An iconic site in history and a must see for all travellers when in Peru. Machu Picchu is one of the most breath-taking sights you will ever experience and not just because of the difficulty breathing at such altitudes!
I went on a four day hike along the “Inca Trail” with three friends. The views were breath-taking from the get go. Any pictures I had seen beforehand really just didn’t do it justice! We were also very fortunate to have an amazing tour guide called Freddie who had a wealth of knowledge about the Inca people.
I didn’t quite adjust to the altitude as well as the rest of the group I was traveling with and even on day one found the climbing hard. I struggled going up and was last up to every meeting point. I was however first down every time we headed back down a peak. I guess the years of gymnastics when I was younger helped my balance and I didn’t feel the impact on my knees that was a killer for others. The main decent is called “The Gringo Killer” by locals as the tourists find this part most difficult. This part consists of 2,000+ steps! There are also two options at this stage one is longer but not steep and a lot of people choose that way as their knees were giving out. I went the short way with two other members of my group as our legs felt ok and also it was quite wet and we hoped to get back to camp before the rain came down. Thankfully we did! The rest of our group were not too happy as they got soaked and cold from going the other way.
It was very overcast and rained a lot over the course of our hike. Luckily we were advised by the hotel we stayed in that the forecast was bad and to make sure we had our rain coats with us. I went and bought one while in Cusco before we headed on our trek. A light rain jacket or windbreaker is not enough for this hike. You really need a proper heavy duty jacket. Also we did not go during the rainy season and it still rained every day of our hike!
We booked our hike through Peru Treks without any problem. We booked the trek 9 months in advance as they sell out quickly due to limitations on the numbers of visitors allowed access the area on a daily basis. I would definitely recommend this company as the guides were very knowledgeable and somehow got me there even though I was so very sick! Not only did we hike but we learnt all about the Inca people, we learned some of their language Quechua and performed a ritual to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Despite suffering from the altitude sickness I did make it to the top and it was definitely all worthwhile in the end to see that amazing view in person!