Sean, Flo, and I began the infamous Inca Trail on May 24th… a 4 day / 3 night journey to one of the new 7 wonders of the world - Machu Picchu.
Our total Geckos group consisted of 38 people: 14 tourists, our awesome guide Juve, assistant guide Frank, a cook, an assistant cook, and 20 porters.
The Inca Trail is a 45km trek across 90% of the original pathways that were built by the Incas to access Machu Picchu from the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo). It was an amazing experience filled with unbelievable views and opportunities to explore several other Inca Ruin sites along the way. Through the eyes and stories of our Quechuan guide, Juve, we rediscovered the ancient paths and lands once occupied by his ancestors over 500 years ago.
Here's the Inca Trail breakdown:
Day 1 - 12km - 5.5h from "kilometre 82" (2400m) up to first camp (3000m)
Unfortunately, 2 people from our group had to turn back after the first day/night (along with the assistant guide and a porter) due to asthma/altitude issues.
Day 2 - 12km - 7h from first camp (3000m) up to the 1st Pass (4200m), and down to the second camp (2600m).
Day 3 - 15km - 7.5h from the second camp (2600m) up to the 2nd Pass (3900m), lunch at the 3rd pass, down to the 3rd camp (2200m).
Day 4 - 6km - 2h from the 3rd camp (2200m) up to the Sun Gate (2740m), and down to Machu Picchu (2400m).
Interesting Note: According to Juve, there is a race along the Inca Trail each year (around September). The record time is held by a porter - 3h 45mins. The fastest foreigner record is around 6h.
The porters: Our tents and everything all set up before we arrived at camp, carrying 25kg each, running down the trails wearing only basic sandals.
The food: Every meal consisted of 3 courses that were all amazing.. some of the most memorable dishes: guacamole with homemade tortilla chips, all of the soups, potato-california-rolls, quinoa risotto, russian salad, strawberry cake, jello, apple pie.. and so much more!! The porters carried up heavy propane tanks and stoves to make this all possible!
We really lucked out... our guide, Juve, was really amazing!! Incase anyone is interested, please check out his website: www.incatrekkers.com
On our way down from the Sun Gate we saw a baby bear!
And we finally managed to meet up with Dom along the Sun Gate trail… only to discover he had a close encounter with a cement ditch on his journey to Machu Picchu.. it sure was a relief to see him in one piece though :)