We had the fortune to visit Machu Picchu today. Throughout our cultural tours, days spent trekking and too many three course meals to count, Machu Picchu was the crown jewel of our trip. This incredible site, set in the cloud forest is truly awe inspiring! Our trip is now complete and we said goodbye to our local guides and trekking group. It was a great trip and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring Peru.
Hello friends and family,
Today we visited the archeological site of Ollantaytambo, an important ceremonial center for the Incans. This site was the estate of an Incan Emperor, “Pachacuti” who conquered the region and built the center during the Incan Empire. The stone used to built the site was volcanic in origin and mined from a quarry across the valley. Incans had to move the large stones across the Urubamba river, and exactly how they did this is still unknown. After a great tour of the site, we hopped on the train and headed down valley to Machu Picchu town. Along they way were could see high glaciated peaks soaring from the valley and passed the starting point of the popular Inca Trail. Once we arrived in the town officially called Aguas Calientes we checked into our beautiful hotel, called the Inca Terra. Some of us explored the town, while others soaked in the hot springs and had massages. Tomorrow we have an early start to head up to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Photos: Various locations in Ollantaytambo
This morning we packed up and bid farewell to the Huacahuasi Lodge and drove back to Lares Pass. From the pass we descended down an original Incan trail towards the Totora Canyon. Along the way we were greeted by local children who we shared bread and chocolate. The Totora Canyon follows small mountain streams which flow into Rio Jochoc, which eventually enters the Amazon river. At the end of our hike our driver greeted us and delivered us to Kuychi Rumi Lodge at 9,284’. The staff treated us to a BBQ lunch complete with aperitifs, multiple salads and dessert. Post lunch we drove down valley to the village of Ollantayambo, a former Incan administrative center. After a quick hike we headed to the “Cerveceria Del Valle Sagrado” to quench our thirst with delicious local beers. Tomorrow we will head by train to Aguas Clients, the base of Machu Picchu.
Photos: Hike down from Lares Pass, Local Children we shared Chocolate with, Totora Canyon, Kuychi Rumi Lodge, “Cerveceria Del Valle Sagrado”
Today we ventured into the “Land of 1000 Lakes” and crossed two high mountain passes. We started our hike in Quiswarani (a small village) and headed towards our first pass called Huchuyccasa at 14,505’, where we were rewarded with a grand view. From Huchuyccasa we traversed through mountainous terrain with majestic views in all directions to our second pass called Phonoccassa at 14,475’. Along the way we were greeted by countless llamas and alpacas. Huge limestone spires jut into the air creating very mysterious vistas, with terrain unmolested by humans. From the Phonoccassa pass we dropped down to our lunch spot. Our friends had brought up two tents, one for dinning and the other for the chef. We enjoyed a traditional Peruvian lunch of lomo saltado, which is stir fried beef, peppers, potatoes and rice. After lunch we continued down valley through small villages perched in beautiful mountain valleys. It was a fruitful day hiking in the mountains, which we had to ourselves minus the local llamas and alpacas.
Photos: Huacahuasi Lodge 12,467’, Start of the Hike in Quiswarani, Trail friend, Descending from Huchuyccasa Pass, Hannah Pondering the Andes, Dog friend at Lunch Spot
Today we started our day touring a local market, where they sell everything from fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, nuts, bread, etc… After the market we drove to Ancasmarca, an old archeological site which offers a different form of building architecture. Due to the different rock type a stone and mortar technique was used here, with more cylindrical buildings. From Ancasmarca we continued to Lares town and into the mountains to a place called Cuncani. It was pouring rain when we arrived at the trailhead, but we didn’t let it deter us and by the time we made it to our high point of 13,838’ the skies had cleared and we were rewarded with mountain vistas. From this pass we could view glacier capped mountains rising to over 18,000’. We took some great photos at the pass and then made the descent into the next valley and down to the Huacahuasi Lodge at 12,585’. On the descent we were greeted by grazing sheep, lamas and alpacas. The lodge includes a jacuzzi outside of each room with epic views of the surrounding mountains. It was a fantastic day and we look forward to tomorrow.
1. Market in Lamay
2. Ancasmarca archeological site
3. Nearing the pass
4. Mitch enjoying the vistas
5. Heading down to the lodge and the jacuzzi
Yes – it was great. Particularly enjoyed the hikes, cultural experiences, lodges, guide quality. Ben did a great job teaching the group high altitude techniques -breathing, rest step, hydration, etc.