Hiking the Inca Trail
I live and breathe travel in Peru, and I am constantly on the web looking at different travel forums and blogs etc. It helps me to get a good understanding of what travellers to Peru are talking about, and what topics would be good to write about. There is one topic that I see time and time again, and it is people asking about the Inca Trail operators. Who are they? Who are the best? In this article we take a look at the top 5 Inca Trail operators.
About 10 years ago, I remember when I came to Peru for the first time. The Inca Trail was at the top of my list of things to do, and not being one for a great deal of planning, I simply looked up a few names in the Lonely Planet Guide Book and jumped on the Internet. I was lucky and had a great experience, but others I know didn’t Now, knowing a little more about Inca Trail operators and the Peru travel industry, I can confidently say, that not much has really changed in 7 years. The good Inca Trail operators are still good, and the average ones are still average.
Remember that hiking the Inca Trail is actually quite expensive, and any Inca Trail operator that offers the trek at a really low price (less than US$ 550 per person) is probably not very good, or they are not paying local taxes, or they are cutting-back on something somewhere. Always contact a few Inca Trail operators first, get a few quotes and ask exactly what is included before sending any money.
If you are thinking about hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, here are our recommendations for the top 5 Inca Trail operators.
Although fairly new on the scene, Alpaca Expeditions have proven their ability to become one of the best Inca Trail operators in a place where competition is strong. So much so, that Alpaca Expeditions is our first-choice operator for our own clients. Alpaca have some of the best guides, an extended and excellent team of porters, great food and first-rate camping equipment. In addition, they also operate sat-phones and they have their own fleet of modern vehicles. Alpaca come highly recommend.
2017 price: US$ 665 per person**
Address: Heladeros Street 157, Office 24 – 25, 2nd floor, Cusco
Telephone: +51 947 824774 | +51 986 029262
USA Rep: 202-550-8534
I have personally trekked with SAS a few times now, and I can honestly say that they are one of the better Inca Trail operators out there. Operating since 1990, SAS are named in many leading guide books and have won several awards from DIRCETUR the Peruvian ministry of tourism. Their pre-trek meetings are informative and helpful, their guides are professional and knowledgeable, their porters are exceptional, the food they serve is varied and of a high standard and their equipment is up-to-date. SAS Travel are one of a very few Inca Trail operators that offer daily group departures throughout the year.
2017 price: US$ 690 per person.
Address: Calle Garcilaso 270 (near Plaza San Francisco), Cusco
Telephone: + 51 84 249194 / + 51 84 256324
Established in 2004, LlamaPath have been providing high quality trekking in Peru for just over 8 years. They offer a very high quality service that is comparable to any of their competitors, and in quite a short period of time have grown to be one of the leading Inca Trail operators in Peru. Llama Path offer daily departures in groups (max size 16 people) and also a private service. Their overall price is comparable than other Inca Trail operators, but additional porters, sleeping bags and air-matrices are a little on the pricy side.
2017 price: US$ 675 per person.
Address: Calle San Juan de Dios 250, Cusco
Telephone: + 51 84 240 822
Focusing on high quality trekking experiences, Enigma is highly recommended by several leading travel guides, and operates treks on-behalf of the luxury brands Orient Express and Abercrombie & Kent. Prices are a little higher than other Inca Trail operators, but the difference in service and quality of equipment is clear. Discounts are available for early bookings, children under the age of 7 and SAE members. Enigma offer frequent fixed departure dates but not everyday. Contact them for exact information. The price also includes a porter to carry 8KG’s of your personal equipment (something which other companies charge extra).
2017 price: US$ 790 per person
Address: Jirón Clorinda Matto de Turner #100, Urbanización Magisterio, Cusco
Telephone: + 51 84 222 155
Peru Treks and Adventure
Having notched up over 27,000 clients that have hiked the Inca Trail, Peru Treks has lots of experience in getting it right. Founded in 2002, and highly recommended by all of the leading travel guides, Peru Treks is one of the best Inca Trail operators about. Openly promoting responsible travel, Peru Treks are heavily involved in community and welfare projects in remote mountain communities close to Cusco.
2017 price: US$ 650 per person**
Address: Avenida Pardo 540, Cusco
Telephone: + 51 84 222 722
(Post Read – 76905)