It was five amazing weeks, but unfortunately my time in Peru has come to an end. I arrived in Chile this morning, so I figured I should probably say something about the last few weeks in Peru.
After we were in Lima last, we were on our way to Cuzco to see Macchu Picchu. But given that its a 22 hours bus ride, we thought we´d break it up a little by stopping over in a place called Huacachina. Its a small desert oasis just outside of Ica. It has two main attractions, partying and sand boarding. We were thee for the latter. It was a fun place to spend a night to break up a long trip, but beyond that, theres not a ton else to it.
Getting to Cuzco brought with it the reality that we were going there during the rainy season. It rains at least once at some point during the day there. But despite this, we were all excited to get our trips to Macchu Picchu under way! I was set on doing the Salkantay trek to Macchu Picchu, while Alex and Julia opted for another trip there that was a day shorter. The Salkantay is a five day trek, that takes you through almost all types of landscape imaginable. Day two of the trek had us climb 900m over a mountain pass where we were at the same level at glaciers. After just a few hours of walking down, we were in dense jungle. Despite raining ALL DAY, it was a pretty amazing day. The next day was easier, and involved a stop over at some hot springs, which was more than welcomed after three days of being wet, cold, and dirty. From there it was a one day hike to Aquas Caliente, the launching point for Macchu Picchu. Aquas Caliente is an odd place in that it exists only to service Macchu Picchu. On the one hand, its as tourist-trappy as can be, but on the other it has a very cool vibe to it. There´s a collective sense of excitment because everyone there has made the journey just to see Macchu Picchu. Im still not quite sure what I thought of it in the end.
The trek up to Macchu Picchu had us up at 4am the next day. Getting up to Macchu Picchu involves a 500m climb, and the entrance to the site opens at 6am, so we wanted to be there a early as possible. We awoke to pouring rain. Not the best start to the day, but we were off anyway. For the first few hours of being up there, the fog was so thick, we couldnt see the mountains around us, or even the whole site. But as the day went on, it cleared little by little. It ended up being a very cool way to see it. For a place with so much mystery surrounding it, the foggy start to the day only added to the experience. The day ended with the long trek back down to Aquas Caliente and then catching a train back to Cuzco.
Alex and Julia had already moved on from Cuzco to Arequipa by the time I got back, so that night, myself and a guy named Benoit who I met on the trek were on a bus again to try cross paths with them. We caught them for a few hours before they were off again. But Benoit and I stuck around a while longer to do a three trek through the Colca Canyon, just outside of Arequipa. It was a little harder than I had anticipated, but it was an amazing three days. It involved lots of going up and then down again. There were almost no flat trails, which made for some sore joints. But the weather was amazing, and it was a great way to see the canyon.
Which brings to Arica, Chile! I got here this morning and plan on spending the next few days relaxing before making the long trip down to Santiago, and eventually Patagonia!
Hope everything is well wherever this finds you!