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has anyone done the inca trail?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean has anyone done the inca trail?

1. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member 291 posts) 11y

Im considering doing the inca trail in July and i was wondering if anyone can answer a few questions.

1) can you do it by yourself, without going with a guide?

2) Do you have to pay to do it?

3) Is it 4 days there and 4 days back, or 4 days in all?

4) I presume you have to bring a tent and sleeping bag. yes?

5) How physically fit must you be?

6) Is the trail really obvious? i.e. do you need maps, are you in danger of getting lost?

Any other comments or advice welcome.

2. Posted by Pati (Full Member 120 posts) 11y

Hi there,
Inca’s Trail was the best experience I've ever had...I did it on 21 December 2001, I don't think it has been changed since there.

1) can you do it by yourself, without going with a guide?
No, You have to take the service of tour agency, the cost is $250 or 300, if you are going next July (high season) try to make a reservation with at least one-month before.

2) Do you have to pay to do it?
Sure, the fee in 2001 was $50, if you are student was half. But it's included in cost of tour agency.

3) Is it 4 days there and 4 days back, or 4 days in all?
It's 4 days, the last day you get to Macchu Picchu and then in the afternoon you'll take the train to Cusco City. The cost of the train ticket was included too.

4) I presume you have to bring a tent and sleeping bag. yes?
No, no tent. But you have to bring your sleeping bag.

5) How physically fit must you be?
If you are in a good shape it will be ok. When I did it I hadn't done any training, I mean I was not too strong...but as I don't smoke and have good physical condition and good acclimatization I didn't have any problem.

6) Is the trail really obvious? i.e. do you need maps, are you in danger of getting lost?
Yeah, the trail is obvious, but after many accident before 2001, like a group of Argentinean who change their route to go to Salkantay Mountain without any equipment and guide with tragic consequence, the government or authorities from Cusco decided to change their rules and since there all the people who want to do this marvelous route has to do with a professional guide.

The Inca’s trail is a fantastic experience, but Cusco has many other routes, like Choquequirao (I haven’t been there yet but maybe this year) and others…

Hope it can help you to make a good decision,

This website would help you:
http://ohperu.com/turismo/agenctur.htm
www.peru.info
www.promperu.gob.pe

Cheers

3. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

I have to agree with the last post. Having done the Inca Trail myself in 2003, I can pretty much agree with the prior posting. What I hear now (which didnt apply when I went) is that now the number of people on the trail allowed per day has been reduced dramatically. The city has done this to preserve the trail and run the groups in a more orderly manner apparently.

Everyone that enters has to have a permit (which is processed to a tour agency) therefore the plans must be done ahead of time. In the past you were able to simply fly to Cusco and make arrangements there to start the trail the following day (thats what I did) but this isnt the case anymore. I would pay anymore than $350-$500 for a 4 day trek. When I went I paid $180 but this is unheardof nowadays.

Anyway, you will find that the trail is very obvious, there will be more people speaking English than any other language, many many tourists and there are checkpoints every so many hours where the entire group has to meet to cross through. If you are fast, you may need to sit around for an hour or two to allow the rest of the group to catch up with you. It is physical but not tremedously physical. The altitude affects people but you wont know how much until you get there. What is advisable is that you stay in Cusco for 2-3 days (two may be enough) to allow your body to acclimate to the altitude and then start the trail. I wouldnt suggest arriving to Cusco and starting the trail right away, only because you just dont know how your body will tolerate the altitude initially.

The trek is very well organized. I brought my own below-zero sleeping bag. The agencies provide the tents which are very modern and some also offer sleeping bags but I wouldnt think you would want to use one that everyone else has also used a hundred times before. The food is prepared by the guides, it is great!! The views are amazing, it is just an experience of a lifetime.

I hope this helps...let me know if you need additional info. Good luck!

4. Posted by Leo_arg (Inactive 54 posts) 11y

ppatti, I went to Choquekiraw this january, perhaps I can help you.
I was really amazing!-but really hard...harder than Inka trail!

5. Posted by Pati (Full Member 120 posts) 11y

Hi Leo,
To go to Choquequirao is a great trekking, I'd like to do it next big holiday (maybe in July) I want to do it in 5 days, spend one-day walking around the ruins and sleep near them, I know that it is possible...if you have some advice, please let me know. ;)

6. Posted by redknight5 (Full Member 80 posts) 11y

just a quick tip, you now have to be in cusco 4 days before you start the trail, so they can check and authorise your passport details. you can no longer just rock up in cusco and book it for the next day (as we tried to do!!) stupid new regulations!

7. Posted by skittles (Budding Member 12 posts) 11y

Can anybody suggest a reputable agency to do the trek with? I can only find american and British companies who are charging an arm and a leg! Thanks, Jessica