Machu Picchu

Cusco Travel Blog

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The Start of the Inca Trail

The trek to Machu Picchu was everything I wanted it to be and more, definately the highlight of my trip so far. We were a small group of 7 (I was the odd one out of course!) The other 3 couples were older but we all got along really well and had a good laugh. Our guide was called Wilo and he was really good too.

On the first day we went to Ollayantaytambo, an Inca fortress in the Sacred Valley for an introduction to the Inca culture before starting the walk in the afternoon. We started at Km88 and bought our walking sticks and ponchos, both were invaluable. It rained as we started to walk and I hoped it wouldn't be like this for the next 4 days but it turned out that it was the 3 o clock downpour that we got each day.

At the top of Dead Womans Pass
In fact for the whole trip the weather was perfect, not too hot for walking and not too much rain. Our first night camping was by an archaelogical site called Patallacta. There were very few people camping nearby, so we almost had the place to ourselves. When we arrived the porters (all 13 of them) had set up the camp and were waiting to welcome us. We were introduced to each and everyone of them and then we had to introduce ourselves, I was the only one in the group who attempted to do it in Spanish. I was in my element camping, I loved it, the others weren't so keen and complained a bit, particularly about the porta loo!

The following day we walked uphill nearly all day, the porters left after us and practically sprinted past with all the camping gear on their backs. They are amazing, you should see them carrying gas canisters etc and walking in just flimsy sandals! Everyday they passed us and had camp set up for when we arrived, they even put up the kitchen and dinner tent to serve us our 3 course lunch.

Goodbye ceremony with porters
We had so much food and lots of snacks, after the first day I realised that I didn't need to each that much because I found it difficult to walk when I was stuffed! The second nights campsite was better than the first, again we were away from other people and my tent was pitched so that I had a spectacular view of the snow capped mountains, when the mist cleared. I can't remember how high we were but this was the coldest night, we all sat around in our thermals and watched the porters play football before dinner, in their shorts and sandals. It made me shiver to watch them fish the ball out of the freezing stream nearby. I was snug in my sleeping bag despite the cold but I've no idea how the porters survived the night, they put a ground sheet down and sleep in the dinner and kitchen tent.
I made it to Machu Picchu

The third day was the hardest, we climbed over 3 passes, the first one was dead womans pass, a bit of a killer. Wilo surprised us at the top, he'd arranged for David our waiter to get there and have a brew ready for us. A couple of people needed the coca tea because of the altitude but I was ok. After all the ups we came down, lots and lots of steps. Although the hardest, this was the best day walking because we reached the cloud forest which was beautiful, lots of flowers and birds. Wilo was very good at pointing out things that I probably would have missed and he enjoyed taking photos. Our campsite for the third night at Phuyupatamarca was a little more occupied but I think our porters managed to bag the best spot. We were woken up early the next day, 5.30am, to sit at the top of the campsite and watch the cloud disappear so that we could view Salcantay.

Unco coming down the steps at Winay Picchu
(David was there with the table and chairs and we had a brew, what an amazing way to start the day). I felt a little bit sad because we had to say goodbye to the porters. We had a little ceremony at 6.30am in which they sang for us in Quechua and we danced with the porters, then we had to sing for them. We decided the night before that we would do 10 green bottles but we got to 5 and Wilo told us to stop!

It was also an exciting day because after a few more ups and downs we reached Machu Picchu in time for a late lunch, after stopping to see other sites along the way. I struggled a bit to begin with because the steps going down were a bit slippy and everyone knows what an unco I am, I probably would have landed on my backside a couple of times if it hadn't have been for my trusty stick. We saw Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate and stopped to have our lunch, I thought I would be a bit overwhelmed by it all but I was fine. We then walked to the site and took the classic pictures before celebrating with a beer and getting the bus down to Aguas Calientes.

The next day we went back up to Machu Picchu in the morning for Wilo's guided tour, it was a little bit crowded in places, which you'd expect but I tried not to let that spoil it. After the tour the guys decided to climb Winay Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu and Wilo assured me that I could do it, so off I went. It was boiling hot and I climbed for about 45 minutes to reach the summit, where I caught up with the guys! Wilo took more pictures to prove that I did it and then we had to come straight back down, which took almost as long! I was really proud of myself but shattered after doing it. We bussed it back again to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then caught the train to Poroy, where the bus met us to take us back to Cusco.

I don't know how, but we managed to summon up the energy to go out for a farewell meal. The others went home because they were leaving the next day and I stayed out for a few beers with Wilo, I didn't have that many but was talking utter rubbish in between nodding off, so I didn't stay out long. He must have thought I was mad! 

I enjoyed every minute of it, it was excellent.

 

lucecitanizama says:
Hope i can do the Inca trail soon! :( i went there but just the one day tour..definitely better doing the Inca trail!!
Posted on: Jun 04, 2007
spursbackpacker says:
hello, just wanted to ask you a quick question, i am hopefully doing the trail in about two months, just wanted to know which company you went with, and if possible how much it cost back in oct. thankyou
Posted on: Jan 25, 2007
OurWorldTrip says:
Brilliant! It sounds like you had a load of fun. I hope to be doing the Inca Trail soon as well. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Posted on: Nov 01, 2006
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The Start of the Inca Trail
The Start of the Inca Trail
At the top of Dead Womans Pass
At the top of Dead Womans Pass
Goodbye ceremony with porters
Goodbye ceremony with porters
I made it to Machu Picchu
I made it to Machu Picchu
Unco coming down the steps at Wina…
Unco coming down the steps at Win…
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke