Three Days to Take-Off!!! Why not add a bit of Inca Trail Chaos?
We’re just 3 days away from boarding that plane and starting our 365 days of travel. I can’t believe it! It feels so surreal.
With packing up our apartment, meeting friends and taking care of all the last minute details, the last week has definitely been chaotic. And it feels like there’s still so much left to do! I guess aside from major items like plane tickets, passports and travel visas, you can’t ever really be fully prepared for a year long trip anyhow.
There’s a part of me that wants to plan out every detail (yes, I’m a control freak), but we’ve done enough traveling to learn that this never works. And isn’t the whole point of travel to enjoy the moment and let the path guide you where it will? Well, I’m gonna try anyways… 🙂
Of course, you can’t totally let the wind blow you wherever it wants, especially if there are things you really want to do…like hiking the Inca Trail. I’d read websites suggesting booking 4 -5 months in advance, because only 500 people, including porters, are allowed on the trail per day. That’s only about 200 tourists.
Because we’re super flexible with our travel dates, we figured we could leave it a little longer than suggested. BIG mistake.
We’d initially planned to do the trek in May, but when I finally decided to check permit availability a few weeks ago, ALL the dates in May were already fully booked!!! That meant figuring out how to rearrange our itinerary so that we could do the trek in either March or April and scrambling to contact various tour operators for quotes and information.
We really wanted to work with a local tour company versus a large international one, like Intrepid or Gap Adventures. First, because we believe it’s better to contribute our dollars locally as much as possible, but also because only Peruvian companies are actually granted licenses to operate the Inca Trail. So even if you book with a big name like Gap, you’ll still end up trekking with a local Peruvian company…
After a lot of back and forth with various companies, we ended up booking our Inca Trail trek with Quechuas Expeditions. Overall, their trek was a little more expensive than the average, by about $40 per person, but we liked that the maximum group size was 8, rather than 16. Plus they seem to care a lot about the welfare of their porters and include things like therma-rest mattresses to sleep on in their tents.
With permits running out daily, our trek was booked for March 29 – April 1. Hopefully, the Bear won’t have to carry me through Dead Woman’s Pass… 😦