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Cusco

Salkantay Trek to reach the Machu Picchu

Mar 17, 2019 comment(s)

"French people never travel with guide nor cook", one local said. And it’s true. After some hesitation, we decided to take over one of the most difficult and incredible treks we ever done, by ourselves. No guide, no agency, we wanted to do it on our own to enjoy every moment together.

This has been the trek we wanted to do for a long time. It would take us to the iconic Machu Picchu site.

Before starting this trek, we spent a few days in Cusco to relax and enjoy the surroundings. 

Day 1

The first day was actually quite easy. We had to get up early in order to get transportation to the city of Mollepata. From there, we shared another car in order to reach Soraypampa, the beginning of the trek. Getting there at 11am we pitched our tent and started walking to the Laguna Humantay. Weather was not really with us (and won't really be for the rest of the trek), therefore we walked under the rain.

Arriving at the Laguna, we were just stunned by the beauty of the place. We even got a bit of sun light. Water was blue and we were surrounded by mountains.

Day 2

Also known as the "most difficult hike Annabelle ever did". It surely was hard. In one day, we had to reach 4630m, starting from 3900m and finish at 2900 meters. All this with the unfortunate weather that has been following us, the rain and also the cold. We were walking next to glaciers.

Going up was a real challenge, our breath was difficult to manage, and the way to the top quite long. Finally, we were there, however in this season everything is under the clouds and we could hear the glacier breaking and rocks falling not far from us. From there, we started going down. We did not expect it to be so long. We reached our destination point (Chaullay) just before sunset, just in time to pitch the tent after 10 hours of intense walk. Exhausted, we cooked our dinner and went straight to bed (sleeping bag).

Day 3

The walk of this day was "unexpected". Plan of the day was to walk to Sahuayaco, along the river. However, again due to the current weather, lots of landslides have happened lately and the path was not very safe. Right at the start, a waterfall was going over the road and we had to remove our shoes to cross. We were worried about the road and while thinking the way was only down, it was actually up and down all along! A second waterfall to cross, this time a bridge made of 2 small trunks. And it was like that all along the way. Our last adventure started when we met two kids (Eduardo and Maeli). They convinced us to follow them for a shorter way. After 10 minutes off road, we arrived in front of the river. To cross it, we had to sit one by one on a very small platform attached to a tyrolean. It was pretty scary when the girl struggled to pull Annabelle from the other side!

Finally, we reached Sahuayaco, but that was not finished. Our aim was Santa Teresa and to get there we needed a car. Luckily Maeli's dad (who said "French people travel without guide nor cook") and his brother were going there. So here we go in their car, crossing plantations of all sorts of fruits.

Reaching Santa Teresa after an hour drive, we decided to go to the thermal waters not far away. We relaxed there in the hot springs after sunset under the stars. So relaxing after this hard walk.

Day 4

The mythical railway to Machu Picchu. This morning, we took our time, no early wake up and our tent was even dry thanks to the morning sun! From there, we took a little transportation to Hidroelectrica. Which is where started our walk of the day, along the railway for 2h30, again under the rain. We did it! We finally reached Aguas Calientes, the pueblo of Machu Picchu. So happy that we made it and very excited for the following day!

Day 5

D-day! The day before, Annabelle had the clever idea to buy bus tickets to get to the top of the mountain. We woke up at 5am to take the bus and as usual it was raining. We were very happy to be in that bus instead of climbing those stairs. After entering, we had a first glimpse of a view on the Machu Picchu. So excited and happy to be there, Annabelle had tears in her eyes. Even though it was all foggy we went up to the mirador to get a better view. We had to wait a bit and it was a spectacular sight. We then walked around the ruins amazed by the beauty of the landscapes. The Inca citadel was much bigger than expected and very well maintained. We were definitely amazed and impressed. After some time, the miracle happened: no more fog and even sunlight, Annabelle couldn’t be happier.

After 4 hours exploring, we started our way back to Cusco, many souvenirs in our head. We visited the mythic Machu Picchu!!!