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Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

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Montreal, Canada
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Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

Hello,

I am heading to Peru in May-June and we were hoping to be able to hike the Inca Trail for 4 days/ 3 nights. I've been doing my research and have found that it is impossible to do the trail without a tour.

We are on a very tight budget for this trip and we're not very fond of the idea of having to pay 500-600$.

My question is :

Can I simply hire a guide for much cheaper and carry my bag and cook my food ?

If I can, how much does it cost and must I reserve or can we simply show up and try finding a tour to book within the next 42 hours of us being in Cusco ?

I know alot of people say it's practicaly impossible to do the trekk carrying our own bags, but we don't have much of a choice and we're experienced in the matter of carrying heave loads on our backs here in Quebec... but I am fully aware that the Fjord of Saguenay is nothing compared to what awaits in Cusco!

Also, we will be making our way to Cusco from Bogota stopping through Quito and I don't know where, any one have any idea how many days that might take me ?

Thanks a bunch !

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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1. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

You *might* be able to do it a bit more cheaply, but not much. And you MUST book well in advance, as those permits sell out early, especially for your time frame. You absolutely can not book th Inca Trail on the spot in Cusco, especially in high season ( your time frame).

You might be able to find a registered guide (must be registered to do the Inca Trail) who will allow less than an all-inclusive trek. However, the usual $500-$600 cost of the trek includes the Inca Trail permit fee (which you can not secure on your own), transportation to the trailhead, tents and all food for the duration, plus Machu Picchu entry fees and transportation back to Cusco. Most agency fees do not include carrying your personal gear, sleeping bag & mat. So, you have to consider that your trek fees do cover quite a bit of non-negotiable expenses anyway, plus three nights lodging, transportation & all meals.

I don't know of any guides who will give you a cheaper trek ( beware that with cheaper fees, you may not get decent service in some important aspects), but you can check the extended list of trek agencies on www.andeantravelweb.com and contact some to find out.

Www.theoptimistictraveler.com

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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2. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

Good luck !

Little Canfield...
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3. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

For me a visit to Peru and hiking the Inca Trail is a once in a lifetime trip. Better to do it properly, rather than trying to save a few dollars and having a less than perfect trip.

Edited: 3:51 pm, August 03, 2013
Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

I agree with the post above from joanandmatt I'm an experienced hiker and recently returned from doing the 4-day trek with about 15 pounds in my daypack (trained with a 30-pound sandbag in Minnesota). There were times that the altitude made even that weight tough to carry. It's an experience you'll want to remember - might be better to save up a bit more and really enjoy the trip.

Montreal, Canada
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5. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

Thanks for the info ! We've looked over our budget and realize now that with our time/money, we won't enjoy our trip to the fullest.

We're going to postpone it and do the Pacific Crest Trail instead !!

I'll keep what everyone has said in mind for the next time.

Have a great day ! :)

Mi Wuk Village...
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1,600 posts
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6. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

This is going to tick off some folks but the so called Inca Trail isn't the greatest mystical experience. There were 25,000 miles of roads administered by the Incas in South America. Many were actually built by previous cultures centuries before. I've been to MP several times. Only once by trail. When I did I paid a fraction of today's prices. The last decade has seen the government turn MP into a cash cow. I'd say go to Peru but visit MP by train. Its a day trip. Use the time and money you save to visit other things. If you gotta hike.. go to the Callejon de Huaylas. Huaraz is the main town. A great hike is Olleros to Chavin de Huantar. Chavin is a set of ruins dating to about 400 BC. Centuries before MP. Best of all.. it will only cost the price of a couple bus tickets.

7. Re: Hiking the Inca Trail : Help !

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