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Old 11-21-2007, 07:10 AM   #1
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Default Inca trail etc.

Hello all- I've decided that my next trip will be peru, inca trail, etc. I know you can't do the inca trail without a guide- i looked into companies and it's a lot of money for a backpacker- anyone have suggestions? Also, since that's only a four day thing, what else is around to occupy my time? any info would be awesome- thanks!
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:20 PM   #2
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There's a whole bunch of companies listed in the guidebooks that do it. Funny you should mention this, I'm debating whether to postpone my planned December trip right now!

Lost Farm Boy and Maracle have both done it, and are commenting on it now in my thread on the Departures page. Contact them...they'd be happy to give you the scoop!

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:01 PM   #3
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There are alternative routes you can hike, all of which will be cheaper than the Inca Trail. They're all not as good though...

I didn't hike the trail but you can see where it comes into the city once you're up there. Unlike any other route, you'll be climbing up the back side of the mountain that machu picchu is on...you'll finally make it to the top of the ridge, sweating and exhausted from several 12-hour days of climbing, finally crest over the top and have an awe inspiring view of the city appear beneath you. I really want to go back and do it this way sometime

The alternatives are just treks that end up in Aguas Caliente, the little town at the base of the mountain. Then you'll probably take the bus up like all the other tourists. It isn't all bad, you get to hike in the area but you're not really doing something intimately connected with Machu Picchu. Some of these tours offer more than hiking too, for instance you can mountain bike your way there.

What I did was kind of fun...it is a popular way to get there used only by backpackers. You start in Cusco, take a bus that is not on the beaten track for tourists. Then you get in a collectivo out to a tiny little town that takes you along some pretty terrifying ridges, it is like a near death experience to be racing along 2 feet from a thousand foot cliff for 2 hours. Then you have to hitchhike to a hyrdoelectric plant and hike for a few hours along the train tracks following the Rio Urubamba to get to Aguas Calientes. This trip was probably my favorite thing from my Peru trip because it had the most local flavor of anything I did. Of course it involves only a couple hours of hiking, but if you can't afford the Inca Trail and you're not hung up on hiking it is an awesome way to do it.

Here are some pics from this part of my trip: http://flickr.com/photos/8529845@N05...7601777532125/

I didn't have much from the initial bus parts, I was packed into the minibus like it was the clown car at the circus so I couldn't get out my camera!

Here is a more eloquent blog from a guy who did the same thing. The only difference is that the deadly steel cable platform part is unnecessary now as they've built a bridge. Kind of a bummer actually, I was looking forward to that part...

http://travelvice.com/archive/2006/1...shoestring.php
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:29 AM   #4
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I wanted to do the Inca Trail when I go to Peru, but looking on tour websites, the Inca Trail is CLOSED in february, the month I set aside for backpacking around. AH! I'm thinking I'll just go to Cusco and figure out a way to day trip to Machu Picchu when I get there.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:40 AM   #5
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The inca trail is closed every February for cleanup and restoration work...you can either take the train, or the back way through Aguas Calientes. All the alternative treks are probably open too.
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