Driving into Peru and crossing the border went smoother than expected for me. The last time I crossed the border by land with my two passports it was a pain as they made me go back across the border to get an exit stamp in both passports. luckily this time I did not need to do this and the crossing was over very quickly.
Finally we were in Peru, I had been dreaming of this place for 4 years, and I was finally here.
From the border we drove to Puno and home for the night, a city built on the banks of Lake Titicaca. We didnt spend much time in the city as the next day we went on an adventure.
What was the adventure, well we were picked up in ‘andean taxis’ which was basically a bicycle with a bench thing attached to the front. A local form of transport which was lots of fun. We were taken to the docks where we boarded our trusty boat for a tour of Lake Titicaca.
First stop was the Uros Floating Islands. They make islands out of reeds and roots that float on the water and are anchored in position by long poles and rope. It was so weird standing on the islands as you could feel it bobbing in the water. While on the island we learnt about how they live, how the islands are made and were dressed up by the locals in their traditional dress, before going for a ride in a traditional reed canoe.
Second stop was lunch on Isla Taquile, a long and steep climb to the restaurant at 3812m above sea level made you think why on earth did I sign up to do the Inca Trail. The view up there was absolutely incredible, the lake looks like the ocean it is so huge and blue. Im convinced it was the ocean. After a delicious trout lunch from the lake we headed back down to the boat and headed to home for the night in a local community that calls the lake home.
Homestay- As part of the tour we had a homestay with a local family. When we arrived at the local school we were met with songs, music, dancers, a soccer game with some of the kids then we were dressed up once again to learn a dance. It was so cold but the dancing luckily warmed us up. That night our mom made us yummy dinner then we headed for bed. The next day we woke up had breakfast then helped with some daily tasks; peeling potatoes, popping out peas, taking the sheep and pigs to graze then sorting through quinoa. After a morning of work we had lunch and had to say farewell to our family and catch the boat back to Puno. It was an incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone.
From Puno we caught the bus to Cusco, what a long bus ride that was, but once we arrived we had to go to the G Adventures office for a briefing of the trail, where once again you think “what have I gotten myself into”. After our meeting we went for dinner and to bed.
The next day I went on a walking tour of the city before going shopping for souvenirs and presents. The rest of the day I rested because sadly most of the group was sick and I wasn’t feeling 100% so I needed rest before hiking for 4 days.
Today we left Cusco and went on a tour of the Sacred Valley, to some ruins then to two of the projects that G Adventures funds. One is a women’s weaving project where they support the women weaving as a form of income, while making sure working conditions are well kept. The second is a resturant that is run by locals, and uses local produce to create delicious food. After touring around we headed to Ollantayantambo which was our stop for the night before starting the Inca Trail the next day. Our last day in civilisation with normal toilets and wifi.
INCA TRAIL AND MACHU PICCHU
45Kms over 4 days
One of the best things I have done and would do it again. The trail was in no doubt hard but the sense of achievement when finally on the last day you reach Machu Picchu is unbelieveable. I have never been so exhausted but when the chef bakes a cake at over 4000m above sea level on top of a mountain with no oven you forget about that.
Day one was pretty easy, no big climbs mainly rolling hills with two stops at ruins along the way. 12 Kms from the start at KM82 to Wayllabamba camp, where the views from the tent were amazing.
Day two (11km) was probably the hardest, starting the day going up hill basically all the way to the start of Dead womens pass. From there it is 1hr straight up the pass. with a mixture of steep path and massive steps, it is a challenge to get up but not impossible. You get so hot on the way up, just to be met with freezing cold winds on the highest part of the trail. after recovering it was time to head back down to the camp, where your legs no longer work and going down hill hurts more than going up. Once we made it to camp it decided to hail, which made the temperature drop dramatically and snow on mountains lower than it usually snows. That night was absolutely freezing.
Day three I really enjoyed, an easy hike but a very long day of 16kms up and down rolling hills, stopping on top of a mountain for lunch with amazing views as we were at the same level as the clouds. Lunch was a buffet that I have no idea how they made 5 different types of food and kept it all hot with just two gas stove tops. after lunch we were surprised with a cake which made everyone gobsmacked as we couldn’t figure out how they did it. It was better than some cakes I cook in a normal oven. After lunch it was a slow journey to the last camp with another stop at a ruin on the way. It was alot warmer here as it was alot lower and in a forest. We are almost there!!
Day 4 was Machu Picchu day with only 6kms of walking to do we all had a sudden burst of energy to get there, after waking up at 3:30am so that the porters could make their 5am train home. After finally starting the final trek the sun started rising and we were filled with excitement. Sadly as it is most days the Sungate was Cloud gate where all you could see was cloud. As we moved further on we climbed up 50 vertical steps called the Monkey steps and we could taste Machu Picchu, as we got closer it peeked through the clouds and once we were there it was unreal, I never thought I would make it but I did. And it was so worth it.
Thinking back I would do it again, the views along the way are amazing with forest, snow mountains, Inca tunnels and caves, the trail has everything, and is more beautiful than I thought it would be. It is AMAZING!!!!!
As soon as that adventure started it ended and it was time to head back to the hotel in Cusco. Shower time!
CUSCO PART 2
This time round I went horse riding through the mountains and some surrounding ruins in Cusco to do some sightseeing without walking. After a relaxing and scenic ride I headed back to the hotel, then for lunch at a cafe and for last minute shopping before packing for the upcoming flight.
That night we had a farewell dinner as it was our last night together before we all headed our separate ways. It was sad to say farewell but I was excited for the final part of my adventure.
Farewell Andes and hello Amazon
Pics to come soon