Our final day with our guide and trekking group was in Machu Picchu, where Alex took us on a two hour tour and told us about the function and significance of the city. It was a beautiful day, with no rain and clouds that moved through so fast we had different views of the city all day. After our tour, Tish, Tonya and I hiked up Huayna Picchu which offered incredible views of Machu Picchu and the valley. The stairs up to the top of Huayna Picchu were so steep that we were on our hands and feet for much of it! We had fun taking pictures along the way and pausing to take it all in. The trek was amazing, learning about the local culture, the history of the Incan people and meeting our fellow trekkers and Alex was an incredible experience.
Start: La Playa 2,064m (6,771 ft)
Finish: Aguas Calientes 2,050m (7,986 ft)
Trek Time: 9.5 hours (including a short lunch)
The final morning of our trek began earlier than usual, and it was our first day starting out in pouring rain. We packed our stuff in the tent and did our best to keep things from getting wet and muddy, had a quicker than usual breakfast and then said goodbye to our chefs. Despite the rain and impending 3 hour ascent, everyone was in great spirits as we headed out on our last day of hiking.
Start: Collpapampa 2,850m (9,350 ft)
Finish: La Playa 2,064m (6,771 ft)
Trek Time: 7 hours
Our third day was our easiest for both distance and terrain. We woke up to another sunny day, and had a delicious breakfast of omelets and quinoa porridge (which is an amazingly healthy “on the go” breakfast and super easy to make by the way!). We said goodbye to our horsemen; they took our gear to our third and final campsite via van and then headed home as their town was nearby.
Start: Suyroqocha 4,480m (14,698 ft)
Finish: Collpapampa 2,800m (9,186 ft)
Trek Time: ~8 hrs (including lunch)
“Buenos dias! Café or té?” Alex asked as he unzipped rain fly on our tent and handed us cups of coffee and coca tea before we even got out of our sleeping bags. After a freezing night, we woke to the sun shining bright and clear blue skies! Salkantay was out, with no clouds in sight. It was a beautiful day! After a pancake breakfast, we packed up the rest of our gear and headed off to finish our ascent to the highest point of the trek – Salkantay Pass at 4,630m (15,190ft). Continue reading “Peru Day 7: Salkantay Trek – Suyroqocha to Collpapampa”
Start: Sayllapata 3,400m (11,154 ft)
Finish: Suyroqocha 4,480m (14,698 ft)
Trek Time: 8 hrs (including lunch)
We all woke with excitement when our alarm went off around 3:30a.m……Tish and I went downstairs to the lobby to get the last bit of work done before we lost internet for a week. Tonya joined us and we had a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee and coca tea, then went back up to our room to put the final touches on packing. At 5, we met our guide, driver and the rest of the group in the lobby and we were headed to the trailhead! After a few hours in the car, we arrived at our starting spot. Alex, our guide, shared his coca leaves with us and taught us the proper way to get the juice out of them (which was similar to chewing tobacco). The coca leaves were supposed to help with altitude sickness and help keep us energized. We were all a little nervous to try it, but rolled up the leaves and stuck them in our lips with gusto!
On our last day before the trek, we wanted to take it easy but still get in as much exploring as we could. We ventured to the huge local Sunday San Pedro Market where we spent hours getting lost in all they had to offer. Much of the market was indoors, but it continued on the streets around the indoor section for blocks. There were separate sections for fresh juices and food like soup, fruit and vegetables, dried fruit and nuts, raw meat and fish, herbal medicines, dried beans and potatoes, textiles, chocolate, bread, flowers….even a whole street dedicated to guinea pigs! We loved walking through the market and were jealous we didn’t have a market similar close to our homes.
Since we had booked an extra few days in Cusco to acclimate we had time to do a lot of exploring before the trek. For our second day in Cusco we did a full day tour of the Sacred Valley. Evelyn, our guide from Peruvian Local Friend, picked us up early Saturday morning for our hour long drive to our first stop: Chinchero! Continue reading “Peru Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour”
After spending two nights in Lima, we woke up ready for our flight to Cusco. While Tonya took a walk down to the beach, Tish and I took the opportunity to get some work done while we still had a hotel with “reliable” internet. We walked across the street to the local espresso bar we fell in love with and got coffee and a few last empanadas before our taxi picked us up. The flight to Cusco was quick and painless, when we landed our local Kandoo Adventures contact was there to pick us up and take us to our hotel and recommended Marcelo Batata for dinner. After settling in a bit, and realizing Tonya and I were definitely feeling “weird” from the altitude, we walked down to the Plaza de Armas, the main square in Cusco, and then headed to dinner. The Plaza de Armas has two huge beautiful Spanish cathedrals (Cusco was the royal city of the Incan people, but when the Spaniards invaded they demolished all Incan temples and build Catholic churches in their place). Continue reading “Peru Day 3: Goodbye Lima, Hello Cusco!”
On our second day in Lima we joined a couple from Atlanta on a biking food tour with Food Walking Tour Peru. We began our ride a block from our hotel in the Miraflores district and rode through two other districts: Barranco and Chorrillos.
Tish and I landed in Lima at 6 a.m. and met Tonya (who had landed at midnight) in the airport. We took a taxi to our hotel where we attempted to recover from 24 hrs of no sleep. Lots of coffee and a little breakfast were consumed, we took a shower to get rejuvenated and then headed out to meet our tour guide for the Free Walking Tour.