15.01.2013 - 21.01.2013
On the 15th of Jan we got up at 6am to start our 4 day trek to Machu Picchu! After receiving some terrific advice we opted to do the 'Jungle Trek'. This trek combines hiking, mountain biking, zip lining and up to a week before it also included white water rafting. Sadly a number of tourists had died 2 weeks previously doing the rafting so the government had cancelled it until the weather conditions had improved. I'd definitely recommend the jungle trek as the cycling and ziplining were so much fun! ...unless you just LOVE walking then you could just hike for the whole thing! (BORING!!) We were in a group of about 15 people who you trek/eat/sleep with for the duration if the trip and we also had two hilarious tour guides, Ricardo y Carlito!
The first day consisted of about 3 hours biking downhill from 4000m. I actually have a (very random!) fear of bikes so I was pretty petrified for the duration of this! The fact that it was raining and there was numerous crosses throughout the cycle track marking where people had died really didn't help the ole nerves! I have to say though apart from one close call with a car and my bike chain coming off twice it ended up being one of the highlights of the trek! After lunch we trekked on foot for the rest of the day until reaching our home stay that night.
The following morning we got up for an early breakfast before heading off for a 7 hour trek. (Whoop whoop!) Using a local fruit our tour guides painted our faces and arms. The tinted juice is also used as a sunblock which was pretty handy! While the majority of the group got Inca symbols and 'I love Peru' I UNKNOWINGLY got 'I love Ricky' painted on my arm by our Peruvian tour guide. (Cheers!)
That evening after hours of walking we reached what can only be described as 'heaven'....the hot springs!! We were wet, mucky, cold and hadn't had a shower since leaving Cuzco! ...so we couldn't believe our luck to find there was HOT showers!! (The only hot shower you get on the trek!) After the springs there was an option to do another 1 hour uphill trek or stay longer in the hot springs and get a bus straight to the hostel door that night...it was a verrrry tough decision for us!! After having a nice meal in the town of Santa Theresa a few of us went to a local club where myself and Diana became professional salsa dancers! (We thought so anyway!)
After a few hours sleep we woke up for the best part of the trek (apart from actually reaching the top of Machu Picchu!) ....the ZIPLINING!!! The views from the lines were unbelievable. There were 6 lines so we did some upside down, spinning around and my personal favourite ...the 'superman'. Where a guide stands on your feet while you lie flat ..it feels like your going to fall straight down into the water but you don't so happy days!
After lunch we did a few more hours trekking and finally arrived at Aguas Calientas. After quite a giddy "last supper" dinner we all stocked up on food and water for the final day of trekking up to Machu Pichu! We were up at 4am to start climbing so it was early to bed!
We were awoken by Diana's alarm clock at 3:30am followed by a quick blast of Aretha Franklin´s 'Ain't no mountain high enough' to get us in the mood! After a STEEP uphill trek we arrived to the top of Machu Picchu at about 6:30am. The views were incredible and the following 2 hour tour of the 'lost city' was so interesting! (Diana did catch a sneaky pic of me half asleep though!)
We were lucky enough to have booked our trek a week in advance so we had also got tickets to climb the neighbouring mountain of Wayna Picchu (only 400 people are allowed climb it each day.) Having said that when we saw the height and steepness of it we questioned just how 'lucky' we actually were!! ....but after eventually getting to the top it was obvious what the hype was about the views were UNBELIEVABLE!!!
So all in all Machu Picchu will definitely be one of our South American highlights and I'd recommend the Jungle Trek to anyone!! Some advice I would give future trekkers: if you want to look 'really cool' on the trek then wear jungle 'themed' socks like me ...but if you´d prefer comfort and to avoid blisters then your probably better off going for the thick trekking socks that most other people seemed to be wearing!! ..similarly G.I. Jane styled leggings look the part but watch out for poor material that rip in extremely awkward places!!
Back to Cuzco:
So Diana and myself thought it would be just hilarious to pretend to 'Chundaa in Perahhh' at one of the highest points on the trek. IRONICALLY within a few hours of this photo being taken myself (and the majority of our group) got food poisoned/some sort of bug! ...so this pretty much sums up the following 3 days back in Cuzco.....