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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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**