FAQ Machu Picchu and Inca Trail
Replies: 408 - Last Post: Sep 29, 2012 8:44 PM Last Post By: icetray07
Sep 5, 2006 4:15 PM
255The only access to Machu Picchu/Aqua Calientes is via train. You can get off at Ollytaytambo and take a couple local buses..or on some train trips they transfer you to buses. But it doesn't shave much time. BTW...when arriving back at the Cusco train station at night....take a taxi to your hotel.
Sep 5, 2006 4:30 PM
256Thanks Bob, that was very helpful....so if I get back to Cuzco at 9pm via train has anyone any ideas about getting overnight buses to either Arequipa or Puno...or even better direct to Tacna...i've searched on the internet but nothing much doing.....basically I have to catch a flight in Arica on the tuesday at 12.45 (chilean time)....if we can take a overnight bus we should be sorted but if not its gonna be tight.....are overnight buses the norm, in which case i won't book anything in advance, or should i be trying to get it all sorted antes......in your opinion...
Sep 7, 2006 6:27 PM
258In response to birdgirls, I know it wasn't on your list, but I highly, highly recommend GAP Adventures for the Inca Trail. I cannot say enough great things about our guide, our group, our porters, our cook, our food - mmmmmmmm! our food! - our tents, our schedule, etc. The tour also includes a great trip through the Sacred Valley with visits to the archeological sites, local weavers and their community, and artisans. GAP also has their Lares Trek though the local communities of the Sacred Valley on the way to MP, which sounds wonderful. Check out their options.
Sep 10, 2006 11:05 AM
259Hi ... this is probably one of the stupidest things you're all likely to hear on the subject ...
I have just booked up my tour on the classic Inca Trail, with a view to reaching MP after four days. Part of a months travel around Peru, and I'm very much looking forward to it - so far so good.
Unfortunately I have a severe fear of heights. Or rather ... sharp drops to be more specific. Obviously the thought of reaching MP is a dream come true for me, otherwise I would not have booked it in the first place - but it is one tinged with a large amount of nervousness and trepidition.
I would like to know if anyone else with a severe fear of heights has attempted the hike ? Any advice ? Is it ridiculous even attempting this ? Has anyone successfully overcome their fear in the past ?
I'm also concerned about the effect this might have on the rest of the group if I suddenly freeze up and start panicing somewhere. If I manage to go through with this and get to the top it will be a proper achievement. Not just physically.
Any advice appreciated.
Sep 10, 2006 2:36 PM
A severe fear of heights is not a "stupid" thing, it's a real phobia and can interfere with your enjoyment of the hike. The group with which I traveled in 2002 had such an individual who, at the last minute, just could not bring herself to go and stayed behind at the camp at the trailhead. That was probably a good thing as this would have hampered the entire group. Though most guides are kind and understanding, they are not trained psychologists and their job is to guide and not to goad. When someone in a group, no matter how small, has special needs, it affects everyone. Please don't take my response as a personal slight and please don't take it as the only answer. You might want to discuss it FRANKLY with the tour company who booked your trek so they can give you their expert advice. Most of all, for your very own sake, do not minimize the extent of your phobia and maybe give them specific examples of where, in the past, you have "frozen up" with fear.
Sep 11, 2006 5:37 PM
261Another plug for Peru Treks:
Just want to say that we were very happy with the guides, service and food on our trek. We had a great group and the porters and guides really worked hard to make it a memorable experience. A few tips: although they urge you to buy lots of snacks for the trail, unless you have a huge appetite or incredibly fast metabloism, I wouldn't bother- you get fed multiple times a day with very delicious and plentiful food and are given snacks for the trail as well. Also it is COLD, esp. on the 2nd night. Bring along a pair of silk long undies, top and bottom for under your clothes and for sleeping- they weigh nothing and will make a big difference. My husband and I are in our mid-40's and were a bit worried about our level of fitness but we hiked and climbed lots of stairs beforehand, and did just great. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
Sep 11, 2006 10:22 PM
262that's great to hear! i just paid my deposit to peru treks for a nov. 6th departure and am incredibly excited. all i have to decide now is whether or not to stay an extra night in aguas calientes (leaning towards no) and whether i really need to bring gortex hiking shoes in addition to my running shoes or to just bring running shoes and hope that's enough (i know it's the beginning of the rainy season so i fear it wouldn't be the best idea)...i know a TON has been posted on this subject and i've read much of it, but i'm still torn. i'm sure gortex shoes would come in handy elsewhere (bolivia, all around argentina/patagonia, brazil etc) but this is the only real hard-core hiking i'll be doing during my 6 month SA trip, so i don't want to carry around heavy hiking shoes unless it's really necessary (4 pairs of shoes would be a bit much for a 60L pack)...unfortunately train runners don't have enough cushioning for me to run in. i wish i could mail the shoes home after the trek, but i've heard the postal system is incredibly unreliable so i don't want to risk it. has anyone been in this situation and have any advice to offer?
Sep 12, 2006 1:20 PM
263to cshorens: well, we brought our well used and trusted hiking boots with us - glad to have done so for the ankle support (some of the path can be rough on your ankles - I was pregnant too, so needed the special ankle support for my already wably ankles) and for the wetter days; we then left them behind with Peru Treks for their guides (as some of the porters had really beat up sneaks or flip flops! I would guess it bcs some of them come from more remote villages) - we then bought new hiking boots while in NZ
why are you taking 4 pears of shoes though? you know, you can always buy the pair you need in the country you visit and then leave it behind (great idea of bulky sweaters too)
Sep 12, 2006 1:34 PM
264to James 79: I too have a severe fear of drops and heights - and trust me if I can see beyond the ledge I FREAK! But if there are bushes hiding the fact of a drop I'm ok with it - LOL. Anyhow, the 3rd day is tough and you'll encounter several sections with severe drops and VERY narrow paths. I was freaking to say the least - like crying!!! I don't think my husband realized how fearful (never was in such a situation with him before until then) I was until he came back to help me - he held one of my hands while I crawled and was crying from fear with big big tears, yes crawled on all fours along the path (thank goodness we were at the back of the group 'cos I would have dyed of embarassment) - but I made it, and having said all that I'm glad I did go, 'cos that part of the trek was breahtaking and beautiful (probably more so than the actual monument!)
I would say that if you're not going with a friend or partner who understands you and that you can fully trust to help you through this, don't expect the tour guides to know what to do (although they are very good, they might; we told them ahead of time I was a fit happy 2nd trimester pregnant mommy-to-be, and they were kind - they had an assistant guide anyhow, and he trailed behind us always, no matter how slow, so we didn't feel we were slowing down the rest of the group and really went at our own pace). I would recommend you try a shorter trek (I know Peru Treks and others offer 2 days treks) where I think they take you on a different section and you might not have such a bad drop and narrow trails). There's the most expensive option of taking the train to Machu Pitchu and going just for the day. But for me the actual trails for 4 days was more memorable than the final monument in a lot of ways.
Sep 12, 2006 3:32 PM
I highly reccommend hiking boots with ankle support. There are a lot of ankle turning opportunities, and I just wouldn't risk it. Plus boots are probably better on wet stones. And if it rains, they need to be waterproof. I encountered rain - while it wasn't heavy, it gradually soaked my boots, and those without waterproof boots had wet socks that led to blisters.
However, as you will see, the trail can be done in sandals made from tires!
Regarding the discussion of local vs. overseas companies - From what I saw the GAP porters were treated very well, but I don’t have the knowledge of how the different companies compare as far as wages, weight carried, treatment, money going oversees vs. locally, etc. I do know that GAP gives back to the local communities in many admirable ways – see http://www.planeterra.org/
Sep 16, 2006 8:47 PM
Sep 17, 2006 3:57 AM
267i was wondering that myself---i assumed that i wouldn't be able to charge my camera battery so i just bought an extra one, although i'm still concerned that two batteries won't be enough. then again, as someone pointed out (perhaps in this branch, i forget), maybe we'll be taking fewer photos on the trail than we would just wandering around a city? not sure if that will be the case, but it kind of makes sense, since we'll be focused on the trekking aspect of doing the inca trail for much of the time. so i'd just say get an extra battery if you can---i think they're 40 bucks or so. it's always good to have a backup.
as for shoes, i bought a pair of montrail gortex hiking boots that are very sturdy but fairly lightweight, and i think i'll be happy i brought them along...i'll have to test them out but so far they feel pretty good. i decided that i'm going to bring my old running shoes just for the first 5 weeks of my trip (before the inca trail) and toss them before i fly to peru. if after the inca trail i decide that walking around sightseeing etc isn't sufficient exercise and i need to start running again, then i'll just buy a new pair. then i'll have my flip flops and leather sandals. i figure that's a good compromise...
Sep 17, 2006 10:37 AM
Sep 18, 2006 10:19 PM
269Alternative route to and from the Machu Pichu
Using other posts on the thorntree, and information from other travellers, we went to the Machu Pichu, but using a different route then by the official Inca trail or the train.
In short: we bussed to Santa Maria, took a cable bridge over a river, took a truck to Hydro Electrico and walked then to Aguas Callientes. The way back we walked, following partly the railroad, but also partly old inca-trails. We even camped on old Inca ruins. It was a great experience and much cheaper then taking the train or doing the inca trail.
If you want more information, we wrote an article on our own (non commercial) website: Machu Pichu on a budget
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