Rucksack Readers

Rucksack Readers => Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru => Topic started by: jfbmd on January 23, 2007, 06:22:47 am

Title: Licensed operators
Post by: jfbmd on January 23, 2007, 06:22:47 am
I shall be in Peru 4/18-4/28/2007. I want to book a trip with a licensed guide, perhaps with about 2-3 hiking to Macchu Picchu and have read about llama packing trips for this. Does anyone know about any reputable purveyors of same?

Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: Jacquetta on February 01, 2007, 05:58:10 pm
Good luck with your plans, but 2-3 days sounds too short to hike to Machu Picchu as even the Classic Trail from Km 77 takes 3-4 days inc. transfer from Cusco, then you deffo need a full day to enjoy MP so that's 4-5 days: not to be rushed!  For llama packing, like mule support, I doubt if their hooves are even allowed on the Classic Trail, where human porters carry loads, to avoid damage to the ancient stones (and even hiking poles must have rubber tips).

As for licensed operators, I went with Condor Travel ( a few years ago, and would agree with (which lists loads of other operators) which said of them "Good service, very professional but fairly expensive."

Maybe somebody can help with a more recent recommendation?

Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: RDavies on February 05, 2007, 02:51:41 pm
If you have already tried searching Google for phrases such as "llama trekking", "trekking with llamas" etc. you will probably have  noticed that a lot of hits relate to hikes in parts of the world where llamas are not native, e.g. North America, and even England! No doubt those hikes are all enjoyable but I would imagine that the hikes in Peru and Bolivia would feel more authentic.

Because the Incas built a very large network of roads connecting distant parts of their empire there are a number of extant "Inca trails" in different parts of Peru and Bolivia. As both are mountainous countries there are many areas for hiking and many hikes are chosen, as in other countries, purely for the scenery and do not have any particular historical connections, unlike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Perhaps you would be perfectly happy with one of those. However it is advisable to read what it says about the route(s) in the brochures and other sources carefully so that you know what type of route it is that you are booking.


Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: Tutleymutley on February 06, 2007, 08:07:57 pm
I shall be in Peru 4/18-4/28/2007. I want to book a trip with a licensed guide, perhaps with about 2-3 hiking to Macchu Picchu and have read about llama packing trips for this. Does anyone know about any reputable purveyors of same?

Lucky you!  It's one of my long term ambitions to walk the Inca Trail - I've heard that you're better off waiting to get to Peru and then finding a local guide?  Cheaper and I guess you can get the grass roots recommendations. 

Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: Jacquetta on February 06, 2007, 08:32:01 pm
 :( That may have been true once, Tutleymutley, but ever since the regulations tightened up last year, making it complulsory to go with a licensed operator and restricting new starts to 500 per day (i.e. only  about 200 tourists plus support staff) there has been huge pressure on places, especially in high season.  If you turn up in Cusco you might have to wait weeks or months to get on a group hiking the authentic Classic Trail. 

As a result, quite a few operators who can't get permits have been mis-selling as "the Inca Trail" the litter-strewn trail from Mollepata to Hidrolelectrica or Santa Teresa, which only ends up at Machu Picchu by taking a train to Aguas Calientes and then the bus uphill! 

Doing it properly isn't cheap, but it's the hike of a lifetime and if it's your ambition, IMHO you're better to book with a reputable operator who treats their porters decently and looks after the trail on which they operate.  Has anybody a recent experience to share on this?

Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: Tutleymutley on February 06, 2007, 08:56:08 pm
Advice taken on board, Jacquetta  :)   I was talking to someone who had done the Machu Picchu trail years ago. 


Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: natashahop on March 20, 2007, 05:24:17 pm

A friend and I have recently travelled to Peru.  The Inca Trail was first and foremost in our minds as the one thing we MUST do. However having researched the whole thing a bit, we decided that actually we did not want to trek along a tourist trek with up to 500 people a day but preferred to get away from the tourist trail and see the real Andes. We came across a company called Andina Travel who are based in Cusco. They run specialised treks that involve the local communities. We checked out their website (, and the prices were quite high, but the trips looked fantastic. When we asked them they said that they ran a special Inca trail trek for Dragoman, an overland company from England and that if we went in a group we would get it cheaper than just going as two girls. We therefore checked out the Dragoman site and decided on doing a four week trip with them that included this Inca Trail and community project.  The trip we did can be found on (

What made the trek was the interaction with the local community - it was wonderful to have the opportunity. The trek itself was pretty hard going (I don’t know how it compared to the Classic Trail) but it was quite tough. The scenery along the way was absolutely stunning and we saw no other tourists during the trek. We all enjoyed the trek despite the hard walking, but what really made the experience was the chance to learn more about the Quechua lifestyle.. Overall I would say it is an excellent alternative to the classic Inca Trail.  Also make sure you use a company with a responsible porter policy

I suggest you shop around and don’t just think about the one Inca Trail but research a few.  Check out this link ( as it gives you an idea of what treks are available and what questions to ask of the companies, but if you are thinking of a longer trip including Ecuador, I suggest you do check out Dragoman.

I hope this helps

All the best


Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: RoyHayward on March 20, 2007, 08:24:19 pm
There is an alternative to the previous suggestions -- the opportunity to walk supporting a charity. We walked the true route in May-June 2000 with The Children's Society - their first Inca Trail walk -- the celebrities were Mariella Fostrop and Penny Smith. I think that raising the sponsorship was harder than walking the trail - it started about 12 months before the walk - but what an opportunity to support children both here and in Peru. The costs have risen considerably in the interim -- now seem to be in the region of £3,000 of which you pay a deposit of 10% and guarantee to raise the rest -- or pay it yourself !! But with the right backing the cost could be just your deposit but I promise you a lot of hard work.
Our group was split into 3 teams of roughly 20 with guides and a doctor back-up together with the excellent and amazing porters. Even with all this planning some walkers did not make it over Dead Woman's Pass at 14,500ft.
We were surprised that we only saw maybe another 20 walkers during our trek. The bonus was that we had a cameraman throughout the trek and an invaluable video record to complement our photos.
A trek of a lifetime !!

Title: Re: Licensed operators
Post by: williams-jhoe on January 05, 2008, 12:28:56 am
Here is the tour operator Andean Life: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (

Title: Re: licensed operators
Post by: antony3t on July 25, 2008, 03:53:21 am
This one might be a bit cheaper but is good: AllTrekCusco (

or this one is very popular and many travellers seem to use it: SASTravelPeru (

Title: Re: Licensed operators
Post by: wyldthor on January 14, 2009, 06:59:45 pm
Headed to Peru next month.  Are there any alternate trails to Machu Picchu that you don't need a licensed operator? Thanks!