The Inka trail trek is not the easiest way to get to Machu Picchu, but it’s definitely the most rewarding. Our 45 km journey took four long days of hiking through the Andes and included many breath-taking and unforgettable moments.
Day 1: We were picked up from our hostel at 6:30 am. After a 90 minute bus ride we scarfed down breakfast in Ollantaytambo, the closest town to kilometer 82. We met our trekking partner there; Kristina who hails from Holland. The journey began at km 82 around 9:30 am.
This day was quite easy with only a few hills. We hiked along a river and into the mountains while our guide, Freddy, introduced us to the ancient world of the Inkas along the way. 14 kilometers later we arrived at our camp around 4 pm. The evening ritual was coca tea or coffee, “happy hour”, at 5:45 pm and dinner at 7. It was fun hanging out with donkeys, chickens, cats, and cuys around the camp.
Day 2: At 5:30 am an incredibly loud “heeee-haw” made us jump from our cozy sleeping bags. After Adam finished swearing at the donkey our porters came to knock on our tent with coca tea, a morning routine. 20 minutes later breakfast was served and we were ready to start our day. We were advised that the second day was the most challenging one, we had to make it over the highest pass of 13,600 ft. After 5 hours of hiking through the jungle, chewing quite a few coca leaves for a bit of extra energy, and many, many, many steps, we finally made it to the pass. It was an extremely rewarding experience, the views were breathtaking, and it was nice to know that the next 90 minutes were down hill!
Day 3: We were up at 5:30 am again to start our hike an hour later. This day was the longest, we didn’t make it to camp until 5 pm. The trail was stunning! We crossed the jungle and cloud forest stopping at various ruins along the way. At the end of the day I had a hot shower in the only bathroom of the camp, it felt amazing!. I also became the champion of a card game called “Burro”, dethroning Freddy (our guide).
Day 4: Early wake up call at 3:30am… we said goodbye to our porter friends and after some pancakes, started our walk to the final destination: Machu Picchu. A few hours of hiking brought us to the Sun Gate, an Inkan structure sitting atop a pass high above Machu Picchu with our first view to the amazing ruins. Standing with Adam at the Sun Gate, staring out over the mountains at this ancient Inkan city is a moment I will never forget. A short walk down brought us inside Machu Picchu. What a magnificent place! Inka ruins sitting atop a hidden mountain with extraordinary views, history, and mystery. We spent the next 4 hours exploring, relaxing and enjoying this incredible city. The only thing that could tear us away from the ruins was a much-needed lunch, after which we caught the train back to Cusco. Machu Picchu is yet another “must see” place. Enjoy the pictures!