Tag Archives: Salkantay

Trekking to Machu Picchu, 2016 – Machu picchu tours

1 Mar

KM 82

By Lisa McClendon Sims

The Inca Trail’s new season starts TODAY, March 1st, 2016. Ever since Machu Picchu earned the distinction of being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, its popularity has been increasing steadily and we are seeing people from every possible corner of the world now in Peru sporting trekking poles and camelbacks!

Journey is the DestinationDid you know that the Inca Trail Trek is sold out through most of August already? Many people don’t realize that there is a limit of 500 trekkers per day to start the Inca Trail, and that number includes all of the support staff – guides, cooks, and porters. In order to preserve the integrity of this famous part of what the Inca called the Qhapaq Ñan – the 24,800 mile system of paths that run through the Andes and the ancient Inca Empire and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – no hooved pack animals are allowed along the majority of what is now known as the Inca Trail. We therefore have to rely on people to help us carry camping gear, food, sleeping and cooking supplies. In ancient times these people were called “chaskis” that ran like lightning along these paths tag-team style, and were famed for the speed in which they could get messages across the vast expanse of the Inca Empire.

Today, for each group of 6 trekkers, Alpaca Expeditions will have 11 porters, 1 chef and 1 guide. So you can see that we need triple the number of permits to enter the Inca Trail as we have trekkers. Thus the high demand for the 500-per-day permits.

Obviously, if you are wanting to hike the Inca Trail Trek in 2016, you need to make plans now! We still have all of September, October and half of November this year before our rainy season begins again in mid-November and the weather becomes a bit less predictable. We can make bookings through January of 2017 now. February 1st 2017 the Inca Trail will close for a month – February is our wettest month – during which time maintenance of the Trail is also carried out.

AlpacaExpeditions_Fotos_SantiagoPascual_037.jpgWere you wanting to hike in Peru before August of 2016? Not to worry!! Alpaca Expeditions specializes in Alternative Treks as well! Our two most popular alternative treks are the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and the Lares Trek. These less well known but fascinating treks and each have their own distinct flavor and style and fewer other hikers along the way. No permits from the Peruvian government are required for many of our alternative treks, and we are able to use pack animals, so they tend to be a bit less expensive than the Inca Trail Treks. The Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek scenery is perhaps even more stunning, and many of our trekkers feel that it is more challenging than the Inca Trail Trek.

The Lares Trek offers a few more cultural opportunities than the others. It starts in the Lares Valley and offers the opportunity to experience one of the few the thermal baths or “hot springs” in the Sacred Valley area. We trek through 3 highland villages and have the opportunity to meet with some of the colorful locals whose lifestyles have been frozen in time for the past several centuries, seeing how they live and bringing a little bit of prosperity to their villages along the way. This trek also passes through the Sacred Valley and ends with a tour of Machu Picchu.

There are many other alternative hikes that we offer.  Some of them end in Machu Picchu but do not require permits – like the Huchuy Qosqo Trek, our Cachicata Quarry Trek and also the Vilcabamba Trek. We have a couple of other fascinating treks which do not go to Machu Picchu, for those of you who have perhaps already been and so fallen in love with the Andes you want to see more. Choquekiraw is an amazing site that many say that more resembles Machu Picchu in the years before it became so popular and touristed (we do offer one tour that does take you to Machu Picchu after your Choquekiraw trek). Ausangate mountain towers over the Sacred Valley at nearly 21,000 feet above sea level (6,400 meters) and we offer 5 and 7 day Ausangate Treks. All of these treks are detailed on our website under Alternative Treks.

And maybe you don’t want to trek at all! We also offer train tours, Sacred Valley Tours, and individualized itineraries all over Peru! Regular entrance tickets into Machu Picchu don’t have such strict limitations, so we can book a train tour for you into Machu Picchu with much less notice.

Now is the time to book your trip to Peru! Let us help you decide which trek or tour is best for you! Check us out on Trip Advisor and you will see that we are #1 with over 1200 reviews! Call us, chat online or send us an email if you have any questions. We promise that you will love Peru!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa has been falling in love with Peru for 11 years, and lived in Cusco permanently for the past 5 years. She has been working with Alpaca Expeditions for 2 years. She has recently written a book called “Doves Fly in My Heart: My Love Affair with Peru” available on Amazon.com. Pick it up and fall in love!

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

machu picchu tours

(100% Local Company Focused on Giving back to Our Villages – Dedicated to improving the lives of our porters)

Inca Trail Trek,  Salkantay Trek,  Machu Picchu Tours,  Treks To Machu Picchu, Lares Trek

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Prepping for 2016 – Lares trek

26 Feb

The government closes the Inca Trail for all of February. Mostly because this is typically the rainiest month here in Cusco, but also for the government to do some maintenance on the trail and to the campsites. So while New Years is celebrated worldwide on January 1st, we celebrate March 1st.

12675249_10207954826244284_871770348_oWe have spent this month making sure our team is ready and equipped. All our guides spent time with a professor from the local university in Cusco refreshing their history. We spent two evenings at the Planetarium in Cusco reviewing the galaxy so we can help those on our alternative treks find the constellations with our new telescopes. We had a medical doctor retrain our first aid skills and park rangers review trail rules and maintenance.

We even built a new campsite for our 5 Day/4 Night Salkantay Trek. Guides, porters and local villagers all worked together to build beautiful Inca terraces and plant local flowers around. We hope you will all enjoy.

12788503_10208082203428634_2013881786_oBut it wasn’t all work. We had an amazing party celebrating what a wonderful and successful year we had in 2015. We brought more porters and their families to Machu Picchu to introduce them to the place they have worked so hard for others to visit. We visited some of our porters homes with food, boots and supplies for their kids to use in school.

Yesterday we had our final meeting with park rangers and about 70 of our porters (we have close to 300 total now). We reviewed the maintenance of the equipment, how to properly dispose garbage and waste, and how to communicate with our clients without speaking the same language. Then we enjoyed a feast. 12788588_10208082204468660_541316078_o

Our team also spent time resting and enjoying time with their families. They are now rested and ready to make 2016 Alpaca Expeditions best year ever. We know that we could not do an amazing job without our team, and we think we have the best and happiest in Cusco. We are so excited for you to meet them.

 

Alpaca Expeditions offers Peru And Machu Picchu Tours, 4 Day Inca trail to Machu picchu, Hiking Salkantay, Sacred Valley and Pisaq Tours. We have 5 star Reviews with a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and is a fully licensed Inca Trail tour operator. 100% Local Peruvian Tour Operator. Inca Trail Trek, Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu Tours, Treks To Machu Picchu, Lares Trek

https://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

machu picchu tours

Our Inca Trail Porters First Visit to Machu Picchu

13 Mar

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By Raul Ccolque Ccolque

In February the Inka Trail is closed due to heavy rains, government maintenance and the cleaning of the Trail. Alpaca Expeditions took the opportunity during this off month to create lots of activities such as, cleaning the trail for the Lares trek, the Huchuy Qosqo Trail, Inka Trail, and the training for our chefs and guides. We decided to reward our best Inka Trail group of porters and their families with a journey to Machu Picchu. They are from the community of Wakawasi located in the Lares Valley – all of them native Quechua-language-speakers who had never been to Machu Picchu even though they had trekked the Inka Trail hundreds of times. Wakawasi porters were the most organized and responsible porters in 2014. In total there were 65 people who went to Machu Picchu – 35 adult porters and their wives and the rest were children around the age of 8.

11035629_750335275062319_7191463342050698082_oThis journey started on Saturday, February 28th, 2015. Wakawasi is at 3800 meters above sea level. We collected them from their village in two buses to transfer them to Ollantaytambo (a very colorful Inka town) to catch the 7:00PM train to Aguas Calientes. It was so nice to see how excited they were (especially the children!) considering that this was happening for the first time in their lives! After the two hour train journey we arrived in Aguas Calientes. We took them to the restaurant El Tupana Wasi to enjoy dinner as one big family and to enjoy our vacation together.  After dinner we headed to our hotels, all provided by Alpaca Expeditions. We decided to meet the next morning at 5:00AM to be first in line to catch the first buses up to see the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu.10987449_750334635062383_4899141120942871699_o

On Day 2 we met at the hotel lobby for an early breakfast and then walked to the bus station. All the tourists and other Machu Picchu visitors were so captivated to see such a big group -all wearing their traditional clothing! We were on one of the first buses to leave and everyone was so happy to have such a nice morning. We arrived at Machu Picchu and the most exciting part for them was when we got to the Watchtower House of the Inkas. Our porters, their wives and children were overjoyed that they were at the New Seventh Wonder of the World, a dream-come-true for these farming families who frequently never leave their villages. And here they were in the magnificent ruins that were built by their ancestors, the Inka! After checking identification at the Entry Checkpoint, we all headed to the popular lookout point for Machu Picchu where they all got their family pictures.  We then began with their tour of Machu Picchu (in Quechua!!)- thanks to our marvelous guides, Amoroso, Elio, Yoel, and Sabino. We explored all of Machu Picchu and took loads of pictures of them which we are going to make into a DVD/ video for them. Finally we returned by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then took the afternoon train at 2:55PM to Ollantaytambo where Alpaca’s buses waited for then and drove to their village arriving, around 8:00PM.

10922310_750335071729006_8999043211195843062_o Who are the Wakawasi People?

Wakawasi village is located at 3800 meters above sea level; they are part of the Lares Valley and located in Urubamba province. Their main economic activity is agriculture and they farm potatoes mostly, though of course, they do have llamas and alpacas as well. Our company employs most of the people of this village as porters and horsemen.

We want to make this a tradition.

Machu Picchu, as a New Seventh Wonder of the World should not only be visited by tourists. It should also be known and visited by the local people, to put them in touch with their history and heritage. Unfortunately, even the cost of travel makes the likelihood of this happening prohibitive for them. Alpaca Expeditions has now begun this tradition and we hope in the future, to be able to share Machu Picchu with all our porters and their families, especially their children. Not just for them, but also for other villagers who have never been to this magical Inka citadel.

11044556_750334895062357_8865716279022568440_oOur next group will be in August, which is during winter vacation for the schools in Peru (Southern Hemisphere). We decided that we will be taking the residents of two small villages from the area of Ocongate. Ocongate is located at 4100 meters above sea level and belongs to the Ocongate district and Qusipicanchis region. The villages are called Wakatinku and Ullucha and we are expecting at least 100 people including our porters, wives and their children. Then next year in February, during our summer break we will be inviting other villages such as Choquekancha –Lares and Pisaq Communities.

You may be wondering why it is that our porters have hiked the Inca Trail so many times, yet never seen the ruins. The Peruvian government rules do not allow our porters to enter Machu Picchu from our last campsite, so their only options are to go on their own, or not go at all.

In their lives in their villages, our porters are subsistence farmers, living very close to the land. Many of them use the barter system to get the things they need, trading potatoes and other things they farm for what they cannot grow. Money is very hard to come by; therefore many of the things that cost money remain out of reach for them.

Going to Machu Picchu costs money. First they have to get from their remote villages to Cusco. They need transportation, hotels, meals, and bus tickets to and from the ruins. Plus they usually have several children in tow to take into account.

11041876_750334728395707_8281490073575946790_oHow can you help to be part of this project?

Just by choosing us as your trekking company you are already helping these families make it a reality to have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. Alpaca Expeditions is working to make the lives of our porters and their families better, from the viewpoint of learning about our culture and environment.

You can help us to create trips to Machu Picchu for more people who have never been and help them have the opportunity to see what their ancestors created. You can help with making contributions toward purchasing train tickets, hotels or simply economically supporting this project. We can purchase any tickets on your behalf for them – just contact Alpaca Expeditions.

11053296_750334845062362_1530075635549176087_oWhy did we start this project?

Just as many of us (and as many of you) love to travel and explore the various attractions all over the world, our local people would also love to travel. Unfortunately, due to their economic situation they are not able to make it happen. But we at Alpaca Expeditions consider that is very important for them to know their heritage, especially living so close to one of the Seven Wonders such as Machu Picchu. We decided that by helping them to make this happen it would help them to better appreciate their magnificent culture in Peru.

Believe it or not, there are even some children that have never even been to the city of Cusco. We would love to help them have the opportunity to get to know some of our other heritage and history besides Machu Picchu.

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http://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

 

7 Day Salkantay and Inca Trail Trek

27 Aug

We have been so lucky to have so many of our clients post amazing reviews about their experiences with us on sites like TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet and other travel forums out there.  But some of these sites do not publish reviews of “multi-day” day tours – trying to avoid large travel companies from using the site.  But it also prevents some of your reviews from being published.  We recently had a trekker who really wanted to share her experience with everyone, but was not able to get TripAdvisor to publish, so I am publishing for her here.  Hope you enjoy!

Thank you Lillian.

 

BEST VACATION EVER!!!!

I have done my fair share of traveling, of all types. Without a doubt this was THE BEST TRIP OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did a private week-long trek to Salkantay and the Inca Trail. What a bargain for $1200 USD per person. I read over and over from satisfied clients that the food was better than restaurants and that they came back gaining weight. My first interpretation was that of course food was going to taste good after being starving from hiking all day. No, the food really is terrific and MUCH MUCH better than what we ate at restaurants in Peru. We were thoroughly pampered by our wonderful crew, Cesar (guide), Julian (head chef), Francisco (aka Pancho, sous chef), the chaskas – Cipriani, Beltran, Ephrahim, and Benefio, and our horseman.

Cesar, our guide, is truly passionate about the history and archeology of Peru. Nothing made him happier than having us ask him questions about the various archeological remains. He did everything to make our trip memorable. When I accidentally broke my camera on the first day, he gave me his camera to use. He was able to balance time in such a way that we had plenty of time with him and his guidance, but wasn’t always around so that we felt that we had a babysitter. It was the perfect amount of time with a guide and having privacy. Because of our great experience with Cesar, we know consider him a good friend.

Every morning we were woken up with a cup of hot coca tea. Then we were delighted with a hot breakfast (various different kinds of porridge, pancakes, fruit, eggs, etc). Before we left, we got a snack (fruit and some kind of cookie or cracker) and we went on our hike. The chaskis (porters) packed everything up and beat us to our lunch time location. Then they set up the dining/cooking tent and prepare a wonderful multi-course hot lunch – appetizer, several courses (meat and vegetables) and dessert. After stuffing ourselves, we took a quick nap. Then we went on our afternoon hike. Again, the chaskis packed everything up and beat us to our evening camping spot. When we arrive, it was happy hour time with tea, hot chocolate, cookies, and freshly popped popcorn. Next was dinner, another multi-course meal. They fed us so well that we usually couldn’t eat our snack

 

Through the Eyes of an Alpaca Trekker

3 Jul

We don’t normally publish reviews written about us on TripAdvisor on this blog, but I thought our recent trekker’s review included so many good details that could help with anyone planning a trek through the Andes and also give you an idea of the type of service Alpaca provides to our customers.  When I contacted our client to make sure it was ok to list her review here, she mentioned two more things that would be helpful to everyone – wet wipes and facial wipes.  After a few days of not showering and hiking, you will be thankful to have something that smells so good.

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“Look no further – Salkantay trek with Alpaca Expeditions”
Reviewed July 1, 2013 NEW

The number of trekking and tour companies in the Cusco region is mind boggling and the process of booking a trek is stressful. Here’s our argument for Alpaca Expeditions and the Salkantay trek!

First and foremost, Alpaca is owned and operated by Raul and Bonnie, two people who’ve worked on and experienced the Inca Trail. As I understand, Raul started as a porter on the trail and worked himself up to guide. While this in itself is a nice story and will likely appeal to people who want to support locally owned business on their travels, what’s more important is that Alpaca’s local ownership and experience results in a superior experience for trekkers.

Before you even book your trek, Bonnie patiently answers all your e-mails. After booking, I probably sent her another 20 e-mails, each of which she answered with patience and cheer! Some of the e-mails weren’t even relevant to the trek, but were just questions about planning our trip — so helpful! Also let me credit Bonnie for helping to coordinate our whole experience so seamlessly. We were so impressed that Alpaca picked us up from one hotel in Cusco, kept our bags in their office, and seamlessly got us and our bags settled in (5 days later) to another hotel in the Sacred Valley – all without complaint or extra charges!

My hypothesis is that Raul’s own experience leads him to hire great people. It is SO IMPORTANT to have a good guide, cook, and porter for an experience like this because you will be spending lots of time with them. We are independent travelers and normally hate booking any kind of guided tour. Our guide, Erlin, was one of the best guides we ever had. He was the perfect coach, friend, guide, etc. for our experience. Always a smile, always enthusiastic about Andean culture, nature, etc.; always willing to help; always looking out for us —I could go on and on but simply put Erlin was our trip and he made it WONDERFUL.

Of course, the trek is more than a guide. Cooks Fernando and Lorenzo always had a smile and were equally hard working and enthusiastic. We especially loved the delicious soups they prepared.

Alpaca also seems to have a distinct advantage in terms of local knowledge and the best ways to organize a trek. Our guide explained that most groups structure their tours differently and miss what we thought was the best campsite of the trip, a beautiful hilltop that looks across to the snowcapped peaks & Machu Picchu. The night we were there, we were the only ones. Also, we noticed that our guide, Erlin, seemed to know everyone on the trail – therefore he was great at modifying our trip as needed, whether it was eliminating part of our walk on Day 2 (and helping us hitch a ride on a truck); helping us buy coffee from a local grower, etc.

Alpaca is really so passionate about offering the best to the customer. Sadly we did have some stomach issues a couple of times during the trek. Erlin, Fernando, and Lorenzo made sure that we got easier food to eat and prepared us herbal teas so we could heal and keep going. Bonnie reached out to us the day we ended our trek and even called our hotel to make sure we were okay! Before we had even finished the last day, she had even responded to our feedback survey (which was 80% positive but did share the hiccups regarding our stomach issues & an issue with our tent). I can’t think of another experience where a company has been so keen to improve.

Assuming you’ve read this far, hopefully you’re clicking on the Alpaca Expeditions link and making your booking. One more note, if you have a question about treks to book; we suggest the Salkantay, especially for busy season. We were so happy that we did the Salkantay trek rather than the Inca Trail. We saw maybe 20 other people in 4 days; I understand that things are quite different on the Inca Trail in a busy season like June when we went. Having the beautiful views to ourselves, the personal attention of a guide (thanks to Alpaca we had our own private tour at a great price), and being able to use mostly horses rather than porters to help carry our items were all reasons we loved the trek we picked. Also, we had the distinct advantage of reaching Machu Picchu early in the morning before many people who were on the Inca Trail, since we just took the bus up from Aguas Calientes rather than hiking in (which depending on your campsite location could take a while).

Visited June 2013

 

Commonly Asked Questions before Booking your Inca Trek

1 Jul

Do you need to book ahead ?

          YES! It is imperative to book your trek in advance.  The classic Inca Trail is extremely regulated by the Peruvian government and now only allows 500 permits per day (this includes tourists and hiking staff). The alternative treks are less regulated, by still a lot of preparation goes into the hike and we book up quickly.

Is it possible to do without an agency?

          NO! Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide. The UGM (Unidad de Gestion Machu Picchu),is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to MP and the Inca Trail. Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides and good camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen.  Their license is renewed each year in early March.

If the Inca Trail is booked, are their alternative treks to take?

          Yes, the Inca trail is not the only option to hiking to Machu Picchu – in fact, some of the alternative treks are more beautiful, less crowded and less expensive.  Here are a few:

Salkantay 7 day trek – moderate to difficult.

Ausangate 6 to 7 day trek – moderate to difficult

Lares Valley 4 day trek – moderate

Choquequirao 4 to 5 day trek – moderate

Vilcabamba 7 day trek – moderate

Are numbers of day visitors to Machu Picchu also limited, like those doing the Inca Trail hike? Or can I just buy the bus / train and entrance ticket on the day I want to go?

          No limit to Machu Picchu number of visitors, everyone can visit the ruins .You can stay overnight in Aquas Calientes and take the first bus up to the ruins, this way you see Machu Picchu before the 1500 visitors of the train arrive.  The trains are normally full so make your reservations in advance.

How Is the 2 days Inca trail ?

The shorter Inca Trail is for those trekkers with limited time on their hands or who just want to take things a little bit easier. This trail starts at km104 and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since you don’t have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day most people spend the night at the town of Aguas Calientes and return to MP again the following day. This trail is subject to the Inca Trail regulations and trek permits must be reserved well in advance

Should I pay for the extra porter?

          All treks include porters to carry all the hiking equipment which includes tents, food, dining equipment, etc. but you will need to pay extra for a porter to carry your belongings.  Each 8kg you want carried costs $65 USD.  Many people prefer to pay this instead of carrying their clothes on their back.  The lighter you pack the less weight/porters you will need to hire.  Remember that less is more.

Do I need to tip the porters/chef/guide?

Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then it is customary to tip your team.  If you aren’t sure about how much to tip the porters and chef, ask your guide and he will answer honestly. If you ever have equipment that you bought for the trek that you think you will never use again, gift them to our porters.  You will not find harder workers anywhere.

What is the weather on the Trail?

Weather on the Inca Trail

Just how tough is it? How fit do you have to be?

           It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail that it must be easy … it isn’t. The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day you climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning. Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work. However all this suffering can make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable.

What about Altitude sickness?

In general if you take regular exercise and spend a few days in Cusco, or better, in the Sacred Valley, acclimatizing to the altitude you shouldn’t have to suffer too much.  Just remember to walk slowly and let your body adjust.

How many people in the groups?

          The maximum allowed group size is 16 people.

What does the trail look like in the peak season?

          It could get a little bit crowded, but with the regulations in place, you have enough space for everyone.

Are there toilets on the trail ?

          Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole they are kept pretty clean.

Interview with an AE Guide

19 Jun

Q: Raul, why did you start Alpaca Expeditions?

Raul:I started with the purpose of helping porters and their families.

Q: What makes Alpaca Expeditions different than other adventure companies?
Raul: I created Alpaca with two goals – a superior experience for my hikers and a better life for my porters.  I want to make sure that each trip is unique for the hikers who are going.  Each of us has different needs and expectations from a vacation and I want to plan each trip catered to the hikers needs.  But creating a better life for my porters is just as important to me.  I want to make sure my porters have a good life and an income that can support them and their families. I want to make sure they have the appropriate hiking equipment and clothing. Sometimes people do not realize how difficult it is to be a porter, how physically demanding it is.  I want to make their life a little bit easier.

Q: Is it true that you were a porter and a guide before you started Alpaca?

Raul:I was a porter for three years while I was studying tourism at the University.  I then moved to the office for one year learning a little bit about how the business and how to organize tours. After graduating, I got the opportunity to guide my own groups to Machu Picchu.  I have been guiding now for four years.  All these experiences have helped me to understand how to run a company dedicated to making a truly unforgettable vacation for my travelers.

Q: Do you remember the first time you saw Machu Picchu?

Raul
: Of course I do, it was magical.  Once I started working as a porter I really wanted to visit Machu Picchu.  But it was against the rules for porters to go through the Sun Gate. Eventually I was chosen to take one of the duffel bags of a hiker to Sanctuary Lodge, allowing me to finally see the wonder.  I had seen pictures of Machu Picchu of course, but arriving at the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu made me cry.  It was more than I imagined.  It was so beautiful and so much more than the photos show you.  In spite of being so tired from waking up at 3AM that morning, I found the energy to not only walk around Machu Picchu, but I ended up hiking to Huaynapicchu.  I now love watching my hikers get to the Sun Gate to watch their experience of seeing the real thing.

Q: How many times do you think you have done either the Inca trail or one of the alternative treks to Machu Picchu?

Raul:
Since 2003, I have trekked more than 650 times on all the different treks to Machu Picchu.  I have had the opportunity to take 1000s of visitors from all over the world to our beautiful Inca ruin.

Q: When do you think is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Raul:  There are two seasons: from November to March is the rainy season.  This is not the ideal time to visit.  From April through October is the dry season and the most perfect time to hike and to visit Machu Picchu, as you can see the sun rise over the ruins.  Even though the rainy season is not the ideal time to travel, you can still have an amazing adventure and its usually raining in showers and not all day.

Q
: Can people hike the Inca trail without a guide?

Raul
: No.  The Inca trail has been regulated in 2000.  They now only allow 500 people on the trail each day.  This includes porters, cooks and your guides.  You need to book the inca trail in advance. Alpaca Expeditions has many alternative treks to Machu Picchu for those who can’t book the Inca trail on the dates they were hoping for.  These treks are just as beautiful and offer amazing views and many inca ruins.  They are also less crowded and some people find it more enjoyable because of this.

Q
: What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is planning on doing one of the hikes to Machu Picchu?

Raul: Do not panic.  Everyone can do it.  It’s not a race and everyone needs to take their time and walk in a comfortable pace.  This is your holiday.  Do not forget to enjoy the hike, the views, the experience.

If you have any questions you would like Raul to answer, please comment below or email info@alpacaexpeditions.com.