Summer 2018

Day 4

Our morning started at 3:30 AM, where we embarked on an hour bus ride to the train station in the town of Ollantaytambo. Even this early in the morning, people were up and lively in the streets. Or maybe they didn't sleep. When we reached, we started the next leg of our journey – a two-hour train ride through the mountains. The views were amazing, as we were following the Urubamba River within the valley of the huge mountain ranges. We then reached Km 104, where we met our porters and chef. They took our duffel bags, and we began our hike to Machu Pichu along the Inca trail.

The first archeological site we visited was Chachabamaba, which was one of the first Inca checkpoints along the Inca trail. We continued along Wiñay Wayna to reach a small waterfall. It had cold water, which was a refreshing surprise after hiking for hours in the burning sun. A neat trick our guide taught us was to wet our hat in the water and then wear it to cool down quicker.

After, we stopped for an amazing lunch which our chef prepared. It had a few different Peruvian dishes, along with Chicha morada. We ate this while enjoying an amazing view of the Andes.

We got our first view of Machu Picchu when we reached the Sun Gate. It was a sublime experience to see one of the Wonders of the World after hiking through the mountains for a day.

From here it was only an hour walk to Machu Picchu, where we admired from outside. Instead of going in, we first ran to go see the Inca Bridge, where we found the guard not at his post. We decided to forge ahead, where we found him making sure that no one was there as it was after closing time. We begged him to let us see it, and he grudgingly let us. Although it is now closed to actually go on, it is an amazing spectacle. The path is so narrow along the straight cliff rock, I could not imagine how the Incas used to walk along it. On the trail back, there was an amazing view of the river, and we watched the sun disappear behind the mountains.

The line to get back to Aguas Calientes, the town in which we would be camping, was around two hours long. However, when we finally got down, our chef prepared an amazing dinner, and we went straight to our tents to sleep.

Day 5

Roosters woke us up at 4 AM, which was a great alarm for us to get out of our sleep bags. With a cup of hot coca tea, we packed up our stuff and went to breakfast. We had plantains, quinoa porridge, croissants, and pancakes. After our breakfast, we said our final goodbyes to our porters and chef.

After we walked to Aguas Calientes to wait in line for the bus. Same as last night, the bus line was horrendously long. We barely missed the sunrise over Machu Picchu. We went on a two-hour tour of Machu Picchu. It was super interesting to learn about the history and unknowns of the site. Along the way, there were amazing views of the Andes. There are also llamas roaming the pasture along some parts, but it’s not actually possible to go close to them.

We spent the rest of the morning exploring, until it was time for us to head back. Luckily, the line for the bus ride down was short. When we reached Aguas Calientes, we ate our lunch and then began our journey back to Cuzco for one more night.