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Bec & Simon

Inca Trail, Peru

PERU | Tuesday, 3 February 2009 | Views [2244] | Comments [2]

Simon & Bec on the top of Dead Womans Pass

Simon & Bec on the top of Dead Womans Pass

It is a bit hard to write about the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu and keep it short, but I'll give it a go.

We met our group in Cuzco at 6am on the 30th of January. A pretty cool group of people that we got to know fairly well throughout the trek. Irish, Canadian, Polish, American, Mexican, Brazilian and, of course, Australians! The bus took us to Km 82, which is the starting point for the trek. We stopped for breakfast along the way and to buy the last few essential items for the trek before we headed off into the wilderness. Important things like lollies, chocolate and a walking stick for Bec! Then we were off! Day One of the trek was supposed to be the easiest, at least according to Ruben, our tour guide. Although we quickly realised that Ruben was a bit prone to bullshit! He predicted beautiful weather everyday - it rained on and off every day. His estimations for how far we had to go were always way off - if he said an hour to go uphill, it meant only about half an hour, if he said and hour downhill, it was more likely two. His explanations about the Inca ruins were pretty creative, dates keep changing and everything he told us was prefaced with 'probably'. We soon realised if we wanted an honest response, we needed to go to our other tour guide Mauro. But despite that, Ruben was a fantastic tour guide, super passionate about anything Inca, a very theatrical speaker, and he went absolutely out of his way to look after us! The service on this tour was absolutley incredible. Our group had 18 porters, including a cook. These guys each carried 25kgs minimum (including all our tents, food, chairs, cooking equipment etc, because nothing was left behind at campsites, they had to carry everything for the whole trek), and everyday they raced up the tracks ahead of us to set up camp and cook our meals. Each day we'd show up to our lunch spot and they'd have hot drinks and snacks waiting for us in the eating tent. Once everyone had arrived they'd cook us a three course meal. The food during the trek was amazing. We ate lots of local foods (the porters even picked some things along the way, like tea and potatoes, for us to try) and we were never served the same thing twice! After lunch, they packed up and raced off again to get our overnight campsite and dinner ready. Anyway, back to the topic, Day one was supposed to be easy, but the last hour or two of the day was actually pretty hard, climbing uphill to our first campsite. But then came day two! This was the hardest day by far. We climbed Dead Woman's Pass first thing in the morning (alt. 4215m or 1400ft). It was ridiculously steep steps the entire way, pretty narrow paths along the mountainside and nothing to stop us falling off the edge. Bec actually lost her sunglasses off the edge that day! Once we got to the top, we headed downhill to our lunch stop. The downhill was actually harder, because it was equally steep but slippery as well, and we had to always watch where we were putting our feet. Well harder for Bec anyway, Simon and Noe raced off ahead (I think they were trying out to be porters!). After lunch we climbed another pass, which was as steep as the first and then another descent. When we reached the bottom we passed an Inca site which we weren't supposed to visit. A group of us were still feeling ok though, so we climbed up for a look. The next day we only hiked for half the day, and reached our campsite at midday. We saw heaps of Inca sites on day three. Five minutes walk from where our campsite was, there was a huge Inca ruin called Winaywayna. This was my favourite Inca site, and after a somewhat long-winded explanation from Ruben, we were able to explore it by ourselves. Winaywayna was built (Inca-style) perched on the side of a mountain, with terraced buildings and a very cool aquaducts throughout the complex. The campsite we stayed at that night was the last official campsite on the trail and actually had a building, electricity and a bar. So after tea that night we enjoyed a few cold cusquenas (the local beer) and said goodbye to our porters. The following morning we hit the trail at 5am so that we could get to Machu Picchu ahead of the rest of the tours groups. It was kind of a race to get there because we wanted to get permits to climb Winapicchu (the mountain overlooking Machu Picchu), and they only give out four hundred each day. So we absolutely hauled ass to get there - Simon racing ahead the whole way! It was worth it though, we got there just in time. There were only thirty permits left when we got there! After a snack, Ruben and Mauro gave us the guided tour of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is amazing and absolutely worthseeing, but I think hiking the Inca Trail made getting there even more special. After our tour seven of us went off to climb Winapicchu. This was the scariest thing I've done. It was more climbing than hiking, very steep steps, no guard rails and 400m drops off to the side. It took us over an hour to climb to the top, but once we got there the view of Machu Picchu from the top was awesome! We later found out (when we were back on flat ground, luckily!) that Winapicchu has only been open for climbing for three years and two people have fallen off and died in that time. But we were all really glad that we did it! In the afternoon, we caught the bus down to Aguas Calientes (a small Andean town below Machu Picchu) for lunch and to say goodbye. Simon and I stayed in Aguas Calientes that night. It was a gorgeous little town and would be nice to stay a bit longer in, but we had other places to be. Then next day we caught the train (40kms in 2 hours - I think I could have run faster!) and a taxi back to cuzco for one more night, before flying back to Lima and then on to Buenos Aires!




"It is a bit hard to write about the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu and keep it short, but I'll give it a go."

LOL...lost me @ this line....joking...love reading your blog...so happy happy for you both. Cheers!

  Jan Feb 6, 2009 5:02 PM


Hello guys, reading your blog was fun... I'm planning to go to Cuzco this April. I was wondering if you still have the name of the travel agency that organized your trek?
Thx, Liz

  Liz Feb 8, 2009 3:37 PM

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