Hiking the Salkantay Trek
The Salkantay trek is a beautiful alternative to the Inca Trail. After hiking theses Andean peaks for five days and arriving at dawn at the top of the Machu Picchu, it is obvious why in 2007 the National Geographic Adventure Magazine would list it in its top 25 treks in the world. The trek itself will take you all the way up to the Salkantay pass at 4,600 meters so pack up on coca leaves and red cells, they ´ll both be precious to fight altitude sickness; and bundle up against the cold, it quickly drops down below zero up there.
Review of Rasgos Del Peru Tour Operator
If you want the details of our five day hike on the Salkantay trek, head over to Jess ´article where she wrote about our progression in details. If you want to know how the final day was from Salkantay trek to the Machu Picchu ´s splendor, you can read my article. There are also lot of travel photos of Salkantay and a travel photo gallery of Machu Picchu awaiting you. This particular piece is there to review the performances of Rasgos del Peru as a tour operator of the Salkantay trek. The company has its own website (Rasgos del Peru) but it does not have a lot of feedback from fellow travelers and I therefore wanted to share our experience with them.
Finding Rasgos Del Peru in Cusco
Perhaps one of the reasons for the scarcity of the feedback is the fact that even in our group of eleven backpackers, only three were aware that they were hiking with the company. In fact, we came to realize that each had bought this trekking package from five different outlets. Some people had signed up online via an travel agency (and paid absolute premium price), some had found a local agent in Cusco, some bought it “off the street”, while we had purchased the tour via Rasgos del Peru travel desk inside Pariwana hostel in Cusco. I feel like we were quite lucky to go through that outlet since it afforded us a good price and a very knowledgeable travel agent to talk to as well regarding the details of the trek.
Prices of Rasgos Del Peru Package
Rasgos del Peru pricing are unbeatable on that path. We knocked at a few other doors and were quoted upwards of $300 sometimes $500. Compared to the “Wednesday special offer” we chose at $195, there was no photo finish. Ross and MaryAnn were the only ones who traveled cheaper with them at $175. The rest of the group paid over $200, sometimes way above $300 for exactly the same services. Moral of the story: avoid third party travel agent, and go straight to the source, inside Pariwana ´s hostel if possible. I should add that we chipped in an extra $20 each for essential sleeping-bags.
Quality of Prestations with Rasgos Del Peru
After paying so little for the hike, especially compared to other outfits or to the famous Inca Trail, we had some concerns about the quality of the services we were to receive from Rasgos del Peru. In fact, everything was on par with our expectations. The eleven hikers in our group left with one guide, two cooks, and one porter.
The equipment was in good shape, tents and sleeping bags were well suited for their purpose. They bear the distinctive smell of trail perspiration to which we quickly added our own. Camp sites are rustic and the toilets can be brutal at times but it is only fair considering the remote locations that are visited. The meals were fine, becoming more enjoyable and substantial as we were coming back towards civilization. It is perhaps with the guide that the money savings are felt the most. Obviously the operation runs on a tight schedule so our guide had only so much time to dedicate to us. If you are in good shape and can take all the hiking in strides it will not be an issue but the slower trekkers were not afforded much time to rest. This issue became most obvious in Machu Picchu were the guide gave us a short overview of some key elements to the site -I think there is much more to be shared- and left us on our own by the mid morning on the last day. To be fair, I do need to add that he taught us the game of 21 which was an absolutely riot that gelled our group tightly.
The Verdict on Rasgos del Peru
Thanks to an amazing group of people hiking with us, these shortcomings were not detrimental to our overall amazing experience on the Salkantay trail. It is especially nice to arrive at your base camps without having to share them with loads of other hikers. I found Rasgos del Peru to be overall a decent outfit, absolutely unbeatable for the price.