Inca trail

Nowadays it is not possible to do the Inca trail without a certified guide, what I think it is good. This regulate a little the tourism, it gives job to the Peruvians that study to be guide and prevent tourists to throw garbage and food on the way.

I decide to do a tour with a group organized by an agency in Cuzco (see services). The first day they got me in the hostel about 7am. After we picked up everybody we went to get the carriers, food, train tickets. It took forever. After I head the other agencies would do the same. On the way to Km 82 (where we start the trail) we stopped for a breakfast in Urubamba. It was the same road from Sacred Valley tour.

We arrived in the trail at noon. There were a huge number of groups and backpackers arriving at the same time. We walked for an hour and a half to the lunch pause. The day was sunny and we sat down on the grass to eat. We all enjoyed the food, or maybe we were too hungry. In general the food offered in the tour was good. There was soup and a main dish for the meals, and snacks as fruit in the morning and tea with popcorn before the diner. After lunch we waked three more hours to the campsite. The walk was mild, almost no ascend. We did approximately 14km. The Inca trail, starting in the km 82, is about 42 km long.

The second day was harder. It was 5 hours walking up and then 2 hours of steep descend, about 12 km total. This time I waked really slowly. The night before I had headache, maybe because I walked to fast for my body that isn’t used to the height. The way up was very tiresome. I stopped to rest all the time. It was the social day because everybody stopped a lot. Every stop I would meet people, specially Brazilian, that so far I haven’t met in my trip. The top of the ascend is at 4200m, called Wayllabamba, known as the dead woman pass. As everything here, there are many theories about the meaning of the name, some say it is because a dead woman was found here, other say it is because the mountain has a woman shape. Our guide said it is because women get to the top “dead”, very tired. After reaching the top, we had two more ours descending to get the lunch. It was already late and I was starving. After eating, we waked one more hour to the campsite. We slept near a place called Pacaymayo, at 3700m. These time I didn’t have headache, it was good that I walked slowly.

The third day was the most beautiful one. First we stopped in a place called Rukuracay. Then continued to Sayamarca ruins. We visited the place and continued to the lunch spot, Phuyupatamarca. The climate was tropical, we passed trough a forest with a pleasant weather. We had lunch, visited the ruins and continued to the campsite. This was the hardest part to someone who has knee problems (like me). The whole way was down, descending, great part with stairs. I went really slowly. After about 6 hours walking (16km) we got to the campsite near the hostel.
There we could shower. It was good despite of the line. We had our afternoon tea and dinner in the hostel restaurant. The place was crowed. It looked like a party, we could drink some beers.

The fourth day we woke up at 4am, had breakfast at 4:30am in order to be at Machu Picchu entrance gate before it opens at 5am. I was impressed by the amount of people. It was a huge line of backpackers with their flashlight. It was not possible to walk fast, we had to follow the flow. Some would say that there was about a thousand people getting there that day.

The night before is when all the groups get together, the two and four day trail groups, and all leave at the same time. After an hour and a half we reached the place were we should see the sunrise in Machu Picchu. Unfortunately it was really cloudy and we couldn’t see more the 4 meters ahead. The climate didn’t get better by the morning. In the afternoon the sky started to clear a little bit but no sign of sunshine. I decided to sleep in Aguas Calientes and come back next day to see better the place…

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