On my shelf with beautiful memories I keep and treasure my Peruvian adventure. I’ve been lucky enough to be in the company of 3 great friends, see amazing places and met beautiful people.
The adventure started actually 5-6 months in advance when we decided to book our tickets for what was the next great adventure. Once we booked the plain tickets we’ve drafted the path for our journey: we knew that we are going to be there to see Machiu Picchiu, but not only that, we wanted to do the Inca trail (the 4 days of tracking in the mountains), to enjoy a boat trip on the Titicaca lake, delight ourselves with local cuisine and relax as much as possible in the nature.
If for the most of our travels we booked everything on our own (plain tickets, hotels, bus tickets, train tickets, restaurants, etc…) we’ve choose 2 tourist agencies with whom we did the Inca trail and the 2 days trip on the Titicaca lake (which included the visit of 3 islands – Uros, Amantani and Taquile).
For today’s post I will share with you some impressions, pictures and tips from Cusco and Inca trail, and I will be back with the remaining stories later on, in another dedicated post.
Cusco was the first destination once arrived to Peru (actually the European flight was to Lima and from there, several hours later, we got our connection to Cusco).
As we knew that we need at least a couple of days to acclimatise ourselves before the Inka trail, we staid in Cusco for 2 days, enjoying the big city, the healthy breakfasts and the beautiful view from our hotel, dinners at “Jack’s” (not very Peruvian but we wouldn’t wanted to risk a stomach flu just before adventuring in the nature), handcrafts market, and long walks up and down the hills.
Visiting Peru meant engaging to the 4 days of Inca trail. We’ve started asking for tips and tricks to our friends, acquaintances and work colleagues that already went through this adventure, and this is how we found out about things we need to have with us (light clothes, proper footwear, personal hygiene products, some healthy snacks that will give us that boost of energy to continue the hike, head lights, etc…). We choose one of the agency that we’ve heard about through our network and we booked the trail around 4 months prior to our departure – it is actually recommended to do it this way as there are only 500 persons/day allowed to do this trail, and the waiting list can be long. The prices are more or less the same no matter which agency you choose, and the services are similar. For the one we booked, the services included in the price were: the guide (English speaking), transportation for the 4 days (the taxi from and to the hotel in the first and last day of the travel, bus and train), 1 team of porters (7-8 persons), one cook, meals for the 4 days (except the breakfast of the first day and the lunch &dinner in the last one), tents, mattresses and sleeping bags. If I have to recommend something that we didn’t thought at when we booked the trail – and it was a bit expensive to book it on the spot (but we did it from the day 2 onwards) include personal porter in the extra services. If you want to enjoy the trek without being overcharged you can choose personal porter that will carry your extra set of belongings and, the most important, the sleeping bag. When you trek 10-14km a day, on a rocky mountain road, all you want is a slow breath, enjoy the views and the nature and stay hydrated 🙂
The 4 days itinerary in small stories and photos:
Day 1: we were picked up from our hotel in Cusco early in the morning. We took in our backpack only the items we considered necessary for our 4 days adventure in the nature. The rest of them were stored in the hotel’s luggage room (we came back to the same hotel at the end of day 4). In between every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) we had 2-3, maximum 4h of trekking. During the day we went from 3,350m (Cusco) to 2,800m (KM82) and then back to 3,000m (Wayllabamba).
Day 2 came with reaching the highest point of the Inca trail Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m), as it is more commonly known as, being the toughest part of the trail as well. From that height we were suppose to have the most beautiful view over the valley but, lucky us, 30min before reaching that point the rain started and everything went foggy. After this peak the road goes down quite abruptly (not as much as it can be in day 3) and the rocky steps were wet and slippery so extra attention was necessary. We had to ignor the fact that we were soaking wet and go straight down to reach the camp. The day ended up at 3,600m in Pacaymayo where our great cook Amilka received us with popcorn and his delicious plates.
Day 3 was dedicated to visiting several other Inca heritages (like Inca Ruins of Runkurakay (4,000m), the Inca citadel of Sayacmarca, Wiñay Huayna (2,700m)).
Our last day started way too early in the morning (3-4am) but it ended up in one of the 7 wonders of the modern world – Macchu Picchu (2,500m). As you will see in the pictures bellow, the sun was hiding that day (well, it was actually raining during the whole last day) and we didn’t had the chance to admire the view over the old city from the Sun Gate (1h away from the Macchu Picchu).
The guided tour ended just before lunch time when we went by bus to Aguas Calientes, had lunch and a tour in the handcrafts market, bought souvenirs and then headed to the train station, back to Cusco.
And in pictures we have this:
Fun facts about the adventure:
- you already saw from the pictures that it was not glamorous, so make-up and high heals are kind of excluded from start (though we had someone in our group of 6 that insisted in carrying on cosmetics and using them every morning – not from my group of friends, of course)
- we didn’t shower for 4 days (yes, I know, it doesn’t sound too good but we used wet wipes and our tooth brush twice/day 😉 ) but hey, who cares about it when you are surrounded by all those breath taking places?!?!
- the water to clean ourselves was limited to a small bowl of hot water before each meal, so no proper conditions to wash our hair either. Our solution was to wear braids. Even though we had dry shampoo with us we didn’t used it in the end (it can be useful for sure), and we ended up being called the “braided girls club” 🙂
- at the end of day 4 we just wanted a hot shower and a good sleep. We really need to thank to the good people from La morada suites, our hotel in Cusco – one of our best deals during the whole trip.
If you have questions or need tips to plan a trip, I would be happy to be of any help.
In the next travel post I will make a summary of the other half or our journey in Peru.