There are several different ways that you can experience Machu Picchu and its surrounding beauty. When most people think of Machu Picchu they think of the Inca Trail; the Inca Trail is a 4 day trek that is 40 odd kilometres and finishes in Machu Picchu.
We wanted to make our experience as fun as possible and as we’re both not that big on hiking we decided to do the 3 night, 4 day Jungle Trek…
The trek consisted of rafting, zip lining, biking and trekking our way to Machu Picchu over the space of 4 days. I was extremely excited for this tour, Machu Picchu is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and it all seemed a bit sureal.
Our first day was an early 6am meet up, we had breakfast and then biked around 50ks down hill and finished in the jungle where we loaded the van up with our biking equipment and made our way to our jungle lodge for lunch and to relax for the afternoon. I was nervous to bike as I hadn’t been on one since I was young; the whole experience was absolutely amazing, we rode down a winding road from the top of a 4000m high mountain straight into the jungle. The views were breathtaking, luscious greenery and beautiful skies; it was amazing to experience the climate change between highland and the jungle.
The second day was a big one, 10hrs of hiking through the jungle with stops at farmers houses where we could check out their produce. The hiking really took it out of me, but although I struggled, especially on the up hill bits! I really enjoyed the trek through the jungle, it was so amazing to get up close to all of the beautiful greenery, fruit and plants. The lovely part of this day was that the hike ended at some beautiful natural hot springs, it was very refreshing to have a beer and enjoy the gorgeous scenery from the 30degree hot springs.
The third day we had an option of zip lining in the morning, I decided not to do it as it was pissing it down and I fancied keeping dry ready for our afternoon hike. Soki did the zip lining and he really enjoyed it, I must admit it did look amazing but I just didn’t fancy it that day.
The afternoon was spent hiking along the railway line to the base town of Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes which is a cute small town full of hostels, restaurants, markets and bars.
THE BIG DAY
It was a 3.30am wake up to be ready at the hostel reception at 4am, here we picked up our little lunch box style breakfast, met the rest of our group and walked to the check point which was at the base of the mountain what Machu Picchu is situated on. At this point I was dreading it, I was so so tired a) from waking up so early, and b) from the past 3 days; exhausted and dreading the next couple of hours I was trying to be optimistic but it was proving very difficult.
After a 30minute or so wait at the base of the mountain, we were let through the gates ( when I say we … I mean our group and many other early risers!). We walked across a bridge and there it was, the mountain we were about to climb. It’s mainly stairs going in a zig zag shape up the mountain, what I didn’t realise is how narrow and inconsistent the steps would be ( let me explain … The stairs are probably just a little larger than a foot in width and then vary from 5inches – a foot in height ). So as you can imagine … Hundreds of people trying to get up these narrow slippery steps, it was like a stampede! After about 5-10 minutes I lost all of my group, so I was in it alone! I always knew that Soki would be way quicker than me as he’s way fitter.
We had a tour at the top beginning at 6.30am at first I was worried incase I missed it because I was struggling … After 20 mins or so I didn’t give a shit if I missed the tour or not, I just wanted to make it alive – lol.
I probably had about 100 breaks/sit downs ( you probably think that I’m exaggerating but I’m being very serious ), I had to stop at one point and was heaving in the bushes while people passed me looking at me weirdly, sweat was dripping off my face, the only words that came out of my mouth the whole duration were “for fuck sakes”, “shit”, “fuck me” – I’m sure you get the jist …
I just wanted to cry
After 1.5hrs of the hardest physical activity I’d ever done, I made it and Soki was there waiting at the top, we had to rush through another check point, up MORE steps to find our guide, the rest of the group and then begin our 2 hour tour.
Honestly… I was so exhausted, emotional and generally overwhelmed I didn’t enjoy the first part of the tour, I was trying to and yes it was amazing but I couldn’t concentrate on what the guide was saying I was so tired. In the middle of the tour, a wasp ( when I say wasp it wasn’t like a normal one, it was a big ass black one that was vicious- I googled it and it’s called a tarantula hawk wasp ) stung me and I don’t know what came over me but I just burst into tears. Yes it really hurt but I think it was the fact that I was so overwhelmed and tired I just couldn’t keep the tears in anymore lol! I felt so pathetic for crying in front of our group over a wasp sting 🙈
After the tour at Machu Picchu we had free time to have a wander, we decided to get some food in our bellies and then explore, having a pizza and coke did the trick, I was right as rain and ready to go.
So off we headed back to the beautiful wonder, and oh is it amazing. Machu Picchu for me was always something that I wanted to do but I felt as though it was always out of reach. To be standing there with this amazing ancient inca city right in front of my eyes, just like you see on photos and tele…
Me, Lloydy Davies from Cerrigydrudion, here in Machu Picchu, the only word I can use to describe it was sureal. We had a walk around the ruins which are way bigger than what u see on photos etc, there’s also a bridge that you can walk to, the sun gate and two mountains that you can hike up for better views – Machu Picchu mountain and Huayna Picchu mountain. You have to pre book tickets for the mountains as only so many people are allowed up them per day, we had tickets for Machu Picchu mountain but after climbing all of those stairs, Machu Picchu mountain was a big no no for me ( the mountains are meant to be harder than the steps up to Machu Picchu).
We arrived back in Aguas Calientes at roughly 2.30/3pm as we had a 6pm train and then a bus to catch back to Cusco. You can EASILY spend a whole day at Machu Picchu if you have good weather, there’s so much to explore and see and a few optional extra walks/hikes.
Overall I absolutely loved the jungle trek and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fun time experiencing Machu Picchu. The food on our tour was amazing, the guide couldn’t have been better, he answered every single question I had ( I’m sure I got on his nerves ). The accommodation was great and all equipment, included transport, companies made were safe and of good quality. Our group was amazing I couldn’t have wished for a better group of people to share my experiences with. We were very lucky with the weather and only had a touch of rain, it was amazing to be able to experience and enjoy the tour with good weather, it makes such a difference.
This experience was a big deal for me, I knew I’d struggle with the trekking and hiking but I really wanted to challenge myself and push myself to a point where I didn’t think I could go further & as cheesy as it sounds, I’m very proud of myself for walking up to Machu Picchu and not getting the bus, I’m proud I completed it.
The tour opened my eyes a lot and taught me a few very valuable lessons, it’s not all about what your seeing; it’s amazing how certain things you do, experience and learning about different cultures can spark something in your mind and change the way you feel and think about things.