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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Inca Jungle Trek

I signed up for a 4day 3night “Inca Jungle Trek” and paid $160 which included everything, even the Machu Picchu entrance (s/126) and the train back to Cusco ($32usd). The operator was Conde Travel and they do other trips as well and a well regarded. They quoted me $180 but I bought it through an agent who gave me a great deal. I forget the name of the agent but its on the same street as the Conde office, just closer to the main plaza. The tour starts with pick up in Cusco and then you drive through the sacred valley of the Incas and over a pass that is at 4200meters. Just after the pass you get out and get on your mountain bike and ride down the other side of the pass with spectacular scenery. After the ride you check into a hotel in the town of Santa Maria with shared rooms and relaxed until dinner.

The second day is hiking on the Inca trail. It isn’t the “classic” inca trail that requires a permit but its all the same and was really cool with amazing scenery and some stops at locals houses.
After lunch our guide, Amoroso, asked if we wanted to have an adventure and we did so we blazed the trail through an area that was destroyed by landslides and floods a year ago. It was great. None of the girls liked it cause it was a little dangerous (maybe more than a little) but I had a great time, crossing rivers, landslides, and hacking our way through with machetes.

It couldn’t have been better. It took longer than expected though and the last 45min were in the dark which actually was dangerous because the path was treacherous and only half of us had headlamps. After arriving in the town of Santa Theresa we checked into our hotel (shared rooms again but I lucked out and got a single) and showered (ice cold showers) and had dinner. Then everyone went to the bar in town and partied the night away.

The next day was just an easy walk along a river on a dirt road and train tracks up to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. We checked into our hotel and had time to wonder around town or go to the hot spring pools. The people who went to the hot springs said they were kinda gross and dirty.

The next morning we left the hotel at 4am to get to the base of the access path by 4:30. The gate is suppose to open at 5am but they opened it early. Then it is a grueling 30min steep hike up to the main entrance which opens at 6am. The rush was so that we could get tickets to climb Whinna Picchu mountain and they only give them to the first 400 people in line. Amoroso gave us a tour of Machu Picchu for about 2 hours and then we were on our own. We were all in the “second group” to climb the mountain which meant our access opened at 10. Climbing the mountain is also an extremely steep climb but it only takes about 25min and offers spectacular views.

After climbing that a dutch guy and I decided to go to the Inca Bridge and the Sun Gate. Both definitely worth doing. If I went back I’d climb Machu Picchu mountain which doesn’t have an entry requirement and might have just as good views as Whinna Picchu. After you’re done exploring Machu Picchu you’re on your own, go back to Aguas Calientes and wait for the train which is at 645pm. The train is very nice and they offer a beverage service. You can also bring beers on board.
Overall Conde Travel worked out great and the tour was a great way to do Machu Picchu. A lot of the hostels in Cusco book through them and we had a great group. Definitely recommend.

Leaving Cusco I was dreading the 24hour bus ride to Lima so I looked at flights and found one to Lima for $82usd (1hr) and another from Lima to Tumbes for $86usd (1.5hrs) on Peruvian Airlines. Definitely worth it because the bus to Lima is about $50us and then the bus from Lima to Tumbes is another 20hrs and $50us. My flight out of Cusco got cancelled, however, but after some haggling with the airline, they were able to get me on the next flight out so I would still make my connection to Tumbes.

1 comment:

  1. Hello the company is Conde Travel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc0JnbX_Q7I
    http://condetraveladventures.com/tours/inca-jungle/

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