From Arequipa we took a 12 hour bus to cusco. It was long and boring but when we got close to cusco we could tell the city was benefiting off the tourism. We hung out in cusco a few days before booking our 4 day jungle trek that included rafting, zip lining, downhill biking and a bunch of hiking and would eventually get us to machu picchu. The tour started with mack and I waking up at 5 in the morning to get on a bus with 6 other people from there we drove a few hours up a mountain where we would start the downhill biking. Five minutes into the ride one of the others hit the ditch and had to stay in the bus for the rest of the ride. The biking lasted about four hours and was all down hill for 58 km it was a fantastic start to the tour.
After a quick lunch we found ourselves in a raft cruising down a raging river with two other backpackers from Australia. It was great fun and pretty good rafting for macks first time. During the rafting we got eaten alive by the bugs and that’s where the ichty legs started, it got worse and worse as we progressed deeper and deeper into the jungle. Our first night was at a homestay in the middle of the jungle, no warm water, no wifi and just enough power for a few lights oh and did I mention it was 30 minutes straight up a mountain! After a full day of biking and rafting this climb was the worst. When we finally made it up we were greeted by the family and the others from our tour. A quick cold shower and meal and it was bed time.
The next day was a late start of 8 o’clock, breakfast was basic but good at around 9 we started the hiking phase of the tour which was beautiful! We hiked a little bit of the Inca trail and enjoyed our tour guide telling us all the history of the incas. At the end of the hike we were rewarded with some hot springs that were well deserved. Throughout the whole tour we walked a total of around 17 km which was challenging in the heat but well worth it in the end. That night we ended up at a small town called Santa Teresa, mack and I wanted a beer so bad but unfortunately it was election time in peru and there was a 48 hour ban on alcohol prior to voting so the beer would have to wait.
The morning came early as we had to get up at 6 to start the day with zip lining. We again got split up with our original tour group and thrown with another group but the zip lining didn’t disappoint it included a sketchy bridge, superman zip line and rappel. Once we were done with that we started another full day of hiking. At around 4pm we arrived at Aguas Caliente, an extremely touristy town situated just below machu picchu. We spent the night here in a cushy hotel with hot water, wifi and a nice comfy bed. After our groups last dinner together our guide told us we had the option to hike up to machu picchu tomorrow morning or take the bus. Mack and I made the decision to take the bus because a hour and a half hike at 4 in the morning didn’t sound fun. Two people from our tour opted to do the hike, congrats again Clara and Rich you two are troopers.
The next morning wake up time was 4:30 am so we could be the first ones to machu picchu. We waited in the bus line in the morning for around an hour and when the first bus left there were hundreds of tourists lined up. Thankfully our guide was a pro and knew 4:30 was the perfect time because we got on the first bus up. Machu picchu has a limit of 2500 people allowed per day and during high season you must get tickets in advance. It was amazing walking through the gates and seeing these ruins so perfectly crafted. The place itself didn’t amaze me that much just because of the fact that you can go online and see millions of pictures of the place but what really amazed me was being up close, being able to touch everything and see the immense detail and precision of the buildings. It’s amazing how clean cut the rocks are, everything is perfectly measured and the fact that they could do this all in that day and age is unbelievable. After 2 hours with our guide explaining everything to us, it was time for mack and I to hike up wanya picchu ($10 extra, one of the mountains surrounding machu picchu) only 400 people a day are allowed to climb this mountain and it was definitely worth the 30 minute trek straight up hundreds of steps. It’s the best view of machu picchu from the ground. When we finally got up to the top the views were amazing. Panoramic views of machu picchu and surrounding mountains and rivers. Our time at machu picchu was awesome and would recommend the jungle trek to anyone travelling in Peru. We met great people, stayed in some interesting places, ate amazing food and saw some of the most unbelievable views.
A few more days in Cusco and then it’s off to La Paz, Bolivia to pick up my amazing girlfriend and share this travel with her for a month. In the mean time, mack and I are gonna get some rest and enjoy some more of Cusco!