Alapaca Expeditions Review
Following all the advice we had been given regarding the Inca Trail, we decided to book way in advance to avoid disappointment. After much debate, the company we have finally settled on for the Inca Trail is called Alpaca Expeditions. They received some very impressive reviews on Trip Advisor and other Inca Trail specific sites, I believe the company is ran by an ex-porter called Raul who obviously understands the area and what makes an excellent trip.
The website for Alpaca Expeditions is easy to use and the customer service we have received so far has been excellent, we have paid our deposit and are due to start the Classic 4D/3N Inca Trail on the 19th November – after which we can provide a much better review of our experience. That said however, so far so good….
Now sat back in the UK (with time on my hands) I can write up a full review of Alpaca Expeditions and our experience on the Inca Trail, please see below.
Right from the offset we were impressed by the team at Alpaca Expeditions, we arrived in Cusco a couple of days early to settle the outstanding balance and were in touch with the team via email the whole time. Raul (Owner) was very quick and professional and organised a time for us to meet to pay the balance. We found the office with no problems and were also given a very informative brief about the upcoming trek and were given our duffle bags as well as more information about the trek, tips and advice.
With our duffle bags packed we were picked up bright and early from our hostel in a minivan where we met with our guide and were given blankets to keep warm and advised to have a snooze on route to the start point of the trek over 3 hours away. At the jump off point of the trek we met with our porters for the first time and were issued with some hiking poles that we had chosen to hire. Immediately I was impressed by the high level of organisation, the porters had already laid out a table and chairs and were preparing to serve fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal and fresh breads for breakfast – an excellent start to the day. We were then given some snacks to keep us going in between breakfast and lunch as well as provided with fresh cleaning water and warm towels to wash our hands and faces in.
Throughout the trip this high level of service and great tasting, fresh and healthy food continued. Each time we arrived at a lunch spot the porters had already set up the tent and tables and were ready to serve delicious hot food to keep us full of energy. The porters were incredible – each time, they packed away after us, ran past us on the trail and had begun setting up the next rest stop. Coming from an ex-porter background, Raul made sure that all the porters were well looked after, I believe they were some of the best paid out of all the companies. They definitely had the best and latest equipment which kept them warm, dry and happy. They were nicknamed the ‘Green Machine’ and truly lived up to this. The chef deserves a special mention too – I looked forward to every meal, he even managed to somehow cook us a celebratory quinoa cake on the last evening (also catering to Grace’s dietary needs – wheat intolerance) – Amazing!
Another major reason we were so happy we had booked through Alpaca Expeditions was the small group sizes, our group only consisted of 4 people. This meant we were quicker to rise in the morning resulting in our group being first on the trail every day. It felt like we had the place to ourselves, we rarely saw anyone else apart from the mighty Green Machine which made the experience rather special.
Our guide Sabi was fantastic – he had an amazing knowledge of the trail (ex-porter) and the Incas in general, funny and energetic he helped get us through the long days and over the infamous ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’.
All in all we had an incredible time hiking the Inca Trail, it is one of our top 3 highlights of our entire trip and only made that enjoyable by the incredible service that Alpaca Expeditions had to offer. I can highly recommend them to anyone, yes they might be a bit more expensive – but honestly, this isn’t the time to be making compromises. My only recommendation would be to book early, these guys get very busy!!!
For a more personal review of our time as well as some photos please check out our Inca Trail Blog, for more information about Alpaca as well as the different hikes they offer please visit Alpaca Expeditons. Please feel free to comment if you would like to know anymore information about Alpaca or our time on the trail.
Thanks to all the team at Alpaca,
Mike and Grace