Cuzco and the 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

We got into Cuzco early Saturday morning and after finding the hostel a fellow traveller recommended, Felix House (see Mel’s Cusco post for some wonderful pictures of this high class spot), we decided to just solider on without any rest/naps. We had 2 days for the rest of our party to acclimatized to the altitude, so our schedule consisted of beers, shopping, eating and general wandering.

Cuzco from the hill behind our hostel

Cuzco from the hill behind our hostel

The goal of coming to Cuzco was to hopefully join our friends from Vancouver while they did the 5 Day Salkantay Trek. We initially thought that joining them wouldn’t be a hassle and we might even get a bit of a discount as we were a last minute addition to the trek and every second person on the street was offering us a trip with their tour company.

After being told we would be charged the same amount as our friends we told them we would have to think about and check back with them later in the day. We decided a few hours later to “bite the bullet” and join the group, but when we returned the only person left at the tour company didn’t have the language skills and/or the power to make the decision. She asked us to return in the evening so that we could confirm. We tried returning twice before finally getting someone in the know just before our friends had their briefing, we were rudely told we could not join the group. We walked away disappointed and generally confused but held our tongues as to not ruin the trip for our friends.

We had agreed to meet for supper after our friends finished their briefing and when we did we found out that our friends had negotiated for us to join the group and had even gotten us a small discount. We are still at a lose as to what changed, but took the opportunity agreeing to meet for our briefing the following evening.

After our night in the infamous Felix house we moved around the corner to our new home away from home, Hostal Suecia 2. We both enjoyed the hostel very much and would recommend it to anyone staying in Cuzco.

After our 2 days of acclimatization and all our unnecessary luggage in storage we were off to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay trail.

Day 1 - Salkantay Mountain from a distance

Day 1 – Salkantay Mountain from a distance

Day 1 - Our guide Hendrik explaining something important no doubt. I wasn't too impressed with the tour company, but Hendrik was the shit..

Day 1 – Our guide Hendrik explaining something important no doubt. I wasn’t too impressed with the tour company, but Hendrik was the shit..

Day 1 - Lunch

Day 1 – Lunch

Day 2 - Looking back on where we came from

Day 2 – Looking back on where we came from

Day 2 – Pretty much looked like Mordor

Day 2 - Mel taking a breather, we climbed over a km of elevation that day, lots of breaks were needed

Day 2 – Mel taking a breather, we climbed over a km of elevation that day, lots of breaks were needed.

Day 2 - All five of us after our snack

Day 2 – All five of us after our morning snack

Day 3 - Our trail for this day was mostly up and down in the jungle

Day 3 – Our trail for this day was mostly up and down in the jungle

Day 3 - and we are still chasing waterfalls

Day 3 – and we are still chasing waterfalls

Day 3 - Avocado trees, one of the 2 main agricultural products for this region

Day 3 – Avocado trees, one of the 2 main agricultural products for this region

Day 3 - Coffee is the other major agricultural product for the region, you'd think that would make finding a good cup of coffee easy, turns out the export all the good stuff and most the time you just get instant in South America.

Day 3 – Coffee is the other major agricultural product for the region, you’d think that would make finding a good cup of coffee easy, turns out they export all the good stuff and most the time you just get instant in South America.

Day 3 - Don't worry mom it was  dead "Fer de Lance" snake

Day 3 – Don’t worry mom it was dead “Fer de Lance” snake

Day 4 - Our campsite, and we woke up to turkeys that morning

Day 4 – Our campsite at La Playa

Day 4 - The Coffee beans in the process of becoming Coffee

Day 4 – The Coffee beans in the process of becoming Coffee and then shipped to North America and Europe

Day 5 - Our first glimpse of Machu Picchu

Day 4- Our first glimpse of Machu Picchu

We finished the hike with a short train ride to Aguas Calientes where we had a hotel room, a meal in a restaurant and more importantly hot showers waiting for us. They were all very much appreciated, next an early bus to Machu Picchu and at 10 am a hike up to Wayna Picchu!

One thought on “Cuzco and the 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

  1. Hey Mike & Mel…

    Loving the updates. Brian and I are definitely living vicariously
    through you both. What an experience! I can barely walk up a flight of stairs let alone a 1km in elevation. Yikes!

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