Lost in the Mail: The Inca Trail

Adventure Travel, Fitness & Workouts, Lost Girls, Lost in the Mail, Peru, Planning, Tours & Attractions — By on August 29, 2007 at 1:12 am

This week’s Lost in the Mail comes to us from Rebecca Goehringer a 27-year old recruiter in Washington DC:

Q. First I must say – thank you! Your blog has helped me through the last 3 terrible months at my old company. As I was dreaming and planning of a trip around the world I came across your blog–I have hit burnout after only 4 years of work!

I am not sure when I will be able to take my 6 -12 month journey, but in the meantime I am planning smaller treks to keep myself sane.

I’ve been planning on hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and currently working with my travel companions to decide company offers the best deal and is the safest. I thought I would check in with you all to see if you had any advice or felt confident in the companies that you used for your hike. Would you mind sharing that information? –Rebecca


A. Hi Rebecca! We love the idea of taking smaller adventures until you can save up the cash for a larger, longer trip. Peru is the perfect place for a shorter getaway–you can sample incredible Andean cuisine (alpaca medallions! quinoa pancakes!) and surprisingly lively nightlife in Cuzco, do a homestay on the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, tiptoe across suspension bridges strung in the Amazon rainforest canopy and spot massive condors as they soaring high above Colca Canyona at dawn.

Of course, no trip to the Andean highlands would be complete without a visit to the Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu. Sure, you can get there by train, but taking “the easy way” out cannot compare to seeing the ancient wonder after four days on the Inca Trail.

To answer your question, the company we used was Liz’s Explorers. They not only offered one of the best deals in town, but a relatively large portion of the $350 fee goes to pay the porters and guides who work so diligently to maneuver hikers across 26 miles (and up to 13,000 feet) during the arduous journey. Another great company: SAS Travel…their treks are reasonably priced and offer cool adventure tours in Peru.

How was the experience itself? The meals on the trail were outstanding, the bathrooms were atrocious, but we loved every minute of it. Yes, even the those miserable few hours on Day Two when we thought our legs might collapse out from under us and we’d pass out from lack of oxygen. But when you get to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass–and eventually to Machu Picchu itself–its impossible not to feel at least a little moved. We watched all manner of hikers–big German guys and little Asian girls–break down into tears.

At some point on day four, it hit the three of us that we’d literally walked in the footsteps of kings, on a trail that had been completely cloaked in moss and mystery for the past 400 years.

High season on the trail: May- Sept (that’s winter down in Peru, and their dry season)
Low season: December and January (the trail is closed in February for repairs and it rains almost every day in summer)

To watch The Lost Girls hike the Inca Trail (on video!), visit:

For more on Peru’s tour operators, hotels and other how-to info, visit the Andean Travel Web.

To learn a bit more about the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, visit Fodor’s Cusco & Machu Picchu mini-guide.

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  • dave925 says:

    Hi Rebecca –

    Good plan to take small trips to keep you motivated. That’s what I’ve done the past 2 years.

    I’m always up for meeting someone in the DC area planning a RTW trip like myself. If you read this, and would like to meet up and talk travel, contact me through my blog!


  • K. says:

    I love that picture of you guys! And the Inca is the next on my list of things to do, as well!

  • hfreije says:

    ROW Adventures (http://www.rowadventures.com/Peru-Tours-Machu-Picchu-Tours-Vacations) offers a Peru Adventure tour can be added before or after any Ecuador or Galapagos Islands trips, or as a stand-alone Peru hiking and walking tour.

    ROW’s trip includes Cusco, the Inca capital, the Valley of the Urubamba River, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Machu Picchu and much more.