17 independent reviews for Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru

Reviews for Hiking the Inca Trail in Peru

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review 12 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We walked the Inca trail and not knowing how we would do at altitude it was a pleasant surprise to feel fine.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The holiday provider really organised a good trip and the organisation was excellent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes they are very careful to carry out all their garbage and we stayed and supported the locals along the way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great experience.

review 4 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The staggering scenery throughout the trek, and the sense of achievement reaching the tops of passes, especially to look at Machu Picchu.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring hand sanitiser and wet-wipes. Don't try to bring too many luxuries with you - embrace the experience!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Efforts seemed to be made to reduce environmental impacts. I am not sure about the other items, since there were a handful of "middle" companies involved before you got to the staff.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superb!

review 5 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Reaching the top of Dead Woman's Pass on the second day - that was the highest and most difficult point so it was a real feeling of achievement.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Slow down and enjoy the views! The hike was less challenging than we had anticipated and so we were able to take our time and not rush too much. I had considered using walking poles but in the end I was really glad that I didn't bring any along as I didn't need them at all. Also, you don't need to carry much water with you as you can buy it along the way and the porters can provide you with a refill every morning.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - for our group eight porters, a cook and a guide were all employed from the local area so it was helping local farmers to supplement their income. The porters were also very careful to make sure that everyone on the hike was respecting the local environment and leaving as little trace as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great fun and an amazing experience. Thank you to our brilliant guide, the incredibly athletic and dedicated porters and to the guys in the UK who organised the trip for us; everything was perfect.

review 16 Oct 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The most memorable part of the trek was on Day 2 where we hit the highest point of the trail at 4,732m. We encountered a small hailstorm when we were heading down. Fortunately, the hailstorm subsided after we break for lunch. We were greeted by wonderful scenery throughout the trek.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Because of the high altitude, it is advisable for trekkers to give themselves at least 3 days to acclimatise. Having a basic level of fitness would be ideal to allow for better appreciation of the whole trekking experience.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Every trekker can do his/her part in protecting environment. We have amongst us in the group people who picked up plastic bottles that were thrown along the trail. And by supporting the local crafts and visiting the area (without destroying the natural beauty of the trail), we can provide livelihood to the locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I'm generally happy with the holiday and would give it a 4/5 rating.

Read the operator's response here:

Many thanks for travelling with us - we appreciate your feedback.

review 27 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

A difficult question as the whole trip was memorable and exciting, but I think that the first view of Machu Picchu from the Sungate was probably the highlight! However our homestead stay on Lake Titicaca was a really memorable part of the holiday. We stayed on Amantani Island and our hosts were extremely kind and welcoming to the 5 of us and as our guide was as useful as a statue, they looked after U.S. And had us to the right place at the right time! It was a humbling experience that we would not have missed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Leave the Inca trail to the last part of your holiday and give yourself lots of time to acclimatise to the altitude! There is no way we could have managed the trail after a couple of days as we all suffered some symptoms from the altitude.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local people definitely benefited from our trip, with the people on Uros, Amantani Islands and other guides and craft sellers getting business from us. From the beginning, we were given advice from our guides about looking after the environment and generally most people respected these guidelines.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was the chance of a lifetime and we grabbed it with both hands! A fantastic experience and I cannot recommend it enough!

review 5 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The view, it was breath taking from start to finish.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Warning about day one sleeping at -10 in front of Salkantay mountain.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great! Great tour guide, great chef. Happy days!

review 6 Oct 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

As well as the great trekking and superb scenery, the strong point of this trek is that it visits villages in the highlands of Peru and shows something of the way of life of local communities. One of our guides came from a village that we walked through, and we saw people in traditional (but everyday) costume herding llamas and alpacas in the mountains.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

As a reasonably fit 68 year old, I found the passes at over 4000 metres quite tough going in spite of having spent a week at altitude before starting. I would advise anyone to be well acclimatised before doing this kind of trek.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. The partner company in Cusco uses local guides and helpers, and has a good reputation for supporting local communities. Camping in villages also brings them money and support.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very well organised, well supported, a tough walk at times but certainly well worthwhile. I would recommend it to any reasonably fit person who wants to see the scenery and the life in the mountains near Cusco, and/or wants an alternative to the oversubscribed Inca Trail.

review 14 Sep 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Great experience. Lots of exercise! Beautiful views and sites throughout. The guide, camp chef, and porters work really hard to make the trip enjoyable.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

For this trip we purchased a Sawyer personal water filter, and can't imagine doing without for travel in the future. Healthier than purification tablets. Reusable for 100,000 gallons of water. Saves all of those wasteful plastic bottles. Also bring a wide-brimmed hat, good suncream, bug repellent, 2 rolls of toilet paper, and a pack of wet wipes (good for daily deodorizing). Rent two walking sticks unless you are in awesome shape. Saves the knees and catches any falls. Tip your guide, chef, and porters well! An extra amount means little to us but a lot to them. At the end of the trip, donate any shoes or equipment that you may not need in the future. Ideally spend 3+ nights in Cusco before the trip. I have a sulfa-allergy and didn't want to take the acetazolamide (altitude medication) in case of a reaction, and it took me 5 days in Cusco before I felt normal.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

All contact staff, guide and porters were local. Camp food was locally sourced (and surprisingly delicious!). Would have liked to see less plastic use (snack baggies could have been paper). Would like to see local drink/snack vendors along the way have beverages in glass recyclable containers if possible. Or recycling barrels at these sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great. Was a bit apprehensive that I could do the trek and manage the altitude, but so glad to have done it now!

review 26 May 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Trekking to 4215 meters high along the Inca Trail and watching the sunrise over Machu Picchu while at the Sungate.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You don't need all that clothing!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I'm not sure if I was able to benefit the local people and the environment. Perhaps I became more aware of things I take for granted, therefore taking a different position at my home.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Quite memorable. I trekked through the Andes Mountains. Next, Kilimanjaro??

review 9 Dec 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the trek itself, the experience was overshadowed by the dealings with the tour company in the lead up to the trek: - Poor communication on the ground with local employee to no fault of his own. My requested method of contact was denied by the tour company in the UK. The communication would have been made much easier and cheaper had this been honored. - Pricing difference between paying in USD and GBP is NOT made clear by the tour company. The exchange rate used is highly inflated from the current USD/GBP exchange rate. We unknowingly paid over £100 more for the privilege of paying in GBP but if this was made clear from the beginning, we would have instead immediately paid in USD. - The tour company made no attempt to negotiate when confronted about the difference and always insisted everything was on their terms, resulting in much stress right before the trek (obviously not the best preparation). We had to make a second payment plus fees in USD rather than them refunding the difference in price. It would have been much simpler and caused less stress if the UK pound difference was refunded. We however had to wait considerable time just get our first payment back putting us substantially out of pocket. Further to this, the tour company uses an intermediary company in Cusco and one of the cheapest trekking companies who also contract out the management of the tour including hiring porters and the guides. This meant 4 different companies were involved and communication on the ground was difficult to say the least. 1 – The UK tour company, 2 – Local partner, 3 – Local guide (separate company), 4 – contracted porters. It took a day and a half to get in contact with anyone on the ground and although I had requested email as my preferred method of contact, the tour company said this was not possible meaning expensive calls, bad Skype calls through hostel internet (the wifi was not strong anywhere) and the company REFUSING to listen that I could not get calls directly to the hostel as I didn’t have a phone in my room and the reception was extremely crowded. It would have been impossible. They instead resorted to leaving messages (without stating who it was). As there are so many companies involved, we did not know who left the message or who to contact. We then had to wait around the hostel that evening for a call when an email would be much more convenient. The tour company show no respect for the position of their clients and could of handled the whole situation so much better and made a more enjoyable experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You are much better off booking directly or going with a company who shows clear pricing, care for their customers and are willing to negotiate. And when booking directly you also know beforehand what company you will be dealing with rather than having numerous intermediaries and not knowing who will actually be running the trek. There are many more companies out there who show respect and ethics to their customers.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

This is questionable. The local trekking company charge $480USD if booking directly, which is well below the recommended minimum of $520USD to ensure fair porter wages and well below the $780USD we originally paid. In terms of benefit to local people we do feel that the company who the tour was eventually subcontracted to were ethical, treated porters well, encouraged sustainability and encouraged supporting local communities however as every single trek is subcontracted to a different company by the UK tour company’s intermediaries we would not know whether this is the case each time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We were very lucky that despite the stress, the contracted guide was amazing meaning we had an extremely enjoyable experience. Given the Guide was contracted, I cannot be sure of the company's consistency. As far as dealing with this tour company, this was an extremely stressful experience I would preferred to have done without.

Read the operator's response here:

We're glad Loretta enjoyed the trek, found our partner companies to be ethical and was able to contact both them and us on many occasions in the days leading up to her trek. We have worked with these people/guides/porters/office staff - and employed some directly - for many years, and this shows our communication systems are open and working. In short, our trek is priced and advertised on both Responsible Travel and our own website in USD. Our own web holds a GBP price too. This is open and transparent. The customer chose to pay us in GBP at the published price. the customer could have chosen to pay us in USD had she so wished. We clearly indicate methods of payment to customers in emails and they always have a choice of which currency they can pay in. The GBP price reflects the exchange rate when prices are set and when we as a tour operator purchase our international currencies. There is nothing misleading about our business practice. We work hard to have good representatives in all of our chosen destinations. We spent many hours talking to this customer/our staff in Peru on the phone, albeit that the client was both rude and used rather blue language, working until 2130 local time to try work out a solution for the client. (We offered to call the hostel but the client preferred to talk to us via Skype from her hostel room, although the wifi was not the strongest there.) PRICE Our local operator had a last minute, low season price advertised on their website. We have no control over this. This sales price was for a different package to the type we offered - inferior tents, no personal porter to carry personal items etc. This was explained to the customer and one of the main reasons for the price difference. To be ethical, and treat porters well, every porter needs to be paid a reasonable wage, fed, have an Inca Trail permit bought for him as well as more benefits as ruled by the authorities. We not only comply with all the regulations, we also regularly give money to social community projects in Cusco, but also to the Cusco Porter Project and Amantani. We are very clear that we can take payments in USD, GBP sterling and many more currencies. We offer this service to all our clients. The customer was shown - very clearly - the USD and GBP sterling prices on all correspondence before booking, during booking and on our website. The customer was also shown - very clearly - the ways to pay in both GBP sterling and USD prior to booking and during the booking process. Indeed, credit cards incur a small fee and when we double checked with the customer that she had read about the fee, she said no and changed the card payment type. We were glad we had checked as we don't want people to pay fees unknowingly. We had even bought her Inca Trail permit in good faith because of the card change around. The permits were running low and must be bought at least 72 hours in advance. With the dates falling the way they had, if we had dallied, there is a good chance the client would not have had an Inca Trail permit for her chosen dates at all. CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES We always offer our customers a USD price and a GBP price and they can choose which way they pay. The prices are based on exchange rates actually available to us & as a UK company we have to forward buy our USD in order not to be at the whim of daily exchange rate fluctuations. Each customer is totally at liberty to choose the currency they pay in. We accept pretty much any world currency. Charging a fee, which covers the fee the bank charges us, is entirely normal business practice and something the customer was made aware of both before and during the booking process, and again once changing her payment currency. We agreed with this customer to refund her GBP payment and allow her to pay in USD - we have absolutely no problem with doing this, even though it was the day before the trek started she demanded this. PERUVIAN PARTNERS We have worked with our Peruvian partners for many years and this client need only contact one person in Cusco. This is a member of our staff in Cusco - this is not an intermediary, but a member of our staff that we pay a salary to. This person is there to help our customers should any problems arise. When our customers get ill or have an issue with strikes, or any accidents, then this person is there to look after the customer and make sure they get alternative arrangements sorted out, get to see a doctor, get to a hospital etc. Our staff member was able to help the client in the day or two before the trek as she was taken ill, offering advice and support, as we pay him to. We have a partner company in Lima that we have worked with for many years also. They are also there to ensure things go smoothly for our customers travelling in Peru, and this was explained to the client. This is a partner company and one of our local operators, that we have worked with for over 18 years. Our Inca Trail operator is ethical, and we have a long standing relationship with them also and many satisfied customers. We do not sub contract. We use carefully chosen local partners that we have many many years of working with, that we have chosen for good reason and that provide a good service. This is quite simply not true: "as every single trek is subcontracted". We use carefully selected partners we know personally and have worked with for many years. There not 4 intermediaries as she states. We have our own staff in Cusco and we use a local licensed trek operator, that we have worked with for many years, which contracts in the staff for a particular trek. CUSTOMER COMMENTS Please note the customer says: "we thoroughly enjoyed the trek itself" Also " In terms of benefit to local people we do feel that the company who the tour was eventually subcontracted to were ethical, treated porters well, encouraged sustainability and encouraged supporting local communities" - she is talking about our regular local Inca Trail operator that we always work with. CONCLUSION We feel the source of the complaint comes from the difference in the last minute/low season price on our local operator's website vs our price, but which are for differing standards of service. It is an unfair comparison. The exchange rate we use also seems to have upset the client - however, we offer payment in both GBP sterling and USD and we do not know why the passenger choose to pay in GBP sterling if the rate offended so much. They did not pay Usd 780 for their Inca trail trek. They paid the 2013 advertised price of GBP 482 each – our advertised price. We later agreed to refund this in full and they paid us the 2013 advertised Usd price of Usd 695 each. We are glad she enjoyed the trek to Machu Picchu and the services offered. We do, however, feel we offered a very good service from both the UK and in Peru to make sure everything went smoothly, very last minute. The customers booked just a couple of weeks before the start date.

review 20 Jul 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

As we came out of our dinner tent on the second night we all gasped, I saw what was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. With a huge valley opening up before us in front of our tents, the cloud sat below filling a huge valley with the mountains rising from the beneath the clouds! We looked up and the sky was just a carpet of stars - breathtakingly beautiful!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure you layer your clothes, the temperature did vary alot during the day and also take trekking poles, they really helped!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

5* I really cannot rate anything higher - we were seriously impressed by everything!

review 3 Jan 2012

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All of it really, Amazon, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and of course the Inca Trail were all amazing places.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check out the permit situation on Machu Picchu. We really wanted to do a couple of hikes up there which were free when we booked the holiday but needed a permission when we got there and our agency failed to inform us of it, so we only found out when we got there which was too late to get the tickets, which was very disappointing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, it definitely did.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an amazing holiday, probably one of the best ever! The country and people are amazing, the scenery breath taking and very different to wherever you are and the organisation of the trip was perfect, apart from the little hiccup with the permits in Machu Pichu itself, but everything else was arranged perfectly, a lot better than expected.

review 3 May 2011

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

A sense of achievement in completing the Inca Trail and discovering Machu Picchu were the highlights.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I booked my 3 night walking and camping Inca Trail / Machu Picchu trip as a solo female traveller. There was nothing in the blurb which explained under what circumstances I would be expected to share a tent. On arrival at the campsite on Day one of the trip I was presented with a tent to share with the solo male traveller in the group. I would advise verifying sleeping arrangements in advance with your tour guide at the briefing. I did ask the operator - in advance of travelling - who else would be travelling in the group and was advised a couple from South America. However, they clearly sub contract to a local company in Cusco who had joined up with another tour company and group comprising another couple and one solo male traveller, excluding guides and porters. Whilst it all worked out ok, the accommodation arrangements were not really ideal.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Local people were employed as tour guides, cooks and porters.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are a great holiday experience - if you are into walking, fantastic scenery and don't mind roughing things for a few nights.

Read the operator's response here:

It is certainly not normal that a single female would be asked to share a tent with a single male on any of our trekking tours. We apologise for this error - we are investigating exactly what happened and why the group was one tent short.

review 21 Nov 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Sitting at breakfast on the Inca Trail overlooking the Andes - it was the perfect breakfast on a perfect trip!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Tom from the tour company gives fantastic advice - ask him for as much advice as you need. Also do your research - check reviews of the hotels and companies in your itinerary to ensure they are what you expect. Take plenty of bug spray for the Amazon!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. All the companies and guides emphasized the importance of benefiting the environment and local people. The local guides we had were exceptional in terms of knowledge and service.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent! Doing the Inca Trail was a spiritual experience. Our guide, Wilo went out of his way to point out orchids, great photography spots and had fantastic knowledge of the history of the area. He displayed a real pride in his heritage. The biolodge in the Amazon was incredible - we saw some beautiful animals (about 20 Macaws on a claylick one morning). We definitely want to return one day.

review 21 Oct 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Peru itself - we saw many challenging views and vistas - they were all so different it is difficult to give a rating on "Most memorable" - however the third day of the Inca Trail was probably the most memorable - incredible scenery, knowing that you had done the hard bit - and still have Machu Picchu to look forward to!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go with a well organised travel agent (which we did). Although organising things yourself would be cheaper it is so much easier to have everything well planned before you get there. The days we had free for our own planning were often half wasted with us organising things! We also spent a lot of money on extras - try and get as much pre organised so you know exactly what you will spend before you get there.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

In the Amazon rainforest definitely - and as Cusco's economy is totally tourist based if we don't go there the whole infrastructure would crumble. Visiting the Reed Islands on Lake Titicaca definitely did not minimize any environmental impact!! - but benefited them (apparently many of them live off the lakes in new houses!)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Incredibly memorable - we saw mountains, plains; rivers, lakes; sweated under sun; swore under rain, fished in snowstorms! Travelled by plane, taxi, bus and train; the holiday was educational, energetic and restful! Peruvian people were welcoming, generous with their time, and so keen for you to learn about their history and geography - leaving a lasting impression.

review 12 Apr 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking throught the rainforest, seeing Machu Picchu appear when fog goes away.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

1. Go during a more dry season. Fog and rain can spoil good sights. 2. Take walking sticks. They help. 3. Head torch. 4. Take it easy when walking.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Despite the rain and the fog, I am glad I went. It was very good.

review 24 Jun 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Getting back home on the plane after the saga had been finished.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Not to book with this company.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Poor, there was a strike which was out of the holidays control but the help and information and flexibility of decisions that needed to be made were not completed in the best interests of me.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for your feedback. We apologise for any inconvenience caused due to the strike action which meant that there were no trains to and from Aguas Calientes and road disruption during the day at the end of your holiday. We were made aware of the threat of a strike in Peru the day that you were due to travel out of the UK and contacted you immediately although the only information was that there was a possibility of a strike. Strike threats and actions are constantly evolving situations which mean that there has to be a degree of flexibility within the realms of what is possible. In group situations, arrangements have to be made to cater to the majority. In Cusco, once the strike was confirmed, a solution was offered, and accepted. On analysis, we believe that there was a misunderstanding over exactly what these arrangements were. This is an issue which we are looking into so that we can ensure that in future our clients will have the exact picture of what these changes are and what they involve as far as possible in the circumstances. On the trail itself and in consultation with your guide you changed these arrangements in order to finish the trail early and get back to Cusco before the start of the strike and therefore catch your flights home successfully.

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