Over Easter 2012, Gavin and I did the four day Inca Trail in Peru. Even though I knew it was extremely touristy its just one of those things you have to do. You can no longer do the Inca Trail independently. You have to go with a registered tour guide. After reading several reviews on Trip Advisor we chose Llama Path. We were very disappointed with this company and don’t recommend readers using them but more on that later.
The views of the Andes all along the Inca Trail are amazing. These mountains are so different from anywhere else I have been before. Because we went at the tail end of the rainy season, everything looked so green and lush. Also, there were fewer tourists than at the peak tourist season time. These days getting permit for the inca trail is getting more and more tricky so it is best to book as much in advance as possible.
We started early from Cusco, grabbed some breakfast on the way and then started the trek at Km 82. We were a group of 12 tourists along with several porters and cooks as well as tour guides. Each day we would stop for lunch where a tent would have already been set up for us and we were served a massive three course meal. To be honest, I would have been happy to have a picnic instead but that is just how things are done there. After a short siesta we would walk again for few hours until we reached the camp site for the night. The second day of the walk is the longest when we crossed two high passes (4000m+) before settling for the night. The third day, we did a short detour and went to the high altitude terrace agricultural farm site of the Incas called Winay Wayna. I totally recommend visiting this ruin as it is excellently preserved. On the last day, every group starts as early as possible (4am in some case) in order to queue at the entrance to the sun gate. From there it is about an hour to the Sun Gate. If you are lucky, you can see Machu Pichhu from there. We waited for a while at the gate, saw the clouds lift from the ruins before continuing to see what we had trekked for the last four days: Machu Pichhu. By the time we got there, it was already mobbed by tourists. It was strange to connect back to the civilization after four days in the wild. Machu Pichu is everything I had expected and then some more. It is one of the most amazing ruins I have ever seen. Even if you don’t do the full trek, just seeing Machu Pichu is worthwhile.
Now, the reason why we didn’t like our trekking tour company. Well, firstly nearly everyone in the group got food poisoning. The personal hygiene of the porters wasn’t the best. Next, we felt our guide was a bit useless. Our equipments from the company had problems too. For instance, we found that our tent leaked at night. On complaining upon our return to the UK, we didn’t get any satisfactory explanation or compensation from the organizers. So, although the Inca Trail is great I would definitely recommend doing extensive checks before picking up a tour guide to go with.
Here are some pictures from the trek: