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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Inca Trail by robnights on 11 June 2005 4:35pm
Hi all,

whats the best way to trek the Inca trail, without pre-booking via an expensive agent? Could you turn up, and pay to join a guided tour or something? Is it easy to follow the track yourself with a few friends?

Also, what airport would you fly to from the UK that gets you closest to the start of the Inca Trail? And how much do these flights usually cost?

Sorry for being a n00b about this lol.
Re: Inca Trail by JF on 11 June 2005 5:48pm
I think I read recently that trekking the Inca trail is being severely restricted in order to stop the whole thing being eroded. Only officially sanctioned organisations are going to be allowed to arrange for tours. However, I am not sure when this is going to kick in.
Re: Inca Trail by Godfather on 15 June 2005 2:15pm

As JF mentioned,the trail rules have been overhalled now. When i trekked the Inca Trail in 1997, it was with one of the "cheapskate" agencys near the Plaza del Armas in Cusco that lumped budget travellers together. I just turned up in Cusco (i was already acclimatized) shopped around the agencys to get the best deal and in a few days was off on the trail. Basically it was an easy way to get to the trail head, meet up with other travellers, and for people to cook food and set up tents, saving you all the hastle of that after about 6 hours walking each day.

In the last year or so, the authorities have now banned about 80% of such cheap agency, in favour of their chosen ones. And, have limited the amount of people who can be on the trail at any time. Good for conservation (in some camp spots it looked a refugee camp at times, and the terrain suffered) but very bad news for spontaneous budget travellers because such companies have a monopoly on things and the prices are MUCH higher now.

The most frustrating aspect will be that the days of just turning up a few days before, shopping around, and signing up, have gone. Now you have to give LOTS of notice in advance, to reserve your place with a registered company (look at reserving a month or so ahead,or more perhaps, to leave on a certain date).

Yes, it's more tricky nowadays. When i did it in 1997, many people had also been trekking it totally independently for years too, and one or two were doing that at the time. Nowadays independent trekking on the trail is forbidden. As i say. Good in some ways, but restricts traveller freedom in a big way. It means you cannot be as spontaeous as you used to be in Darkest Peru.

Btw, from London all flights go to Lima. Most people with limited time, get an internal flight from Lima up to Cusco in the highlands. Myself i did it all overland anyway, over several weeks including Bolivia so it gave me perfect acclimitization on a gradual basis.

But if you fly straight from Lima you will ideally stay in Cusco about a week or so to acclimatize to the altitude before attempting the Inca Trail. Certainly dont plan it that you're on the trail after a day or so, because you'll encounter altitude problems.

In the UK you can also book that internal flight beforehand, but it will cost you more than doing it yourself locally. The only risk of doing it locally, is that you will not be able to guarantee when you can fly. Those flights can be heavily booked and you may be stuck in Lima for several days.
Re: Inca Trail by pemsley on 23 June 2005 5:45pm
i went to Peru in 1999, eneded up getting married to a Peruvian and now living here in the UK. We decided that many people wanted to do the trail but were not sure about which operator to use and certainly booking from here can be very very expensive, so we decided to set up our own company and offer trips and excursions in Peru for as near to 30% or 40% than is possible fron the UK simply because we wanted give people to see these places without fear of being ripped off. We have used the same people now in Peru for three years and people have always returned very happy and very tired!! Without shame here is our website www.travel-peru.co.uk. In the about us bit it just confirms that we are not a large business but one that loves Peru and all that can be found there (including my now wife!!)

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