Hola my friends and welcome back to part four of my South American adventure.
In my last post I was in Bolivia, this part of the trip is heading to Peru, where we got to see beautiful Cusco and the majestic Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was the main reason we had decided to visit South America. I must admit that the entire trip had been amazing, but I was excited to be heading to our next destination!
To get to Cusco we continued the journey by overnight bus with Bolivia hop. We had been told that it was safer and more convenient to travel across the border with a tour group. That way if there were any complications with the border crossing you had a Bolivian tour guide to help you out. The Bolivian and Peruvian border crossing wasn’t too far from Copacabana, it was a long process, but we breezed on through.
After the border crossing we hit the road for the overnight journey we had ahead. We had one stop in Puno for a meal and then there was no stopping until we arrived into Cusco, our destination!
Cusco is a beautiful city, it is full of well preserved colonial architecture and Inca history. It is inspiring to wander around the city and take in all the history it has to offer.
During our first morning in Cusco, we were lucky enough to see celebrations for the Peruvian Independence day. All law enforcement and national police were marching and celebrating in the Plaza de Armas (Cusco square). It was great to see how passionate and patriotic they are about their national Independence day.
We spent a couple of days enjoying Cusco, we went on a walking tour and learnt about the history of city and viewed Inca ruins that are found throughout the City. Some of the sights we saw and visited were; the 12-sided stone, Calle loreto, San pedro market and the witches market. We also visited the Qorikanch museum and the Choco Museo (chocolate museum). Now if you know me well, you know I love chocolate. The chocolate museum offered a pretty cool experience where you could make chocolate from scratch, starting from the cacao bean. It was a lot of fun, there was a lot of chocolate taste testing and of course we got to take home the finished product.
After a lovely few days in Cusco, it was time to embark onto our next adventure, our trek to MACHU PICCHU!!!
I had been waiting four years for this part of our journey and I was excited to be actually living it. I had set a goal when I first became unwell with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), that when I recovered and got better I would visit Machu Picchu and complete a walk while being there. It was actually happening!!!!
Around 4 am in the morning our friendly guide Hector from Head Expeditions turned up to take us on our trek to Machu Picchu. We caught the shuttle bus with him from Cusco to Ollantayambo, were grabbed a quick breakfast and then made our way down to the train station, to jump on the train to our treks starting point.
The train ride offered beautiful views of the mountain ranges. The roof of the train was a see-through dome, which made the views on offer more enjoyable. Our train ride finished at the 104 km Inca trail point, which meant this was where we started our hiking adventure!
Hector checked us in at the check point and then we were off on our hike. It was a beautiful day to be out walking, the sun was out and the temperature was lovely. The trail was incredible, most of the actual trail is still in its original form from Inca construction. We reached the Inca site of Winay Wayna (Forever Young). It was so fascinating learning and seeing how the Inca’s lived. The views during the hike were spectacular, we saw small rural farms, mountains, waterfalls, Inca ruins, there was also evidence of where a few landslides had been. I felt like we were pretty high up, we had climbed roughly 600 meters. The highest point we hiked up too was 2750 m, this was at Inti Punku (Sun Gate). After 10k’s of hiking, completed in record time according to our guide Hector, we climbed up the final stairs up to Inti Punku (Sun Gate). This is where we were treated to our first view of the majestic Machu Picchu.
It was absolutely breath taking! We had the best view of this beautiful ancient city. We made our way down to Machu Piccu and enjoyed a little bit of time down there before heading down on a 7km trek to Angus Calientes. When we arrived at our hotel in Angus Calientes, a shower, meal and a good rest was much welcomed.
We wanted to try and catch Machu Picchu at sunrise, so the next morning we were up at 2.30 am to line up for the bus that would take us up to Machu Picchu for sunrise. Unfortunately that morning it was quite cloudy, which meant we were unable to see the sunrise. What we did see though was low cloud over Machu Picchu giving it a misty and magical look. It was a completely different look from yesterday’s sunny skies.
Our tour guide Hector gave us a guided tour around the beautiful ancient city before the crowds arrived. After the tour we said our goodbyes to Hector and then made our way over to Wayna Picchu aka Huayna Picchu to climb.
Wayna Picchu was one steep and challenging climb! The stairs were a lot like those we had experienced the previous day on the Inca trail, however the climb was much steeper. By the time we had reached the top of Wayna Picchu, the low cloud had lifted a bit. We were almost up in the clouds and had been rewarded with the most amazing views.
After enjoying our snackbox lunch and the beautiful views from Wayna Picchu, we made our way back down. On our way down we came across an elderly lady on her way up. She was almost at the top, it was so inspiring to see her giving it ago. Just goes to show you can do anything if you put you mind to it! After we made it down from Wayna Picchu we made a couple of llama friends and then it was time to leave beautiful Machu Picchu.
When we got back down to Angus Calientes, we had a little bit of time to wander around and enjoy a meal before catching our train and shuttle back to Cusco.
I loved every minute of our time in Machu Picchu. The walks were hard work at times, but I enjoyed every moment of it. It was challenging, rewarding and great a learning experience.
When we arrived back to Cusco we only had a day left, we made the most of our last day there and enjoyed some delicious food. My favourite places to eat were; Mr Soup, Jacks and Orginika. Fresh, healthy and just delicious!!!
We made sure to get a well deserved massage and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and wandering around the city.
Peru you were amazing! I loved Cusco and Machu Picchu you made my dreams come true!
Adiós Peru, it’s time to head to my final destination!!!