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Inca Trail Faqs

This is a list of questions and answers, selected along the years covering the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which had served to many travellers in their purpose of having a satisfying adventure, supported on the reliability that all estímate based on real experiences can give, taking into account both to the beginners adventurers and the experienced ones.

01.- How reliable this questionnaire is?

 We have been exhaustive on the making of this questionnaire, and you can rely on the given information to do not just this trekking but it helps even to define your adventure on other routes to Machu picchu.

02.- What really the Inca Trail is about?

The Inca Trail is the name given to a pedestrian route, built in times of the Tawantinsuyo Empire, a path that leads to the Machu Picchu citadel. This path starts in the km.82 of the Cusco-Machu Picchu railway, ending in this citadel discovered in 1911. Inca Trail is not the name of a travel agency in particular, though many of these offer various circuits, using this denomination.

03.- Is it really worthwhile to do the Inca Trail?

Undoubtly it is. This trek is a unique experience in its kind, which mixes the adventure, the History and the mysticism.(regarded among the ten best trekking routes in the world.

04.- Of how much kilometers does this route consist?

About 42 km. (25-27 miles).The highest point along the route is 4,200 metres (Warñiwañusca 2second day ) and the lowest one is 2,300 metres aprox.(Aguas calientes village Machu picchu Last day)

05.- How much last the trip?

The most of the programmes complete it in 02, 04 or 07 days.

06.- How hard the Inca Trail is?

That depends on how accustumed you are to walk or to trek. The most of the route is a permanent downwards and upwards path, but there is not rock climbing or trot on glaciars. Therefore, you do not need to be very experience on trekking. The average height varies from 4200 M.A.S.L. on the upwards in the first stage, and 3500 in the second. On arriving at the Machu Picchu, the height is about 3200 and 2500 M.A.S.L.

07.-What kind of physical training do I need to be able to trek this route?

In absence of some universal measurement specified to determine the level of effort, we assure you that this is moderatly hard, but well achiveable. We have found that the first day is hard just for being the start of the trek on the Andes, and the second day, is the more steep, and therefore, harder because of the height which rises to 4200 M.A.S.L., the highest point along the trek (Warmiwañuska). Going on the trek gets easier.

If you want get yourself ready, the most appropriate exercise is obviously the walking outdoors, but any activity that produce endurance, such as jogtrot, running or swimming are very profitable. Endurance is more important than force, health or speed.

08.- What about the height?

The Inca Trail is so high that some people get sick. Feeling breathless is very common and it isn`t in itself a reason to get worried. Other symptoms from this so-called “altitude sickness”, intense seasicks, loss of the coordination and concentration.

If you or someone you are with show some of the altitude symptoms, such as: severe shortness of breath, noisy respiration, blue lips, froth in the mouth, confussion or loss of conscience, it will be needed to descend towards a lower altitude as soon as posible and look for help. We want neither banish nor to scare anybody, but precaution is always to be taken into account, but you’ll be very encouraged on knowing that the statistics say that over the last ten years there had not been any serious case concerning this issue. On the contrary, the 99 per cent of people had been able to attain their purpose: Machu Picchu.

The more probable is that you are not going to experience the annoying effects of the altitude, but is undoubtly worth while to spend some acclimatization time in Cusco, before the starting date. Those persons who go straight to the Inca Trail coming from a city about the sea level, are so much more tending to suffer some problems. I think that the best advice is to spend 02 or 03 climatazion days before the trek. (a great variety of pills are sold today in order to mitigate the altitude sickness).

09.- Is the Inca Trail dangerous?

No, it isn’t. Unless you are very reckless, it is unlikely that you suffer an accident. On the other hand, any site along the route is suitable to get medical aid. Anyway, if you are a cardiac patient, or you tend to suffer a diabetic crisis, epilepsy, or any other attack, you must be prepared for a well provided attention.

10.- What``s the best season to go?

The dry season (April to October) seems to be the most suitable. But I also advise you to visit Cusco in a particular time, during the months from November to March, because the views are more spectacular and plainly green, unforgettable scenes that are proper of the rain season.

11.- How much is the Inca Trail?

The prices had been increased recently as a result of the new regulations. The tariff for the Trail depends so much on the operator that you choose, although the service quality do not differ so. The most expensive are generally enterprises that sell their services abroad, through offices or agents. Their prices are never below USD$800. The majority of the people, of course prefers local operators, which generally include the operation expenses in the area, and their prices are between USD$ 400 and USD$600, a lesser margin compared with the previous, which doesn`t affect the quality service.

12.- I What can you tell me about the new regulations on the Inca Trail?

The new regulation came into force in January 1th 2004. Because of this law, the prices had suffered an increasing. Besides, it limits the number of visitors to this path, and it has established the obligatoriness of going as part of a guided group. We have published a good summary of such regulation in: normas. click Hire

13.- Is it true that the Inca Trail is closed every February?

This closing is a measure in order to preserve the natural environment, maintaining in February the necesary recovery of the path. We of course, agree with this conservation policy. In case you want to come during this month, you can choose among other alternative routes, equally interesting and rewarding that lead to Machu Picchu.

14.- With how long of anticipation I can make a reserve?

All reservations must be made well in advance (4 and 8 month) is recommended especially during the months June, July and August). Earlier is better due to restrictions on the numbers of trekkers permitted on the Inca Trail.

15.- Do I must make an advanced payment from the total cost of the trek?

Yes. This payment in advance is in order to ensure your reservation, (the spaces are bought from the goverment) So, you``ll have to deposit the sum from U.S.D.$150 to 250 depending of your operator in order to buy your spots from the goverment.

16.- In the case of cancelling my trek, do I have the right to the refunding of my money?

No. Unfortunately you``ll lose the advanced payment, since this amount had been spent in buying your spot, and those of the supporting staff.

17.- Can I pass my trek reservation to another person?

No. This isn’t posible since the Inca Trail regulation does not allow to do this kind of improvisations.

18.- Can I hire a porter just about the start of my trek?

No. All the porters are always hired very well in advance, and you must bear in mind that the porters also pay their spots in this way. This is the reason because at the time of making your reservation, simultaneously we make the reservations for them.

19.- Is it possible to switch the starting-date of my trek?

No, the goverment regulation forbids it.

20-. Should I hire an extra Porter when?

The standard service includes Porters for carrying the food, tents, dining tent and cooking equipment. However, during the Inca Trail trek you will have to carry your personal stuff (such as backpack, camera, etc) your sleeping bag and pad. Personal extra Porter can be hired to help carry your personal items such as clothes, sleeping bag etc. They can be hired from USD$90 to USD$120 for all 4 days and will carry up to a maximum of 12kg (usually 1porter between 2 persons is more than sufficient). You can hire the services of a half a porter to carry up to 6kg for USD$45 or USD$60 However, even with a personal porter, you will still need to bring a day small pack for essential items.(When you hire an extra porter, you are paying his entrance fee, food,transportation and salary; besides you are generating employment.

21.- What do we do for drinking water?

Will provide boiled water to fill your bottle at meal times, although the water is clear always use sterilizing tablets and follow the instructions. The sterilizing tablets 'MicroPur' can be bought in most pharmacies in Cusco . With these tablets you have to wait 40 minutes before drinking. Take a bottle of at least 1½ liter capacity per person. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cusco.

22.- Which campsites do you use?

Campsites are subject to change depending upon the crowds and the season. We generally try to camp in less trafficked areas so that travelers can enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca trail and minimize environmental impacts. The normal campsite are Huayllabamba, Pacamayu, Wiñay wayna.( You also must know that the goverment is the one in determining the campsites).

24-.What if I have medical emergency while hiking the trail?

A Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler's diarrhea, cuts/ scrapes, etc.). They receive Red Cross First Aid and other emergency training every year.(If you have a medical treatment, please, do not forget your medication).

25.- What is the food like on the Inca Trail?-

A cook accompanies every group on the Inca trail. Almost invariably, travelers comment on the delicious menu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hearty snacks are provided for your hike. Meals are a mix of local specialties and international favorites. Vegetarian meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice.

26- What is the weather like in Inca Trail?

The Andean weather can be unpredictable, despite the sharp divide between dry and wet seasons. The dry season runs from May to October or November; the rainy season goes from December through April. Nevertheless, Inca Trail lies in the forested fringes of the Salkantay basin, where showers can occur at any time of year. Therefore, even in the “dry” season, your daypack should always include full rain gear (both jacket AND trousers).

Daytime temperatures can vary greatly, with daytime highs ranging from 10ºC/50ºF to 32ºC/90ºF and nightime lows ranging from 10ºC/50ºF to a cold 4ºC/40ºF, though seldom much lower. The floor of the Wiñayhuayna gets very hot during the day. Bring your swimsuit for a delicious dip in this place.

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