Cusco and the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

When: 27th May – 4th June 2014
Where: Cusco, The Jungle, Santa Teresa, Aguascalientes
People I Met: Mitch (USA), Gavin (NZ), Sam Darleen Khristina Reid & Jeff (USA), Ted (USA), Ronan (Ireland), Pauline & Adrien (France)

Quick fun fact: Cusco was the capital in Incan times.
So we decided to stay at Hostel Loki, a pretty well known party hostel in Peru and Bolivia. The first night we arrived Haylee and Josh were so sick they went straight to bed so I went and grabbed dinner with Mitch, a Canadian/American who was staying in our dorm. The next day Haylee was feeling a lot better so we went down to the markets which were unreal! So many colours and prints! I finally got a hairwrap. Haylee and I also decided we are going to bring scrunchies back, so we got some brightly coloured scrunchies. In the afternoon Mitch and I went for a walk around Cusco, we went to the Plaza Del Arms which had a lot of old buildings. We then walked up and up and got a cool view of the city. Cusco is 3km above sea level and it is so hard to walk up hills/stairs, feel so unfit. That night I decided that joining in on the Hour of Power would be a good idea…a shot of beer a minute for 60minutes in never a good idea. Followed by Lokis famous bloodbombs, even worse. Needless to say I was wasted, but I did get a free t-shirt out of it so I can’t complain too much. Sorry to everyone who witnessed me in that state! The next day I was, shockingly, hung over. Josh still wasn’t feeling too well so we just sat around chatting to Gavin and Reid. Weather here is so strange, it is HOT in the days but so cold as soon as the sun goes down. Finally, on our last day in Cusco Josh was feeling better, so the three of us walked around cusco for the day, we went to the markets, booked our jungle trek, got massages and even found an awesome cafe which served real coffee! That night we packed our day bags which we would be taking for the four day jungle trek to Machu Picchu! But before we headed off to bed we had another blood bomb at the bar. 

Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu!
The next morning we were picked up at about 7am. We drove for a few hours until reaching the top of a big mountain where we began a 4 hour 55km downhill mountain bike ride! There were 10 of us in the group, it was a lot of fun! The scenery along the ride was awesome, lush mountains, waterfalls, snow…cool. We arrived in the small town of Santa Anna for lunch, then while some went rafting Haylee, Josh and I strolled around the town and down to the Urubamba river, this river begins in Puno and goes all the way to the amazon! Once everyone was back together we set off into the jungle to find our tree house hostel. On the way we stopped at a locals house and saw where they grew their own coffee and bananas! The walk was nice and only took about an hour and a half. We would be the only group staying at the hostel which was awesome, it was high up on a mountain surrounded by jungle and looked down on the river. We were treated to a delicious dinner and then to some sitar playing by the owner. The next morning we set off about 9am and began a day of trekking. We walked along small jungle paths and stopped many times a long the way to enjoy the view. We could see the Salkanty from where we were and it seemed as though we were very high up. We stopped halfway for a massive lunch and then continued until we reached the Santa Anna hot springs. Before getting to the hot springs though we had to go two-by-two in a little wooden pulley kart across the river below! The hot springs were massive and so nice after a day of walking. That night we stayed in the town of Santa Teresa, after dinner our whole group (minus josh and essi) went to the local nightclub where we had a lot of 2-for-1 drinks, got our awesome guide Julio drunk and danced the night away. It was a very fun night but we knew the next morning would not be so good. Everyone was feeling sorry for themselves the next day but ZIP LINING quickly sorted us out! As usual, I volunteered to go first. It was so much fun. The ziplines were massive, we got to cross the Urubamba river and I even got to go upside down! Team Julio killed it. We then had to drive to hidroeletrica to begin a 3 hour walk along the train lines to Aguascaliantes, the town at the bottom of MP. The walk was not so bad as it was flat and from the train lines we could even see MP Mountain and a bit of MP! We arrived to aguascaliantes quite early in the afternoon so I had a quick nap then ted and I went exploring the town. It is really just a tourist town so wasn’t too exciting. had an early dinner then went to bed very early so we could all be fresh for MP the next day!

MACHU PICCHU! 
Our day began at 4am, so yes it was still dark. After getting ready we set off on our walk to the first MP check point. We arrived just before 5am which is opening time. After we got checked in we began climbing the 1860 stairs to MP. It wasn’t as bad as expected and we made it to MP in under an hour. We met the rest of the group, who had caught the bus up, at 5:50 and then headed on in when the park opened at 6am! WOW. What more can I really say about Machu Picchu. It is certainly not a wonder of the world for nothing. When we got inside the park was quite empty and the view was just surreal. MP is massive and the setting is spectacular, surrounded by the Andes, it is just incredible. We watched the sunrise over the mountains as we walked around the 215 buildings. MP was discovered in 1811 by Hiram Bingham, an American. Julio explained to us the different buildings and about the history. Only people of a high status lived in MP. After the tour ended some of us headed to MP Mountain. This mountain overlooks MP, at first i thought the walk up would not be too bad but I was soon proved wrong. It was pretty much all uphill and all stairs, tiny vertical stairs at that! Plus we were starting 2.5km above sea level, which made it more difficult. But finally, Ted Pauline Adrian and I made it to the top! I wish I knew how many stairs we climbed, it was a shitload more than the mornings set of stairs. The view was…WOW….again I can’t even describe it. We were not 3km above sea level and MP looked tiny. We sat up there for a while enjoying the view, we were also met by Josh and Haylee who made it up! After a while we headed back down. The walk back down wasn’t easy either, because the stairs were so small you really had to be careful. We found the others when we got to the bottom, it was only midday but we were all screwed. Ronan, Ted and I went and looked at the Inca bridge, that walk wasn’t too bad, it went around the other side of the mountain. Then we all walked back down the 1860 stairs we had walked that morning to Augascaliantes. We were famished at this point so after we took off our shoes and grabbed our wallets we headed straight to a resturant and grabbed a big mexican feast! We were in the town until 9pm that night so we just ate, drank, ate some more and then went and relaxed in the hostel lobby. What an amazing day, so surreal, cannot believe I finally made it to MP! This place has been on my bucket list for a long time and it was so great to finally make it there.

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