I live and breathe travel in Peru, and I am constantly on the web looking at different travel forums and blogs etc. It helps me to get a good understanding of what travellers to Peru are talking about, and what topics would be good to write about. There is one topic that I see time and time again, and it is people asking about the Inca Trail operators. Who are they? Who are the best? In this article we take a look at the top 5 Inca Trail operators.
About 10 years ago, I remember when I came to Peru for the first time. The Inca Trail was at the top of my list of things to do, and not being one for a great deal of planning, I simply looked up a few names in the Lonely Planet Guide Book and jumped on the Internet. I was lucky and had a great experience, but others I know didn’t Now, knowing a little more about Inca Trail operators and the Peru travel industry, I can confidently say, that not much has really changed in 7 years. The good Inca Trail operators are still good, and the average ones are still average.
Remember that hiking the Inca Trail is actually quite expensive, and any Inca Trail operator that offers the trek at a really low price (less than US$ 550 per person) is probably not very good, or they are not paying local taxes, or they are cutting-back on something somewhere. Always contact a few Inca Trail operators first, get a few quotes and ask exactly what is included before sending any money.
If you are thinking about hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, here are our recommendations for the top 5 Inca Trail operators.
Although fairly new on the scene, Alpaca Expeditions have proven their ability that they are a great Inca Trail operator in a place where competition is strong. Alpaca have some of the best guides, an extended and excellent team of porters, great food and camping equipment. Additionally, like most operators, they also operate sat-phones and they have their own fleet of modern vehicles. Alpaca come highly recommend.
I have personally trekked with SAS a few times now, and I can honestly say that they are one of the better Inca Trail operators out there. Operating since 1990, SAS are named in many leading guide books and have won several awards from DIRCETUR the Peruvian ministry of tourism. Their pre-trek meetings are informative and helpful, their guides are professional, the food they serve is varied and of a good standard and their equipment is up-to-date. SAS Travel are one of a very few Inca Trail operators that offer daily group departures throughout the year.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel Cusco for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bar is free even for non-guests
Established in 2004, LlamaPath have been providing high quality trekking in Peru for just over 8 years. They offer a very high quality service that is comparable to any of their competitors, and in quite a short period of time have grown to be one of the leading Inca Trail operators in Peru. Llama Path offer daily departures in groups (max size 16 people) and also a private service. Their overall price is comparable than other Inca Trail operators, but additional porters, sleeping bags and air-matrices are a little on the pricy side.
Focusing on quality trekking experiences, Sam Travel is highly recommended by several leading travel guides. Prices are very reasonable compared to other Inca Trail operators considering the difference in service and quality of equipment. Sam Travel pride themselves on their guides who are college-trained licensed professionals, speak very fluent English and are incredibly knowledgeable of the culture and history of the Incas. They also create a very inclusive atmosphere among their groups allowing strong friendships to build throughout the trek.