Choosing the right tour operator and trek to Machu Picchu

Strolling through Cusco you will find hundreds of tour operators and companies offering treks and activities for tourists. Tripadvisor certainly offers a great way to sieve through a number of tour operators and narrow down your choice.

Based on online reviews and the recommendation of friends, we chose Llama Path and we can only highly recommend them for your trek as well.

Llama Path was founded by a couple, a British woman and a Peruvian man, and is based out of Cusco. The company aims to offer very sustainable tourism always working with local guides, cooks and horsemen and to provide fair working conditions to talented staff. It is worth mentioning that they

  • own a whole apartment building in Cusco offering free accomodation for their porters and cooks between treks
  • attract top talent in the tourism industry by making all free lancers working for them take and pass tests every year to continue working for them
  • award their top free lancers by taking them on an all-paid vacation once a year, e.g. to see the highest waterfall in Peru or to travel to a nearby country, …

Royal expedition feeling

 

Choice of treks

Even though the Inca trek may be the most famous one, you should consider doing another trek. The Inca trek in high season may have up to 500 hikers starting every day. If you want to avoid the crowds and the many many stone steps of this ancient Inca path, consider alternatives such as the Lares, Salkantay, Cachicata or Choquequirao Trek.

Make sure to check the hiking distance, duration and elevation differences for each day.

Best Time to trek

The best time really depends on what you are optimizing for rain, temperature, clear mountain views, beautiful flowers.

Want to be one of very few on the trek & don’t mind hiking in the rain/fog? Go  March – Mid April or October – November , 0-25 degrees C

Want to have few people on the trek, don’t mind some clouds/fog & enjoy lush green and flowers right after the rainy season: Go mid April – mid May, -2 – 27 degrees C

Want to have clear views, little/no rain but don’t mind freezing at night: Go mid May – beginning October, -5 – 26 degrees C

Be wet and miserable: Go November – January

Cannot go: February, all paths closed for maintenance.

“Royal Expedition” Feeling

The company offers multiple treks.  Since in contrast to Europe there is no infrastructure (no huts, no signs) on the treks, we definitely would not advise you to do the trek on your own. Your tour operator will take care of everything: food, water, tents, camping gear to rent, medical emergency supplies, an oxygen tank, your own cooks and porters and/or horsemen, transportation of personal belongings between camp sites. Trust us, unless you are insanely fit, you will be glad to have help with your bags, while you are breathing heavily with every step above 3000m altitude.

On our 4-day trek, the Cachicata trek, we had
– 1 local guide from Calca
– 2 porters/horsemen with their 4 horses who were originally from the village we hiked through and on whose family’s farmland we camped
– 2 local cooks

This makes your whole trip feel more like a royal expedition than a simple camping outdoor adventure.

You will for sure be astonished by what the cooks will create in a little tent kitchen in a few simple pots on a tiny gas stove. We had absolutely heavenly food and were surprised everyday by new creations. Even cakes are possible and will keep you going.

Mango Ceviche

Cake at 3000m

Dinner is served

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