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“Probably best option, but not perfect”
Review of Llama Path

Llama Path
Ranked #9 of 858 Tours in Cusco
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: We are the Only Inca Trail Tour Operator that has built a house for the Porters; Porters come to do this job from very far away communities up in the andes and had NO place to stay in in between treks; But NOW, they do have one and is called the LLama Path Porters' house - any one is welcome to visit this place at anytime-!
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Probably best option, but not perfect”
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We did the Sacred Valley day tour and the 4D/3N Inca Trail Comfort Service in November 2013. Our Inca Trail group had 15 customers, 2 guides, about 20 porters, and a cook.

Our experience was generally along the same lines as the other Comfort Service reviews. Hence, I'm going to point out the specific ways in which Llama Path impressed us and disappointed us. Generally we believe that Llama Path is the best option for the Inca Trail, but believe they have room for improvement.

Ways in which we were impressed by Llama Path:
- The porters really are the best treated and seem generally much happier than the other company's porters. They worked quickly to resolve any problems, and were amazing to watch run along the trail. They are also well trained regarding water purification and camp set-up (tents were staked properly).
- The food was tasty and plentiful throughout. Each morning we received a a plastic bag with two snacks for use during the day.
- Clean drinking water (for drinking and for filling packs) was available at every meal.
- Although our group camped each night at a campground with bathroom facilities (running water and squat toilets), Llama Path was testing out the idea of carrying a portable chemical toilet for its trekkers to use for solid waste at the first two camp sites. My husband had a bad experience with the toilet on the first night and refused to use the chemical toilet again. I, on the other hand, was really appreciative of the portable toilet and hope they continue with it on future treks.
- Our group had one person who didn't eat fish and two people who were intolerant to gluten and eggs. The cook went above and beyond to accommodate these people including making substitutes of many of the meal items for them (for example: regular biscuits and gluten-free biscuits). Considering the fact that there was ample food, including plenty of options they could eat, this seemed a bit over the top to me. My husband found it quite impressive the lengths that the cook and company went to accommodate their needs (and for no more cost).

The negatives about Llama Path:
- We rented sleeping bags ($30 per person) and trekking poles ($8 per pole) from Llama Path. Although my allocated Mountain Hardware sleeping bag was fine, my husband's looked and felt like it was from the 1980s and it constantly leaked feathers. It had certainly seen better days and needed to be replaced a while ago. The trekking poles were old, but worked fine (although they did not have any shock support).
- Llama Path provided '4 person' tents for use by two people. Our first tent had a hole in the tent large enough to allow bugs and also had a hole in the door mesh, the second tent had a broken rain-fly zipper and leaked in multiple places when it rained, and the third tent seemed to be the same tent as the first night (as it also had a hole large enough to admit bugs). We expected much better tents for the price we paid. The '4 person' tents would have been large enough to fit 4 children or perhaps 3 people without equipment, but were a bit small for us and our gear (especially when it rained and we had to keep everything away from the sides of the tent). However, the most annoying part was that the tent was too short to even allow me (5'5'') to lie flat without my head or feet touching the tent. For the record, I have used a variety of 4-person tents in the US (mainly REI and Mountain Hardware brands), and these tents were not of comparable size or quality.
- Two people were assigned to each tent by default. If you wanted a tent to yourself, you could pay a single supplement. There were three men and one woman doing the trek alone in our group. When the tents were set up the first night, the head guide told the woman that she was to share a tent with one of the men (which she did not feel comfortable doing). It seems unacceptable to us that Llama Path would expect this - they should have notified her (and him) that this would be happening at the pre-trek briefing, and given them both the opprotunity to pay a single supplement and receive their own tent. This awkward situation never should have come up at the first camp site.
- My husband and I have weak knees, so we go slowly on downhill climbs. We spent hours at the back of the group with both guides in front of us on day 2. When confronted about this, the assistant guide claimed he was not far ahead of us for those hours. However, we strongly believe that a guide should always be at the back of the group in case someone falls or otherwise needs help.
- Our guide gave us Llama Path shirts on the last night, that we were to wear the next day for our group picture at Machu Picchu. He only had limited sizes, and said we could exchange them at the Llama Path office in Cusco after wearing them shortly for the group photo. When we went to the office in Cusco to exchange my husband's shirt, they originally refused to exchange it since we had opened it. Even after explaining that our guide had told us to wear it and then exchange it, they still refused. However, when my husband asked how much it would cost to buy another shirt, the girl went upstairs and eventually came back down after talking to a manager and said an exchange would be possible.
- Correspondence with Llama Path implied that we would only need 20 soles per person for lunch on the sacred valley tour, yet the tour stopped at a restaurant offering a 42 sole per person buffet.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank galonthelinks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Corona Del Mar, CA
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Inca Trail Imperial Service”
Reviewed February 5, 2014

Some friends recommended Llama Path for the private Inca Trail 4 day hike so we decided to take a chance and go with them without doing much research on other outfitters. They were phenomenal. The four of us were treated like kings and queens. Our guide Roger was extremely knowledgeable and helpful while the entire crew of porters were some of the hardest working people I've met. Hats off to all of them. And our cook "Mask" whipped up some of the most amazing meals we'd ever had along with baking us a delicious wedding cake on the last day. A camp stove wedding cake! I know there are cheaper outfitters out there, but Llama Path is well worth the money. We'll definitely use them again if we find ourselves back in Peru exploring some of the less popular treks.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank bfiasco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belgrade, Montana
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Best tour company for Cusco”
Reviewed January 28, 2014

Llama Path has the most professional and knowledgeable guides (I highly recommend Javier!). Co-owner Michelle consistently helped my dad and I adjust our plans when we got sick while in Cusco. We booked both the Inca Trail and Lares Trek through Llama Path. Being around the other tour companies, guides, and porters on the Inca Trail made me realize what a great choice it was to go with Llama Path! Oh, and Michelle is awesome to the porters, having built a home for many of the more poor and distant-living porters to stay in, in between treks. Thanks to all the hard work team RED!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Nick W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Excellent Time 4D/3N Inca Trail Comfort Service”
Reviewed January 24, 2014

We did the 4D/3N Inca Trail Comfort Service in December 2013. What an amazing experience and being in the rainy season, we lucked out big time with the weather and had beautiful weather with the occasional mild misty rain.

Our guides Ruben and David were knowledgeable, patient, and encouraging. You can tell that they are passionate about the history and they truly enjoy their job. Our chef Alberto prepared some of the best food we tasted in all our Peru trip, we were stuffed at every meal time! And hats off to the "Red Army." These guys were incredible! They had 25kg of stuff on their backs and they zoomed past us on the trail, and had all the tents set up and food ready for us by the time we got to the campsite. It's nice to see that Llama Path truly cares for their porters and this is reflective in the type of gear and equipment these guys had compared to those from other tour operators. We made sure to tip them well.

The hike itself is challenging and strenuous. Being at high altitude doesn't help either. But if you go at your own pace and don't overexert yourself, you will be fine. One guide will always stay behind with you, which is nice.

The only downside was the bathroom situation, which is out of Llama Path's control. Make sure to bring toilet paper and loads of hand sanitizer!

Overall, this was an amazing once in a lifetime experience. Seeing Machu Picchu at the end of our hike was so rewarding and made the 4 days of hard work worth it.

We definitely recommend Llama Path to anyone considering doing the Inca Trail!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank ad1312
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Probably the best option for the Inca trail”
Reviewed January 23, 2014

Booked the 4 day Inca trail starting in early Januar. Got really lucky as we were the only two people in the group.
The guide was very knowledgeable and helpful. We really built a sound understanding of how the Inca's lived, what the trail was good for and how it all connects back to today's life in the Andes. The guide also really supported us in the more demanding parts of the trail.

The porters (aka the red army) are awesome. Great, nice and helpful guys - and the food was incredible!

From what we could tell, the company really takes great care of their porters providing equipment and also promoting teamwork among the group. Quite a difference to many other companies.

Would go with Llama path again!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank CologneNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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