Machu Picchu was so much fun! SO MUCH FUN. The group we went with included: 5 of us USA girls, 2 British girls, 2 British guys, 1 Australian chick, 4 Irish chicks, 2 Irish guys, and 2 Ecuadorian guy guides. Everyone was super friendly and wonderful! Anyway, here it is- the breakdown of my journey to Machu Picchu (Monday 04/14 – Thursday 04/17):
Day 1: We got picked up from the Marriott Hotel (where Michelle and Kristi were staying) at 7am and were driven to the top of a mountain. Once there, we put on these black ninja-power-ranger-like outfits and got ready to bike down. As cool as this sounds, it was slightly miserable because it was freezing cold and pouring. I’ll be honest, I gave up like 20-25 minutes in… The biking trip was only like an hour long, so I spent the rest of the time in a warm and dry van with other fellow quitters (we bonded though!). Afterward, we drove to a little town for lunch and rest. We basically chilled there the rest of the day while those who paid for rafting went to do their thing. Though, apparently, right before they could get on the river, they were informed that they couldn’t raft anymore because someone had just fallen into the river and drowned… It was pretty shocking and upsetting… but yeah, we spent the night in the little town and got up bright and early for the next day, a whole day of hiking!
^ Look at our ridiculously awesome outfits! I think all the padding and bright color was for in case we fell off the side of the mountain on the way down. Yeah, that was actually a possibility since we were going down windy roads in the middle of a storm…
^ Question: don’t we look just so super radical? Definitely ninja power rangers. I’m sure of it! Also, paz por siempre.
^ Street donuts with maple syrup. It cost 2 soles for 5 donuts. That means it only cost $0.72 for 5 deep fried donuts drenched in maple syrup. They were glorious.
Day 2: Our guides told us that we would be hiking for 8 hours… and we ended up hiking for like 11. It was really cool though, as we got to see a lot of nature- mountains, rivers, trees, trees, trees, different plantations, and cute animals! Our first stop was at a coca plant plantation (cocaine is made from the coca plant somehow, but the coca plant itself is just used as tea. And it’s tasty… it has a very earthy flavor). We also found a fruit that has natural dye, so of course, we all painted our faces! Super cute. We made a few more stops on the way to lunch, two of which we encountered monkeys. And at the first place we ran into a monkey, it stole my camera! My camera was in the side pocket of my backpack and it just ran up to me and snatched it! It was on a leash, so it couldn’t get very far. The owner came and returned my camera to me. I’m never trusting monkeys ever again… We ate lunch and then found passion fruit! We might have accidentally stole it, but they were just lying on the ground in the forest, so we grabbed a few and ran off. Have you ever had a passion fruit? They look disgusting on the inside (fish eggs? boogers?), but taste delicious! Our next destination was a cable car that would take us up and above a river. It was manual, as in our guide had to pull the ropes to get us over… It was frightening. Katie and I were in the same cable car and we screamed the entire time. The rest of the night, we trekked, in the dark, to a hot springs place. It was super relaxing! We chilled there for an hour or two and then bused over to the next town.
^ Our whole group with painted faces! Why are we doing weird stuff with our hands? Because our group was called the “jungle dogs” (guess who suggested that?! wink)!
^ We were legit walking on the sides of the mountain! One wrong step and we would have plummeted to our deaths! OK, maybe it wasn’t that extreme. It just makes me feel more dangerous when I say that. Yeah, we walked on paths like these for the whole day. Believe me, we were all totally pooped by the end.
^ I fell off and almost died AHHHHH!! cacho. This was staged, don’t worry. Aren’t the surroundings just beautiful though? I love love love nature!
^ Passion fruit. Yep, you just eat the gooey stuff. You can swallow the seeds. It’s sooooo good!
^ Katie and I during the cable car ride. The cable car was so janky- we were legit sitting on a plank of wood that had some metal attached around it and to the rope above us. Dios le pague we survived.
Day 3: We went ziplining this day! We did like 5 big ziplines and then crossed a holey bridge. It was so ridiculously fun, but tiring too. We spent the rest of the day traveling to Aguascalientes, the town by Machu Picchu. We were super mega ful excited when we got there! And we ran into Michelle and Kristi at the hostal (I forgot to mention that we broke off with them after the first day because they only wanted to do a 3 day hike instead of a 4 day hike). Anyway, it was cool and we had a really good dinner. So in Spanish, avocado is “aguacate,” but in Peru it was called “palta.” As an appetizer, I had a stuffed avocado and it was amazingggggg. I wish avocados tasted as good in the USA. I’m gonna miss it… We went to sleep early because we had to get up at 4am the next morning to go up to Machu Picchu.
^ Here’s me ziplining! It was super super super fun! I also got to zipline upside down. I really want to do it again!! I think Sarah and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica to zipline when we grow up and have $$.
^ The whole group in Aguascalientes! We definitely took like 30 pictures of this same pose, but that’s because we were super excited that we had finally made it! WOO JUNGLE DOGS.
^ Stuffed avocado!! It was so yummy. yum yum yum yummy. And that’s an olive on top! Actually, come to think of it, a lot of the dishes we were served had an olive on it as garnish…
Day 4: We woke up at 4am to get ready for Machu Picchu. It was about a 25 minute walk to the entrance gate and a 1 hour hike up stone stairs to the top. It was so hard, but so worth it when we made it! It was cloudy for the first hour or so, but eventually the sky cleared and our breaths were taken away by the view! It was amaaaaazinngggg to say the least. We explored the ruins for like 5 hours and if I weren’t so tired, I would have stayed there even longer! To end the day, I treated myself to alpaca meat……..
^ Have you ever had to get up at 4am to hike an hour up steep stone steps? Yeah, we never had before this either and we were pretty miserable. Except Rachel jaja.
^ Our first view of the ruins once the clouds cleared. How did the Incans do all of this? No clue. But it was legit.
^ A pretty pretty view of the whole city. So Machu Picchu is actually the name of the mountain and not the place I learned…
^ Some terraces and homes. They used to grow stuff on the terraces. They were super self-sustaining. There were also gardens around too.
^ Alpaca meat. It tasted like beef, except more tender. Maybe it was just the way it was cooked. At least now I can say I’ve had alpaca meat. After this I’ll be mostly done with meat. I miss tofu. I really miss tofu. Sigh.
Final note: OUR GUIDE JHON WAS FANTASTIC! He’s #2 on my list of favorite people in the world. He was just genuinely a good guy who constantly took care of us and was fun to talk to. I could go on and on about how awesome he was. Katie was a little disappointed that he had a girlfriend… cacho jaja. He’s the one on the right. When I come back to Peru, I’m gonna book a tour where he’s the guide!!! Our other guide was Lio (bottom) and he was pretty cool too.