Anyone been to Peru?

I’m looking at going for two weeks in May and would like recommendations.

Particularly for the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Passes for the trail have sold out until September. Trying to decide whether to wait, or go on a different trail. Is it worth waiting for?

Any other tips?

I haven’t been but I’ve known a lot of people who have done it - they’ve all said that it’s 100% the right thing to do the trail and not get the train up - that it makes the whole experience. Bloody hard though.

Where are you trying to get a pass?

It was 10 years ago but yes.
The Inca trail was rubbish, on your first day you’re walking past stalls for the first day, second day you end up in a human traffic jam at on point and the last day you camp near a pub. The views were ok but I’ve been told the other trails were much more interesting.
Long story short, do the other trails. If you can stomach terrifying heights make sure you do wayna picchu as well

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Went about 12 years ago, stayed in a great hotel in Cusco that I believe has since been levelled by an earthquake. Didn’t bother with the Inca trail but UncleR’s summary above is consistent with what I’ve heard about it from other people who did do it.

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I’m pretty surprised at this, I met at least a dozen people on my travels who’d done it and all said it was incredible and completely worthwhile. Don’t think I met one person who thought the train was the better option. Maybe they all said that because the didn’t want to admit to wasting 3 days slogging up a mountain for nothing :woman_shrugging:

reading thread with interest. :thinking:

Went in April last year.

First of all, there is no such thing as THE Inca Trail. Inca Trails can be found all over the Andes, all the way up to Colombia.

Secondly, one of the main reasons people want to hike to Machu Picchu is to arrive at the Sun Gate just as the sun is coming up. Unfortunately, due to its geographical location half the time it’s foggy in the morning. In which case you can’t see a thing.

Finally, the “Inca Trail” is big business. Don’t expect a serene experience. It is as touristy is it can get.

You’ll be much better off staying a few days in the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) and visit the Inca sites there, and do lots of hiking in the area, before taking the train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu (the town). Then stay there for two nights so you can visit the site more than once (better change of clear weather) plus you can climb Machu Picchu (the mountain) which gives you amazing views over Machu Picchu (the ruins).

Yeah it’s hard for me to determine whether the hype is just from people’s the sense of achievement of doing a hike, which isn’t a big deal for me as I’ve done a few.

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Thanks this has convinced me not to worry about it and just book, and organise other options.

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Can you do group/expert led hikes or do you just go walking off into the jungle?

The hikes I went on where organised by the hotel I was staying at, so there was always a guide and transport. Some of these hikes were clearly signposted, others were just wandering off into potato fields.

E.g. the walk from Ollantaytambo to the Pumamarca ruins follows an Inca trail, and there no reason to you can’t do that on your own, as once you’re on the path you can’t really get lost. Some of the more remote hikes up in the mountains may be more tricky to do without a guide.

Note that the Valle Sagrado is located significantly higher than Machu Picchu, and it’ll take a few days to get used to the altitude. The highest I got to on my walks was approx. 4,400 meters

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I did the Inca Trail and thought it was absolutely stunning, some of the stuff here doesn’t chime with my experience at all. They seemed to do a good job with the passes in restricting access and it never felt too crowded. It was three days of the most breathtaking natural views I’ve ever seen and was totally worth it. Was actually a bit disappointed with Machu Picchu itself at the end because the trail was so stunning.

Having said all that, I’ve heard from people who’ve done the Salkantay trail as an alternative and were similarly gushing about it, so I imagine that’s just as good, and is a lot easier to book I believe.

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Now u don’t know what to believe!

Went through to Peru last year for a few weeks. Didn’t follow the Inca trail but got a minibus to Machu Pichu. I didn’t regret going but it’s very busy and wasn’t really the highlight of the trip.

*I