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What Does the Inca Trail Cost?

Written by: Kevin Groh

Machu Picchu on a cloudy day with words above it "Peru Travel Podcast: What Does the Inca Trail Cost?"

Welcome to the Peru Travel Podcast. You can subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Google, TuneIn, or listen in the media player above.

We consistently hear, “Why is Cachi Life so expensive to do the Inca Trail?” So we wanted to break down some numbers on what it actually costs to do the Inca Trail.

Many companies have add-ons including a porter which we can almost guarantee that you are going to pay for by the second day of your Inca Trail hike (as you can hire them along the trail day-by-day). Doing so is going to make your hike price significantly more expensive than doing it through Cachi Life.

Take a listen and check it out as we break down what many different companies REALLY charging to hike the Inca Trail.

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Below is a transcript which has been modified for your reading pleasure.

David Kosloski: 00:11 Hello and welcome to the Peru Travel Podcast. I’m your host David Kosloski. Today we’re talking about the Inca Trail and what it costs to do the Inca Trail. And what’s so great about today’s episode is that we actually have done a ton of research. Kevin has done a ton of research. He’s got a breakdown of what you should expect to pay by doing the Inca Trail. And then on top of that, he actually has got some comparison and companies because we offer a lot of different things at Cachi that most companies don’t. And I think there’s a difference in terms of where our mission standpoint is as to why we offer that. But at the same time, he’s also gonna be able to explain where those costs are going. How are you feeling? Kevin Groh: 00:47 Feeling pretty good. Ready to go. Yeah. Ready to talk about the Inca Trail. David Kosloski: 00:51 And if you can’t tell he’s the bearded bandit right now. Dude looks like a monster. You should put some feathers in his beard. Maybe some flowers. He’s looking fancy. All right. Kevin Groh: 01:01 I forgot to comb it this morning. So it’s all over the place. David Kosloski: 01:04 That’s right. We’ve got people from Buenos Aires chiming in by the way right now. In case you guys don’t know on the podcast, we’re actually streaming live on Facebook right now and on Instagram. People are checking it out. So if you haven’t already hit us up on Instagram, hit us up on Facebook, Cachi Life, I guess let’s just get into it man. Kevin Groh: 01:19 Yeah, for sure. I’m ready to go. David Kosloski: 01:21 Cool. So what is the biggest cost that you’re seeing right now based on all the research as to why the Inca Trail is the price that it is? Kevin Groh: 01:28 So, I mean, every company has their base costs. A lot of different companies they have some additional options as you can add if you’re going to do the Inca Trail with them, such as a better sleeping mat, a sleeping bag. If you want to add up a porter or what they call in Peru, chaskis. So there’s a few different things and you know, there’s the Vistadome train option versus the Expedition train option, which is a little bit cheaper. There’s a few different things. Every company is anywhere of the range from $650, roughly all way if you’re going to go completely private. I mean you can have $1,900 per person. David Kosloski: 02:09 And when we’re talking about private too, Cachi we do private tours. All we do is private tours. I don’t know if we advertise that well enough. But we do only private tours, $899 for the Inca Trail, which we’ve had some people reach out to us and say, “why does it cost so much compared to everybody else? And it’s actually not more expensive or as much expensive as people may think it is. And the reason for that is because we make sure that we include porters. And the reason for that is because if you don’t have a porter, you’re going to be miserable. We did the trail obviously a few years ago when we did the trail. One of the issues that we ran into was we didn’t get a porter. And about the second day, 70 plus percent of the group actually ended up hiring a second porter. And that may seem like, “oh, I’m a tough man and trust me, I came out the game like, “Hey, you know what, I’m fit. David Kosloski: 02:58 I don’t a porter, I’m going to carry my stuff cause I’m a macho man.” No, no, I’m not as good as the Peruvians that are killing it on the mountain every single day. So what ended up happening is I ended up getting an extra porter, but then we found out later on from our guide who we ended up partnering with, that a lot of the times that this happens, a lot of the porters take on extra weight and they actually can’t maintain that weight and get too heavy, can run into some problems. And, actually, there’s a regulation that actually holds the weight down. Basically keeping it below a specific number. Kevin Groh: 03:29 And you want to have that regulation there cause you don’t want to be wearing out these people who are trying to work. David Kosloski: 03:35 More sustainable, right. Keep working forever rather than blow your knees out to make a quick, extra twenty bucks. Kevin Groh: 03:42 And just to piggyback off of that as David was saying when we did the Inca Trail the entire group… I think there was maybe one person that had hired a porter or chaski ahead of time. As you go along the way, there’s chaskis you can hire day by day and it’s a lot more expensive when you hire them, the second, third, fourth day. And like you were saying, 70% of the group by the second day is hiring, an additional porter because that first day is super flat. It’s easy. You know, you’re cruising along, you’re “oh man, this is going to be great.” You hit the second day and it’s up. It’s just straight up and you want to, everyone ends up dropping weight. David Kosloski: 04:25 So as we talk about the prices, let’s get some comparisons out here of other businesses that do the Inca Trail. What do they cost and how are we comparing? Kevin Groh: 04:34 So as David said, we charge $899. but we do include a porter, for, everyone that’s doing the Inca Trail with us. And that’s the biggest driver of why we’re a little bit higher with our base cost. So I looked at it about six, seven different companies. And you ranging from $650 base costs of about seven, $780. That’s US dollars. And they are complete ala carte. None of them include a porter with, with their options. So for example, the first company that I looked at, their base cost is $690, pretty cheap, right? Kevin Groh: 05:25 It’s pretty good. But when you add in that extra porter, you’re adding $100 on. So right there you’re all the way up to $790, which we include. And then if you want to do the Vistadome train option, which is a little bit nicer train option, It’s nice to have a little bit of comfort, especially for trekking after four days. You’re looking at an extra $90 onto that. So, you’re up to right there, $880. And then we include a nice therm-a-rest sleeping pad, and for that company, it’s 35 extra dollars. So right there you’re at $915. David Kosloski: 06:00 And then what about a sleeping bag, trekking poles, single tent? What are the variances here? Kevin Groh: 06:05 Right. So most of the companies, you can rent those as well. For this company, it was $40 for a sleeping bag. We’re charging $25 on that. And trekking Poles, that company charges $20 and we’re $15 on that. And the reason we don’t include that with our offerings is that those are more kind of personal items. You know, like some people, they may not want to share a sleeping bag that somebody else has used. David Kosloski: 06:35 The $690 is that a private tour as well? Is the $690, are we talking about adding an extra porter or is that a private? Kevin Groh: 06:42 Nope that’s the total group. David Kosloski: 06:44 So basically, even if you added everything, the porter, the Vistadome, and the sleeping pad, they’re still, even as a group is way higher than our original cost. What else we got here? Kevin Groh: 06:59 So it took a look at another company and you know, we’re just trying to give you the information. So, there’s another company that their base cost is $690. They do include a half porter. And they also do have trekking poles which are, which is great. You do gotta be a little bit careful as there are some other companies have their, their mission is to make sure that the porters are treated well and they state on their websites too. A lot of times that even though they’re cheaper, you may not actually be hiring an extra half porter, they might just throw it on the on top of what the regular porters are already carrying. David Kosloski: 07:35 But they’re saying, but correct me if I’m wrong though you’re saying that their mission though is to… Kevin Groh: 07:40 So this company, they may not be actually hiring that extra half porter. There’s some other companies out there that are trying to make that apparent that this isn’t actually happening. You’re not hiring a half porter, you’re just throwing that extra weight on who’s already working it. And then so yeah, they’re cheaper. You get the half porter, you get the trekking poles, but then when you go to private service with them, they’re all the way up to $1275 per person. David Kosloski: 08:12 Crazy. Wow. Prices just keep going up. How many of these did you get? How many you want to go through? Kevin Groh: 08:19 So I did about six companies. David Kosloski: 08:21 Holy smokes. Kevin Groh: 08:22 Yeah. I just focused on big companies. David Kosloski: 08:24 Basically though it’s the same exact kind of process, right? David Kosloski: 08:26 Yes. Same concept. They kind of is drawing you in with that low price being like “hey, book with us.” And you actually did some R&D if I’m not mistaken. Like you actually reached out and chatted with a couple of businesses to kind of get an idea of what they’re going to try to offer you. And you came in, you wanted to do an Inca Trail and then they were, “No, don’t do that. Do this trip.” And they were trying to navigate you to another one. What was that experience like? Kevin Groh: 08:49 So that’s when I was like, “Hey, I want to do something like Huayna Picchu after we get to Machu Picchu. And they were kind of pushing us to, rather than doing the four-day trek, do the five-day trek which is significantly more expensive. I mean, you’re going all the way up to $1,075. And with us, if you’re going to add on Huayna Picchu, we’re at $899, you’re only adding an extra $80. David Kosloski: 09:20 So, a lot of numbers going on right now, everybody’s trying to keep track. So the idea here we have to think about is that at the end of the day, you’re going to spend money, right? It’s inevitable. There’s nothing that you can do about it. Then the process is how do much do you care about having a great comfortable experience that is very transparent. I mean essentially we have a Southwest approach to the Inca Trail and that is porters fly free. Okay, that’s what we’re going with. But the idea is how much do you want to not only help people but at the same time, how comfortable do you want to be? David Kosloski: 09:51 And we kind of tried to take the best of both worlds and combine them to be able to say, “hey, you know, we want you to have not only a great experience, have fun and be comfortable and enjoy your trip.” But then at the same time help people along the way. And that’s kind of the gateway drug. If you ask me in terms of like voluntourism and things like that, which we’re pushing here coming up soon. Yeah man, I think I’ve got a pretty good understanding. Basically at the end of the day, even though the price seems low, do your due diligence, take some time and actually add a couple more things in there. Add what it is you want, so aka a sleeping bag, aka a sleeping pad, so you’re not sleeping on rocks. And, maybe it’s a private tour, maybe it’s not a private tour. David Kosloski: 10:29 And then at the end of the day to make sure you have that half porter and see what that price gets you. Because I promise you it’s probably gonna be a lot higher than anything you’ve seen. Kevin Groh: 10:35 Right. And you know, like I was saying, you’re almost guaranteed to hire a half porter once you’re going through. So just do it ahead of time. David Kosloski: 10:43 Unless you’re… give me an example of somebody who might not need a half porter. Kevin Groh: 10:48 I mean, so I’ve got a lot of backpacking experience. David Kosloski: 10:52 How much? Let’s brag on Kev here. He’s got the beard, he’s got backpacking experience. This dude is just a monster. Kevin Groh: 10:58 I’ve done, I’ve done quite a bit. David Kosloski: 11:01 What’s the hardest one you’ve ever done? Getting off topic. Kevin Groh: 11:04 I mean, the hardest one I ever did was probably my very first backpacking experience. David Kosloski: 11:08 It’s everybody. Where was it? Kevin Groh: 11:10 We were going to Mount Sill up in the Eastern Sierra in California. I was just wrecked. If I didn’t have my trekking poles, I probably wouldn’t have made it more than a quarter mile and it was an eight-mile trek in. David Kosloski: 11:22 And what was the Waimanu Valley for anybody who’s listening or keeps up, I did with Waimanu Valley is my first I can experience and I had a great experience. It was the worst ever in my entire life. I was miserable. What would you compare it to? Your experience to mine when I did Waimanu. Kevin Groh: 11:45 it was the same. We were both destroyed, Yeah, it was terrible. David Kosloski: 11:48 All right. So if you’ve never hiked before, you definitely need to get a half porter. I would recommend probably doing a hike or two beforehand and make sure it’s a multiple day hike. All right, so let’s roll into then. You’ve got this experience of backpacking. Give me the longest you had been out. Kevin Groh: 12:01 The longest I had ever been out before Inca Trail was three days, two nights. David Kosloski: 12:06 And this experience. Would you say you did it every weekend for a couple of years? Kevin Groh: 12:11 Not every weekend. I did it about every three weeks or so for three, four years. And you know, as I said, we got on the Inca Trail, you’re at elevation. That’s one factor playing into it. It’s pretty steep that second day and I was like, “I can’t do this. I need the half porter.” David Kosloski: 12:37 So wait, that was on the second day? I do remember me waking up being like, “I am going to get this half porter.” And I believe you said, “Oh, I think I’m fine. Yeah. I’m going to try to get it out. I’m going to try to move forward. I’m experienced. I’m a macho man, I’ve got a badass beard.” Then all of a sudden you’re, “wait, stop.” And he’s like, nope. Nope. Hands down walking up Dead Woman’s Pass or something like that would have just been brutal. Kevin Groh: 13:04 That’s where I needed it. Dead Woman’s Pass. David Kosloski: 13:05 Yeah, that is awful. So do yourself the favor. I would say train too. We’re getting a little off, but train a little bit ahead of time and then obviously get the half porter. David Kosloski: 13:15 It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be totally worth it. Kevin Groh: 13:16 And like I said with us, you’re getting the half porter. It’s just a part of what you’re getting. David Kosloski: 13:22 Awesome. Anything else you got? Kevin Groh: 13:24 I don’t think I have much of anything else. No. David Kosloski: 13:25 And we’ll be doing a cost breakdown of this as well. We’ll create an infographic, throw it up there. So everybody can kind of see a rough estimate of what it should cost versus what you’re paying. Full transparency. That’s what we do. Transfarency, dude. We’re stealing Southwest lines right now. They’re going to come after us. Let’s hope not. Cool. All right guys, thanks so much for watching. Again, I’m David Kosloski. The Peru Travel Podcast. Kevin Groh hanging out with us and we’ll see you guys soon.

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