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Machu Picchu Travel Blog

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Kids on the Lares trek eating our bread

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 infamous 8 on the top of the world.

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.

  Unlike the Inca trail the Lares trek passes through several villages where people live very similar to how they did hundreds of years ago.  The only setback to the Lares is that you do not actually hike to Machu Picchu.  You end up in Ollantaytambo and then have to take a train.


Day 1

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.

Machu Picchu Money shot
  Upon arrival of the starting point of the trek we shared a small field with all of the local elders wearing indigenous ponchos.  The Mayor of the closest town was holding a meeting to decide where to erect a new bridge.  After a nice lunch provided by our porters we began our assent through the thick fog.  Children wearing bright clothing could be see running from great distances to come and great us along the way.  They were happy to trade a photo for some bread.  This was about 5 hours of gentle uphill. Our fist camp was at Sondor, 4220 meters.  The nights dropped to negative 5 C so we were happy to have a small heater in our kitchen tent where we ate fantastic local delicacies.


Day 2

This was the longest day of hiking.

Kath and I at the top of Wanapucchu
  The morning was mostly uphill into the ever thinning air eventually reaching the first high pass named Wacawasi (4560 meters). The second pass of Wayruruyoc at 4520 meters provided spectacular views of lake Aruraychoca below.  We stopped here for a snack.  Our guide told us that we must thank the the mountain Gods by saying a few words and offering a few coca leaves.  Mike decided to piss on the top of the mountain instead.  Along the way we saw plenty of children and even got to go into a few of the local´s houses. The Gods retaliated to Mike´s pee break and it began to rain just as we arrived to our lunch stop.  We were very lucky with the timing because it only rained for about 45 minutes and we were in the kitchen tent for the duration.  The downhill section did a number on my knees as we made our way down to our campsite at Marcacocha (3400 meters).  After supper Dan gave me some celery tea to thicken my runs and wrapped my knees with towels soaked in hot coca water to regenerate my knees.  Both seemed to work quite well which opened my eyes to herbal medicines.
Group at the second pass


Day 3

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.


Day 4

Machu Picchu is amazing and you have to experience it for yourself.


flying_dolphin7 says:
What an amazing trip you've made it, really inspired me for my next holidays dreams. I will continue read ur adventures blogs of South America, thansk for sharing ur blog;)
Posted on: Nov 11, 2011
stebanns says:
beautiful! :D
Posted on: Jul 16, 2009
mswim says:
You don't happen to remember the name of the company you booked your tour through, do you? Or the website? I'd appreciate any info you can give.
Posted on: Nov 05, 2007
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Kids on the Lares trek eating our …
Kids on the Lares trek eating our…
The infamous 8 on the top of the w…
The infamous 8 on the top of the …
Machu Picchu Money shot
Machu Picchu Money shot
Kath and I at the top of Wanapucchu
Kath and I at the top of Wanapucchu
Group at the second pass
Group at the second pass
Child in typical dress
Child in typical dress
Our guide Dan
Our guide Dan
The tomb of the King in Machu Picc…
The tomb of the King in Machu Pic…
Healing Rock same shape as the mou…
Healing Rock same shape as the mo…
Typical local with baby on back
Typical local with baby on back
Machu Picchu
photo by: NazfromOz