I recently used Llama Path for the Inca Trail. Loved them, wanted to show them some love. So, I posted the review below to TripAdvisor.
Today, I received this response from TripAdvisor:
"Dear TripAdvisor Member,
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We're sorry, but we weren't able to publish your review because we don't post reviews about multi day tours on our site.
That said, you're very welcome to post your message on TripAdvisor Forums (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ForumHome). Forums are discussion boards in which members ask and answer as many travel-related questions as they like, share opinions and get travel help from fellow members.
We look forward to seeing your contribution to our community.
TripAdvisor Support Team"
The reasoning makes no sense to me because 9 of the top 10 "activities in Cusco" contain reviews for multi-day tours. Llama Path deserves the love, so I'm posting in the Forums as advised. TripAdvisor's differential treatment is disappointing.
Here is my original review:
Subject: Llama Path - Day Tours
Title: Best Choice for 4D/3N Inca Trail
I can't speak highly enough about Llama Path.
From the start, I had good e-mail communication with Llama Path. When my friend cancelled, they again quickly confirmed my details for the trip. Even though my friend had reserved a half porter, Llama Path did not charge him or me for it.
When I arrived to pay my balance, the young woman was exceedingly helpful. She spent a long time going over the information with me and answering all of my questions, even ones not related to the Inca Trail.
When I heard that my group had 16 hikers, I was originally disappointed. Ultimately, however, it was a non-issue. We had 3 guides (Roger, Coco and Juan Carlos), so the hiker-to-guide ratio was great. If I had a question, there was always a guide nearby to answer it. Each hiker was allowed to go at his/her own pace, so I was never rushed/slowed by anyone else in the group.
Hire the half porter for yourself. Bring or rent hiking poles. (LP's were quality Black Diamond poles and an inexpensive lifesaver at $8/pole.) Pack light. Bring sandals you can wear with socks at the campsite.
Tipping: Having read previous reviews, I paid particular attention to what LP said about tipping. LP brought it up only 3 times (including the orientation), and it was always in a suggestive, helpful way. Frankly, it was no different than how I would explain tipping in U.S. restaurants to foreigners. Consider it as part of the cost of doing the Inca Trail, regardless of whether you use LP or another company.
What sets Llama Path apart from its competitors?
1. Treatment of porters. Yes, the Red Army travel as a group, and they're treated well on the trail. LP is also building them a home where they can stay when they're not working the trail.
2. The first two days, LP starts earlier and goes farther on the trail, which means you encounter fewer hikers on the trail. As a result, the experience is intimate and you don't get caught behind slower hikers. Also, you get more time to relax on the third day. The experience at Winay Wayna on the 3rd day might have exceeded Machu Picchu. At most, there was one other group there, so you had the entire site to yourselves.