PERU RUNDOWN – AND THE MACHUPICCHU ADVENTURE

Itinerary
April 12-14, 2018: Lima. Got there late night and left early morning so really, only 1 day.
April 14-15: Cusco (2 days to acclimate before trek)
April 16-19: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
April 20: Cusco
April 21-22: Lima

Who – My husband, and our friends Michy and Trey
How We got There
Lima
– direct Jetblue flight from FLL, about 5.5 hours.
At lima airport we grabbed a green taxi for 60 Soles (~ $20usd) to Miraflores where our Airbnb was.
Cusco: 1 hr flight from Lima with LCPeru airline $150USD r/t

Where we Stayed
Lima: Airbnb in Miraflores
Cusco: Kokopelli Hostel
Inca Trail: Tents by Alpaca Expeditions
Lima: Courtyard by Marriot

How We Got Around

Lima: we took taxis/uber everywhere, they are cheap but you should have an idea of how much they are and negotiate when you jump in the taxi as they don’t have meters… every taxi ride inside the city was less than 20 soles.
Cusco: walked everywhere

What We Did
Lima: Main Square of Lima; John F Kennedy Park; Indian Market; San Bartolo Beach
Cusco: Walked around the whole town; Plaza de Armas; San Blas area; Qurikancha; Jardin Sagrado; San Pedro Market (bought the typical alpaca sweater (30soles); Got massages at Ying Yang Plus (1hr for 60Soles) and also at Pusharo Sauna and Spa (1hr for 75 soles). Got a haircut at a random place down the street. Got mani/pedi at Aide Tapia Spa (55 soles).
Machupichhu: 4 day 3 night Inca trail with Alpaca Expeditions ($1400 usd for 2ppl). Included transport from/to hotel, guides, portable bathroom, porters to carry all your stuff (expect day of backpack), all meals and snacks, tent for 2 with pads, inflatable pads, and sleeping bags, and 45kms of gruesome inclines and descends of rocky terrain and heights of over 13,000 ft. See more on the trek below…

Food & Drinks
Lima:
Mangos at Larcomar: decent brekkie, view was great and ambiance is really cool.
Osaka: Japanese fusion, sushi is fresh and tasty, overpriced for what you get in my opinion.
Ayahuasca: had drinks and apps. Very yummy and reasonably priced, place was really cool with fun ambiance.
Cusco:
Nuna Raymi: this was my first time trying alpaca and it was delish, I ordered the one with cheese on top. Blaise tried the cuy and he liked it but I wasn’t a huge fan, it’s also a lot of work with all the little bones. Service was great and price was good too. Highly recommend it.
Yola: Grilled meats are good and tasty.. its a more local place a bit outside the main areas. We went at night but I would suggest going during lunch instead when they also have the lomo saltado for 14Soles which is supposed to be great.
Marcelo Batata: Go on a sunny day and sit at the terrace. Food was delish, service a bit slow.
Morena Peruvian Kitchen: Delicious ceviche and arroz con mariscos. Their chicha morada is also very tasty and enough for 2 ppl. The place is a bit more upscale with very cool decor and atmosphere.
Greens: I once again got the alpaca and it was so yummy. The place is cool looking and also mostly organic.
Kion: our last lunch in cusco was here. It’s a Chinese Peruvian fusion. My dish was a bit too salty but tasty.

OUR INCA TRAIL ADVENTURE
Read if you are planning on doing the trail:

  • Your day bag should NOT weigh more than 5kgs.
  • Bring a couple extra snacks but not too many, they feed you well and often.
  • It’s not a camping trip, there won’t be long gatherings at night over a campfire, after dinner everyone goes to their tents exhausted to rest and get ready for another early start.
  • It’s a truly amazing and challenging experience.20180415_211054

Day 1: We had a really early start at 4:10am. We rode in a minibus with a group of 10 other hikers including our friends Michy and Trey. At km 82 the start of our trek we had breakfast prepared by our chef and on we went. First day was challenging but not so terrible, we hiked 10kms, it was very sunny so shorts and sunblock were in order. After a few hours we stopped for lunch. It was very cool to see how “easy” they set up a big tent with a table and chairs for 12 people. They cooked a super yummy lunch. Lunch and dinner typically consisted of an appetizer, soup, a main course and desert. The main course typically was a combination of buffet style rice, vegetables, quinoa, yucca fritters, chicken or fish. Every meal was delicious. At the end of the day we were all super exhausted. Unfortunately, my poor hubby got altitude sickness so he had a rough day and crashed as soon as we got to camp. After dinner our guides introduced the chef and all 20 porters. The amazing porters do the same trek as us but with 15kgs on their backs carrying all our clothes, tents, food, etc.

Day 2: Another warm day to start with. In the afternoon, it cooled down and got a bit rainy as we reached the dead women’s pass at almost 14,000 ft high, so we took out the rain jackets and ponchos. This was the longest day for a total of 14kms of the steepest up hills and toughest down hills. It was truly unbelievable to see a super high peak from the distance and then to be standing there conquering the mountain. We were in awe at the strength of our bodies. Blaise and I went hard on the last hike as we wanted to make sure we got to the campsite before sundown, I really didn’t want to hike in the dark with a headlamp. We were the first ones to arrive to the campsite and were super happy about arriving while there was light out.

Night 2: I suppose it had been a couple hours since I had fallen asleep when I started feeling very sharp stomach pains. I just curled up and assumed fetal position to see if the pain would go away. It didn’t. The pain only got sharper and grew stronger, my whole body was aching, the inflatable pad that I once thought was the bomb became the most uncomfortable surface. I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for an hour or two I finally felt the urge to run to the bathroom, an urge I was looking forward to as I was hoping it would help relieve the pain. Fortunately, Alpaca Expeditions provides a nice clean toilet at the campsite. It’s basically a small tall tent with a portable sit-down toilet. They also have a porter whose only job is to maintain and sanitize the toilet. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t go away, I ran to the bathroom with my headlamp in the middle of the starry night a few more times until the sun finally rised.

Day 3: Needless to say, my day started with very little sleep. I felt weak and with zero energy. I had a bite for breakfast and our guide gave me medicine so that I could go on. This was the most challenging day for me, although for most it was an easier day since it was only 10kms and we got to camp at midday, it felt like eternity for me. At every stop throughout the hike I would just lay on the ground and close my eyes to try and rest while the guide would go over the story of the ruins we were on. My whole body ached and every step took all my energy. I barely spoke that day and if you know me at all this is definite sign that I’m not feeling great. Michy made sure I stayed at the front so they could watch me. Blaise took my backpack and carried both his and mine so that I didn’t have the extra weight. Once we got to the campsite they made me a special chicken soup for lunch and I went inside my tent and rested the rest of the day. Everyone went to check out some nearby ruins but I knew my body just needed to rest so I stayed back and curled up in my tent waiting to get better.

20180418_132210

Day 4: I woke up very well rested and feeling great. I had energy, I was talking and was very happy to be feeling great for the most awaited last day. Go time was 3:30am. It was a bit humid but warmer than the day before. We waited in line for about an hour to go through the gates towards MachuPicchu. An hour or so later and we found ourselves at the Sun Gates, the view here was supposed to be a fabulous view of machupichhu from the very top. Unfortunately, Pacha Mama (Inca Mother Earth) didn’t help us out and it was completely foggy with zero visibility. We continued for another hour or so and finally arrived. It was still a little foggy but shortly after we arrived it cleared up and we were able to fully enjoy it. The great thing is that Machupichhu is not something you just see from afar, instead, you get to explore and roam around the ancient Incan Citadel. Once we were done with all the exploring, we took the bus down the mountain in a curvy, narrow road and arrived to Aguas Calientes. We met up with our group, had lunch and then took the scenic train back to Cusco.

 

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