Sunday, 22 May 2011

Inca jungle trail & Machu-Picchu

Day 1 - Mountain Biking
So, everything is booked and we are about to start the first day with mountain biking, starting from around 4.400m altitude, getting down to the village of Santa Maria, at 1.400m. I have to say that it was a bit of a disappointment...great delays without reason in the morning, below average bikes, and a no-adrenaline ride on asphalt....offered some great views however

- Mum....where do rivers start from????
- High up at the mountains son

Spend the first night at a nice hostel in Santa Maria

...and the winner is....the black chap on the left :)

Day 2 - Heavy Trekking
We started at 7.30am, fully loaded with our backpacks and tons of insect repellent for the annoying day flies, to make our ways to our next stop, Santa Teresa, after about 9h....through the Inca jungle. That was the most tiring but also most rewarding day before we reach Machu - Picchu.

Santa Teresa is somewhere behind those mountains at the faaaaar end...we better get started, it's getting hot already

entering the Inca trail....

...careful, you don't want to slip there !

you can hardly see the trail...really scary if you look down, so don't :)

the little fella in yellow was our of the few times he was ahead of us :))

sun goes down, and we still have a couple of hours walking

We finally made it to Santa Teresa, after 28km of hiking, at around 7.30pm. Shower, dinner....bed :))
An exhausting but nice day !

Day 3 - Hydroelectrico & Aguas Callientes
Another early morning start, with a strong sun above us. Good breakfast and another long day is ahead of us; 22km to Aguas Callientes.

if the river is angry, you have to cross from above :))

walking though a banana & cocoa forest revealed.....

a nice waterfall....time for a cold shower

At around 7pm, we arrived at Aguas Callientes. A really nice place, and the closest town to Machu-Picchu.
Settled at a nice hotel, nice dinner and straight to bed. Tomorrow will be an early start.

just in case you ask, yes we could have gone by train for USD80

Day 4 - Machu Picchu
There are a number of options to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Callientes. It all depends when you want to go. It gets complicated if you want to go early in the morning :)
Buses from Aguas Callientes start running at 5.30am, and get to the entrance of Machu Picchu at around 6.30 but in order to get on the first bus you need to queue from 3am. But what if you want to get to the entrance before buses arrive??? Then you do what some of us did !!!
Woke up at 4am and walk up all the way from Aguas Callientes to the entrance...or maybe I should say climb....1.484 long & tall steps I counted; in complete darkness, with torches...maybe I missed some :))

we made it to the entrance before the buses arrive

In return, you get the chance to take some nice early morning pics....

Llamas having breakfast :)

The way to Waynapicchu
Apparently, there is one more strong reason to get to Machu Picchu early in the morning and be among the first; the name of that reason is Waynapicchu. This is the huge rock that you see in every typical Machu Picchu postcard. Going up there is not the easiest thing and accidents have happened in the past. This has led the site administration to limit the number of visitors to 400 daily, in two time windows, of 200 visitors each. You either make for 7am, or then at 10am.

actually, you need about 45' to go up in a fast pace, but it takes 1.5h to come down :))

starts kinda smooth, with ups and downs...

that's how it goes for the most part of it....already thinking of the way back

just over the clouds....perfect

Machu Picchu & Waynapicchu in the typical postcard shot :))

sharp ehh?? if heights are not your thing, just stay where you are

dinner with the team-mates and a nice jenga game to relax.
guess who dropped them :)))

Next stop: Nuestra Senora de La Paz

Hasta luego