The Inca Trail - day one (easy)

Cusco Travel Blog

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At the start of the Inca Trail!

Day One (“easy”)

 

Here follows a journal of the well-known Inca Trail. The trail takes four days hiking and the fourth day you arrive at Machu Picchu at sunrise.

 

Be careful which company you choose when doing the Inca Trail, because you get what you pay for. I hiked the Trail with the Peru Treks company, which has excellent guides, great food and equipment and the porters are treated well. They have good shoes and ponchos and eat the same food the tourists do. It is also a more expensive one.

 

We were picked up at our hotel in Cusco at 6 o’clock in the morning and were transported by bus to Ollantaytambo. On the road we saw the beautiful Andes at sunrise. It was very beautiful, postcard perfect. Now and then I saw a woman along the road with a high white hat. Behind her were flowing grasslands and snowy peaks. At Ollantaytambo we bought some walking sticks (believe me, you need them) and some chocolate (believe me, you need this even more!). A few kilometers ahead we crossed the river Urubamba into the Piscacucho Historical Sanctuary. The Inca Trail had begun!

 

The first day was classified as “easy” at our pre-tour briefing two days earlier, and that is about right.

Time to take another break
We ascended steadily, going up and down mostly. The sun was shining brightly and became hot real quick. Now and then the whole group halted to take a break and get some more chocolate and water. Water is very important! Even if there is a brisk chilly wind at this altitude, the sun warms you up enormously and the air is very dry. At one of the stops I tried chewing some coca-leaves, but I didn’t really like it. It tasted bitter and kept sticking between your teeth.

 

Slowly, we got to know all the people of our group. They were all groups of two, friend and couples, mostly between twenty and thirty years old. Our guide was Roberto, a middle-aged man. Kind, intelligent and proud of his heritage, he made an excellent guide. His assistant was Max, who got on my nerves. The porters all came from local villages and spoke Quechua.

 

There was a girl, Sarah, who was taking antibiotics and was feeling really sick. She persisted and made it through the day, but we feared for the next few days because there is no way out of the Trail. You either must go back the same way or finish the hole trail.

 

On our way we passed by an ancient Inca city, named Patallacta (or Llactapata), which had been cleared from the vegetation. Thus far we had followed the Urubamba river, but the Inca city marked the end of our parallel course and we entered the deep Andes. The immense Andes! It was lunchtime by now and it started to rain. You never know what will happen with the weather in the Andes. I didn’t stop raining for the rest of the day.

 

A bit exhausted we arrived at our campsite a little in the afternoon. The porters had run past us on the way and now they were clapping and cheering when we entered the campsite.

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At the start of the Inca Trail!
At the start of the Inca Trail!
During the first day
During the first day
The immense Andes
The immense Andes
Time to take another break
Time to take another break
Time to take a break
Time to take a break
During the first day
During the first day
The immense Andes
The immense Andes
An uncovered Inca city
An uncovered Inca city
The immense Andes
The immense Andes
At our first campsite
At our first campsite
Cusco
photo by: Vlindeke