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August & Tim Sth America

Cuzco, Macchu Piccu & Puno

PERU | Saturday, 15 March 2008 | Views [911] | Comments [2]

We spent about a week in Cuzco prior to starting the trek up Macchu Piccu, so from Arequipa, we took the overnight bus which was 10hrs, about 5 of these were on a road worse than Denise and Phils! We also didn{t sleep a wink as we had a maniac driver, and everytime we turned a corner, I swore the bus was going to roll over! But we made it in time for Tims birthday, and booked into Loki hostel which is a huge Irish hostel with 180 beds. Due to everyone needing to aclimatise to the altitude prior to the Inca Trail, there are lots of people just hanging around, and hence partying! We had a cheezy birthday celebration over a minature cake, then headed out to Mama Africas, which is also a cheezy backpackers bar, but we had a good night with some people from Loki all the same.

In Cuzco, we also went to som elocal Inca Ruins around Cuzco, where we were able to hire horses and ride between 4 sites which was fun! Mind you, they were practically donkeys and didn{t know how to trot or canter so we were pretty safe with the old style western saddles and no bridle or helmet!!

The Inca Trek began on Sunday with an early start at 5am, where we travelled a few hours to Ollyantantambo which is the last town before the trek begins to get supplies, then drove another hr or two to the beginning of the hike at KM 82. Here the porters organised all our gear and we set off for our first day on the hike. We had only 5 in our group which was fantiastic compared to the other (millions) of groups who had up to 20! There were 2 Swedish girls, and an Aussie guy all about the same age so we got on well. The tour agency we went with hire all their porters from a local town near the start of the trek, and it is a family owned business, so most of them were related. The porters are amazing! They are only allowed to carry 25kgs now, as before there were regulations, some carried up to 40kgs on their backs! Most only wear their sandles, and we had about 4-5 porters over the age of 40! Very strong men thats for sure. So day 1 was pretty tame, and the rain kept away right until we set up camp which was good. We got fed 2-3 course peruvian meals every lunch and dinner so there was plenty of energy for each day. Day 2 was the most arduous of the 4 day trek as we had to climb 1200m in altitude, and is pretty much up hill for 6 hrs. But compared to the Colca Canyon, Tim and I found it relatively easy surprisingly. Mind you it was difficult navigating ourselves around the million other tourist doing the trek with us!! They only allow 500ppl in a day to Macchu Picchu including porters and guides (and the lazy buggers who get the train up), but it seemed like a lot more. The walk was really beautiful as we began walking into the rainforest areas along the creeks. The rain set in at the top of the mountain at 4200m and the ponchos were our new best friends again, then we descended down about 600m to our wet campsite for the night. The cards kept up occupied for the night time and we have a fun new Swedish card game to teach everyone!

Day 3 involved climbing for about 2hrs, then walking down hill for about 6hrs. This sounds easy however in the rain on slippery rocks its pretty tough. The original Inca Trail is still intact in this area and it is pretty much a rocky path and the 'Inca Flat' which is up and down all day. This was also beautiful scenary with the rainforrests and mountains in the back ground. Along the way we also had 'history lessons' and stopped at Inca ruins each day where we saw some amazing stonework and terraces for agriculture.

By Day 4 we were pretty much sick of walking down hill! I never thought I'd see the day where I would have preferred to walk up hill, but it came! We had a very early start at 4am at our last campsite to begin the 1.5hrs walk to the macchu Picchu sun gate for the sun rise. Unfortunately due to the constant rain and fog, we didn't see a thing!! We were very wet and ready to see some of the wordly wonder, but had to walk another 45mins to the actual site. Here we had a 2 hr history lesson and learnt about the intersting ways of the Inca and see some absolutely amazinf stone work. How they managaed to build such amazing structures and carve stone to 90 degrees and join the walls with no mortar we will never be able to understand.... The weather was pretty shitty, but the clouds did open for a few photos and we could admire the beauty of the place. Its definately worth visiting if you have a chance. The trail itself wasn{t that difficult, and we were surpised at the amount of people 40-60 doing the trek!

So tired, stiff and wet, we spent a few hours in Agua Calientes which is a town with beautiful hot springs to rest our muscles, and have Mojitos servied to you in the pool! A nice finish to the day. We had to catch the train back to Cuzco that afternoon for 5hrs, where we checked in to the hostel with a bunch of durt washing to take to Puno the next day!

The bus to Puno was revolting, and it took 2 hrs longer than expected, then conked out 1/2 hrs before we got to the terminal so we had to get a taxi to the hostel! Here the hostel we booked completely ripped us off and wouldn'{ accept our discount card or take our deposit off the total price. But we had to settle for it, so slept the night, and took a tour to the floating island on Lake Titicata today. Its pretty amazing here, htere are a bunch of islands called the Uros where they literally live on reeds. They eat reeds, make houses, cooks, make boats and anything else you can think of with the reeds. Each island is only about 30m in diameter and a family lives on each to ensure they do not have incestual relationships! We took the local boat to a couple of ialands, then tooko the big boat to a natural island called Tequile. Here we were supposed to have our lunch and relax, but our guide decided to downgrade up to the 'normal' class by her own virtue where we didn{t get lunch or any guided tour. So when we finally made it back to Puno, and argued till we were blue in the face for a refund for our ticked (which we got!!).

So basically we don{t like Puno! Everyone rips you off, and we also had things stolen - I wouldn{t bother recommending this place to anyone axpect for a short trip to the Islands.

Tomorrow we're off to Copacobana Bolivia to relax (hopefully) at Isle Del Sol, then head off to La Paz for a week or so. We might find it difficult to do anything over Easter due to the holidays, but we're hoping to get to Uyini and see the salt plains.

We'll put some photos up ASAP - keep posted!



Hey lads,

Just got up on your blog there. Brings back memories!! Seems like it was ages ago we were there. Ye must be fairly fit if ye thopught the Inca Trail wasn't that difficult. Must be the steaks giving ye the energy.
Hope ye get to do the salt flats cos they're amazing. Keep posting the stories and see ye in a few months.


  Alan Mar 22, 2008 12:43 AM


Hi Guys,
Just checked out your journal and pics. Amazing place, although seems like a lot of hard work. I guess if us oldies ever go, we'll be the "lazy buggers" riding the donkeys out of the Colca canyon or catching the train to Macchu Picchu. Mind you, the hot springs at the bottom of the canyon may just be worth it. Maybe we wont have to go anywhere at all if you two keep travelling and posting your journals and pics. Keep up the good work. See you when you're next in Tassie.
Alison and Jack

  Alison and Jack Mar 29, 2008 1:33 PM



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