Heading south to Machu Picchu

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September 16th 2012
Published: October 7th 2012
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Notice the Cusco flag, its like the gay pride just upside down
Heading south to Machu Micchu.

One day delayed but some piscos behind me, finally got my bus to Cusco one day after planed. If you ever go from Lima, buy tickests in advanced, there might be free seats, but Buses don't leave from a central station, each company has it's terminal so it's difficult to buy a ticket in short advance.

My bus trip was actually more comfortable than my Iberia flight. Even though it took us around 23 hours to get there, the seat turned in to 165* bed and the TV was within 1 meter or so. Rides are mostly planed overnight. You use the time sleep during the ride, you missed the views though, which should be nice, since you are going along the Andes Mountains. On the other side, fewer people get sick - air is so thin, people sometimes have headaches, dizziness and vomits.

Immediately after arriving in Cusco I got settle in a hostel and join the Mo-Fr free tour around the city. It's just a few hours but you see the most interesting, leaving you the choice to go back later to see what you liked. During that day, didn't have
Photo 3Photo 3Photo 3

a mix with colonia Arquitecture
time to buy some stuff and wanted to actually get use to the altitude, before I started the trekking to Machu Picchu.

After 1 1/2 day in Cusco, I was picked up 4:20 am from the hostel from my guide to start our Santankay - 4 day trekking to Machu Pichu. This is supposedly considered to be on the top 25 trekking routes in the World:

1 day: bus ride from cusco to Mollepata (2.900 meters above sea level), from where we walked to the camping at Soreypampa (3.900mavl). We. settled the camping in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains and a stream crossing just near us - beautiful place. Temperature might have dropped between -5* and 5*C.; last time I checked around 9 pm was 10*. Had a liquor which my tent room mate Cheche and me enjoyed in the cold.

2 day: we were awaked from the guides at 5am with a Te de coca. Had breakfast after packing everything and headed to the highest point (4.650masl) of our trekking at the Salkantay Mountain (above 6.000m). The way up was hard, the oxygen level is so low, your body doesn't reacts as you wish, plus sometimes people suffer of headache. Coca tee or leaves help - totally healthy and given from the guides (just after mixing the leaves with substances like gasoline, kerosine or similar is how you get the drug we know from Pablito Escobar). On the top of our route, just by the peak, we had a presence of an avalange up in the highest point arround 12pm. was nice to see, since we were far enough to be save. Short after that we started to descent for lunch. After having lunch at 4.000 masl it started to rain very heavily. Still had to go down to our camp to sleep at Chaullay (2.900masl). Our equipment would be wet including sleeping bags, which hat to dry with at the fire. During that that day, the relative altitude change was from around 2.500 meters. We presence the change of climate and vegetation to the point of forest/cloudy forest - amazonas like.

3 day: we start around 7 to descend even more into the forest in the valley along the river. Very narrow paths with huge drops on one side. Finally we arrived to Sahuayacu/Playa to have lunch and rest. Since I reorganized the trekking into 4 instead of 5 days, me and 3 more took a bus and train to catch the group, which had started one day before us, at Aguas Calientes, just down the hill from Machu Picchu.

4 day: see Machu Picchu post.

It's sad to see and say but unfurtunately i believe the trekking routs tourism are being destroyed even from the guides and agencies more than from tourists.
Garbage would be sometimes thrown to the flor like for example onion and garlic shells, plastic bottles, etc. Dare to say the bottles are from locals since they seem to be recycled, like for example bottles with different lids, without labels.
Agencies sometimes don't really know what they are selling; information is not precise and when you ask them to see camping equipment, they would show some new, which is nothing like the real one...
My comfort standard was very low since it's a camping trip BUT would expect that if I'm paying so much and everything is done throw agencies there to have good service and more important the beauty from nature is take care of and preserve. Really hope the realize and change this soon.

Additional photos below
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Inca WallInca Wall
Inca Wall

bricks are like puzzle, no cement or whatsoever in between
Time for SoupTime for Soup
Time for Soup

in time of the conquest in South America, all the remains from spain would be taking from the Indios & sclaves to cook and eat.

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