In order to hike the Inca Trail, it is necessary to hire the services of a tour operator. Before hiring the services of a tour operator it is necessary to consider that not all tour operators offer the same service.
The service provided can be extremely different from one company to another company, but what does not change is the fact that all tour operators need to hire porters to carry the equipment needed for the trek and, depending on the company, the personal belongings of the trekkers.
When the Inca Trail started to get popular, some tour operators used to take advantage of the porters by paying them almost nothing and giving them too much weight to carry. In order to avoid these abuses, the Peruvian government introduced a bill stipulating that a porter should get about USD 14.00 per day and carry a maximum of 44 pounds. Unfortunately, not all tour operators respect this law so please make sure that you hire a company who pays and respects its porters.
When a personal or private porter is hired to carry the personal belongings of the trekkers, a permit to enter to the trail is needed. The majority of companies operating the Inca Trail will have this personal porter carrying up to 33 pounds of your personal belongings and 11 pounds of the cooking equipment. The price of hiring a private porter will vary depending on the company. Please keep in mind that by hiring a private porter, you are helping with the economy of the locals.
Porters complement their wages with the tips that trekkers provide them. Usually, at the end of the third day of the trek, your guide will tell about a tradition on the Inca Trail. This tradition consists of giving a tip. When giving the tip, please make sure that each porter gets a specific amount of money (Please give them the tip personally). If you give the tip to the cook or the guide, it is possible that porters get less than you wanted to give them.
If you hire a private porter or personal porter, it is up to you if you desire to give him an extra tip.
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