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Stop #2 - Peru (Inca Jungle Trek)

PERU | Saturday, 2 August 2014 | Views [422]

 

The Inca Jungle Trek – Our Route to Machu Pichu

Day 1 – The whole tour started with yet another very early morning with a pick up from our hostel. We then headed to Lorenzo HQ to meet the rest of the group and have a breakfast/briefing. Next we drove for a few hours to reach the start of our mountain biking at 4600m. The drive took us through the Sacred Valley, which resembles more of a sparsely vegetated desert, before starting our assent toward the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. We had a great group in our van which included an American family, and Rad and Jac from Canada who would tackle the rest of the trip with us. On arrival at the top of the mountain range we were greeted with some thin air and cool conditions.

Mt biking

The biking was all downhill which allowed us to descend while taking in the sights of the Andes and slowly feeling the temperature rise. Rachel managed a concentration lapse which almost saw her end up in the large road side gutter but recovered with style and blamed it on the quest for good GoPro footage. We reached the end of our biking at 2000m and the last few kilometres flattened out on the valley floor and required some hard pedalling. We then jumped back in the bus and headed toward our accommodation for the night in Santa Maria. We dropped off our bags and then headed off for white water rafting. Our team for the rafting was the same as that from our van ride, Rad was especially nervous and she had never rafted before and it only seemed fair that she was at the front of the raft and the first one to be thrown out. The water was a touch on the cold side as it was fresh from melting off the ice-capped Andes, which was enough incentive to hold on tight to avoid falling in. The rafting ended right on dusk which was later than expected and made for a few cold wet bodies. Unfortunately after the biking footage there was minimal GoPro battery left to film the rafting. We then went out with the entire group for dinner, the dinners on this tour were Masterchef quality with proper plating which was the last thing we were expecting in the Peruvian highlands. A poor night sleep was to follow.

Cultural Experience

Day 2 –The start of day two consisted of hiking on Peruvian flats (uphill gradient), however we all jumped on the back of a truck to quickly knock off the first few kilometres of the hike. We then made a long stop at a local house for the cultural activities which included a talk on local coca, cacao and coffee farming as well as exposure to local wildlife (giant guinea pig) and some traditional dress. From here we hiked up hill and met up with one of the old Inca trails along the trail we could see the craftsmanship that went into snaking these trails along the steep mountainside. We has spectacular views down the valley, with the snow-capped Mt. Salkantay on one side and the edges of the Amazon on the other. We followed this trail along the mountainside and into the valley where we crossed the river on a zip line basket and headed to the hot springs. Here we were able to have a rest and watch the sun set. From the hot springs we jumped into a van as night fell and headed for 30 mins to Santa Theresa our accommodation for the night. As dinner time came we were again greeted with immaculate Peruvian cuisine and another poor night of sleep.

 girls

Day 3 – Today was a day we had both been looking forward to as we got to tackle the longest zip lines in South America. They definitely lived up to expectation as it wasn’t long till we were lining up to set off on a 1.5km line 800m above the valley floor and reaching speeds of 90km/h. The view was spectacular as we crossed from one side of the valley to the other over the roaring river. From start to finish we tackled 4 zip lines and we were both able to superman, which involved laying facing the valley floor whilst attached to the guide behind, this allowed for some great GoPro footage (coming soon). After this we crossed the valley floor on a long suspension bridge with sparsely spaced wooden planks. This allowed for a great opportunity to jump around and shake the bridge which resulted in a new, albeit small, scar for Rach (whoops, partly my fault). From here we jumped back into the van and headed along some steep cliff-side roads passing through Peru’s hydroelectric area. This area has a vast tunnel system running through the mountains to divert river systems to power Peru. We reached the end of the road and commenced our walk along the railway tracks en route to Machu Pichu. After just 10 minutes we got our first glimpse of the incredible Inca ruins far in the distance, on the top of the mountain range. After this we reached our lunch stop were yet another masterchef quality meal awaited. After lunch we headed to the football pitch which was cleared out of the thick vegetation on the valley floor for a game of 3v3. Great fun, but we all ended up dripping with sweat. The three girls Rach, Rad and Vera definitely impressed our guides who assumed that women couldn’t live up to their standard. (We sure showed them – Rach). After lunch we continued our trek along the train line, occasionally having to dash of the track for a passing train. Sound dramtic, actually thre train was moving very slowly and sounded its horn km before reaching us. Whilst walking this track we experienced an extremely rare sighting of a spotted bear coming down to the river to drink. Our guide said in all his years of taking tours he had only ever seen 2 others. Then it was back on the tracks for our final dash to the town of Aguas Calientes, which sits at the foot of Machu Pichu Mountain.  

 machu

Day 4 – The big day arrived and we were up before 5am to start our trek up to Machu Pichu for sunrise. We paired up with the Canadian girls and Matt and Rad had planned to be some of the first to reach the top. 1700 steps later Matt and Rad arrived at the gates to the Inca Ruins, Rad obviously in in much better shape than Matt resulting in suffering some exhaustion and nausea which quickly passed. (Who are you kidding Matt, you very nearly spewed, all because you couldn’t let yourself be beaten by a Girl). Jac and Rach arrived at the gates 15mins later and we waited for the gates to open. We were greeted with some bad weather for the first few hours but this cleared and the remaining clouds added to the majestic feel of the ruins. The following hours were spent walking amongst the ruins, admiring what the Incas were able to achieve and taking many, many photos (even the ’illegal’ handstand photo which the guards actually made us delete. Lucky Rad had a copy). The time flew by and soon it was time for the girls to head back down the mountain to catch their train back to Cusco. We stayed on for a couple more hours before heading back down the mountain by which time hunger and exhaustion were setting in. At about 4:30 we too headed back down the mountain and then headed to the hot springs to recover. We had dinner with some of the other people we met on our trip, Sebastian, Lily and Andreas. A fun night of travel talk, jenga and impromptu rapping in our restaurant followed and then some well-deserved rest.

machu pichuDay 5 –Our trip back to Cusco didn’t quite go to plan but was a fun trip none the less. We misread our train ticket but lucky this meant we showed up over 1 hour early for our train to Ollaytaytambo with Sebastian and Lily. Train broke down for almost 3 hrs. Luckily we did not have to rush to be back in Cusco and we just passed the time playing cards. We arrived back in Cusco with no hostel booking any many hostels booked out, one hostel tried putting us in their dodgy staff quarters. By some stroke of luck we walked past a restaurant and a glimpse inside of some shiny blonde hair revealed the Canadian girls grabbing some lunch which was a very welcome sight. We grabbed a bite to eat whilst searching the internet for a hostel and found a very nice hostel just around the corner which was very lucky. We then met up with Alex and Ginge, 2 girls the Canadians had met previously, and being the small world it is, Alex being from Sydney, shared some mutual friends. We had some dinner (which some would regret more than others) and then headed back to the hostel for a game of king of beers before bed.

 

bar 

We had such a great time on this leg of our trip and saw and experienced the amazing things Peru has to offer. To top it all off we were so lucky to meet such great people so early in our trip. (You created big shoes to fill Rad and Jac)! It is so heart-warming to find people from the other side of the world that you just click with. And lucky for Jac, great to have friends that will rush to the airport to give you your forgotten money and credit cards – haha.  (Radost and Jac, thanks for the awesome times. You better come visit us in Aus)!

Signing out,

Mostly Matt :)


 

 

 

Personal Notes
Inca jungle trip Lorenzo expeditions Guide: Juan Carlos
People: Radost and Jaclyn (Canada), Sebastian and Lily (Austria),  Nick,   (South African), Vera and her dad (Germany) Casey (USA), Andres (Colombia) Family from USA,

 

Tags: andes, biking, cusco, machupichu, mountains, peru, southamerica, trekking, worldwonder

 

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