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Wayllabamba Camp Review








Our tents were dismantled by our trusty team of porters in no time flat, each and every morning!

Intro: After our first day of trekking on Peru’s Inca Trail, we arrived at the campsite of Wayllabamba to find our tents had already been set up by our trusty porters, and hot chocolate and snacks had been prepared to refuel our tired bodies.

Since I started hiking, backpacking and camping in May of 2013, I was excited to see how it would all come together on our Inca Trail trek. This was not only our first trek having porters carry all the essentials (from the tents and food to the tables and even the trash), but our first trip where Charlene and I would be spending several nights in the outdoors.

Fortunately, all we had to carry were our personal belongings, like clothes, toiletries and electronics, so it was an added bonus that I wasn’t going to have to do the heavy lifting on this 4-day, 27-mile trek. Having porters carry most of the items allowed me to pack a few extra lenses, gadgets, and even snacks – awesome!

Our sturdy G Adventures tent had already been set up by our Inca Trail porters when we arrived at Wayllabamba Camp on day 1.

Wayllabamba Camp is situated at an elevation of about 3,000m, just a few hundred above KM 82. So although it wasn’t super easy, I also wouldn’t say the first day of the trek was too difficult, even with my 30lb camera backpack :). After we huffed and puffed our way across the finishing line and got some high fives from Jeiko and the porters, we were guided to our tents for the evening. Charlene and I shared one, as did Lucy and JP, Beth and Forest, while Laurie and Ron had their own.

This campsite was a bit higher in elevation and further along the trail than some of the other camps used by Inca Trail trekking groups, so although we did a bit more hiking than some on the first day, it allowed us to get a head start the following day, and have a bit of peace and quiet at night. We were actually able to see (and hear) the other campsites down below, and it seemed like there were quite a few rowdy groups! From what I understand, G Adventures had to reserve this position well ahead of time.

Some locals were selling soft drinks, beer, and snacks near Wayllabamba Camp to the visiting trekkers.

The site we were at wasn’t the largest, but it was a bit secluded from the trail itself and was composed of several levels, almost like we were camping on the giant steps of Machu Picchu. The top level served as the dining table and tent area, with all the cooking done by the amazing Chef Marco and his team in a kitchen nearby, and at the back there was the toilet (a hole in the ground that offered a bit of privacy – just don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper!).

The lower levels were where everyone (except the porters) slept for the night. Charlene and I, along with Beth and Forest, were on the third level down, while the rest of the gang were on the second. The fourth level didn’t have any tents, but I imagine if our group had been larger, there would’ve been a few set up there as well. As far as the porters, they slept inside the dining and cooking tent on the top level.

Inside our spacious G Adventures tent with our two sleeping mats laid out and ready to go.

When it came to the tent we were sleeping in, it was a mansion compared to what I was used to back at home! It had plenty of space for two people to sit, change clothes, sleep, hang out, and even store your backpack and hiking shoes. One of the porters told me that each tent weighed 10lbs – yowza! As much as I loved the comfort and size of the G Adventures tents and appreciated the porters carrying them for us, I could never carry one if I backpacked and camped on my own.

Yes, I know it was the porters job to carry them, but I felt bad knowing that something around 3-4lbs would’ve been just fine for me (maybe not for Charlene though, as she needs her space and comfort!). So no complaints about the tent we slept in for our three nights on the Inca Trail, which held up just fine even during the one rainy night we encountered.

Our tents all set up and our duffel bags in a neat line for our arrival at Wayllabamba Camp.

Every hiker was encouraged to bring their own sleeping bag from home, but G Adventures provided a comfortable sleeping pad for each of us to use, which was already inflated in our tent when we arrived at the campsite. I should point out that when it comes to living conditions, I’m pretty easygoing on virtually everything. As long as I have the essentials and the place is somewhat sanitary and comfortable, then I’m a happy camper (pun intended!).

Charlene, on the other hand, may have a slightly different opinion on this matter than me, especially since she hadn’t camped as much as I had prior to leaving for Peru. So these thoughts are only mine and completely independent of everyone else on the trip, including Charlene.

Fresh, warm popcorn awaited us when we arrived at the Wayllabamba Camp on the first day of our Inca Trail trek.

Getting back on track with the Wayllabamba campsite, after Jeiko had showed us to our tent and we had a chance to get acquainted with it, one of the porters came by with a bowl of warm water for us to clean ourselves. It was certainly welcome, as I’m guessing all of us felt a bit filthy after a day of hiking – I know I surely did :). We then made our way to the dining table tent, where fresh popcorn and hot drinks awaited us – what a surprise treat!

One of our trekking group Ron writing his journal after we arrived at the Wayllabamba Camp on the first day of our Inca Trail trek.

This was one of many delightful things that the porters of G Adventures did for us, and I certainly appreciated every single one of them! We arrived at the campsite around 3-4PM and had a good hour or so to relax and enjoy each other’s company before my favorite part of the day: getting to really meet our porters and know a tad bit more about them.

Our tour guide Jeiko introducing us to each individual porter after we arrived at Wayllabamba Camp on the first day of our Inca Trail trek.

Up until this point, all our interactions with the porters had been very brief, waving as they passed us by on the trail, and high fiving once we got to Wayllabamba. There were over a dozen of them, always busy at work, but never too far from us when we needed something. Although our group had a huge language barrier with the porters and Jeiko had to do all the translating, it seemed like our demeanors, as well as facial and hand expressions, allowed us to communicate with one another perfectly. After enjoying our popcorn and hot drinks, Jeiko gathered everyone around to formally introduce the porters.

Each porter told us their name, how old they were, and what they were in charge of carrying or doing on the trek. A few shared a bit more information about their family or how long they’d been working as porter. If I remember correctly, the eldest was in his 60s – talk about dedication to your job, and retaining the physical and mental strength to do this year in, year out! During the busy months of trekking in Peru, the porters may go months without seeing their loved ones. But they do get time to spend with their wives and kids during the slower tourist season.

The incredible G Adventures Inca Trail trekking team, including porters, guide, and chef.

They explained that some were in charge of the tents, others the dining furniture and some the food. Now that’s a well oiled machine! No wonder they were so quick in setting up camp and taking everything back down! Certainly this was their livelihood, and I was honored that we had such a great group of porters to help make the trek that much more special.

Shortly after the porters introduced themselves, we did the same, with the help of Jeiko’s translation. We tried to muster up a bit of Spanish in ours, but that was to no avail. Aside from Charlene, who uses Spanish almost daily at her work in the hospital, pretty much all of us were at the mercy of the porters’ ability to understand really bad and primitive Spanish :). Nevertheless, I think I can speak for our trekking group when I say we had a great time interacting with the porters. If anything, it made me even more comfortable and excited to ask them for portraits throughout the whole trek!

Our G Adventures Inca Trail trekking team, including trekkers, porters, and our chef Marco.

Speaking of portraits, we got a group photo with everyone in it (minus Jeiko who had to take the photo). This may or may not be a big deal for others, but it was to me. I really appreciated that throughout the entire G Adventures trip, Jeiko made a conscious effort to get both group and individual photos of everyone – even ones of me!

I’m usually way too caught up in taking photos to be in them, and there’s usually no one trustworthy around to hand my DSLR to for a photo with Charlene. After the group shot I went and asked the porters if I could take some photos of them going about their work. They were all very kind to let me do so, and I was thrilled to show them the LCD screen on the back of my camera afterwards.

Our dining tent all set up with tables, chairs, and place settings, ready for a delicious dinner.

As far as the meals at Wayllabamba (and the other campsites for that matter), I don’t think words could ever do justice to the cooking of Chef Marco and his team. Charlene is the expert on this topic, but let’s just say that the food on the entire Inca Trail trek was absolutely superb! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the snacks in between – every single one was delicious, and it’s some of the best food I’ve ever eaten on hiking or camping trips.

Our super talented Inca Trail chef Marco, who provided us with hearty and delicious meals throughout the trek.

A fun part of the whole dining experience was getting to smell (and hear) what Chef Marco was making in the kitchen, situated on the other side of the dining tent. Our meals were supposed to be a surprise, but I couldn’t help peeking my head over the divider or walking around the tent to see what he was cooking! Safe to say, you won’t go hungry on this trek and will be looking forward to the next meal every single day :).

Some of the hard-working and friendly porters who carried all of our supplies throughout our Inca Trail trek.

After dinner, Jeiko briefed us on the agenda for the next day of hiking, including what time we would need to get up, how difficult and long the trek would be, and if we had any questions or concerns. This goes without saying, but Jeiko far exceeded what I expected of a tour guide, especially one that would lead us through the mountains of the Sacred Valley.

Not only was he full of knowledge about the Inca Trail trek and his country, as well as understanding of my photography wishes, but I could tell how much he loved what he was doing. From his words to his actions, everything was done with passion, excitement, and humility. Like the porters, I was so glad he was part of the G Adventures team of staff and the one leading us on this trek.

JP and Lucy from Canada – two of our Inca Trail trekking companions at the Wayllabamba Camp.

Shortly after dinner, we all made our way out of the dining tent and got ready for bed. There was a bucket filled with drinkable water near where we ate, and we were instructed to use the water from here to brush our teeth and refill our water bottles/containers.

In terms of having a good night’s sleep, I thought our campsite delivered. I certainly didn’t feel too cold, and it wasn’t noisy or uncomfortable. Like with all backpacking trips and sleeping in the outdoors, I wasn’t expecting five-star hotel quality, but I did feel well-rested the following morning.

Speaking of the next morning, one of the porters came by with a bowl of warm water around 5AM to help us freshen up and, well…wake up! While this was perhaps a bit early for some, it was perfect for me as I had been waking up earlier than this the previous mornings on our Peru trip.

If the warm water didn’t do the trick, how about a cup of…coca tea! Nothing quite like a warm drink to get your blood pumping and body ready for another day of hiking! We had about 40-50 minutes to do our normal morning routine, which included packing up all our belongings so the porters could start taking down the tents (I told you they were efficient), eat a warm breakfast, and get prepared for the second day of our Inca trail trek.

A snow-capped peak in Peru’s Andes was foreshadowing the adventure we would be embarking on in only a few weeks to the Himalayas and Everest Base Camp.

The highlight of the morning was waking up to views across the snow capped mountain in the distance, peeking out between a valley created by two nearby grassy hills. I grabbed my camera with the 70-200mm lens plus 2x teleconverter attached, and made my way to the farthest spot I could get to at the campsite. Perhaps this was foreshadowing the trip I was taking the following month to Everest Base Camp in Nepal?

As magnificent as it was, I didn’t spend too long admiring that mountain, as I had to get ready for what was to come on the second day of this trek: hiking to our next campsite at Pacaymayo via Warmiwañusc – the infamous Dead Woman’s Pass (4,198m) and the highest point on the whole Inca Trail trek.


  • 1: There are no toilets here, so make mental note and work on your squats ;).
  • 2: Make sure to bring your own roll of toilet paper.
  • 3: Once you arrive, get comfortable but don’t forget to apply insect repellant as they are quite active starting around sunset.
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