Tag Archives: Aguas Calientes

Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu

23 Oct

Our blaring alarm jolted us from deep sleep at 4.00am like a bad nightmare. We tiredly pulled on several layers of clothes, grabbed our pre-packed day bag and left our hotel at 4.30am in the pitch black. We carried torches as just outside of town there were no street lights. It took around 30 minutes to reach the start of a strenuous one hour up-hill climb which leads to the entry point of Machu Picchu. In the dark we were joined by dozens of other people also making the climb in order to be allowed first entrance at 6.00am and have the chance to see a spectacular sunrise over the site.

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Pilgrimage to Machu Picchu – The Salkantay trek

21 Oct

Machu Picchu is considered to be one of the new 10 Wonders of the World and the legendary Inca Trail, a 4 day and 3 night trek following the old Inca road, is the most popular way to reach the site, taking in several smaller archeological sites along the way and reaching Machu Picchu for sunrise on day 4. Over the last 10 years or so the Inca Trail seems to have become a victim of its own success. Several years ago it became necessary to limit the number of trekkers using the trail as the sheer volume of traffic meant that the ruins were being damaged, litter was becoming a problem and sanitary conditions were appalling. The quota is now 500 people per day, which, along with trekkers, includes guides, porters and cooks. The measures taken were required to preserve Machu Picchu, but the outcome has been devastating for the humble backpacker with prices for the trek going through the roof and the waiting list to join the trek extending to 5 or 6 months in some cases. With all of this considered, we decided to try one of the many alternative treks, which offer equally as stunning scenery and the chance to visit small villages before ending up at Machu Picchu on the ultimate day. The alternative trek we chose was the Salkantay trek which traverses snow-capped mountain ranges, passes turquoise lagoons and hot springs, and descends into lush jungle before spending one night at a small town called Aguas Calientes and rising early the following morning for sunrise at Machu Picchu.

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