INCA TREKKING WITH G ADVENTURES
Still, to this day... the Inca Trail remains one of the most challenging and rewarding travel experiences that I have ever endured... twice! My first time was in 2009 as a solo traveller and I remember it having such a profound impact on me that I returned in 2015 with my partner so that we could endure the steep climbs, high altitudes, ever-changing vistas and camp sites together. Since this time, I've been sending other keen travellers to this incredible destination with my personal favourite guides.
Having travelled with Budget Expeditions on my first Inca Trail (part of a 3 month trip through South America), I was eager to try a different company, one that as a Travel Agent, I knew to be the leaders in this part of the world: G Adventures! This was by far my favourite experience for several different reasons. 1. The group demographic ranged between 18 years and 60 years of age so there was a good mix of experiences which made for great conversations at camp. 2. The quality of the camp sites and the view aspect was incredible. Not only were the tents and camping equipment of a high standard, the porters were fit, happy, and great chefs so the comfort level for a trip so intrepid in nature was a welcome surprise. 3. G Adventures give back to their local community via their Planterra Foundation - namely the Ccaccaccollo Women’s Weaving Co-op in the Sacred Valley which all of their travellers get to visit on day 2 of their Inca Trail experience. It's a good opportunity to purchase high quality woven clothing and accessories for the chilly times on the trek.
These are just a few of the things that I found to really heighten the overall experience. It feels good to support a company that gives back and it feels nice to know that the porters work so hard because they enjoy their job and they get paid well. I was all to happy to pay the recommended tip to the porters which is around $50 AUD per person (or $100 - $150 Peruvian Soles). But the best way to describe this experience is through my visual accounts...
Where it all begins. I always suggest a few days here to not only acclimatise to the high altitude but also to experience this unique and glorious city. Surprises abound in the many maze-like streets, and there is a definite sense of adventure in the air. Cusco is in my top 10 list and I can't wait to write another review on this city alone.
TREKKING THE INCA TRAIL
My first experience was all about the destination and less about the journey. It was tough! Our group ascended at a rather quick pace and there was a certain need to push yourself to keep up with the leaders of the group. With G Adventures, I found the guides to be more helpful and less concerned with the pace. With one guide at the front, and one at the rear, there was always someone within sight that you could turn to if you needed a break or advice. It's never known beforehand if you will be the one to fall victim to altitude sickness or muscle fatigue, but you can be sure that they will help you get through it as best they can.
As difficult as the ascend seemed at the time... cramped calves, blisters on your toes, rolled ankles and all! Words cannot describe how quickly all of these discomforts simply disappear from your thoughts when you reach Sun Gate on Day 4 and get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Yes, you will be tired, yes you will be exhausted, but indeed you will also be in awe of this incredible site and feel an overwhelming sense of achievement.