Peru Adventures – Salkantay Trek

Peru Adventures – Salkantay Trek

For  today’s Peru Adventures post, I wanted to share one of the highlights. Our five day trek leading up to Machu Picchu!

The Inca trail is the best known track to hike up to Machu Picchu. It’s extremely popular, and books out very fast. For our trek up, we decided to choose the road less travelled. We went with the Salkantay Route. We booked a five day tour with Salkantay Trekking, as they came highly recommended. It was certainly one of hardest and most rewarding treks I’ve ever done.

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Sarah, me, Julie, Ally, Ash, Brent, Rebecca, Andrew, and Charlie

Day 1 started with us getting picked up in the van at 5.30am. We met the rest of our group. Ash, Ally, Rebecca, Andrew and Charlie were from Australia. Brent, Holly and Julie were from USA. Then Sarah and me from New Zealand. Our guide was Hector, it was a good group. We drove for a few hours, stopping off in Mollepata (2900m above sea level) for a rest stop and optional breakfast. Then we kept driving up to Challabamba (3550m) where we started our trek. By now it was 9.30, and we were all ready to start. We only needed our day packs from here, as the staff had mules to assist us in carrying the larger packs and tents. It was a slow slope up, and we all enjoyed the view of the valleys and streams. This part of the hike took around three hours, and it was nice. We walked and talked and got to know each other. We also made sure that everyone had altitude sickness pills with them, as after going through that in Arequipa, I didn’t want to go through it again. Not fun. A few hours later, we arrived at Soraypampa (3850m), had lunch and rested.

We were given the option to walk up to Lake Humantay (4270m) after lunch. A round trip takes just under 3 hours. It was a very steep uphill climb. We all had to stop a couple of times to catch our breath. My legs were starting to ache after already walking a few hours this morning. But we all made it, and the lake was beautiful. The clouds were starting to come in, but that made everything look more mystical. The photo below I credit to Sarah. She has a good eye 😀

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It rained quite hard that night, but lying down inside the tent, it was quite comforting and I slept very well. We walked for just under 6 hours, and covered a distance of 12km.

Day 2 is said to be the hardest day. It’s also the day where you hit the highest peak. Salkantay Pass, at an impressive 4630m above sea level. We had an early start and started heading up. It took around three hours to climb from the rocky valley to get to the peak. It wasn’t too bad at first, like the first day, it was just a gentle slope. Then it kept getting steeper, and it looked like it would never end. This part was excruciating for me. Sarah and I stopped many many times, as did many in our group. My legs were not happy with me, and I was leaning all my weight into the walking poles, willing myself to just keep going and dragging my body up the terrain. I focused on my breathing and focused every part of my mind and soul on just continuing up. Eventually, we reached the top, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that much relief in my life.

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So much relief on my face.

The walk down the mountain wasn’t bad, but it started raining for real. So now we were wet and tired. 2 hours of walking later, we reached our lunch spot, rested, then continued on our walk. This time we were walking through the top part of the Amazon Forest, where the weather became so hot that we had to lose all the layers we’d put on during the ascent. This part of the hike took around 3 hours, and we were just surrounded by lush greenery. The rain had also made parts of the walk incredibly muddy though, I sank all the way to my knee in one part when I wasn’t paying attention where I was going. Sarah and Hector had to grab my arms and help yank me out. Good times.

We reached our campsite in the evening at Chaullay (2850m), there was a shower there which I was grateful for. We had a nice dinner, chatted lots about the day’s hike, and relaxed. We walked for around 8 hours, and covered a distance of 22km.

Day 3 was a shorter walk. I was feeling the effects of the previous day’s walk so I’m glad the walk was basically on flat ground. We hiked through the jungle for around five hours. Since this was an easier walk than yesterday, we were all able to walk and talk and take our time. I did start to develop a bit of a cough however, I figured it was after effects of putting my body through that workout the day before.

We ended up in Santa Teresa (1650m), and went to the Hot Springs. My legs felt much better after that. My whole body was more relaxed than it had been in days. I felt refreshed and ready to take on the last day of hiking before reaching our destination!

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Photo credit to Guide Trip. I forgot to take my own photos there, cause I was too busy relaxing!

We walked for five hours, convering a distance of 15 km.

Day Four had the least amount of hiking. It was all pretty much flat terrain again. I was very thankful for this, as my cough wasn’t getting any better. My legs were no longer sore thanks to the hot springs though. We walked along tracks for the whole way to Aguas Calientes pretty much.

Then once we were we reached Aguas Calientes that afternoon, we were off to our respective hostels. We met up for dinner that night, and confirmed the plans to meet up the next morning to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu. We walked 15km this day again.

Day 5 started off with a bit of a hitch. A giant boulder blocked the path, so buses weren’t able to take us to the entrance. So instead, we had to take the stairs. It took us an extra hour than originally planned, but we finally got to Machu Picchu! We took one final group photo and had a short tour with Hector. Then we said bye and split off in groups to explore it on our own. I’m going to devote tomorrow’s post to just our time in Machu Picchu. It deserves a post all on it’s own.

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Brent, Holly, Hector, Ash, Andrew, Charlie, Rebecca, Julie, Sarah, and me

Tomorrow, I’m going to share (again) all the pictures we took up at Machu Picchu!

Angela.

Travel Tag #2

Travel Tag #2

My first tag since going self hosted! The ever amazing Jenny over at Sit Back and Just Live did this lovely travel tag which is a huge deal as she hardly does awards even though she is nominated for heaps I’m sure! ? She tagged little old me (specifically!) to take part, so as always I gladly accept!

I’ve done a Travel Tag before actually, it used to be one of my most popular posts. But since moving, all my views and likes have been reset, so ah well 😀

The Travel Tag that Jenny tagged me for has different questions this time around. So let’s get into it!

Where in the world are you from?

I am from good old New Zealand! I was born here and lived most of my life here. Specifically, Wellington, the capital city!

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However, I do like to mention that I am half Filipina (on my mum’s side) and lived there for a few years when I was younger.

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Have you been overseas? When/Where?

I have been overseas to a couple of places.

I have to been to Sydney, Australia twice in my life. First, when I was 4 on the way to Philippines. We were there for like half a day. Second, for over a week in 2016, with Rory.

As previously stated, I lived in the Philippines from late 1996 to early 1999. We were based in Manila, but if memory serves, we also took a holiday at some point to Palawan.

Then of course, there was the Peru trip. I’ve been reposting some old posts about my trip to Peru lately.

On the way to Peru, we had like a 10 hour layover at LAX. We were too scared to leave the airport though. Too big. So I don’t think I can really say I’ve visited the US. I did have a pumpkin spice latte though, but iced, cause I love iced things. It was nice!

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On the way back from Peru, we stopped for a few days in Tahiti. We stayed in Papeete.

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The most recent overseas place I visited was Fiji for our honeymoon back at the end of March. We stayed in Nadi and Taveuni.

Do you prefer summer or winter? Why?

I always seem to prefer the opposite of what I’m in. I just can’t be happy either way. For this reason, I prefer Spring and Autumn as they’re the less extreme of both. But if I really had to choose…I will say Summer. Cause it coincides with Christmas, my birthday, and the Pohutukawa (flowers) are everywhere.

Summer or Winter Fashion?

I tend to lean towards winter. I love cardigans, boots, scarves, gloves..just layers. Pile on all the layers.

Where is somewhere you would love to travel to?

So many places. But Japan and Iceland are always in the back of my mind.

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Name your essential make up items for the beach.

Nothing? It’s too much effort and it’ll probably come off via sweat or water anyway.

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Are you currently saving up for a trip?

Sort of. We want to go to Japan, and originally we were going to go next March, but we’ve spent a lot recently (Sydney, Wedding, Honeymoon in Fiji, and possibly a house), so we need to save up in general again. But! For now, we’re thinking about heading to Japan the following year.

Do you like/dislike travelling?

I definitely like travelling.

Name a place in the world you would love to shop

I’m gonna go with any store in the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, or any theme park in general. I love souvenirs and novelty things.

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What is your favourite accent in the world to hear?

A lot of the European ones. They all sound cool.

How many countries have you visited?

Australia, Philippines, Peru, Tahiti, Fiji make five. I’ve visited a lot of places around New Zealand though, so I’m counting that too. I’m bumping it to six.

Why do you travel?

To see and experience something new.

Favourite city or country?

That I’ve ever visited? I tend to change my mind a lot. I’m always happy at home though, it’s a nice feeling to return, even if I get the travel itch a lot. I would love to see more of the country I live in. We’re heading to Waiheke Island in October for my sister’s wedding which is gonna be fun! I’ve been to Auckland a few times, but never to that spot. It’s meant to be beautiful!

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Most memorable experience?

Experiencing a proper thunderstorm when we were in Fiji. It was our third or fourth night there and it had been raining for a lot of the day. Then at night, lightning lit up the whole sky and the thunder shook our entire bure. It was so exhilarating.

Best item purchased?

Pedro. My trusty alpaca all the way from Arequipa, Peru. He’s still with me now.

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Advice for those who want to travel but think they can’t?

Start small. Day trips or weekend getaways. Travel within your country. Research what hidden treasures are around and plan a trip for that. Look up sites that offer special deals. That’s how we wound up doing the Tongariro hike. We found a deal through a local site called Treat Me that offers deals on travel and lots more.

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Doing the Tongariro Hike was a weekend trip for us

Preferred method of travel: Planes, Trains or Automobiles?

I don’t like long rides in general. But I prefer planes as it’s faster. However, I’ve always wanted to go on a long scenic train ride. I feel like that would be fun.

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Top Three Travel Items

I’m gonna stick with the obvious. Passport, Phone, and Camera. Cause I can’t think of much else besides those.

Hostel or Hotel?

In Peru we did a lot of hostels, it was fun meeting new people that way. But now, I tend to prefer places like self serviced apartments. So not quite a hotel, but more than a hostel. Does that make sense?

Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

Both. But for overseas, I would say exploring new places. Travel can cost a bit, so I’d like to keep seeing new places.

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Can you recite your passport number from memory?

Yes. Same with my cell number, my home number from childhood, my credit card number, my bank account number, my tax number. I don’t know why they’re all in there, but it’s come in handy.

Do you read up on your destinations for culture, history or safety, or do you just wing it?

Always. It’s part of the process of planning a trip for me! I love reading up on the places we’re going to visit!

Where would you recommend a friend to visit and why?

It would depend on the friend and what kind of vacation they want. If they’re based in NZ, then I always recommend Australia. It’s nearby, and there’s lots of amazing cities. I really liked Sydney, but I would love to visit Brisbane, Melbourne, Sunshine Coast, and lots of others.

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You’re leaving tomorrow and money is no option, where are you going?

Iceland!! I want to see the Northern Lights, Ice Caves, the Blue Lagoon! It’s just so damn expensive since it’s literally on the other side of the world.

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Favourite Landmark you’ve visited?

Machu Picchu!

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Beach or Explore Adventure?

Both! What’s fun is a place where you can do both. We got that on our Sydney visit. We had beach time, and we got to explore nature and the city.

I’m going to leave this tag open to anyone who wants to do it. I feel like I say that a lot lately, but I want everyone to feel free to do this tag!

Happy travels!

Angela.