One of the main reasons we came to South America, aside from Ayahuasca, was to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We booked in our tour with Peru Treks and Adventures the cost was $650 USD per person. Now I wanted to see Machu Picchu but the trekking I could take or leave. Not that I don’t like trekking, well I haven’t done that much but I knew the altitude would make it tough and the cold weather would be a negative. I’m the worst in cold weather, even with a million clothes I can’t get warm, it seems. We had organised four of us to go, myself, Dave, Dan and Ben. Our three night four day trek would be an experience if nothing else.
D day had some and we had passed the check point to begin the trek all happy ready for the adventure.
Day 1: Day one started off well for me but the altitude did affect me and carrying my bags was tough. Dave was my porter and carried my sleeping bag and mattress along with his own. Check out the photo he looks ridiculous but got to love his work. We had awesome people on the trek, two Americas, six Australians and eight Canadians. As Australians we instantly bonded and decided to take the piss out of ourselves and be obnoxious Australians and crude ones at that. Thankfully, only we really understood ourselves. Anyway, back to the trek. The American couple were so awesome as they knew my struggle with the altitude they fed me jolly ranchers, what a treat. Once day 1 was over and the struggle I had, wishing I purchased a porter, I ended up purchasing an unofficial porter for day 2 and 3 as they are the higher altitude days and I wanted to give myself the best chance. Totally worth every dollar! My friend Dan opted for this too, phew, I wasn’t the only one. Day 1 was over and we baby wiped ourselves clean as its cold and the showers have ice water, no thanks. We are fed and put to bed for an early night.
Day 2: This day was insane, especially for me. The constant stair climb combined with the heat and altitude ascent just took it out of me. We took it slow. Many people along the way were slowly dying on the inside but pushing forward. Many people push too hard on this day and just failed or got sick later that day. A special mention to Dan who got a combination of heat stroke and altitude sickness resulting in constant spewing. So glad this didn’t happen to me. Slow and steady wins the race. The second part of this, after the ascent, is the descent down to camp. Everything up goes down. Hmph. Down was the best part, I love down. It’s much easier than up. After a big day, some amazing scenery, we make it to camp for dinner, a baby wipe shower and much needed rest.
Day 3: This day was just an up and down and around walk. Some pretty decent scenery along the way. After hours it gets a bit boring. I started to loose interest and motivation this day and wanted it to end, but hours remained. The last part I realised I had my phone and played some Taylor Swift, Sia and Maroon 5 to keep me going. It definitely helped and got me pumped. We missed a section and ended up at camp hour or so before others. Pretty bummed but didn’t even know about it as we got confused where to go at the cross road. Again the day ends with dinner, baby wipe shower and rest.
Day 4: The last day! By this day I am well and truly exhausted. My body is in all kinds of pain, my quads and calves are on constant fire and every step is more pain then the last. They tell you it’s all down hill but they lie. It’s a mix. They also say its short but again it’s a lie. After what seems like forever, given we woke and we’re ready at 3:00am, we reach the site that shows Machu Picchu in the distance. I’m exhausted. It’s cloudy so photos are a hit and miss. We did get some decent pictures though. After this we make our way to Machu Picchu itself. I’m questioning my will to make it as my body continues to ache. Obviously we make it but by the time we arrive I’m over it. We get some photos before having to go store our bags, reenter the park and have the tour. To be honest at this stage all I wanted to do was sit down, eat and watch and maybe play with the Llamas. I had little interest in wanting to hear the tour and unfortunately made it a bit to obvious but then felt bad for being rude and disinterested. I was just so hungry (they fed us one pancake for breakfast) my energy levels depleted as did most of the groups. Everyone was tired and hungry. I stayed for the tour but I took nothing in. We had a bit of free time and we used this to get some pictures and of course see the Llamas. We did have a funny situation were we were taking photos with the Llamas and another Llama decided it was mating time and we got caught on the other side and had to wait till they were done before we could pass. What else do you do but photograph it. Haha. Day 4 is a long day, we make it back to Ollantaytambo for lunch but the train isn’t until 630pm and we get back to Cusco at close to midnight. It’s an exhausting day to say the least.
I’m glad we did the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I thought it would be more interesting but you see some spectacular scenery. The Inca Trail is expensive compared to the other options. I’ve heard good things about the other treks too. I wouldn’t do Inca Trail again and it took a massive toll on my emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. I’m not an unfit person as I play sports and gym but not having any access to this prior to the trail, as we travelled for 6 or so weeks, before starting it didn’t help. Plus, you just never know how you will react to altitude. My advice is drink water, more than you think, take sunscreen and get a porter (if you want). I ended up carrying my bag on days 1 and 4. After trekking I understand why people just train and bus it to Machu Picchu as you get more time to absorb the wonder.
In regards to company to use there will always be good and bad. Peru Treks was good but need to work on their food supply. The amount of food provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner just wasn’t enough for the size of people and the amount they needed to get them through. I know they say take snacks but we need proper food for the hard work were putting out there. They say there is always too much food but this wasn’t the case. Also, everyone had gut problems lots of messy toilets and gas. Not sure it this was solely food related as I read altitude can cause this. My guts as well as Dave’s had a few touchy moments. Shop around and make sure you know what is included.