Everyone should experience this
Machu Picchu Travel Blog› entry 10 of 34 › view all entries
Still buzzing from the previous evening´s ruckus, everyone doing the Inca trail or the Lares trek got on the early bus to Saqsayhuman. This is a popular name with English speaking tourists because it sounds like sexy woman. I wish I would have taken more pictures here because the Inca stonework was the best I saw anywhere. There is only 3% of the ruins remaining of the the original headquarters of the entire empire.
Our next stop was Ollantaytambo which is commonly reported as the second most beautiful Inca site after Machu Picchu. This was the first time that I saw the Inca teresses. We took the bus back to Cusco to stay the night.
The majority of the group were going on the infamous Inca trail but the eight of us who booked too late were taking the Lares trek. There are pros and cons of each but I was happy that I did the Lares. The Inca trail has been almost completely restored and is a six foot wide cobblestone highway. The government allows 500 people to go on it every day and the campsites are all in close proximity so there is almost a small town of backpackers every night. On the positive side the third day of the Inca trail is trough the rainforest due to lower elevation which makes for some stunning views. Also, the Inca trail actually ends up at the sungate to Machu Picchu on foot.
The Lares trek is much less touristed. We did not see any other tourists on our entire trek. Dan, our guide, said that there is only about ten people that do it per week.
We stopped in the small indigenous town of Calca to pick up some break for the local children that we would see along the trek. The mini bus ride was quite an adventure in it´s own due to the rain covered narrow winding streets. There were several cows, sheep, alpaca, and lama that temporarily blocked our way. At one point a large truck attempted to back up to let us pass and crashed into the rock wall tearing off the bumper and passenger headlight.
This was the longest day of hiking.
After receiving our daily coca tea in bed and luxury breakfast we set off to Ollantaytambo. Dan told us it was supposed to be downhill all day but we spent a couple of hours uphill across narrow paths or no paths at all to get to the inca site of Pumamarca. We stopped in at a local school along the way and gave away our remaining bread. The locals were using working the fields with the aid only of simple tools and ox to prepare for seeding. We took a half hour train from Ollantayambo to Agua Calientes.
Machu Picchu is amazing and you have to experience it for yourself.