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Old 11-12-2005, 01:19 PM   #1
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Hey hats up Travel Punkers.

I am planning a trip to Macchu Picchu this coming summer 2006 and am trying to find the best and cheapest way to do it. I hear that you need a pass to enter the Incan trail that takes you to Macchu Picchu, but I was wondering if you need a guide as well. Most travel agencies offer a five day tour of macchu picchu from cuzco for about 500 dollars but my friends and I believe that we can do a ten day trip and see alot more for about the same price. Ive talked to some people from chile and argentina and they dont advise taking the guided tour but to just go.

So if anyone has done this trip before please offer some advice, how did you do it? What places did you stay at? Are hostels common? And do you need a guide to enter the incan trail? Also if you can give me any info on getting the permits to enter the Incan trail that would be awesome I think they are called the RED or something.

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Old 11-13-2005, 03:04 AM   #2
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I haven't done it but I have a friend that has. I'll ask him and post some info. I'm sure someone will beat me to it though.
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Old 11-13-2005, 08:46 AM   #3
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Actually I've never been, but a friend is planning a trip in the future... just make sure the Inca Trail is open... rumor has it it was closed for a while for some preservation. That is one of the things that has been holding as back to do it this summer. But if anyone knows better please tell us!!
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:18 AM   #4
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I've been talking to some travel specialists and I hear that it will be open the summer of 2006. I did hear though that it will be closed but im not sure when that will be, so go for that trip to peru before that happens.
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:20 AM   #5
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Also is that Buenos Aires Argentina your from? Florencia
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Old 11-16-2005, 07:02 AM   #6
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Though I did hike to Macchu Picchu, because time constraints I only did the two day hike Mace. I do remember reading that legally you have to have a guide with you to do the trail. However, I also read stories about people just doing it and being kinda sneaky. I doubt they would throw you in prison or anything, as tourism is HUGELY important to the economy of the area. Probably just a fine, but ya might check just how big a fine it would be. Though you may be able to bribe your way out of it also... As far as hostels go, when I was down there, it was almost exclusively little motel type things that were available. The good news is that they were pretty cheap. Before you go to Macchu Picchu, you should devote some time to checking out Cuzco itself. There are some really cool ruins around there. Practically half the city consists of spanish buildings built on or of huge incan-crafted stones that came from buildings demolished by the NOBLE spanish conquistadors.
Anyway, so where else are you going in Peru? Will you make it to the floating village on lake Titicaca? Though sort of commercialized, it is still pretty amazing and worth checking out. Though I did only spend three weeks in Peru, I may have some more information that would be useful to you, so just ask. Good luck!
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:21 PM   #7
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To answer a couple of your questions:

Yes, you do need a tour guide to do the Inca trail. They introduced that rule not too long ago in an attempt to reduce the number of tourists visiting the site.

Most tour agencies offer a 4 and 2 day hike. The 4 day hike costs from around $230 to $350 depending on how far in advance you book and what agency you go with. Don't know what the 2 day hike costs, but i would highly recommend the 4 day.

Yes you can do much larger hikes to Machu Picchu, i know people that did 5 and 7 day hikes. Also, i know of a 21 day hike that you can do, i saw some of the mountains that hike goes through, it would be freakin awsome dude!! Again, all of these hikes can only be done with a guide. Don't know about the cost of these bigger hikes.

The Inca trail closes for 1 month every year (i think it's 1 month, maybe its 2 weeks, can't remember) in February i think for the annual clean up. I could be wrong with the month there as well, the south america lonely planet has exact dates.

I don't know how easy or hard it would be to do the treck without a guide. The 4 day Inca trail would be simple enough to do on your own because it's a cobble stone path pretty much the whole way so it would be pretty hard to get lost. However, i think you would have some trouble getting camping spots because its PACKED at every stop every night, and i'm almost certain that they wouldn't let you camp at the camping spots anyway if you are on your own.

Also, having a guide is actually a good thing for the Inca trail. If you go with a good group the tour guides are excellent and have a wealth of knowledge about the trail, the ruins you pass along the way, and about Machu Picchu itself. I don't think the Inca trail should be approached as just another treck, it's the most significant Inca site that there is and it is extremely important to a lot of people. For many people it's as much a spiritual journey as a physical one.

If you plan on touring Peru for a while i have just come from there so feel free to ask any questions.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:54 AM   #8
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I was in Peru in '99. I went to Lima, Cuzco and Iquitos. You are going to love Macchu Picchu. I dont have a lot of answers on places to stay and the like because I went with a group of about 10 through my school. They took care of everything. We took a bus up to Macchu Picchu we didnt have time to do the hike. But if you do the hike be aware that the air is a whole lot thinner then we are accustomed to (I live in Virginia). It seemed like every five minutes we were sitting down to catch our breath Playpal is right, spend as much time as you can in Cuzco! I was only there for about 2 days but wished I had more time. A friend and I were having trouble finding a bar so we stopped into some store to get directions. The guy locked up his store and took us there himself, and then bought us a drink! The Amazon is also a MUST! From Iquitos we took a 4 hour boat ride up the river and then down some tributary to where we were staying. The Amazon at night is one of the coolest things i have ever experienced, if not The coolest.
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Old 11-23-2005, 09:02 AM   #9
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Hey Mace, are you planning on being in shape before you start this hike? I hope so, because met is right about the altitude. Even if you're in shape, it will be a challenge. If you're not, bring kneepads because you'll be CRAWLING up the Inca trail. Seriously.
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Old 11-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by PlayPal@Nov 23 2005, 09:02 AM
Hey Mace, are you planning on being in shape before you start this hike? I hope so, because met is right about the altitude. Even if you're in shape, it will be a challenge. If you're not, bring kneepads because you'll be CRAWLING up the Inca trail. Seriously.
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Yeah dude, the inca trail is no simple sunday stroll. It's not too difficult, but you may struggle if you're not atleast a little bit fit.

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But if you do the hike be aware that the air is a whole lot thinner then we are accustomed to
The highest point on the Inca trail is 4200m/13,800feet, so make sure you're at altitude for AT LEAST 2 full days before starting the hike (preferably more) because hiking at altitude can be a bitch if your body isn't used to it, altitude sickness doesn't look very fun at all.
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Old 11-26-2005, 09:24 AM   #11
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Thanks for all your information, it has been really helpful. I have also heard that you may be able to find a guide right in Cuzco without booking in advance for about 100 dollars or a little more by jumping on another tour group. Does anybody know more about this? In peru I would like to see Lima, of course, Nasca, Cuzco, Ariquipa, and Puno, is ten days enough time to see all of this and Macchu Picchu or should I just focus my trip on maybe Lima, Nasca and Cuzco to see more of each one? Thansk again
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
I have also heard that you may be able to find a guide right in Cuzco without booking in advance for about 100 dollars or a little more by jumping on another tour group
Ummmm....sorry dude, but this is wrong....very wrong. You have to book weeks if not months in advance to get on the Inca trail. I did meet some people that just rocked up to Cusco and managed to get in a group to do a hike to Machu Picchu, but it wasn't on the Inca trail and they had to pay a sh!t load for it. The lowest price i saw for the Inca trail hike was about $200USD (i paid $260 i think). The price you pay directly reflects the level of service you get - if you pay more you get better food, camping spots, tents, good guide, etc. Also, the later you book the more you pay. I booked mine about 3 months in advance and paid $260 but there were people in my group that paid $350 because they only booked 3 weeks in advance, and they said they were lucky to get on the hike at all. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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In peru I would like to see Lima, of course, Nasca, Cuzco, Ariquipa, and Puno, is ten days enough time to see all of this and Macchu Picchu or should I just focus my trip on maybe Lima, Nasca and Cuzco to see more of each one? Thansk again
You would have to move mighty freakin fast to see all that in 10 days. Keep in mind that the Inca trail is 4 days and you will have to get to Cusco the day before you leave to organise your stuff with the tour agency, so that leaves you 5 days for Lima, Nasca, Arequipa, and Puno. That's barely a day in each. And the distances between these places is quite large so in order to get a full day in these places you would have to get night buses to each place, get off the bus, do a days sights seeing, get back on another bus the next night, get off in the morning at the next place, and so on.....i think that would be a tad too much myself. If i was you i would arrive in Lima and leave as soon as possible because it's a bit of a dive, get to Nazca, do the flight over the Nazca lines, get the night bus to Cusco, do the inca trail, then spend the rest of your time checking out Cusco and partying it up. I think that's about all you'd have time for.


....man i miss travelling, i soooo jealous.
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