We were woken at 3.30am, and it was still raining. The porters needed to pack up and get their 5.15am local train back to Ollantaytambo, and apparently, if they missed this train, then the next one was not until 8pm.
Blog - Tag: Peru
Christmas Day! 7am wake up call and Panettone & hot chocolate for breakfast - very nice. In the morning we were introduced to the porters that had been looking after us so well, putting up (and down) the tents, feeding us, and carrying 6KGs for everyone in the group. We gathered around in a circle and all introduced ourselves.
Day 3 is the easiest day and packed full of Inca sites. We had a short (only 4 hours) walk to our camp site which is collocated at the Inca site called Winay Wayna.
One of the guides (Bruno) woke us all up at 6am with coca tea delivered to our tent. Breakfast was at 6.30am, and we were on the trail by 7am.
Day 2 is the longest day of the trek over two passes; Dead Woman's Pass at 4215m, which took us 4 hours to climb in constant rain, and the '2nd Pass' at 3950m.
Our wake-up call was at 6.30am in the hostel at Ollantaytambo. The guides and porters arrived at 7am to weigh our duffle bags (only 6KG allowed), and we were on the bus to 'KM82' at the start of the Inca trail by 7.30am.
The faffing started here...with a final dress rehearsal in the car park we decided to start out in our ponchos due to light rain, and bought a couple of nice water bottle holders (Peruvian woven) to fit over the top of all our gear.
Firstly, there are many Inca Trails, and secondly, there are many more Inca sites than just Machu Picchu. The whole area around Cusco and the Sacred Valley is covered in trails and Inca sites just like today's tarmac roads connect each modern-day town. Cusco was the heart (more often described as the naval) of the Incan Empire that stretched from Quito in Ecuador, down through Peru, and as far south as Santiago in Chile, covering an area similar in size to Western Europe.
As part of our Intrepid tour package, we were transported high into the hills (3800m) not only to acclimatise in preparation for the Inca Trail but to meet a tribal community living a traditional agrarian lifestyle.
Greeted by four women, a boy, and the male head of the community, all in traditional dress, we were immediately impressed with friendly faces and genuine hospitality as they handed us fresh flowers and covered us in confetti.
Having done the routine in Lima already, we recognised the 'Taxi Officiale(s)' with their badges outside the airport, even though they still behaved like a bunch of touts. Looking rough, and with valuables well hidden, we took the ride into Cusco which was noticeably greener than Lima at first, but with a similar unfinished feel. We later found out that once a house is 'completed' then it is liable for tax.
Having enjoyed our trip around Santiago, Valparaiso & Vina Del Mar in Chile so much we were slightly reluctant to fly into Lima, especially after our expectations were set by reading Lonely Planet. Normally we love to hate/chuckle at this useful (but sometimes inconsistent/annoying/frustrating) publication, but this time it was different; more serious, down-beat, and cautious, essentially a warning to travellers - especially those coming here.