Machu Picchu

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Machu Picchu

Date of travel

October, 2014

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Husband

Reasons for trip

We had an incredible 5 day/4 night camping trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This was something my husband and I had long been wanting to do. We did a tremendous amount of research and settled on Peru Treks. Our tour guides were very well versed in ancient Inca history and culture which provided for fascinating insights through storytelling along the way. The food was fantastic considering that all the materials, including huge propane cooking stoves, are hauled by Peruvian porters along the trail to each campsite. It was shocking how much they are able to carry on their backs over gruelling terrain – although technically and legally they are each only supposed to carry 35 pounds. I think the rules aren’t observed all that strictly. I have acrophobia so I was worried that the narrower parts of the trail would be too frightening for me; however, my fear was baseless and all the paths manageable even with my phobia. I found too that I became less worried about the heights as I spent more time on the paths. I was also worried that the trek would be too hard to complete. They sent one woman home on the first day because they didn’t think she would be able to complete the whole journey so I took some comfort from the fact that they didn’t kick me out that first day! The hike on the third day over Warmiwañusca, or “Dead Woman’s Pass” (4212m) was definitely a challenge but I kept putting one foot in front of the other and eventually made it over. The most breathtaking part was rising at 3:00am for the final day’s trek to the Sun Gate. That’s when you get to see the ruins of Machu Picchu emerging before you through the early morning mist. I won’t ever forget the magic of that moment. I have to say that my husband and I were BY FAR the oldest hikers in that group with the rest being in their mid 20s/early 30s. We were pretty pumped that we kept up with the group. You have the option of carrying your own back pack or paying for a porter to carry it for you. We started the first day carrying our own packs and eventually I had to hire a porter to carry mine to the end. Kudos to my Silver Sidekick of 33 years for carrying his the whole way. I definitely recommend that you hire a porter right at the start though. We ended up paying a premium for my changing my mind mid-way. Also, you can buy walking sticks in Cusco on the small streets off the beaten track for much cheaper than the main square or in Ollantaytambo where the hike begins. You can just leave them with the guides at the end if you don’t want to take them home. I recommend using walking sticks as much of the trail is wet and it’s quite possible to slip – and I did slip due to the soles of my hiking boots not being great on wet rocks. All in all it was probably the hardest vacation we have ever taken but we were incredibly satisfied at the end for having worked as hard as we did for the reward of Machu Picchu at the end. We went from there to the beach at Mancora on the Peruvian Coast….but that’s another review and another adventure : )

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