We arrived in Peru and stayed in Cusco to help us acclimatize to the elevation
We spent two days enjoying Cusco
And the amazing colonial architecture in Plaza De Armas - Central Cusco
Many locals were selling their wares on the streets and alleys
Everything from bracelets to handwoven items
Many are weaving or making items in front of you, which adds to the authenticity
Along with their faces ingrained with years of character and hard work
Some busk, and use their cute kids to help persuade you out of your soles
Whilst others have resorted to asking a small amount for photos with their lamas and alpacas
Several of which have been dressed up in traditional Peruvian outfits for the photos (do Alpacas have a traditional Peruvian outfit that's not alpaca wool)?
Of course, if you want a photo, you just need to have a cuddle too......
Halloween in Plaza De Armas was a mass of people, with kids (and adults) dressed up
And some real cuties 🙂
Hotel Casa Andina - our home for a few nights in Cusco
5 star service
And pretty comfortable rooms too!
Local touches and artwork adorned the walls and corridors
We started our trek with a visit to the Moonstone after which the trek we took was named
The building and rock work that the Incas did can be seen throughout the trek and is truly breathtaking
Having a local guide to explain the different building techniques and reasoning behind them made a huge difference
After a tour around the Inca Moonstone site, we set off on Day 1 of the trek
Shortly after setting off, I was unsure whether we were in Peru or Wales... pouring rain and sheep everywhere!
Our company on the trek was a guide, a chef, assistant chef, horseman, his two mules and three horses and of course...
Rambo, Eusabio's dog who was with us the entire trek
The mules and two of the horses carried anything that wasn't in our day packs
On day 1, as we left the highway, we passed through some small local villages
Day 2 we left the local villages behind us and were up into the backcountry
With stunning scenery in every direction
And trails everywhere, used by the locals
The mellow pace allowed us to look around and appreciate the scenery in all directions
So different from our mountains at home, but equally stunning
With a full four seasons during the trek, clothing ranged from shorts, to ponchos and full winter gear
Eusabio rounding up the horses and mules after a break for lunch
After lunch, the climb to the highest point on the trek, just over 15,000'
And cresting the saddle the views beyond, and our hike for the afternoon did not disappoint
Stunning scenery in all directions, with help from a break in the clouds
Day 2 was our longest day (about 14km) and reached the highest elevation
But with an early start each day, and a long break for lunch, we were easily in camp for the evening by 3pm
The view from the tent on each night was pretty stunning
And as we settled in with views of the snowcapped glacial "Veronica" in the distance
We had no idea how much we'd appreciate the hot water bottles we had (yep - camping with hot water bottles!!)
Until we woke the next morning to this!
Notice Eusabio up and about first thing.... in sandals and a lightweight Poncho
Jo's new hero.... a horseman who wandered around in sandals in the snow
We set off on Day 3 with mediocre weather, little knowing the views and scenery awaiting us
The first hour of the trek was in light snow
But as the clouds cleared we started to see the Sacred Valley below and where we were headed
The clouds would roll in and out, giving us glimpses of the snow capped peaks around us
Time for a cliched "pose on the rock" shot.... with some pretty impressive backdrops
A short break before we descend, and time for Dino to check his messages!
As we started to descend, the path for the day lay out before us
And we headed down into a steep slot canyon
Towering walls on either side and the Sacred Valley below us was an amazing view
As we descended through a beautiful canyon the team, led by Eusabio, caught up and passed us to setup camp
After a major drop in elevation, we reached one of the Sun Gates, another impressive Inca build
With the drop in elevation, both Jo and I felt a lot better
As we camped overlooking Ollantaytambo the night sky was amazing
The morning of Day 4 we woke to clearing skies and some blue!!
And breakfast was a cake. Yep! Do not ask us how they managed to produce an iced cake out of a tent and a camping stove!
As we descended on day 4 to the valley floor, we looked back to see the Sun Gate disappearing into the clouds
Time for a group shot with our Action Peru Treks team: Eusabio, Jo, Dino, Richard, Lizandro, Dave
Down in Ollantaytambo, we spent a short time at Eusabio's house and met his family and the cute Amber (his granddaughter)
After a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes we were treated to a beautiful hotel and warm shower!!
Day 5: Machu Picchu - truly a wonder of this world
You have likely seen better photos
But nothing can capture the beauty or workmanship of this place
You have to see it to believe it
Climbing Wayna Picchu (the larger peak on the far side of Machu Picchu) shows the true scale of the work
As well as the size of the rocks that the Incas worked with
Happy after 5 days on the trail 🙂
We then flew to Hotel Yemaya - near Punta Sal on the north Peruvian coast near Ecuador
Our home for 4 days after the trek
Not a bad place to chill out!
Catch some time in the pool and the ocean
Watch the beautiful sunsets
and have some dinner by the pool. A great end to an amazing vacation!!