One of the top bucket list items when backpacking Peru is undoubtedly Machu Pichu. But even more so is the chance to trek the infamous Inca Trail to arrive there via the sungate.

I’m not a hiker (nor a massive fan of walking!) but my Peruvian plans were an exception to this rule – and I headed off to trek the Inca Trail with the amazing G Adventures.

 

Hitting the G Spot

Having worked at STA Travel for a long period of time I was well aware of G’s reputation and to be honest I had some pretty high expectation of them.

But having dealt with them during my time in the travel industry I knew I was in capable hands. I was also pretty excited and nervous as this was the first full on organised tour I’d ever undertaken (another tick off the bucket list) and as a solo traveller I was keen to meet some new faces.

From the off though they were super on the ball – with a full introductory brief on our first evening, all the boring paperwork side of things out the way and a teaser into what we could expect.

 

The Itinerary

Our itinerary was broken down into 5 main days;

 

The Intro Day – where we would explore the ruins of Olyantytambo, the pace in the valleys and one of  the Planeterra (the charitable arm of G) projects.

The Easy Day – our first day of proper hiking on the trail – steady inclines, and beautiful scenery

The Challenge Day – the most grueling part of the trail including steep steps and an incline that would take us to our top altitude of 3,900metres at Dead Womans Pass

The Unforgettable Day – a welcome wind down from the previous day, winding through jungle, beautiful ruins and amazing outlooks

The Final Day – and early rise to get through the sungate at dawn followed by a solid amount of time being shown around and exploring Machu Pichu off our own backs

 

A more in depth breakdown of my time on the Inca Trail can be found in the post of my Inca Trail Diary, which goes live early next week.

Throughout the whole tour there was a good balance on tour time vs personal time. We saw everything we would want to see, we’re pointed in the direction of optional things of interest and learnt a whole heap about the trail, what we were visiting and the culture and religion of the Incas.

 

Grubs Up

Our Fabulous Chef

The most pleasant surprise of the trip was undoubtably the food – as sad as that may seem!

From the word go I was immediately outstanding by the quality and quantity of the food served up to us – and the bar continued to be raised throughout the entire trip.

On day one we were awoken with a hot mug of cocoa tea delivered to our tent doors, followed by pancakes complete with the G Logo in caramel syrup! It’s the little touches that made a big difference!

We sat down to 3 course meals, from buffet lunches to carefully constructed food which tasted delicious and fuelled our hike. And we’re presented with snack packs every morning full of sugary treats and fresh fruit to keep us going throughout the day.

Our chefs produced epic food in the most basic of tent kitchens and took real pride in their work – despite using chopping boards on their laps, sat on stools in a tent in the cold evening air they donned their chef hats and chef whites. True professionals.

On our final day they even cooked a cake and lemon pie – complete with a sugar nest encasing it! EPIC!

 

The Crew

Man or Machine?!

This commitment and professionalism was apparent in all the staff who crewed our trip.

Our guide Henry and his assistant were knowledgeable, chatty, fun and most importantly organised.

They got us where we needed to go, at the time we needed to do it at and did the whole thing with a smile on their faces. Despite trekking tone inca trail over 500 times Henry is visibly and genuinely stoked to share this part of the world and his heritage with anyone who wants to explore it.

The porters are the epitamy of the perfect work ethic – and man they work hard.

Each of them lugged 25kg of kit on their backs each day – from tents, to chairs to food – and by the time we arrived at each check point thy had erected our camp and started on the food. They’re machines when it comes to trekking, basically running each section.

The tour took 4days to complete, but each year the porters hold a competition – the record for completing the inca trail is a mere 3 hours 45 minutes.

That’s insane!

 

The Backpackers

The demographic in my group was a bit of a surprise to me. I was expecting a younger crowd but there was a pleasant mix of age ranges and nationalities. From an 18 year old Aussie travelling its her parents in their 50’s through to Canadian couples in their 30’s. To be honest I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.

Team G

As G is an international company your always guaranteed a good mix of people, for me that makes the whole experience that much better and I know have sofas to crash on in many different places!

 

Value

Our trek with G wasn’t the cheapest option for completing the Inca Trail (it retails around £600) but to be honest the value for money was amazing.

Throughout the whole experience I felt like I was being taken care of, fed well and getting the most out of the beautiful places I was exploring. I didn’t feel rushed, isolated or like I’d paid too much.

My opinion on the whole tour setup is that to a large degree you get what you pay for. With G I paid more but had great service, good pre tour support and customer service.

I also know for a fact that G also looks after their staff on the ground too – and that the G porters get paid a higher wage than average and are kitted out with all the safety and trekking gear that they require.

That alone for me justifies the money.

 

The Bottom Line

Overall my experience with G and on the Inca Trail itself was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tour to my fellow backpackers and if I ever undertake another tour type trip G will definitely be my first point of call for booking. Plus if you fill out the evaluation form post tour you get 5% off your next trip!  What a bonus!

Check out the G Adventures website for all their products, follow them on twitter and likes their Facebook page for heaps of competitions …and of course you could nip into your local STA to chat through anything!

 

**I received a discount on my Inca Trail tour – but rest assured that all opinions are honest and my own**

Walking the Inca Trail, Peru With @GAdventures
The G crew were amazing and I couldn't have hoped for a better way to hike the Inca Trail!
Itinerary
Inclusions
Staff
Value
Positives
  • Amazing staff
  • All inclusive trip itinerary
  • Everyone went the extra mile
Negatives
  • There are cheaper options (but I wouldn't recommend them!)
4.8Overall Score

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10 Responses

    • Chris

      a lot of people on my trip had added in the Lima section Rebecca and loved the extra time exploring! Glad you had a heaps good time also – where else did you explore in Peru?

      Reply
  1. Lachlan

    Hey,

    Thanks for the post! I’m looking at hopefully getting on a trip with G as well to go to Machu Picchu in about a month.

    Just wondering if the tour you have mentioned is called ‘The Inca Trail’?

    And what happens with thing’s like going to the toilet? I’m assuming you don’t shower for the days you walk the Inca trail? :)

    Thanks for any extra tips.
    Lachlan

    Reply
    • Chris

      Hey Lachlan – yeah its the Inca Trail one. The campsites en route are actually pretty well equipped and you can shower. Toilet wise its squats all the way – or an eco toilet if you prefer :P
      Have an epic trip and let me know how you get on!

      Reply
  2. russ

    great post!

    im actually starting my backpacking adventures by starting with a year in s america, flying into lima from texas, usa and then heading to cusco to start the incan trail!

    how far in advance did you book your trip? and did you have to get your permit before you got your reservation with G or did they take care of that for you? im a bit confused on the process of being able to make it happen… get the permit first, or book with a tour company and they take care of it for you?

    thanks man, great website and keep up the good work. im enjoying it!

    russ
    TheWorldOnMyBack.com

    Reply
    • Chris

      Sounds like an awesome trip Russ!
      I booked my trio a good 4months in advance through STA Travel (where I was working at the time) as passes sell out pretty quickly.
      G Adventures sorted passes as part of the tour and is all included in the price – a couple of my buddies couldn’t get on the Inca Trail so went with the Lares Trek instead (again with G Adventures) and said it was also incredible – so maybe a good alternative?
      …and I’ll do my best to keep up the good work, cheers for the encouragement!

      Reply
  3. Slf

    LOVED this article, great read. I’m looking into the galapagos/Peru tour with G Adventures and have been trying to research.. Out of all the feedback I’ve read this has by far been the most informative. Can’t wait to read your inca trail journal!!

    Reply
    • Chris

      I can’t recommend them enough Shannon – saw their boat in the Galapagos and it looked pretty nice but I used another tour company during my time on Galapagos (which I don’t recommend!) however if the G service is as good as on the inca trail you’ve got a safe bet!

      Reply
  4. Jennifer Waite

    I am booked with g adventure in October this year to walk the Inca trail, I lived reading ur thoughts on the trip.
    Thinking about what to take with us, we have a basic check list but Is there any thing you wished you had taken with you but didn’t, or anything we definitely should take?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Chris

      You’ll enjoy it heaps Jennifer! Hmmmm for the Inca trail I’d travel light and pack plenty of spare batteries for your camera! A solar charger might be a good investment and definitely have a good head torch with you for the evenings! The usual stuff – like a good pair of walking boots and plenty of socks are standard and I’d grab an alpaca hat at one of the markets at the beginning of the trip for that full Incan experience!
      Have fun!

      Reply

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