We did the 4D/3N Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Peru Treks and it was honestly not only the highlight of our trip to date but one of the most fantastic things we've ever done in our lives. Our guide Elistan and his assistant Ernesto were truly fantastic. Both spoke excellent English but were more than happy to chat in Spanish to help you practise if you wanted. Our group consisted of 14 people from teenagers to mid-fifties and everyone completed the journey. Whilst the trek is strenuous, it is not the most difficult that we've done in South America and there is plenty of opportunity to stop and rest at various Inca Cities along the way. We did not hire an extra porter and didn't feel like we needed one at all. If you do wish to hire an extra porter, do it for the entire journey as it's cheaper to prearrange for 4 days than it is to hire one when you're on the trek for only the second day. Elistan was full of information and truly passionate about the Inca's and his excitement was contagious. The most fantastic thing about Elistan and Ernesto was however, not their wealth of knowledge but their patience. Nobody was ever rushed, everybody took the trail at their own pace and Ernesto brought up the rear encouraging those who were struggling and ensuring no one was ever left behind. Infact, at one point, when most had made it to camp and were starting afternoon tea, the porters went back up the hill to bring tea and snacks to those who were behind. The food is incredible. Three full meals each day plus afternoon tea of popcorn, biscuits, cake, tea, coffee and hot chocolate, dinner and lunch are full four-course meals and breakfast is more than plentiful. They also catered for my food allergies perfectly and I didn't feel like I was eating anything of lesser quality than everyone else. Justino, our chef, was amazing.
One piece of advice; it gets very wet during November/December as it is the wet season. For 2 out of 4 days it absolutely bucketed down while we were hiking. Do get METAL walking poles to help with the steps, bring a good quality poncho and protect your back pack, belongings and most importantly, sleeping bag, with garbage bags and rain covers.
The Inca Trail is a must, if you're going to spend money visiting Machu Picchu we really encourage you to spend a little extra and complete the actual Inca Trail as opposed to catching the train or trekking another path. It is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. You would be crazy to book with anyone other than Peru Treks.