Most Inspirational Moment
Very difficult to single out one, but probably getting to the top of Dead Woman’s Pass, followed very closely by arriving as a group at the Sun Gate. Also, in the rainforest, we were incredibly fortunate to see a young male jaguar for 15-20 minutes as we travelled by boat early one morning.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Adolfo (AD) was brilliant: very personable and extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He was also exceptionally well-organised without us feeling pressured in any way. He instilled us with confidence in our capabilities and it was reassuring to learn that he was going to be with us for the whole 2 weeks. This meant that transfers, hotel check-ins, internal flights etc were seamless as AD did all the legwork and made it extremely easy for us. In addition, in his capacity as our guide on the Trail, he supervised us in a way that enabled us to walk at our own pace in small groups within our group. He also had a great knowledge of and a passion for wild flowers, particularly orchids, so our Trail experience was punctuated with much-welcomed breaks to take photos. In addition, when in Lima, Cusco and Puno, he knew exactly which restaurants to take us to for the very best and authentic experiences and never seemed to struggle to get us in, even at the last minute. AD even managed to get hold of a bottle of wine on our last night of the Trail - goodness knows from where, as we were camping at just under 4000 metres!
Advice for Potential Travellers
Read all the reviews of the Trail and you will get a pretty good idea of what it’s like. Yes, it is tough, especially the second day, but it was what we expected - certainly not worse. Do spend time working on your fitness levels, especially walking uphill, as this will help you enjoy the experience more. We were fortunate to be part of a fantastic group of people who worked well together and supported each other: don’t underestimate how important it is to want to complete the Trail as a Team, as this certainly spurs you on.
Travel light! Most of us just took one change of clothes on the Trail and changed into them at night to sleep in, not the least to be better prepared for the early start next day. Don’t forget spare batteries for cameras and use wet wipes for washing.
The rainforest was very hot so make sure you have light clothing but you do need to cover arms and legs to protect yourself from insect bites. We were all loaned duffle bags (different from the Exodus kit bag that you’re sent for the Trail), and this was for packing stuff for the rainforest. You are not limited by weight and there’s plenty of space for the gear you need for this part of the trip. On arrival in Cusco, we all used the laundry service organised by AD as our stuff was damp and smelly! This was very speedy and very cheap!
We took some Peruvian Sol but also UD dollars. We had no problem finding ATMs or changing money. Do be prepared to spend more than you planned for, as we probably all spent twice the amount on tips compared to the Exodus guidelines in the Trip Notes.
This trip was made by the Exodus staff as well as the excellent group of like-minded people with whom I had the good fortune to share this fantastic adventure. I cannot stress enough how exceptional AD was as our group leader and, for sure, he motivated us all to achieve our ambition of successfully completing the Inca Trail. He also ensured that we enjoyed the most amazing experience of his beautiful country.
Much credit also to the lovely Christian, AD’s deputy on the Trail, who selflessly and tirelessly encouraged and supported our group throughout. In addition, Christian, together with Uri, one of our porters, very kindly gave up their time to lead 3 of us up an extra peak at the end of our walk on Day 3. Talking of porters, they were truly amazing - how do they do it?! No only did they carry all the luggage and camping gear for the whole group, including food, catering equipment, tables, chairs, portable toilet etc, but they still managed to overtake us and were able to welcome us in at lunchtime/the end of the day! A special mention also goes to the very talented chefs, Roberto and his assistant, Vassilli?, who prepared the most fantastic and beautifully-presented food in very difficult conditions.
In the rainforest, our guides, Frank and Joss were inspirational and so knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife and conservation.
On Lake Titicaca, some of us were fortunate to experience the wonderful hospitality of Mama Flora who welcomed us into her home - what a lovely lady!