Community Trekking - Part 2

Peru's flag
South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu
November 21st 2012
Published: November 26th 2012
Edit Blog Post

Day 3 – 21.11.12 – Quishuarani to Lares Hot Springs

Once again the day started at 5.30am with a knock on the tent and a hot cup of coca tea thrust through the tent door. On exiting the tent I glanced behind me at the mountain we trekked up and over yesterday, it was covered in snow. Whilst we’d had some snow on the summit it wasn’t settling, from the looks of it over night the snow had come down quite hard – we found out later that day that a different trekking company had tried to hike the same summit and had been snowed off so were very lucky!

Today was a totally different trek to yesterdays, still a sharp climb, over 600meters in 2 hours, but the weather was fantastic, the sky was clear and it was beautiful valleys and lagoons as far as the eye could see. We took it slow and climbed comfortably to the summit pausing every now and then to drink in the surroundings and take pictures. Heading down to the lunch spot was all zig sagging along green pastures past waterfalls and beautiful emerald green lakes.

Our lunch spot was set in the grounds of another school; this community is one of the ones that benefit from a teacher sponsored by the Tarpuy Yachay project. After lunch we had a tour of the school, met some of the classes and met the teacher sponsored by the project. Her class sung us some songs and showed us the work that they had been studying that week.

Saying goodbye to the school we continued that day’s hike, a lovely couple of hours following a river, giving the legs a rest as no more ups and climbing, as we headed to our camping spot for the night, the hot springs at Lares!

After 3 days of hiking, being cold, being wind swept and sunburnt the rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent in the hot springs, 5 massive pools of varying temperatures for us to soak our weary bones in. With dinner and red wine provided by the cook team it was a lovely way to finish the hardest part of the trek. From now on it would be some gentle hikes and visits to Inca ruins, including the world wonder Machu Picchu.

Day 4 – 22.11.12 –Lares to Ollantaytambo

Day 4 started slightly later than the rest, giving us chance for an early morning laze in the hot springs before packing up camp and loading onto a bus for a journey back up the mountain to 4,600 meters. Here we joined an old Inca route to the village of Totora. The 2 hour walk took us through some fantastic scenery, past llama farms with newly shorn llamas, past old Inca burial sites and deep into a canyon alongside a river.

Once at the village of Totora it was back onto the bus for a drive to the ruins at Ollantaytambo. After a guided tour of the ruins with the thousands of other tourists – it was quite a shock to the system after such amazing solitude of the last few days - we checked into a local hotel.

After dinner and a few beers it was time for bed, as tomorrow would bring Machu Picchu!

Day 5 – 23.11.12 – Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu

The route to Machu Picchu from Ollantaytambo comes in the form of a tourist train (run by the orient express) to Aguas Calientes then a bus to the citadel.

We had the whole day to explore the wonder that is Machu Picchu, after a some back ground history from our guide a few of us broke away from the group, preferring to hike up to some of the look outs to enjoy the views rather than wandering with all the other tourists. So we hiked up to the Inca bridge, back down to the city itself and then up again the other side to the sun gate. Both were quite hard hikes in the sun but both totally worth it for the views and the fact that most of the tourists don’t attempt the climbs.

At the end of the day we reversed the journey, bus back to Aguas Calientes, train to Ollantayambo then bus to Cusco.

Back in the same Cusco hotel a week later, aching bones, sore feet, a tonne of muddy washing and rather happy – what an amazing trek!

Route Comparison

Having been fortunate enough to have visited Machu Picchu by ways of both the Classic Inca Trail and the Drago Community Route, the community route wins hands down, to be able to get away from everything and everyone, to push yourself to the limit climbing at altitude and to get to spend time in the communities was the most amazing experience. For some the only way to go will be the classic, but if you’re looking to do something a little different, that takes you into the Andes and away from the masses I urge you to get in touch with Dragoman or Andian Travel and ask about the community trek.

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 25


8th December 2012

Wow - Just Wow!
What an amazing experience. Would love to do this some day.

Tot: 0.108s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 10; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0162s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb