passing time at the "backpacker"
So, we woke up early morning to get the backpaker train to Aguas Calientes. The ride was one of the most amazing experiences, as the views were unbelievable! We rode through few viallages so we got to see how the real Peruvians live. We also encountered one hiking trip of turists and natives. Of course the natives were hired to carry the baggage, but it wasn't as bad as it sounds. I guess they were happy, because they have a job, and the turists were also carrying pretty heavy baggage themselves. I read that you can hike to Aguas Calientes in few days, depending what is your starting point. Agencies arrange those hikes, as it is not reccommended you do it yourself.
We arrived in Aguas Calintes about 5 hours later.
main square at Aguas Calientes
It was raining a bit, but it did not stop us. Some young boy stopped us right after we got off the trained trying to sell us a night at a hostal he was working for. We however, had one hostal in mind. He took us there, and of course made money on us. The hotels pay the natives who will bring the turists into their hotel. The hotel was very nice, but we had to bargain our way into one room for four people that was in out budget. Since the hotel was almost empty, they went down on the price a lot! :o)
Eating there, however, was pretty expensive compared to Cusco. But maybe it was just the area we stayed at. We looked around the city a bit and decided to find Putucusi mountain and climb it. We got direction (in Spanish) and started our hike. This lady that gave us direction said it's goign to be about half a mile walk by the train rail to get the sign that will show us the way up.
on our way to Putucusi mountain
After a long walk, we finally encountered a native man, who told us we passed the sign a while ago. I swear!!! We did not see it! He was walking back to the city, so we walked with him. He showed us the way. We missed the sign by about two miles!!! The sign was almost inside the forest and you could not see it from the road! After about 15 minutes of upward hike, we encountered ladders. Very high ladders! It was wet too, so they were slippery. There were two american girls debating if they should continue their hike. My friends are not big time hikers so they backed out as well and went back to the city. My boyfriend and I went forward. There was many more ladders after that and they were high too. Then some steps and more hike up. After about 2 hours we were finally there!!! AMAZING, that's all I have to say.
the famous ladders
The hike was very strenous but sooooo worth it! Beutiful views of Machu Picchu
and other mountains surrounding you. I felt so free and tiny compared the the world I had in front of me. Really great experience. Up on the top we met two other hikers and it was great that it was not crowded there. Going back down we have met few others, but from what we saw, either not many people know about that place or people are just afraid of the hike. If you are not and experienced hiker it will be very tough for you, so get ready and take lots of electrolyted water!
When we got back to the city, we ate a dinner and bought bus tickets to Machu Picchu for the next morning, as we were very tired and decided we will not hike up there! (hike from Aguas Calientes is about 5 hours to Machu Picchu). We slept very well that night.