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Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

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Nederland, Colorado
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Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

Hi there!

We're a couple planning on a trip to MP in early May. Planning to fly into Cusco one day and leave on the Inca Tr the next day. Want to do a 4D/3N hike, then a night in Aguas, then Huayna Piccu the next day, then back to Cusco. We're money-conscious when we travel and had a few questions:

-- We live at 8400' in Colorado. We plan to fly into Cusco and spend that day there, starting the Inca Tr the next day. I think we'll be fine altitude-wise, but wondered what others think...?

-- Ideally we'd like to buy our MP tix, Huayna tix, Train tix, and lodging ourselves beforehand online, then find an Inca Tr provider with small groups that will give us discounts for what we've already bought. Is this possible? Is this reasonable? We just want to save a bit of money!

-- Do folks chew coca on the trail? Are coca leaves easy to find in Cusco the day we're there?

Thanks for all the info we've gotten from previous posts!

Edited: 9:43 pm, January 18, 2013
Lima, Peru
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1. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

The most important thing you need to be aware of is Inca Trail availability. You can check availability at this link: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/

as of this evening you will see that more than half of the days in May have already been completely sold out and for the days that still do have space left it's getting very limited and these days will all sell out in the coming days/week. If you want to book the Inca Trail you should check that site and pick a day that still has at least 100 permits left right now and prepare to book it on Monday morning or else you will likely not get your permits in time. There are several very good Inca Trail Operators but all will need full payment for the Inca Trail permits and full traveler information (date of birth, passport information) in order to secure permits for you.

All your other questions and concerns are secondary to the Inca Trail right now as none of those other things are as time sensitive for you as securing your Inca Trail permits right away. Inca Trail Permits are non-refundable and non transferrable so you need to be sure that the day you are picking is a day you will be able to build your travel plans around as no Trekking Operator can change an Inca Trail permit after it's been issued.

As far as your arrival in Cusco even though you live in Colorado at high altitude for the US you need a MINIMUM of 2 nights in Cusco before doing the 4 day trek. Every single reliable trekking operator will tell you the same thing and I even know of some that won't book a travelers trek unless they have those 2 nights in Cusco first. You'll be several thousand feet higher both in Cusco and also during parts of the Inca Trail which can make a huge difference and considering anything less than 2 nights in Cusco before doing the Inca Trail is reckless and not a good idea.

I'll let some others chip in regarding the other smaller details you're asking about but i think these 2 issues I've addressed should be your immediate concern right now,

cheers

Edited: 10:28 pm, January 18, 2013
Lima, Peru
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2. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

just to clarify in case you've never seen or used the site above before in order to check availability do the following:

1. Click Consultas

2. Click Camino Inca

3. Click May

You'll see there are still over 100 permits left to start May 1 - 4 and then again from May 8 - 11. Outside of that Early/Mid May is either completely sold out for the day or nearly sold out for the day and it's not uncommon for a day to sell out in 24-48 hours when there are 100 permits or less left.

Nederland, Colorado
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3. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

So, we are not allowed to get our own Inca Tr permit, instead we must get it through a tour company by paying our full reservation soon (maybe Monday)?

Clarification, please (and thanks!)?

Lima, Peru
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4. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

Everything else except for the Inca Trail can be booked on your own. The Inca Trail, However, can only be booked with a registered Trekking Company. this can be done by contacting a trekking operator directly or via a Travel Agency/Company. Some of the Travel Companies may also be registered to operate the Inca Trail and others that are not would all be sub contracting one of the Trekking Companies that are registered to do the Inca Trail. If you click on the Agencias tab on that link you can see a list of all the registered Inca Trail companies. If you look at the last few pages of threads you will also undoubtedly find threads and posts regarding the most popular and reliable options.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

I am not aware of any Inca Trail providers that will give you discounts for buying your own train tickets, MP tickets, etc. In fact, I think it would make their lives difficult so I am not sure they'd do it. I think you'd need to contact the many groups recommended on the forum to see if they are willing to separate out those items from the package cost.

I don't think you'd really save anything - the groups need to make a profit, cover the wages and costs of the porters, the food, etc so they would probably just charge you the difference between the tour and the actual expenses of the trains etc that you've already paid for. They aren't marking up the train tickets and entry fees.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

To put it another way - if the cost of the train, entry tickets etc adds up to $90 and the Inca Trail package costs $550, I think you'd be paying $460 to the Inca Trail company, thus not saving you any money.

Some of the porters chew the leaves on the trail. None of the tourists in my group did, and if you've spent long enough acclimatizing before hand, I don't think you'd need to.

Edited: 12:02 pm, January 19, 2013
california
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7. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

You might save a fraction by purchasing the extra day's admission (necessary for the Huayna Picchu pass), but so many people have problems with that official website that I would give it a pass and let your trail provider book everything.

I've tried the coca leaves in Bolivia and at passes in the Andes at higher altitudes (when getting above 4800 meters) it does make you more alert and gives a bit of energy.

Edited: 1:08 pm, January 19, 2013
Nederland, Colorado
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8. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

Thanks so much for the replies!

We're just looking for any ways to save money doing the inca tr.-- for instance we've read that waiting until one gets to Galapagos to book a last-minute cruise can save us a bunch!

But because of the permit requirements maybe we can't find any deals on an Inca Tr. hike...

If anyone has suggestions, I'm all ears (eyes?!).

Thanks!

california
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9. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

Just start shopping the group trek providers for pricing.

There are add ons such as hiring a porter or bringing your own sleeping bag, maybe that is a better place to look for savings.

Then there is the airfare to get to Cusco. That is the real area to look for fare differentials, using one of the domestic airlines, or possibly using miles to fly on LAN (One World) or TACA (Star Alliance).

I would plan to arrive two nights before your trek. Missing a flight could mean a very costly loss of your trek package.

10. Re: Several Inca Trail / MP / Huena questions...

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