Blogs from Salkantay Trail, Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail March 19th 2018

Alarms went off at 3.50am and we started trying to pack the last few things we'd left out overnight desperately trying to dry after yesterday's rainy hike. Half an hour later we were ready to leave and left most of our stuff in the hotel reception before heading on down to the queue for the bus. Kira and Jannine were already in the queue and Pal and Vivjan were a couple of people ahead of us. Catherine, Adrian and Cameron had decided to hike up and they went past us a couple of minutes later waving, on their way down to wait for the bridge to open. Luckily the weather was good even though it was still dark and we took our places in the queue sitting on the ground waiting the hour for the buses ... read more
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Crazy train ride

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail March 18th 2018

After going to bed pretty early in advance of the tough day ahead I was woken up at 2am by Steph shouting at me from her bed 'everything's wet it's leaking, all my stuff is wet'. I could hear the heavy rain on the roof of the jungle dome so I felt the dome inside by me to find it was dry and wondered what she was on about. Then I realised we had tried to open the flap Windows earlier on as it was very stuffy, she hadn't managed to do my side but I had managed to do her side and we'd left it open. Then it had started raining heavy in the night and she had woken up to the rain dripping through the tent top onto her face! It wasn't funny at ... read more
Train track trekking
Rain rain and more rain!
Arriving in Aguas Calientes

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail March 17th 2018

We were woken up on day three with a knock on the tent and the usual words 'coca tea!' at about 5am. It had been heavily raining during the night so the air was a bit damp and the area around camp was very muddy. We packed up our stuff by torchlight and put our duffel bags together awaiting Alex to load up the horses. Then we had breakfast as a group before setting off from camp. Leo told us that we were going to have to carry our duffels because of the landslide so I was trying to work out the best way once we had to do it, me and Steph figured it was probably best to load up our daypack a with as much as possible to carry on our backs so our ... read more
Eating grenadilla
Bridge above a river
Sporting our berry ‘fertility’ markings

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail March 16th 2018

We were woken up at 5am with a knock at the door and some coca tea. We then had half an hour to sort all our stuff out, get dressed and appear for breakfast. We had made the mistake of leaving all this to the morning and struggled so the next few days we made sure to be more organised before going to bed. Anyway we got to breakfast where again there was a lot of choice and huge quantities. After breakfast we topped up our water in our day packs, made sure we were wearing enough layers and included our jackets and raincoats as it was going to cold at the top. We were ready and set off up to the pass at the same time as the other group. Getting out of camp was ... read more
Day 2
Day 2
Day 2

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail March 15th 2018

Trek Day One We woke up early and finished the last few bits packing before checking out of our room and handing our main backpacks over to the hotel to keep for us while we were on the trek. We were then picked up at 4.30am by Leo. There were already two people on the bus who were a Dutch couple named Pal and Vivjan. We then drove on picking up the others; Catherine and Adrian who were from Switzerland, Kira and Jannine who were from Germany and Cameron who is from California. Once everyone was in the bus we started to chat to get to know each other a little. All of the others were more long term backpackers traveling from between 3 months to 8 months plus, apart from Jannine who was on a ... read more
Day 1
Day 1
Day 1

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail September 16th 2016

Day 1– Cusco to Mollepata to Soraypampa Despite being told by the internet and our host, we didn’t take the collectivos or buses that left between 3:30-5:00am to the start of the Salkantay Trail, so we had to pay for a private taxi (120s?). The bridge en route from Cusco to Mollepata is being worked on and is only open until 7AM each day to allow the busses carrying tourists to pass through. It worked out fine though and we made it to Mollepata and then caught another private taxi for 100s to Soraypampa where the Salkantay Trail officially starts. Some folks walk that 6km to the start of the trail. Maybe you’d say we were sissies for catching a ride, but I truly don’t feel that way. The road is dusty dirt and quite bumpy, ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail January 7th 2016

Intensely beautiful: waking up to snowy spires of dark rock catching the sunrise on their east faces, descending through green warmth past horses and cottages, winding down through jungle and high river gorges--­­it was spectacular! We discovered the true nature of the Salkantay today. After yesterday’s traditional mountain trail, today’s descended along a winding river gorge, passed the occasional house, then turned into a dirt road that passed through a tiny town. The way was no longer a clear trail, but an unmarked road. We tended to guess at junctions. In the afternoon the road opened onto the side of another high river gorge. I was about 20 minutes behind Gabby and Tyler as usual, trudging again in the now warm and dusty weather, and wishing I could be hiking on the other side of the ... read more
This is cool.
View waking up

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail January 5th 2016

We woke up at 4:45, sluggish in the cold and dark. From the other tents belonging to the guided treks came the call for a group breakfast of tea and eggs. Voices grumbled. We packed as fast as we could with numb fingers in the dark, and were the first ones to begin hiking. The passage was surreal. Ahead and behind were mountains of dark rock, unsoftened by great age or erosion, covered in snow that was now lit pink by dawn. Below our small trail a stream cut through the valley. High above on both sides of the steep valley walls were grazing horses and cows. In the gray light a man on horseback guided horses across the stream. In the boulders along the trail was spied the rare yellow flower, and snow started to ... read more
Peek at Salkantay Mountain
Tarp Shelter  and Gabby

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail September 13th 2015

Our second day in Cusco we spent preparing for our five-day trek on the Salkantay trail, an alternate hiking route to Machu Picchu. Unlike its famous counterpart the Inca trail, no guide or permit is required to hike it. The Salkantay trail is established but rarely marked, and in our five days of hiking, we met only two other backpackers doing the trail without a tour group. Because the trail has been spared the curse of commercialization and popularity, there is barely any published information about it. Add a dearth of knowledge about the trail to our dearth of knowledge about backpacking, and you get the following mierda-fest: ~ We had two maps: brightly colored, highly simplified, grossly inaccurate, tourist versions we got for free from a tour agency. The Salkantay trail runs roughly north to ... read more
Boy with horses.
Soraypampa at sunset
To Mollepata

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail August 30th 2015

"Nowadays, we throw around the word sublime to describe gooey deserts or overpriced handbags. In (philosopher Immanuel) Kants epistemology, (he said) it meant something limitless, an aesthetically pleasing entity so huge it made the perceivers head hurt. Machu Picchu isn't just beautiful, it's sublime." - (taken from 'Turn Right at Machu Picchu', Mark Adams, 2011). The end of our time in Peru very closely related to our arrival at Machu Picchu, and what we physically and mentally achieved over the 5 days in arriving at Machu Picchu gave us one of our greatest sense of achievements, and it was a privilege to experience such a place. But first, Cusco and then our trek. Our arrival into Cusco greeted us with a new city to get to know in only a short space of time, while beginning ... read more
Cusco Plaza de Armas

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