I love that I had the chance to take the bucket list trip of a lifetime. My family and I did a six day hiking trip in June on the Inca Trail from Salkantay on day 1 to Machu Picchu on day 6. The views in the Andes Mountains in Peru were incredible each hiking day. I can’t say that I had a favorite day. Every day brought something new.
On day 2, we hiked the most miles at 11.5 and saw our first ruins. On day 3 we saw our first llama. For me, day 4 was the toughest but not because of the terrain or mileage, it was from illness. A bad head cold combined with the high altitudes made my face swell.
Our hike to Wiñaywayna on day 5 gave me some much needed relief. Our day began with a pass through our first Inca Tunnel then an easy climb to the pass at Phuyupatamarka. Here we spent time taking pictures of the llamas, the views and more llamas.
Really, who wouldn’t want to take a selfie with a llama?
My family spotted ruins on top of the peak nearest the pass and wanted to explore. I stayed behind to watch their little dots move up the mountain and enjoyed a break. I’m sure our porters and tour guide, Big Willy, were glad the family took a detour so they could have a much deserved rest too.
We had a great view of the peak of Machu Picchu while a short descent took us to the ruins of Phuyupatmarka. Here we had as long as we wanted to enjoy the site. The best part about this part of the trail is that there aren’t as many people as there are at Machu Picchu.
From the awe inspiring views to the complexity of the Inca trails and ruins, it’s hard not to feel small in the vast empire.
After exploring the ruins we descended down a lot of Inca stairs, way too many to count and yet our tour guide told us somebody had counted them. My thighs were too busy burning to remember the exact number he mentioned. This brought us to our campsite and the archeological site of Wiñaywayna. We had a chance to rest and read while our porters set up camp. We also had the option of showering but the cold water didn’t sound appealing to anybody but my husband.
The archeological sites at Wiñaywayna are very well preserved and impressive. Even with the cloud cover, I couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous views of the Andes mountains.
We hiked about 5 miles throughout the day but it was easier hiking than we had done on previous days and much of it was spent exploring the sites. The camp at Wiñaywayna was crowded as it is the final camp site before Machu Picchu. We camped along the trail that is used for the shorter two day treks. Many day hikers passed by our camp. We also had campers right above and below us so the night was not as quiet as previous nights. However, I was relieved that the camp site was at a lower altitude than our other sites and it was warmer. I have mixed feelings when I know my trips are coming to an end and my final night camping along the Inca Trail was no exception.
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