Andean Trekking Specialist Cites Clueless Hikers â Offers Tips on How to Maximize Trail's Pleasures
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Dec.
12, 2012 â Andean trekking specialist Diane Valenti, owner and founder of Llama Expeditions (http://www.llamaexpeditions.com/) looks at 10 ways to find misery on the Inca Trail. And she's seen it all.
âPeople have their bucket lists but they sometimes don't know what goes into achieving something on that list,â said Valenti, underscoring that homework and common sense are key. Following in her words are tried and true ways to be miserable, âif you don't properly prepare for the Inca Trail.â
1) Be a porter instead of hiring a porter. Your quads will be screaming as you summit not one but two mountain passes at nearly 14,000 feet each.
2) Hire the cheapest trekking company that will have you. Horror stories abound about guests going to bed starving because their designated company didn't pack enough food.
3) Forget to bring toilet paper. Enough said.
4) Hike in sneakers or brand new hiking boots you haven't broken in yet. You'll wish you could make the hike in flip flops once the blisters begin.
5) Let a friend talk you into hiking the trail without first researching what you are getting into. You need to train for this hike. If you aren't in good shape for it, you'll wish you could kill your friend.
6) Think that because you hiked Kilimanjaro the Inca Trail will be a piece of cake. Kilimanjaro is gradual. The Inca Trail is steep.
7) Race the porters. If you hike too fast at altitude, you increase your risk of getting altitude sickness. This could include severe headaches, vomiting and diarrhea in a place where bathrooms are few and far between. (Plus, remember you forgot the toilet paper.)
8) Plan your hike during the rainy season, November through January. Rock-paved paths and stone steps can become dangerously slick. And then there's all that mud.
9) Pack summer clothes for a hike during June, July, or August. It's winter in the southern hemisphere. You'll freeze, especially at night. Tip: bring a hot water bottle. It can be just the thing to help you feel toasty in your sleeping bags on those cold nights when you are chilled from hiking all day.
10) Bring heavy books or a hair dryer. If you hired a porter and your pack is overweight (approx. 45 lbs. max.), you'll end up carrying these heavy, unnecessary items in your daypack. It won't be fun.
Valenti suggests reserving a trip three to six months before arrival because everything here runs by prior permit issued by the authorities. Guests must hike with a company â not solo or with a companion. The entire trail is 26 miles and is typically hiked in four days. Five-day hikes allow guests to tour Machu Picchu on the fifth day, whereas on four-day programs it's folded into the fourth hiking day. Overall guests summit two mountain passes (Dead Woman's Pass and Abre de Runkuraqay) at nearly 14,000 feet each.
Llama Expeditions offers a range of guided tours through Peru, from sightseeing to multi-day hikes along the Inca Trail. In addition to taking in the stunning scenery and experiencing true adventure, these tours also allow travelers to make a personal connection to the country and its people.
âThe company fills the spot between responsible tourism and voluntourism,â said Valenti. âThis is a real vacation for people who work hard and want a chance to relax. We stay in nice hotels when and eat in good restaurants. But it's also a chance for culturally curious travelers to make a meaningful connection with the people and the land of Peru.â Guests are encouraged to âpay-it-forwardâ by contributing to a variety of local community development organizations. See how you can leave a trace.
About Llama Expeditions
Entrepreneur and outdoorswoman Diane Valenti hatched the idea for her company in 2008 over a home-cooked chicken dinner at close to 14,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes. She has been able to apply her over 20 years as a business consultant working with clients such as Genentech, Nike, and Starbucks Coffee Company to her enterprise that goes beyond just ordinary tourism.
Llama Expeditions tours offer full cultural immersion giving guests the opportunity to see how Peruvians really liveâto talk with them about their dreams and accomplishments and to learn about the challenges they face. Interactions with carefully selected nonprofit and grassroots organizations are also woven into the itinerary when possible giving participants the chance to experience the difference gifts of healthy food, school supplies, clothing, or sunglasses can make in the lives of some of the world's poorest people.
Llama Expeditions is a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and the International Ecotourism Society. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 553-7731.
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