Jan 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm #1283980
@rrequenaLocale: Canadian Rockies
I'm planning a late May trip with a buddy and we're struggling to make a decision on a tour company for the hike or if we should try to just wing it and do it ourselves. Anyone have any experience and recommendations? Thank you kindly.Jan 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm #1823310
We did this hike in April of 2011 with Innova Travel/Innova Peru and were pretty happy with how that worked. There are lots of variables, though, and we were very happy that our family of four people was the whole group. OThers had up to 20 people in their group.
There's a complete report on our website, if you are interested. And I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.
Here's a link to our info:
PWJan 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm #1823355
Michael LBPL Member
add a p in there….
you messed up the email addy for your own site.Apr 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm #3396489
John S.BPL Member
Any thoughts on best tour company? I guess you either decide on lodge tour versus camping for starters. Lonely Planet recommended Gadventures. They do camping treks but don’t seem to encourage going up Huayna Picchu.Apr 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm #3396490
Again, I’ll post the note ( with corrected link) to our trip with Innova Peru.
And yes, Huayna Picchu is a bit of a death wish. If you take the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu, you won’t get there in time to get a spot to hike Huayna Picchu. You have to leave Aguas Calientes VERY early in the morning to get that. But it’s not a hike we found attractive. Compared to the scenery on the Inka trail, we just weren’t interested in a crowd scene like that. All it takes is one person to be an idiot on Huayna Picchu, and somebody falls. Not fun. There is so much to see at Machu Picchu itself, and there are so many other places near Cuzco (and the rest of Peru) .Apr 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm #3396517
John S.BPL Member
Paul, thanks for your thoughts on the death wish hike ; ). I will check out your link.Apr 17, 2016 at 11:51 pm #3396552
Adam GBPL Member
You can’t legally do it yourself in Peru. You must get a guide. For the price, it’s a really good deal for what you get. Truly camping in luxury.
We had a wonderful experience with Pachamama Explorers. We decided to do the Salkantay alternate to Machu Picchu which was a great decision for several reasons. First, you weren’t walking on stone all day which is very unpleasant. Second, it was really quiet. There were only four of us so we got to really know our guide and our porters. It took us to some wonderful, peaceful, very remote areas of the Andes Mountains. Third, they allow horses until you hit the Inca Trail so we did not have to carry our gear which was nice going over the 16,000 foot pass. Finally, it was a longer backpacking trip than the Inca Trail. Once we hit the Inca Trail, it was crowded and dirty. Although I found Huayna Picchu really cool, in retrospect, I would have better spent the time really exploring Machu Picchu. You really need at least a full day to take it all in.Apr 18, 2016 at 6:19 pm #3396720
Good points all the way around, Adam. And yes–you are required to hire a guide and porters to hike to Machu Picchu. That not only helps the local inhabitants benefits financially from one of the world’s great adventure hikes, but those guides and porters also make sure that the tourists mind their manners and respect the ancient sites. Our group was only the four of us and a guide and porters.
We had a similar very positive experience on the Santa Cruz Trek in the Cordillera Blanca out of Huaraz.Apr 18, 2016 at 6:57 pm #3396727
Jeremy and AngelaBPL Member
@requiemLocale: Northern California
We went in October of 2012 with Explorandes, both the Machu Picchu and Cordillera Blanca hikes, and were quite pleased. It was shoulder season, as I recall, so there were only four of us on the Machu Picchu portion and just the two of us in the Cordillera. As mentioned in Paul’s report, going with a company that knows what they’re doing is key. As a side note, the food was excellent as well; as I recall the cooks go through culinary school.Apr 19, 2016 at 9:18 am #3396802
One cool part of the Inka trail is that there are government checkpoints to make sure that you are legal: That you have the permits, the right number of porters, and that your porters are not carrying more than the allowed weights.
Less reputable companies sometimes cheat on one or all of these, and it can ruin your trip.
(FYI–the permit is actually a stamp in your passport–as if the Inka Nation were giving you permission to enter its territory. Pretty cool.)Apr 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm #3397330
Steve SchmidBPL Member
A friend recommended a company called SAS. I used them and has good results as well.
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