After a few days of relaxing in Cuzco, we set out on our trek along the Salkantay route in the Andes to Machu Picchu. After meeting up with our guides Edgar and Maruja, along with a host of horsemen and chefs, early on Sunday morning in Mollepata, we set off on the five day trek.
The first day proved to be a particularly grue;ling day, where the group had to acclimatise not only to the altitude but also to the frosty weather that greeted us. By the time we arrived at our lunch stop, thick snow coated the ground, freezing everyone in the team. We decided not to move on further that day, shivering ourselves to sleep in the less than comfortable conditions.
On the morning of the next day, many people felt worse-for-wear due to the harsh conditions, but by foot and by horse we managed to get everyone over the highest point of the Salkantay pass at 4629 metres above sea level. From there, the descending altitude and improved conditions made the trek somewhat easier, however many were still suffering from the night before. Luckily, Wayki treks made our time as easy as possible, with lots of enthusiasm and huge portions of food at all times!
The third day was mercifully warmer and more pleasant- we knew that the worse of the trek was over! Many people were spurred on through the day by the promise of natural sulphur hot springs in the evening, and these most certainly didn’t disappoint. The group had some much needed relaxation time before returning to the campsite.
The next morning, the group began the day with a fantastic experience zip lining over the Andes in the cloud forest. At more than a kilometre off the ground and travelling at speeds of up to 70km/h, at times in a Superman-esque pose flying over the valley, this was a fantastic experience which even the more height-adverse members of the team thoroughly enjoyed. Following this, we took a short trek to Aguas Calientes, the self proclaimed Machu Picchu pueblo, wherein we prepared for an early start the next morning to arrive at the famous old Inca town.
Machu Picchu itself was stunning, with members of the group walking up either Machu Picchu mountain or Huayna Picchu mountain for a spectacular birds-eye view. After exploring the ancient ruins, we returned to Aguas Calientes where a train took us back to Cuzco after a fantastic trekking experience.