We made the decision to hike the Inca Trail long before we booked our flights to the South American continent. For us, taking an alternative route, or the train, was never an option. It was always going to be the traditional 4 day hike that took us to the enigmatic ruins of Machu Picchu.
The toughest decision was which tour operator to go with. If you have read our previous articles regarding trekking or adventure trips you will know we like to select responsible tourism operators. We need to know our money is going to support both the workers and their communities. With this in mind, and after a great deal of research and heeding friends recommendations, we landed on Llama Path.
In addition to providing everything we wanted from a responsible tourism operator, they also offered a slightly different daily plan from others, and this for us was the clincher (more on this in part 2 of our Machu Picchu adventure).
The night before our trek I have to admit I had a lot of nerves. I never doubted whether I would complete the trek but I doubted my ability to truly enjoy the experience, but I needn't have.
In our hostel room we packed our duffel. Dean and I opted to pay for a porter to carry 14 kgs of our belongings, including; sleeping bag, sleeping mat, change of clothes, and other belongings we would not need during the day. We would carry the rest.
Some in our group decided to carry their own mat and sleeping bags - but I believe, for myself at least, that this decision allowed me to both challenge myself physically and have the best experience I could. I would recommend a porter for the above reasons.
Unfortunately for us we had booked our trip to start on a Saturday. Our hostel was pumping music out like a nightclub and it was after midnight that we eventually got to sleep leaving us with 3 hours of uninterrupted snoozing.
When my alarm went off at 3am I was buzzing with a mix of excitement and anxiety, you know that fine line that separates the two. We relished in the last shower we would have for 4 days and walked to the meeting point. There we met with our guide Gary, and the rest of our crew.
We were 13 in total; us from Australia, a couple from Canada, a couple from Poland, a couple from Norway, a single man from the UK as well as a couple of fellas from London, and finally 2 female friends from Taiwan. We bonded over mutual excitement before packing into the bus for our 3 hour drive to kilometre 82, where we would commence our hike from.
On the way we stopped at the porter’s house to see the home that Llama Path provided for their workers, as most of them live far outside the city which is too far to commute from. From there we drove on to Ollantaytambo where we ate breakfast, used the last flushing toilet with a seat we would see for a while (spoiler alert).
At last we arrived at km82. We slathered ourselves in sunscreen and took pictures for our likeness in case we didn't make it. Jokes, it was purely for touristic purposes.
And then we started the trek….
Stay posted for part 2 of our Inca trail adventure.