Leaving Santa Marta was a rough start for us due to what turned into quite an epic night at what could only be called a house turned into a bar. We had breakfast with our guides and travel partners and headed off for the day.
Day 2 meant we had two options to start the adventure, with some of the group opting on the optional zip line activity. I ended up doing the hike with two other travel partners that would take us roughly 3 hours through a gorgeous scenic route and would let us hike into the Machu Picchu National Park, something the zip line group didn’t get to do.
After 3 or so hours we eventually connected back with everyone else at a small kiosk/break area in the middle of the Machu Picchu National Park. This rest area was a giant sigh of relief for us after hiking for what seemed like forever. We had a chance to sit down, grab some COLD Gatorade and a quick snack.
The funniest thing about this rest area was that even though we where in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, they had Direct TV playing English movies. This was definitely something none of us expected but was a nice touch of home after a strenuous journey.
This is also when we realized that we should have carried a little extra cash since we where putting all our coins together to have enough to buy snack and drinks before we headed out again. Shocker, that they didn’t accept Visa in the jungle.
At this point we met with the rest of the group and started our trek towards the town of Aguas Calientes. Before getting to Aguas Calientes we would pass through an area called Intihuatana, a small archaeological site where our guides would give us a great explanation of just how advance the Inca civilization actually was.
Following the trail we would continue to Aguas Calientes but first we would make a pit stop at Inka Rakay. This was a place I definitely didnt expect to see but was a pleasant surprise. Inka Rakay is a decent sized restaurant and rest stop along the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. We got a chance to enjoy some local Purple Corn Tea, which is a staple of the Andean people.
The hike to Inka Rakay was an interesting one following mostly the train tracks that will take you back home after you get to Machi Picchu. To say some areas where sketchy is an understatement due to some close calls dodging the main Perurail train and some extremely old bridges that gave very little comfort holding our weight.
We enjoyed an amazing meal, got to relax, enjoy the views and indulge in some Pisco before we continued our trek.
And as we learned in Peru no meal or part of your day is complete without some coca leaf tea! This stuff helped a tremendous amount with altitude sickness and exhaustion after days of hiking through the jungle.
As we continued on our hike we finally got to enter Aguas Calientes which is a rather impressive site after hiking through the jungles of Peru for days. Aguas Calientes is a very interesting town and dense as can be as it is the launch point for anyone wanting to get into Machu Picchu.
We couldn’t have been more excited to finally be at the final town that would take us into Machu Picchu and would also give our tired legs a nice break after two days of hiking through Peru. We checked into our hostel, dropped our bags off and immediately headed out to explore the town, grab some food and drinks!
This would also be the last night with our entire travel group and guides so we where treated to an amazing dinner with the entire group. Later that night we would buy our tickets for the bus up to Machu Picchu which we would have to be in line for at 4am! While there is an option to climb the stairs up to Machu Picchu we wanted to climb the highest peak called Machu Picchu Montana and wanted our legs to have some rest before doing that final push.
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