Last year when we were out in Peru having a ball hiking and biking mountain trails, the kind people at Cicerone sent us a review copy of their new guide, ‘Hiking and Biking Peru’s Inca Trails’. For various reasons we’ve only just managed to get our hands on the copy, and though we haven’t used it in the field, can offer a few general thoughts on the book, and relay comments from friends who have made use of it on the ground.
Firstly it’s a nicely written guide, with plenty of colour, enticing photos and comes in a compact size which is ideal for slipping into a rucksack when you’re out on the trail. There are loads of routes included, and even if you stick to just what’s in the guide you’d be kept occupied for months – maybe even for a whole dry season out there. In fact, it’s a wonderful source if you’re looking for inspiration and ideas about where to ride or walk in the area, with far more options than other guidebooks we’re aware of.
Leafing through it reveals that it doesn’t have a great amount of detail about individual routes – write ups aren’t that long, the maps are drawn at a scale of over 1:200k and don’t display that much information, and there’s no GPS information given; an index would’ve been nice too. Those that have used the guide out in Peru have told us that this lack of detail means it’s best to try and get more detailed maps and GPS tracks to accompany the book to avoid navigation problems on the trails, and also that the accuracy of distances and spot heights isn’t great.
So, a great place to get some inspiration, and we’re all for letting the world know what a paradise Peru is for hiking and biking, but you might want to get other information to assist you in finding your way when out on the trail. (I know we’re not exactly impartial in this, but…) If you’re just looking to hike on one of the better known trails in the area, and want a guide with enough detail to help you do this, you’ll find the hand-drawn maps and longer write ups in Trailblazer’s The Inca Trail guide are a lot more comprehensive.