The trek overall was challenging, motivating, and exciting, all at the same time. I didn't know what to expect coming in. The hiking part was challenging, at times, but not overwhelming. The heavy downpour and mud on days two and four were tougher to overcome. Especially on day 4, since the trail itself isn't on a road that's easy to walk on, and with the rain, I couldn't appreciate any of the surroundings.
Both the tour guide, Carlos (king of the mountain), and the cooks were phenomenal. I would have appreciated knowing that a tip is expected in advance but frankly, after spending time with Carlos and listening to the vast amount of knowledge he has, as well as Raul, who made phenomenal meals for us on the road, I felt they did deserve it.
I'm extremely appreciative of having had Carlos as a guide. It made the difference for me. I recommend offering better options for hostels at Aguas Calientes. I'm not at all satisfied with the place after hiking for 4 days and spending all day in the rain.