the trail; Is this a good idea?
As far as I'm aware, all companies with which you can hike the inca trail will provide tents for you as part of the default package (shared with one other person), so bringing your own isn't really worth it unless you really value your privacy and don't want to pay the premium for having a tent to yourself which the porters carry. A good sleeping bag is a must have, although you can rent these with all companies as well if necessary.
And which is the best tour company to go with?
Opinions vary. I went with United Mice, which were as close to perfect as I can imagine things getting as far as the trek itself was concerned (and have a reputation for treating their porters well and having been in business for a long time, rather than being one of the countless here one year, gone the next companies; plus they leave earliest and hike furthest on the first day, which means you won't see any other gringos that day, which is really nice), but which sucked with being responsive in email communication, and had my unique-to-them email address leaked to spammers within months (I suspect an email harvesting virus on their computers, which is scary when you realize they also have people's passport information and so on on there).
Other companies I've seen good things about on the forum here are SAS (though they are massive, and so are their groups, which is a reason for some people to avoid them), Q'ente and Llama Path.
Andeantravelweb.com is a good website for learning about which companies are registered for the Inca Trail each year, and how recommended they are. Definitely don't go for the cheapest companies (you get what you pay for, and so do the porters) and don't go with "Andean Life", for they regularly spam these forums.
I agree on all counts with Sanders. Numerous companies rents equipment. Especially the sleeping bag....very cold during the evenings.
United Mice I used as well. Very good company. Be sure to use and tip your porters. They are your best friends during your 3 day hike.
Drink or take the altitude sickness remedies! I ignored the warning, and well let say, I regretted it... big time
When I did the Inca Trail in 06' I remember having to book about a month in advance. If I'm not mistaken they allow only a set number of people per day. Not sure if it's the same now, but that is something you should look into.
The tour company I used provided tents, food, train ride, and guided tour of the ruins in the package. I was required to bring my own sleeping bag, and I think that's pretty standard. I rented mine for 15$ from one of the many stores at the square in Cusco. I recommend springing for one of the better one's it gets very cold at night.
Make sure to spend a few nights in Cusco, it is a great city.
Have fun on your trip.