Destinations,  Peru,  South America

Cusco – Santa Maria – Santa Teresa – Peru Inca Trail Day 1

Day 1 of our Inka Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu started extremely early with a 5:30am departure time which meant a 4:30am wake up call. This was harder than usual due to some very late night karaoke, some unnecessary drinks but a completely necessary fun night!

We where picked up by our guide from Lorenzo Expedition outside of our hostel and made a quick stop to pick up a group of backpackers from London and Berlin who would join us for the rest of the trip. Now at first we where worried we would be stuck with some strangers we wouldn’t like but the grouping turned out amazing!

The first stop of the day was at the main headquarters for Lorenzo Expeditions to check on some gear, grab some free shirts before and quick restroom break before we headed to breakfast. The one thing we learned quickly in Peru was that a all you can eat buffets are not what you expect from when coming from the states. While food was plentiful it was definitely pretty basic to just small bite sandwiches, toast and coffee.

I am glad it was a light breakfast since after breakfast we started our long drive to the top of Abra Malaga which sits at 14,160 ft. and was the starting point of our biking tour. The guides do a great job of getting you ready with your bike,making sure you have protective gear and they even have GoPro mounts on their helmets! Note to always make sure you have the right mounts for your GoPro’s since I realized while prepping that I had left most back home in the states.

The ride down from the top to the town of Huamanmarca takes about 3 hours and goes down what is mostly an open highway with some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen.

Throughout the entire ride down there is a safety/support vehicle following you which brings great comfort. We also stopped quite a few times to check in on gear and make sure everyone was set. One of our friends was also able to ride the van down due to issues with his bike and fear with heights which didn’t bode well with such a high altitude ride.

After getting back to town we where able to grab a quick bite to eat and head over to our next activity, white water rafting! Now this wasn’t my first time rafting but this was a very different experience than what I went through in the states. The guides where definitely professional and we felt safe but it was a lot more intense than the tamed rapids I had taken before.

The restaurant we had dinner at before going white-water rafting was in the middle of nowhere or at least it felt that way. We hiked through some light jungle area until stumbling onto a sign and what would be one great lunch! Honestly much better than I expected it to be.

The best part after the white water rafting was a surprise trip to some local hot springs which definitely hit the spot. Our bodies couldn’t have been happier about enjoying a nice soak and some cold beers while the sun set.

The one thing that was scary and to a certain point just reckless was the drive we took from the white water rafting to our hot springs and back to the hostel. We had a few scares along the way looking down what seemed like a bottomless pit at some points.

We spend the night in Santa Maria at a great little hostel and where lucky enough to have a private room for myself and my best friend. The one downside of the hostel was the lack of central AC or any fans which definitely made it nice and toasty all night. On the positive side there was hot water and a very clean private bathroom!

While we where definitely exhausted after such a crazy and adventure filled day, it honestly showed us why we were so excited to visit this country. The people couldn’t have been nicer and the scenery was just breathtaking in every way. I never imagined I would have fallen in love with a country so fast until the first day of our Inka Trail journey. Cusco was an amazing spot to party and live the hostel life but the journey to Santa Maria changed the way we all looked at South America.

Have you been in this part of Peru? What was your favorite part? Is there something you would want to know more about in this area of the world?

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