I decided to use Peru Treks to book my Inca Trail trek because it was suggested to me by Peru lover Charyn Pfeuffer (@charynpfeuffer) as the company she had heard offered the best value for your money. My understanding is also that they also pay their guides and porters quite well, which was a deciding factor for some in our group.
In total the trek cost $490 (unless you’ve hired a third of a porter, then it will be an additional $45). $200 is paid up front via paypal, and the remaining $290 balance is to be paid upon arrival in Cusco. The balance MUST be paid in the office at least 2 days prior to trek departure. The reason they ask that you be there 2 days in advance is so that your body has some time to adjust to the altitude. Although Machu Picchu itself sits at a lower altitude than Cusco, dead woman’s pass does not – and those not acclimated properly will surely suffer altitude sickness on the trail.
When paying the balance in the office, you will be given a trek briefing – at which you will review the items needed for the trek, have the daily itinerary explained to you in detail, receive your sleeping bag and/or porter bag should you choose to rent them, be given your “I survived the Inca Trail” tee shirt (I know, kind of anti-climactic getting it first), and have return train details given to you (if you’ve decided to stay in Aguas Caliente for one extra night).
All of the items you could possibly need for the trek are outlined on their website, and I bought EVERYTHING they listed in preparation. What I found out when I went to the briefing is that water will be sold along the trail for the first 2 days, and for the last 2 days boiled water is provided to you (2 liters per person, per day) from Peru Treks. Had I known this before I would NOT have invested in the filtered water bottles suggested on the site. Skip the filtered bottle or the purification tablets, as it will just be extra weight when clean water is available to you.
Our group consisted of 12 trekkers, 2 guides, 16 porters (“chuskies”), and 1 cook. The porters carry all of the food, cooking supplies, gas tanks, tents, first aid equipment, and rented bags. They carry this, running past the hikers at double speed, and do it all in sandals. When the hikers arrive at the lunch or campsites all tents are set up, and food is cooking.
The meals on this trek are like 5-star hotel meals, and remain at the top of my list of meals in Peru. Food served included fried chicken and fish, rice, steak, avocado, vegetables, potatoes, cevice, sangria – and even a cake on our final night (which I still question how it was baked)!
Our guides, David and Yaneth, were VERY helpful, and seemed to genuinely care about the group’s well being (when Damany got altitude sickness, Yaneth made him a tea of carrot and celery – which smelled like chicken broth – to aid in recovery). David, the main guide, has been doing this trek for many years, and clearly loves his job. This is apparent in the knowledge he shares with you at each Inca site visited along the way, as well as his various experiential stories (of this and other trails) collected over time. He even called down to Aguas Caliente from Machu Picchu 3 hours in advance so we could try fresh guinea pig as a group.
While on the Inca Trail, the guides will also share with you stories of other treks that Peru Treks & Adventure runs, making you wish you had a month just to trek around the country. I know that I would trust the company on any trek in Peru, now that I’ve experienced their service – and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for adventure there.
Avenida Pardo 540
Telephone: 00 51 84 222722 (from overseas)