Trekking to Machu Picchu | Lares Trek Days 3 & 413 August 2015
With the unexpected snowstorm the day prior causing us to reroute our entire trek, I wasn't sure what to expect for the final two days of our trip. But one thing was for certain: with each step, we found ourselves closer and closer to wondrous Machu Picchu!
MORE SLEEP, PLEASE
We packed up and climbed into Alpaca Expedition vans and said goodbye to our awesome horsemen. We drove for a few hours, and we were told we would have the option to hike part of the Inca trail or stay in the car. Along the way, when we spotted local Andean children, we stopped and gave them bread and gifts like colored pencils and notebooks. When we got to the trail head, I still wasn't feeling so hot, so I decided to stay with the crew while everyone else went on a short trek. Later, my friends showed me pictures, and I was creeped out to hear they had come across some raided tombs and even found pieces of skeletons sticking out!
I crashed in the van while our Green Machine team got set up for lunch. After our final gourmet feast together, it was time to bid our little family goodbye! We were truly sad to see them go. They were such an awesome and kind group!
We boarded the van again and made the two hour drive to Ollantaytambo where we had some free time to roam before dinner. We picked up the train to Aguas Calientes at about 7PM and got into town around 9:30PM. Cesar helped get us set up at Inti Punktu Inn, the little two-star hotel that would be our stay for the night. It felt so great to finally have a hot shower and sleep in a normal bed after tents and hostels!
HOORAY FOR MACHU PICCHU DAY
HIKING TO THE SUN GATE
We spent about six hours at Machu Picchu, though I think I easily could have spent more, and then made our way back to Aguas Calientes. After wandering around the city for a bit, our group reunited at a small restaurant for lunch and a sad farewell. After trekking with the same people for four days, you become a little family.
RIDING IN THE VISTADOME
But our trip wasn't quite over yet! We opted to take the Vistadome train back to Cusco city. The ride was a long one at about 4 hours total, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. The staff was really friendly, and the train was quite fancy. The ceiling and walls were made up of glass windows so we could see the stunning terrain around us, winding back through the Sacred Valley. The staff served us a light meal of onion and olive tamales, sweet roasted nuts, tart orange berries that looked like little tomatoes, and a coconut cookie. They put on a fashion show and modeled off some traditional alpaca clothing, and they dressed up in traditional garb and explained one of the festivals to us. We arrived in Cusco around 8:30PM, and Alpaca took us back to Ecopackers Hostel where we crashed for the night.
All in all, it was an awesome trip, and I'm so glad I gave the trek a try. I was certainly sad we had to turn back due to weather, but our team's spirits remained high the whole time, and I was so impressed by their ability to think quickly under unexpected circumstances. I felt that they truly went above and beyond to make sure we still had the best experience possible.
Would I do it again? Sure! But as I mentioned, I would more seriously evaluate my fitness level and train appropriately next time. And if you're brave enough to tackle the Inca Trail or an alternative route, I certainly suggest you go with Alpaca Expeditions. Despite Cesar and I not quite being on the same page on day 2, I was very pleased with his desire to make sure we were all having a great time. Cesar was so passionate about his country and its people that he made me feel confident we had made the right choice with Alpaca Expeditions. And with it being my first trek, their customer service was truly top knotch, and I felt like I was in safe hands throughout the trip. If I ever attempt to do it again, I'll be reaching out to them for sure.
Preparing for your own trip? Check out this post, or read about Holly's first two days on the trek here.
Big thanks to Alpaca Expeditions for kindly covering the cost of my gear. As with all content on The Brave Little Cheesehead, all opinions remain honest and our own. If you have any questions about the tour companies we feature, please send us an email or comment below!