Views 21 Feb The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (day 3 and 4)
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Day 3: Jungle – Playa – Santa Teresa

Today is the third day of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. This trek is known as the more alternative trek, another option for the famous Inca Trail. It is actually a very good alternative for people that want to do something different, or, for those who cannot get a spot on the Inca Trail. You will cross one of the most astonishing Andean landscapes and see the most beautiful panoramic views of mountain chains. Furthermore, you will pass through a big variety of habitats and environments, you will see snow peaked mountains and will be in the vicinity of the tropical rainforest.

On this third day, we walk along the river to a little village called La Playa. We visit the waterfalls of Pacche – there are 11 different waterfalls, each with a height of approximately 50 meters! We see lots of butterflies, banana trees, coffee plants, avocado trees, and so much more. We even spotted an eagle. It’s warm and as we descend it gets even hotter! The climate is warm in this area and a difference with other warm areas is that in this place the typical agricultural production consists of pomegranate trees.

The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu  (day 3 and 4)

We have a lovely lunch with juice, sandwiches, chicken and fruit in La Playa and here we catch a bus to Santa Teresa where we set up camp and relax for the afternoon. This village actually has a Disco – just a house playing loud music and with a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. In the evening my friend and I decided to give it a try, and met lots of people from other trek groups there, it was quite a party! But since we had to get up early the next morning, after only a few hours we decided to call it a night and hit the hay.

Day 4: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes

We start by crossing the river by a ‘Flying Fox’ – a little box attached to a cable, in which you have to sit and gravity will take you to the other side. Great fun!  At the other side of the river we can take a local bus to Aguas Calientes, but we decide to send only our backpacks and enjoy the walk. First we walk along the river, then along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. The weather today is warm and humid – not comfortable to walk in. 

We arrive at just after 6pm, pick up our backpacks and go to our hostel. How incredible to have a shower and sleep in a bed with clean sheets!  In the evening we have dinner with the rest of our group and enjoy the hot springs in the town!  I cannot tell you how good it felt to lie in warm water after 4 days of hiking!  All of this has been such a great experience, in the dark surrounded by mountains and with stars above me.   

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

We catch the first bus at 5.30am up to the ruins of Machu Picchu! We were among the first people in the reserve, it was empty and shrouded in early morning mist – this is truly the most magical sight I’ve seen in all my life! Absolutely amazing.

We had a guided tour of 2 hours which explained all about Machu Picchu and its history.   After the tour we explored the site ourselves, and our entire group decided to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain that towers over the ruins.  The climb was quite steep and difficult – I’ve never seen so many steps!  It took me quite some effort to get up there, but it was definitely worth it – the view over Machu Picchu and the surrounding valleys was amazing!  We found a good spot to sit, relax and enjoy the view for a while.  Later that evening we took the train back to Cusco and were driven to our doorsteps – what a service!  All of this was perfectly organized by our travel agency, thanks Dos Manos!

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