Inca Jungle Trek, Day 2; hiking the Inca Trail
I have already written a detailed report about our trip to Ecuador.
This series of posts will detail our trip to Peru and ultimately one of the new seven wonders of the world – Machu Picchu.
This post (part 7) will cover the second day of our 4-day Inca Jungle Trek with Loki Travel. Check out our other posts to learn more about our trip to Peru.
- Part 1: Traveling to Machu Picchu: The Basics
- Part 2: Planning travel and lodging
- Part 3: Travel from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
- Part 4: Things to do in Ollantaytambo, Peru
- Part 5: Eating in Ollantaytambo, Peru
- Part 6: Cycling down a mountain
- Part 7: Hiking on an Inca trail
- Part 8: Zip lining and hiking to Aguas Calientes
- Part 9: The climb to Machu Picchu
- Part 10: How much did our trip to Peru cost?
Heading to the Inca Trail
After our first day of our 4 day tour, cycling down a mountain, we awoke early, ate breakfast and packed our bags for a 7 a.m. departure from our Inca Jungle Lodge. The first part of the hike was a simple, fairly flat walk along a dirt road.
We then veered off the road onto a path along the river.
And then into the jungle where we met some locals selling some inexpensive and delicious fruit.
The Climb Begins
After about a half hour we turned up and headed over a mountain along an old Inca trail. The trail was steep and after about 20 minutes of climbing we stopped at a “monkey house”. The view was spectacular.
And while we rested we also took pictures of the pet monkey.
We then did another steep climb for about 30 more minutes. This time we took a long break. Our guide used this time to talk about the local culture, including the local crops such as corn and potatoes. We sampled some local juice made from purple corn (it tasted better than it sounds), some local chocolate (it was more bitter than I expected) and then a shot of some kind of alcohol with a snake in the bottle.
In addition to a monkey at the second monkey house, there were other pets here too. I don’t know if I believe the story, but this guy below apparently eats coffee beans and poops them out and the “result” is sold as a delicacy. Regardless of that story, I tought it was cute because it loved getting its belly rubbed.
Heading to the Summit
Afterward, we got our faces painted, apparently like Inca warriors (though I would never know the difference) and then made our final push to the summit of the climb, first through the jungle,
and then along a pretty scary path on the side of a cliff for probably about 5 minutes (but it felt like 5 hours to me because I am afraid of heights). If you are scared of heights, this can be a bit nerve racking. I did not enjoy this part, but I did make it.
Finally we reached the summit of this climb and were rewarded with an amazing view.
The first five minutes of the climb down the other side were just as scary. I don’t have pictures because there was no way I was stopping to take out my camera.
Then the path was much simpler.
We stopped a local establishment for lunch. This was our view while eating.
When we got down to the level of the river, we followed a path along the river.
Then had to take a scary cable car ride across the river (additional cost of 10 soles).
We then walked through an old tunnel and followed another path along the river.
Finally, we arrived at a local hot spring (additional cost of 5 soles). After a long day of hiking, the hot baths were a much welcome relief. We spent about an hour in the hot springs before it started getting dark.
Then we hiked up the road for about 10 minutes to our lodging for the night,
and finished our day with a good buffet meal before retiring for the night.
Summary: Hiking the Inca Trail
This was an all day affair. We were hiking for about 10 hours. About an hour and a half of the hike was a pretty steep climb. However, it wasn’t that bad because we stopped pretty often. Be aware that it can get a little scary near the top if you are afraid of heights. The hot springs felt good after a full day on our feet. Having our night’s lodging a short walk from the hot springs was very welcome.
Note: One can choose a 3-day or 4-day tour. If you choose a 3-day tour, this is the day that gets cut out. Oddly the price is about the same, so if you have the time I would recommend the 4-day tour. And if I can make it through the scary heights then anyone can.