The Classic 4 Days Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is by far one of the most popular treks in the world. People from all reaches of the globe converge into the beautiful Andes Mountains for a four day trek through some of the most beautiful locations in South America. When people arrive to begin their Inca Trail trek they hand their bags and supplies over to the allstars of the entire Inca Trail operation, the local Inca Trail Porters. These Porters are hired locals from Andean mountain communites whos job is to carry in a giant bag on their back, all the cooking supplies, tents, extra bags and gear needed to make your Inca Trail Tour the most comfortable experience possible.
Most people will have a day pack with them with extra snacks and water while they hike. While you are trekking, you will be passing by, or being passed up by, the Inca Trail Porters who are each carrying up to 50 pounds of supplies on their backs. This weight limit is taken very seriously and is literally regulated by the government at certain check points along the trail to make sure each individual Porter isn´t carrying more. Without these Porters, your Inca Trail experience would not be possible, so it is very important to understand that the company you have booked your Inca Trail Tour with has the concept of Porter Welfare as one of their main concerns.
Luckily the Peruivan government has issued a law called the Porters Law. This law states that all porters working for companies taking people on the Inca Trail have to be paid a minimum of 43 soles per day. However, not all tour companies honour this law and pay their porters a lot less. When booking an Inca Trail to Machu Picchu if the companies price is under 500$ there is a very good chance that the welfare and well being of their local porters isn´t a priority.
While trekking on your Inca Trail Tour you will be walking side by side sometimes with your porters. The Classic 4 Days Inca Trail is a four day trek, so why not introduce yourself to your porters? Get to know them as best as you can, share some coca leaves, share stories about your culture and ask about theirs. They are carrying all of your stuff as well as all of the companies supplies for the trek. If you are looking for an authentic perspective of life in the Andes Mountains of Peru, as well as Inca traditions passed down for generations, there is no better people to talk to than the locals themselves.
When your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is concluding tell your Porters thank you and if you are feeling up to it, leave them a tip. If they are lucky they will make 43 soles a day which in the West comes to about 15 dollars. Of course the tipping should be appropriate to the service you recieved while on your Inca Trail Tour so do whatever you feel is right! Inca Trail Porters are the unsung heros of the trek, truly an inspiration when you are hiking side by side with the local Andean people.