In French we often use the expression "Jamais deux sans trois" (Never a second without a third)…. therefore, this was my third journey to Machu Picchu. Since I had already done both the 2-day and 4-days traditional Inca Trails, I decided to do another adventure tour called the Inca Jungle. The nice thing about this trek is that it allowed me to meet up with Jen at Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Biking
The first day of this trek consisted of a 69km bike ride on a freshly asphalted road that took us from an altitude of 4300m down to 1700m. There were many nice views, lots of zig zags.. overall a very enjoyable ride… even if you crashed your bike.
We had the same full-body-gear as when we did the Maras Moray bike ride…. and I am so happy we did. When I was about 2/3 of the way down the pass, I managed to hit the cement ditch. Here is a description of the scene:
I was turning on one of the switchbacks while a truck was doing the same in the opposite direction and there was also a river flowing on top of the road. As I was turning, I managed to splash my shoe, so I looked down …… error….. when I looked up I was inches from the cement ditch. At that point the only thing I could do was embrace the accident, so into the ditch I went. It hurt a bit but, not as much as it should have! After cleaning up my scrapes, I mounted the bike and mostly finished the bike ride. I had to stop at the end, because my right hand was swollen and hurting.
On a funny note, at the hostel, when I asked for some ice to help reduce the swelling of my hand, they gave me a cold beer ;)
If I had gone with any other tour agency, they would have only provided very basic safety helmets/equipment.. I would have scraped the entire left side of my face on cement, and that would have really hurt... So if anyone's looking for a good bike tour operator in Cusco: http://www.lorenzoexpeditions.com
Day 2: Hiking an Inca trail and enjoying hot springs
On our second day, we trekked from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa. On our hike we passed by some coffee farms, coca plantations, and walked on part on an Inca trail. This was a lot easier but was also really enjoyable. We finished the day, swimming in some hot springs near Santa Teresa.
Day 3: Zip Lines and hiking to Aguas Calientes
The third day started by crossing mountains on 6 zip lines.
After the zip lines, we were driven to the hydro electric plant where we started our journey to Aguas Calientes along the railway. The view from the train track is amazing as you are located on a small valley right beside mountains that just seem to appear out of thin air. Along the way, we visited a really small Inca site and finished our journey at Aguas Calientes (the city at the base of Machu Picchu).
Day 4: Machu Picchu
We awoke at 4am and started walking up toward Machu Picchu so that we could arrive at 6am (when the doors open) and be the first to explore the site. Our experience at Machu Picchu will be in another post as Jen and I visited it together: after meeting up on the path to the the Sun Gate.