If you think of Peru, I’m sure you then think Machu Picchu. Obviously we couldn’t miss seeing this famous “lost city”, but how to get there? There was absolutely no way we were just getting the bus up. No, we were definitely walking the only decision to make was which way?
You may remember a post from aaages ago about our decision to take on the Salkantay Trek and that’s exactly what we did.
We booked with a company called Quechuas Expeditions. Once you’re in Cusco you’re bombarded with companies claiming to be the best tour operator or expert guides with all the knowledge on Machu Picchu. Prices vary too, and whilst Quechuas was more expensive than other options you can rely on the fact their horsemen and cooks are paid fairly and treated properly (oh, and that the food is amazing!) – unfortunately this cannot be said for all companies. But back to the trek!
The Salkantay trek goes higher than the classic Inca Trail, reaching 4600m! Obviously this makes it a bit harder too, but don’t be put off, it’s only hard for a few hours on the second day, the rest of the time you get to enjoy amazing views of mountains, glaciers and then jungles.
The first day, after being picked up from our hostel and driven (way too fast) up and round mountains we arrived in Mollepate where we would begin our trek. The first day has a little but of uphill before lunch, and then is mainly flat to the camp site. You get the chance to acclimatise slightly, take in the views and spot more condors.
The only negative of the trek? The weather. The second day of the trek the heavens opened, it rained, it sleeted and then it snowed. Turns out waterproofs aren’t actually that waterproof when they have to deal with torrential rain for about 6 hours. I didn’t let the weather ruin our day (although I may have wished for a tumble drier to dry my clothes which were all soaked for the rest of the trek), we English know how to deal with mud and rain.
Actually, I think the mud made going downhill easier as it enabled you to slide down the paths, and hey our boots were already soaked through so puddles-turned-rivers didn’t matter either.
After two days if trekking you’re treated to a half day. After some easy downhill, a tasty lunch and a short bus ride we arrived in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa has the most inviting hot springs I’ve seen. We arrived at sunset and relaxed our weary legs in the springs for a few hours under the stars.
I’d put up with a lot more rain for a repeat of that evening! See the rest of our trek: Part 2 here where we zipwire along Peru’s first-ever zipwire and part 3 where we finally make it to the Lost City of the Incas; Machu Picchu.