FAQ Machu Picchu and Inca Trail
Replies: 408 - Last Post: Sep 29, 2012 8:44 PM Last Post By: icetray07
Sep 15, 2008 7:28 AM
390First off, I would like to thank everybody for contributing to this thread. The information has been extremely helpful thus far.
I plan on making a solo trip to Peru during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's of 2008/2009. I haven't booked anything yet but wanted some advice on my solo trip. The sites I plan on visiting are Lima, the Nasca Lines, Machu Picchu 4dy hike and Cusco. I would also like to check out Pisco, Sacredy Valley, etc. I only have two weeks of vacation thanks to a ball and chain job! Any suggestions regarding destinations nearby and whatnot would be appreciated. Also, let me know if I am packing too many things into one trip or where I should go. This trip is subject to change based on everyone's recommendations and thoughts. Thanks for the help!!!
1) Logistically, how should I go about making this trip? Here's what I was going to plan it so please let me know if this is not logical or efficient enough:
1a) On a Saturday morning, fly from NYC to Lima and spend 1-2 days here
1b) Take a flight from Lima to Nasca for the Nasca Lines and spend 1-2 days here as well
1c) Take a flight from Nasca to Cusco and spend 4-5 days here getting acclimated to the weather and hiking other ruins
1d) Go on the 4dy Inca Trails hike
1e) Spend the rest of my days in Cusco and fly back to Lima and back to NYC
2) How should I book my flights and destinations? Some have said I can go to Cusco the day of and book my Machu Picchu hike. Being that I have a limited time frame, I don't think this would be wise right? Also, is it suggested that I book all my flights, hotels, activities, etc. before I leave NYC?
Again, I don't wanna pack in too many activities into one trip. I'd rather limit the destinations and enjoy it. Plus, I am sort of anticipating delays. If anyone has any advice to give, I would be so grateful.
PS: I just purchased the Lonely Planet Peru guidebook as well the Machu Picchu self-guidebook suggested on the Andean Travel Web site.
Sep 17, 2008 6:41 AM
Oct 3, 2008 3:53 AM
A mate and I are planning a trip through South America starting in Peru in December. We'd like to do the 4-day Classic Inca Trail (but are open minded enough to try an alternative) but the cheapest price we can get through a travel agent at home is AUD$750!!!
A friend of mine recently told me to book this when I get to Cuzco, as I shouldn't have too many problems doing it as December is in the low tourist season. He reckons he got a 4 day tour in January (1st day mountain biking, then 3 day hike to MP) for about US$120 that he booked at the hostel he was staying at a couple of days prior to departure!!! He also said he couldn't fault it!
This seems like a massive difference in price! Has anyone else on here just rocked up in Cuzco and done this themselves? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
Oct 12, 2008 10:37 AM
Nov 4, 2008 6:11 PM
394Anyone going to be in Cusco late January 2009 and looking to team up for a trek to Machu Picchu? I have info on a number of different treks but preferred option is the Salkantay 5d/4n for about US$200. Feel free to email me.
Nov 29, 2008 9:14 AM
395Hey craigoz, I
i'm brazilian and i'm planning on going to lima at early jan, we could team up but i think by the time you get there i'll already be in colombia. Which company has got this good price? Based on what i've read here i'm gonna pop in cuzco and try and find a group setting off to MP. Trouble is, i know you should book in advance, however, some people here say you can risk at low season and you might be able to get a last minute bargain. If not like this i'm not gonna be able to afford it. The prices are so expensive, especially for us who don't have a strong currency like americans and europeans. Anyway, i'm not here to complain. I've seen people who found some considerably cheaper prices. However they haven't said which companies. I would greatly appreciate if someone could share this info. 200 usd is the absolute maximum i can afford - like squeezing every penny out of my pocket. 150 would be ideal.
One more thing, i'm planning on going from lima to ecuador, colombia, venezuela, back to brazil to hike the 'pico da neblina' roughly fog peak - the highest peak in brazil, then back to venezuela to go to the highest waterfall on earth. And since this is near the border venezuela/guyana i ambitiously thought of going across to suriname, french guyana and back to brazil where the amazon river meets the altantic ocean. All on a veery tight budget, overland by bus, boat or walking, no plane tickets, and kinda in a hurry. Only 2,5 months for everything.
I know there are lots of threads where you can find a lot of info. I just spent some 6 hours reading the MP bit. Would really appreciate if someone here could direct me to some info on what i'm looking for. Specially the details on how to go across such 'barren' spots after i get into the venezuela bit of my trip, both transport-wise - all as cheap as possible - and on how not to get into trouble.
Thanks guys. I'm new here. How can i get this message across to as many people as possible who could help me out?
I have travelled a lot in brazil and a bit through uk and middle east. How exactly can i contribute to inquisitive people like me?
cheers. good travels
Dec 1, 2008 10:52 AM
396This thread is quite something. I have tried to read/skim all of the posts, but I still have a question. I'm leaning toward using Peru Treks next October for the four-day/three-night hike on the Inca Trail. However. I'm on the fence about spending an extra night in Aguas Calientes on Day 4 to climb Huayna Picchu on Day 5. We're not particularly serious hikers, but we will have come a long way, so we don't want to regret skipping something interesting. Anyone have thoughts on this? Thanks very much.
Dec 12, 2008 1:38 PM
397Am considering the Cusco, MP, other experience in mid January and have a question related to physical fitness. I am recovering from a series of muscle tears in my left calf over two years and my muscles are not yet in great shape. It has been about a year since the last one and I have hiked throughout a few countries, but this has been mostly all day urban or slight rises. I have no problem with time, duration, but I wonder if the trail is too steep. If so, is there another trail that would be easier given this picture?
Jan 24, 2009 9:37 PM
398It's nice to hear feedback on companies providing treks to Machu Picchu, as there are so many advertised online and it's hard to know who is worth the money. There are a couple that sound particularly good from your recommendations and I know I'll be booking through them.
I have a couple of questions. Some posters have said it's possible to leave unnecessary luggage at a hotel that you're staying at. However in other threads I've read that it can be risky doing that. Could anyone who's spent a fair bit of time in Cusco and knows the area well give some advice on this?
My other question is about the different types of treks. I've been researching this for months now, and it seems that alternative treks to the Inca Trail are very worthwhile as there are less tourists along the way and they can be just as scenic, as well as good for the rural communities who wouldn't normally reap the benefits of tourists willing to buy their products. My only concern with choosing an alternative trek is how the trekkers reach Machu Picchu on the final day. It seems that you catch a bus or train to Machu Picchu- do these forms of transport reach the site early enough to miss a lot of the crowds? Or is it really up to the tourist as to what time they arrive on site?
Feb 27, 2009 3:49 AM
399hi all - did as pauloxxp suggests on a 3 week trip in 2005.... brilliant and would highly recommend.
dlee - it's a tough hike! physical fitness pretty important but more so the altitude. you should be fine but remember it's not a race, take your time and see the sights.
Emma 89 - used Peru Treks and would highly recommend; plus we left luggage at our hotel in Cusco and it was fine. There's always a risk though.
I'm jealous! Want to do it again....... off to check out the Thailand boards to plan my next jaunt!
Apr 6, 2009 10:13 PM
400Went to Machu Picchu in late January 2009 and the experience was AMAZING!
Booked on an alternative trek called 'Inca Jungle' US$180 through the Point Hostel. Involved 1st day mountain biking down hill, 2 full days of hiking generally through the mountains following along the river to Machu Picchu. Along the way staying in basic hostel accommodation, visit hot springs and hydro electric station before arriving for final night in Aguas Callientes. The last (4th) day make your way up the hill to Machu Picchu for guided tour then spend the day exploring before train and bus back to Cusco that night. Everything was excellent and would recommend to anyone.
Not overly hard but have to be able to steady walk for a few days. Altitude was no issue as you 'decend' from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.
You can catch a bus to Machu Picchu from Aguas Callientes or hike up the trail. If you leave early (4am) to beat the crowd? or trying to get a ticket to climb Wyana Picchu, take a torch! Don't follow the winding road, the trail heads straight up the hill.
TIP: after a guided tour of machu picchu you can climb Wyana Picchu if you have a ticket (no cost but limited to 200 people/day) If you miss out on a ticket or dont want to deal with the crowds you can climb Macchu Picchu mountain instead. Is about twice as high as Wyana Picchu with views looking down on the whole lot. You don't need a ticket and not many people up there.
Whatever you do, it is such an incredible journey and destination you will have a great time!
Jul 24, 2009 6:02 AM
Jul 24, 2009 6:08 PM
402The hotel we stayed at in Cusco kept our luggage while we were on the trail. Perhaps you can check with your hotel or hostel where you are staying the night before the trek and see if they would do the same for you. You'll need to dress in layers- nights and mornings were chilly but the daytime was tshirt warmer. We wore tshirts and fleece jackets and that was enough for us but we tend not to get cold. You'll need socks for each day plus extra. We wished we brought a small bottle of liquid bandaid, but bandages and antibitic cream are good to have for blisters. Refillable water bottle and hiking pole(s) - you can buy poles in Ollytaytambo and water bottle holders, too, that come in handy. A hat for the sun and sunscreen if you burn. I wore the same pair of quick drying hiking pants and brought sweats to sleep in. Definitely bring a camera. Are you carrying your own pack or hiring a porter? If porter, then you need to weigh your pack so it comes in under their limit.
Oct 10, 2009 4:48 PM
Oct 18, 2009 4:30 PM
404In July 2009 I got married in Peru and afterwards hiked the Inca Trail with my husband and our families (9 of us). I did a lot of research before I booked the trek, since I was booking for my whole family and didn't want to disappoint anyone. I ended up going with Pachamama Explorers who were phenomenal. Debbie Phillips was my contact, and she was overly helpful and accommodating. As the wedding was near Urubamba, they picked us up at our hotel on the way to the trailhead and then stopped on the way back to allow us to pick up our baggage. All of my questions were quickly answered by email (in perfect English), unlike other tour companies I contacted. They also arranged for flights from Lima to Cusco at a good price. Our tour guide, Miguel and his assistant Ricardo were English speaking and very knowledgeable which allowed for easy conversation along the trail. There was plenty of good food and lots of variety. Even the three 6'3 guys were never hungry! The sleeping tents and mats were comfortable and in spite of the wet weather in dry season, the porters did their best at keeping the equipment as dry as possible. One of the porters even ran back up to the highest mountain pass that he had just climbed over (in the pouring rain), to bring us a snack since we took much longer than expected. It was a very well organized trip and we would all highly recommend Pachamama Explorers. Debbie even arranged with her hairdresser for myself and the ladies to have our hair done for the wedding and found me a photographer at the last minute as mine had cancelled due to illness. She definitely went above and beyond...
By the way - July is supposed to be the dry season and 3 of the 4 days we had rain. Definitely invest in a cheap poncho no matter what time of year you're going! We had three 60+ year olds (our parents) who found the hike very difficult. Although we took altitude pills, we all really felt the effects of the altitude...it definitely wasn't an easy hike for any of us.
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