For six years, I have been coming down to Peru to guide IMG treks to Machu Picchu. Yet, between the amazing cultural experience and sites, Peru continues to fascinate me with new experiences each trip. It has been a fun journey as we continue to modify and tweak our trips to make them the best they can be. From the places we visit, to the treks themselves, I am really proud of what our Peru trekking program has become.
Over the years, we have had families with teenagers, young couples, and grandparents along for the trek. Despite the variations in age, the common themes I see with IMG guests are down to earth and relaxed attitudes. This year’s group on our Inca Trail trek consisted of all couples leaving me really wishing my wife had come along. We had a fantastic and safe trip with perfect weather. In talking to our group along the trail about why they chose IMG, it got me thinking about the question. In doing so, I came up with a list of the top 10 reasons to trek the Inca Trail with IMG. And, yes, it was hard to limit it to a list of 10 items.
So, why trek Peru with IMG?
- IMG’s itinerary on the Inca Trail trek leaves room for a second day touring Machu Picchu. Let’s face it, the world is big and the chances of coming back to Machu Picchu again are pretty slim. The second day allows for visiting less commonly seen areas or, for those who are up for it, a climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. This year we opted for climbing Machu Picchu Mountain and enjoyed our bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu and the trail we had hiked to get there.
- IMG works with expert local guides. IMG works hard to vet the right Peruvian guides to fit our programs and work with us year after year. Not only do they understand the rigors of trekking in the Andes, they are experts in flora, fauna, geology and history. I have read plenty about the Inca, but I don’t pretend to have the local knowledge and formal education on the subject our local leader does.
- IMG sends a lead guide from the US on the trip. Lead guides may not know everything about the Inca, but they do bring IMG’s perspective on risk management, safety and expedition organization/logistics.
- IMG has longstanding relationships with our Peru outfitters. The relationships IMG has fostered over the years improves logistics, equipment, and the overall experience. It always means a lot to me when I am met at the Cusco airport by one of our outfitters welcoming me to Peru.
- IMG international treks are always equipped with a Satellite Phone. Whether it is used for helping coordinate logistics or needed for managing an evacuation, this tool enhances our safety and effectiveness when operating in mountainous terrain. IMG guides check in with our Headquarters every day.
- IMG’s history of guiding treks in Peru allows for seeing the best of the best. After leading many successful trips in Peru, IMG has been able to select the best and most unique sites to visit along the way. Focusing on the most interesting Inca sites rather than skimming over as many as possible makes for more enjoyable and valuable experiences.
- Hot lunches on the trail. It is certainly not every trek or hiking trip where you can pass on the energy bars and enjoy a hot and delicious sit down lunch on the trail. A Peruvian chef is part of our trekking team and serves up amazing food throughout our treks. Quinoa soup with local spices is quite a treat at the end of a hiking day!
- IMG Porters are hard workers and always smiling. These folks work so hard to help us enjoy the trek and you can see it in their faces that they are proud of the work they do and the opportunity to share their country with us.
- IMG’s trip dates. IMG has selected dates for our treks that provide for the best weather and prevent us from hitting Machu Picchu on the weekends.
- IMG’s reputation around the world on all seven continents for high quality and value expeditions and treks. When you sign up with IMG, you know you can expect the best experience possible, whether it’s a trip up Mt. Rainier or a trek like Machu Picchu.
Anyone can fly to Cusco and arrange for a train ride to Machu Picchu. But, trust me, after six years of arriving at Machu Picchu on foot, there is nothing like seeing this ancient site after hiking miles on Incan trails to get there. I have climbed Mt. Everest and summited Mt. Rainier 100 times, but the rewards of Machu Picchu, the journey to get there, and the Peruvian experience keep me coming back.
Peter Anderson, IMG Lead guide