What did you think of your 2-day Inca Trail trek?
November 18, 2008 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Short on time in Peru - is the two day inca Trail trek worth it? Any alternatives?

Hi all,

Planning a trip to Peru and I really want to experience at least part of the Inca Trail. Don't know if I'll have time to take the traditional four day trek, but I could definitely spare the time for the two day hike. Has anyone here done this? Are there any cool alternatives? Any tour provider recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
posted by kmtiszen to Travel & Transportation around Peru (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
the trails themselves aren't the craziest things in the world. the experience of hiking them with friends is unbelievably awesome. almost all of the views, history, etc. can be done from bus tours. so it's up to you.

Here are my notes on the 4-day version

I wish I could remember the name of the bus tour that we did before the hike, it was well done. this bus tour covered the following places
Pisac market, Pisac ruins, Urubamba, Ollyantambo, and Chinchero.

so i you did the bus tour one day and then took the train to machu picchu, you'd probably learn more than doing the 2-day hike. but if you like hiking and camping then go for it!
posted by maulik at 9:50 PM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Its said Choquequirao is actualy better than Machu Piccu because of far fewer tourists.

posted by complience at 7:05 AM on November 19, 2008

inca trail marathon

posted by complience at 7:06 AM on November 19, 2008

Why is it that you don't have time? Do you only have a few days in the Cuzco/Sacred Valley region before you move on?

Almost everyone I met on the Inca Trail admitted that they'd far, far underestimated the effects of altitude sickness and not given themselves enough time to acclimate before starting. Hell, I feel that way, and I had something like 3 days of low-key activity around Cuzco before I started the trail. I'd really, really caution against setting up your plans so that you're flying into Cuzco and setting out on a two-day hike the next day, unless you're coming from a similarly high altitude (maybe if you're hitting Arequipa first).

I did the four-day trek, but I did see where people were coming up the mountain on the two-day hike. As I recall, the set up is that you hike uphill most of the first day, sleep at the last campsite on the trail, then wake up VERY early (~4am) to make it to Macchu Picchu as the sun rises. Since everyone at that last campsite is trying to make it to the Sun Gate to get a good view of the sunrise, tour groups start lining up well before dawn--so you're either waiting in line at 4:30am in the morning to get through the checkpoint when it opens at 5am, or your tour group sleeps in a bit but doesn't make it to the gate to watch the sun rise. That last day was the only day I really felt like I was hiking with hordes of people--the previous three days I had been on trails with reasonably light traffic, but the last day I was literally elbowed by people trying to rush past us so they could get a good seat. In addition, waking up that early means that you're incredibly tired and tempted to just head back down the mountain to Aguas Caliente by noon, thus potentially spending less time than you might have otherwise at Macchu Picchu. (I don't really regret this, but then again I had seen a lot of really cool sites along the trail so I don't feel like I missed out on much. I think that would be less true with the 2-day hike.)

Despite what I say above, I wouldn't recommend against doing it; it's just that all the less-awesome parts of my Inca Trail experience were definitely on that last day. If you like hiking, and give yourself enough time to acclimate to the altitude, I could see it being fun. (Then again, if you like hiking and had enough time to acclimate, I'd tell you to just bite the bullet and do the full trail.)
posted by iminurmefi at 10:08 AM on November 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

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