I’ve spent the last week or two spending some serious hours trip planning the next two months. (Which we all know I don’t particularly love). I have some friends and family coming to meet me soon so I kind of needed to know where I would be and when. But I also needed to book the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu as well, as tickets can be sold out upwards of six months in advance so it really was a good thing for me to figure my life out while on the road.
So the past few days I’ve been emailing companies and getting quotes and information on the Inca Trail. And oh boy, is it all a little ridiculously expensive… I understand that the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are slices of living history that need to be preserved and cared for, but I also wonder how much of my money actually goes towards that preservation of the trail and sites and how much is pocketed. For a four day, three night trek for which they guide you, feed you, and supply a tent, it’s $640USD. Thanks to the crummy exchange rate, I’m looking at over $700CAD, plus I need to rent a sleeping bag as well as some other fees (transportation, hostel the one night, other little costs that aren’t included). The trek is looking at running me about $800-900CAD depending on how well I tip the porters, kitchen staff and guide. Roughly $1000CAD for four days in a country where you could backpack for $30 a day. I’m having a hard time looking at those numbers.
Of course I’m paying for the novelty and the tourist attraction as well, but I’m honestly having a hard time stomaching the cost of the trek. It also doesn’t help that I’m in my last few months of traveling and money always gets a bit tight around this time.
So my choices are to do something that has been on my bucket list for years, Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or saying no to doing this particular hike and selecting a cheaper option which still runs along some of the other areas of the Inca Trail but also offer much cheaper prices (about $200USD for the same amount of days) as well as some pretty awesome activities like river rafting, zip lining and mountain biking. Three things I’m a sucker for doing. And you still end up in Machu Picchu on the last day.
So what do I decide? Is this another “you only live once” opportunity like my Galapagos Islands cruise or do I say no to this particular trek and maybe regret not doing it when I was in the country, had the time and opportunity, and at a cheaper price? (Because of course the prices are only going to go up year after year).
To Inca Trail or not to Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. What would you do?