I really like Quechuas Expeditions. We did a private group of two persons, guide Victor Hugo (Chulo) and our porters. I much prefer a small group so I can ask questions when they arise and if either of us needed help along the way, the guide stayed with the one who needed it the most. I had to take my time going up and Mike had to take his time going down. I was impressed not only with Chulo's knowledge of the Inca history but equally important to me were the birds and flowers I came across. It was hard to stump him on a flower's name and equally important some of the history of where the flowers are found.
We did this trek in 2.25 days which I don't recommend unless your are in very good shape. Our first night's stay was with below Dead Woman's Pass with other groups that were already completing their second day. I am very glad I trained back at home for 9 moths prior to starting out but I am 60 years old too and needed to remain in top shape to do this.. In Michigan, there are very few hills to practice on and certainly you can't compensate for altitude but I did walk every day 3 to 5 miles with a 30 pound pack at 3.5 mph to get the equal work out I would experience on the trail.
Do yourself a favor and pay for an extra porter so your pack contains ONLY the essentials you need for the day such as water and a rain coat. Every extra pound will be very noticeable near 13,000 feet msl. I carried near 15 lbs and I felt it! Make your ascent according to your own pace.... do your own climb and don't be intimidated by others ... a golden rule I have learned from motorcycling through out the years.
Chulo was a great guide. We kept it light, happy and plenty of jokes and smiles along the way. It made the difficult climbs and descents go by rather well. His knowledge of Machu Picchu was spot on and after our tour of the ruins, remained with us till securely at our hotel in Aguas Calientes. All-in-All, a very memorable trip. Gracias amigos por mucho divertido, comedas buenas, y vistas maravaillos!
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