What to know when choosing a tour operator for the Inca Trail

By shortinca
September 17, 2018
Best Comapannies for The Inca Trail

Seventeen Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Short Inca Trail Tour Operator

  1. Is the Trekking Company a fully licensed tour operator for the Inca Trail, including guides?
  2. Does the tour operator actually do the services you are contracting them to provide or do they sell your business to a 3rd party provider?
  3. Does the company appear on TripAdvisor? How are their reviews?
  4. Does the tour operator have a full 100% quality guarantee for all the services they will provide?
  5. What is the minimum number of people required to book? For example: if there are 2 people in your group is it guaranteed that you will trek, even if no additional people join the group?
  6. What is the maximum number of people allowed to join the trek or tour? The quality of a trek or tour changes based on group size.  If it is a large group of 10 or more people how many guides will they provide?
  7. If you book and pay your deposit, is it guaranteed you will trek or will your booking be cancelled if they do not get a big enough group?
  8. What is included and what is not included for the trek? Are there hidden costs or additional costs that are not mentioned? This could be entrances, transfers, meals etc.
  9. Are all of their guides university educated? Guides are required to study for 5 years before they can say they are qualified in tourism. Do the guides speak fluent English? Are the guides trained in all aspects of guiding including First Aid?
  10. Does the tour operator carry satellite phones, first aid supplies, and oxygen tanks on all of their treks?
  11. What is the quality of food provided? Is it freshly cooked food with high quality ingredients, or are you getting a dry sandwich and fruit?
  12. What type of accommodation is provided? Is it a hostel or an actual hotel?
  13. What time are the train connections? Will the train get you back to Cusco at a reasonable hour, or did they book the first and last train of the day to save some money?
  14. How are transfers done? Are all transfers included? Are you picked up from your hotel? Are the transfers in a modern and comfortable van private for the tour group, is it public transport, or a large bus with multiple tour groups?
  15. Does the tour company offer additionals such as a free airport transfer?
  16. Does the tour operator provide all of their staff a true living wage? Do they provide them with uniforms and do they care for their needs on the trek?
  17. What does the operator do to look after the environment and the indigenous peoples of Peru?

How to Know if a Travel Company is Good

We recommend checking out their reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and other review forums before booking your trip to the Inca Trail. Each company offers a different type of service, so think about what kind of trip might be right for you. Some lead large groups others lead small groups. Prices vary on the size of the group, and the quality you can expect while on the trek itself.


  • Visiting Wiñay Wayna– an amazing and unique Inca city
  • Hiking the final 1/3 of the famous Classic Inca Trail
  • Hiking in the footsteps of the Incas, along the same paths they paved 500 years ago.
  • Hike through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) all the way to famous Machu Picchu Citadel.
  • To enjoy the spectacular views from the Sun Gate over Machu Picchu.
  • Visiting Machu Picchu Citadel twice, on the 1st and 2nd day of the trek.


Times are approximate and depend on your fitness level. Permits need to be booked way in advance!

Best Tours Operators

4.9 (2,207) by tripadvisor

80 trips to Inca Trail | Regional Expert Service level: top

  • Small intimate groups of 2 to 8 person
  • Guaranted and Secure Trips

SAM TRAVEL PERÚ is a family-owned Travel Company & Tour Operator located in Cusco, Peru that creates customized uniquely designed adventure treks and tours to untouched wilderness places, OFF THE BEATEN TRACK, in the High Andes Mountains of Peru. Our many years of experience is demonstrated in our excellent reviews!

4.9 (160) by tripadvisor

45 trips to Inca Trail | Regional Expert Service level: Standard

  • Small intimate groups of 2 to 8 person
  • Guaranted and Secure Trips

ORANGE NATION is Peruvian owned Travel Company that specializes in tour and trekking in Cusco Peru. They are experienced in offering small group personalized service for tours from the BREATHTAKING ANDES MOUNTAINS TO THE MAJESTIC MACHU PICCHU CITADEL. Making your experience beyond what even you could have dreamed!

4.9 (6) by tripadvisor

45 trips to Inca Trail | Regional Expert Service level: Standard

  • Small intimate groups of 2 to 8 person
  • Guaranted and Secure Trips

SPIDER TRAVEL PERU is an innovative adventure travel company in Cusco Peru that offers UNPARALLELED EXPERIENCES TO UNTOUCHED WILDERNESS AREAS. Our adventure treks and tours are specific and carefully designed to cater to budget and personal needs!

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