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My Inca Trail Porter : My Hero & My Friend

Posted by Carmen Maria Guevara Protzel on Dec 31, 2018 8:27:00 AM

Everybody is excited when planning a trip to Peru and specially if they are hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

All the information is about the places to visit and how to avoid altitude sickness or soroche. Porters are never mentioned and they are the kings of the trail.


Fortunato, "The Hero"

Last week, some clients  met Fortunato, a 54-year old porter. He was one of 8 porters and 2 chefs that carried all the gear on their backs during the 4 days they walked in the Inca trail until reaching Machu Picchu, in this opportunity, for the 3 persons  family.

I quote Mrs Derrick´s words “They are the heroes! They literally run up and down the trail at a wicked pace most of them with sandals or Converse tennis shoes with up to 13.5 pounds .”

Well, if you think they carry only this….. you dont know that those 13.5 pund is only the clients belongings. You need to add 5 to 6 pounds for the sleeping bags ….. and dont forget they also help carrying the the crew belonging and the camping gear(consisting of tents,  toilet, kitchen provisions, stove, chairs, etc – as NOTHING is left behind at the camp site – not even trash as there are no trash cans). In total they carry 50 to 55 pounds maximum on their backs – This is regulated by the government and monitored on the trail so as not to overload the porters .

The Derrick family

Derrick family in Machu Picchu

While you enjoy the walk some are running to get  the spot for lunch and others continue their way to campsite so set up tents so that when you arrive you have you tent ready to be used.

We reccommend to  “spend time with your porters.  They have some amazing stories to tell.”   The ideal is to at least know how to thank them for the amazing job they do in their native language as you will not have to much time to interact as they are running ahead of you.

Try and learn a few words of Quechua – see glossary below
Hello                    = Rimaykullaykil
Hi                         = Napaykullayki
Good day            = Allin p’unchay
Goodbye             = Tupananchis-kama
Bye                      = Ratukama
Yes                       = Arí
No                        = Manan
Please                  = Allichu
Thank you           = Sulpayki
You’re welcome = Imamanta
Excuse me          = Dispinsayuway
Sorry                    = Pampachayuway

You will love their smile when they realize you are speaking their language to thank them for their work.

Treat them with respect. They are noy just working, they are making the  “ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE” happen!!!!

Photo & comments by Marci Derrick
Discovery Inca Trail
Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Marchl 2015


Carmen Maria Guevara Protzel

Topics: Travel & Adventure, Inca Trail, trekking in Peru

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