The Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu from a Traveller Point of View
The story of Sally’s trek of the infamous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, with Bamba Experience.
This was definitely one of the best things I’ve done on the trip. Both me and Amanda were a bit unlucky the days before. I became sick and Amandas bankcard, the evening before we left for the hike, got stuck in the ATM because she didn’t drag it out directly. We couldn’t get it back because the bank had closed and didn’t open until 09 am the next day and we left at 06 am. But the trek went really well! We did it with Bamba Experience, had a great guide, great chef who made wonderful Peruvian food every day and a nice group. There were two Swedish girls, two Argentinians, two British and four Swizz.
The first day was quite easy and not too much elevations, though slightly warm. We slept in tents every night at different camps, something I haven’t really done very much. Even though I didn’t sleep very well because the ground was so hard it was pretty cozy hearing the stream from outside and the crickets. Day two was the hardest day, which is when you go up Dead Woman’s Pass. You walk up this never ending staircase of stone for hours until you get to the top with an altitude of more than 4,200 m, with this amazing view. You breath as if you are running and your legs have this constant lactic acid. Then you walk down for an hour until you get to the camp, which was the most beautiful and fairytale-like scenery I have ever seen. Misty mountains, small birds, toads shrieking, waterfalls and streams and lots of interesting plants. Our camp had a view towards a glacier, and wow what a night sky we had.
The third day is quite exhausting as well. As on the second day, you wake up around 5 am and start walking 06.30 for 8 hours with some snack stops until 2 pm when you arrive to the next camp and have lunch, tea time and dinner all in 5 hours. After all that walking you eat like a pig though. The third day is more cultural and you visit a lot of Inca ruins and learn about their society. The Inca Trail is basically mostly made up of stones, as the original Inca Trail (there are other trails to Macchu Picchu as well) is the official trail the Incas built and used to connect their different cities.
In the evening when we had our last supper we were introduced to the chef Samuel and all the porters who carried the tents and food and parts of our packing. They are pretty amazing, walking the same trail as us but in sandals and much, much more packing than us and basically running. It’s really sad in a way they have to ruin their backs, I don’t know if it is a wanted job or if they do it because they don’t have an education and can’t do anything else. But we heard that their pay isn’t very high. Amanda and I gave them a huge tip.
The last day you wake up at 3 am, pack up fast and hurry to the gate where all groups staying at the camp wait in a line until the gate opens at 05.30. Then everyone basically half-runs to the Sun Gate to see Macchu Picchu as the sun goes up. It was incredibly cloudy. but we were very lucky, being one of the first ones there, to see a glimpse of Macchu Picchu. Then you hike down to Macchu Picchu and spend the morning there exploring.
Even though Macchu Picchu is an incredible place – the Incas were such interesting and intelligent people and it’s very cool having the tour around the city getting all the architecture and infrastructure explained – it wasn’t really the best part of the trip. The actual hike is such an incredible experience because you actually walk through a part of their empire (45 km) and learn so much about the Incas on the way. And it doesn’t feel very touristy since there aren’t so many people walking because of the limitations they have (only 500 people allowed to enter per day). Getting to Macchu Picchu though… after 10 am it is PACKED with tourists who have arrived with buses from Cusco in nice clothes and actually had a shower this morning, while your stinky and sweaty and tired and havn’t showered for four days. And your just like; hey, I actually WALKED here for four days and now you’re sort of ruining its sacred atmosphere. Your sort of in a slight chock seeing so many people and getting back to civilization after 4 days in the mountains. They are actually thinking of closing down parts of Macchu Picchu because the amount of tourists coming there every day is too damaging on the ruins. A suggestion, make it only accesible by foot. But of course, as our guide explained, the government wants to earn its money.
At the end we all took a bus to Aguas Calientes, a town 20 min from Macchu Picchu and had a last lunch together – Me and Amanda tried Alpaca meat and pisco sour (the typical Peruvian drink).
Here at Bamba Experience we thank Sally for sharing her story of the amazing Inca Trail. If you want to see more pictures or follow-up her adventures, check-out her blog: ciendiazensudamerica. The blog is a travel journal for her (almost) 100 day trip through South America, from Buenos Aires to Bogota.
If you wish to trek the Inca Trail, there are many options available, check them all out here: Trekking to Machu Picchu. Experience the unique adventure of trekking to Machu Picchu with Bamba Experience, the leading adventure travel provider.