Machu Picchu Trek@ 15,500

We traveled to Peru with a great group of friends below

to hike to Machu Picchu from Cusco with Mountain Lodges of Peru.  Mountain lodges of Peru was over the top.

la foto

Everything surprised us on the upside:  Food, lodging, staff, over the top professional guides ( thank you Washington,Teddy and Jimmy ) and the trek and logistics. MLP below

So we landed at Cusco and were whisked to our awesome hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection where everything outperformed as well: food, facilities and of course drinks below.

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, ( see section on Cusco in Peru) and we visited many of the sites.  It is a fine town with many small streets with many shops and fine dinning that lead to the city center,  below are photos.

Among the most noteworthy Spanish colonial buildings of the city is the Cathedral Of Santo Domingo below.

Among the main sights of the city we visited are:

Saksaywaman: This is the historic home to the king and is a fortress like structure built on a hill above the city to help defend the city.

Barrio de San Blas: This neighborhood housing artisans, workshops and craft shops is one of the most picturesque sites in the city. Its streets are steep and narrow with old houses built by the Spanish over important Inca foundations.

Plaza de Armas: Known as the “Square of the warrior” in the Inca era, this plaza has been the scene of several important events in the history of this city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Photo below

La Cathedral:  The main basilica cathedral of the city was built between 1560 and 1664. This great cathedral presents late Gothic, Baroque, and plateresque interiors and has one of the most outstanding examples of colonial gold work. Its carved wooden altars are also important.

Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus:  THe Church, La Compania de Jesus was built by the Jesuits in 1571.  It is considered one of the best examples of colonial baroque style in the Americas.

Qurikancha and Convent of Santo Domingo:  One of the most impressive Inca buildings.  It was once a temple devoted to worshipping the sun god and tis walls were lined with gold plates.  The Spanish built the church and convent on top of the original structure in 1534.

Calle Hatun Rumiyuq:  This Street is the most visited by tourists. On the street Hatun Rumiyoq (“the one with the big stone”) was the palace of Inca Roca, which was converted to the Archbishop’s residence.

Convent and Church of la Merced:  Its foundation dates from 1536. The first complex was destroyed by the earthquake of 1650 and the rebuilding of the church and convent was completed in 1675.

Mercado de San Pedro:  This is a great market full of food and crafts and is a wonderful way to experience the markets of Cusco and watch all the local people in their attire below:

There are many fine hotels and dinning establishments in Cusco.  We stayed at the Casa Andina as well as the Andina Wings and both were just perfect.  We also had some fine dinning at the Monastery, Casa Andina, Inka Grill and MAP:

Ok on to the hike:

After spending a couple of days in Cusco, we took a short bus ride to start our trek to the Salkantay Lodge.  Our Group below

We took the Camino Real or Royal Road hiking about 4 hours.

Mt Salkantay is the second most sacred peak in Inca Mythology and rises to 20,600 feet.  Upon arrival at our lodge at 12,500 feet below

we passed many farm animals like lamas below

and after attaining the lodge we enjoyed tea and cookies then freshened up before a scrumptious dinner.

 

Wine consumed us with each evening meal.

On the second day we hiked about 4 hours to Lake Humantay, which was fed by the many glaciers of Mt Humantay.  The views below

 

were amazing and a few of us crazies took a dip in the freezing lake.

We also witnessed a shaman preform his sacred arts below, it was very spiritual

Upon arrival back in the lodge we all headed to the warm Jacuzzi before ending the night with a scrumptious meal of fine cuisine again. On the third day we hiked to and crossed the Salkantay pass at 15,500 feet passing pasture lands filled with horses and climbed many switch backs.

 

The Pass above at 15,500 feet, not bad for old geysers.

It was a difficult 7 hours of hiking before arriving at the Wayra Lodge that was nestled in the base of some lost mountain range.

 

We saw condors soar overhead and the rocky slope at the pass gave way to a verdant valley.

 

The lodge was set at about 12,900 feet so we experienced some of the effects of altitude giving us a surrealistic vision of ecstasy. We celebrated some birthdays along the route in addition to the fine dinning and drank way to much

The next morning we left our fine boutique Colpa Lodge and continued our decent along the banks of the Salkantay River.

As we descended we entered the Cloud Forest in the lower elevations.  The temperature increased and the fauna and flora increased in density = flowers above.  We passed some small family compounds holding about 10 families that farm the slopes producing: potatoes, quinoa, coffee as well as cattle and sheep.

The nest lodge was the Copla Lodge.  We finally arrived at the Copla Lodge below with a worn out motley group.

wow what views below

 

The Colpa Lodge had the last outside Hot Tub which with panoramic views of the majestic mountains and the lush valley above and again fine dinning below.

We sat outside drinking wine and watching some explosives go off across the valley as hummingbirds darted all around us going from one flower to another.  We had a traditional meal that was cooked in the ground by layering meat and vegetables over hot stones and covered with plantains and high Andean grasses and herbs. Each and every night our shoes were cleaned by the staff.

The next morning we had a nice hike to the LUCMA lodge and we hiked in the rain forest with beautiful flowers below:


It was set in an avocado orchard and We also visited a local family the grew coffee and we had a pleasant day tasting the freshly brewed nectar of life “coffee” Yes I drink about 25 cups per day.


Early the next morning was our last day of hiking and we left for Aquas Calientas the town from which we would visit Macchu Picchu.  IT was an arduous hike through mud and steep trails as well as slippery slopes going downhill.

Our guides were always there making certain we were safe and taking good care of us.

We traveled through lush bamboo forests that were filled with orchards, flowers, coffee plantations and raging rivers

with huge waterfalls.

and crossed precarious bridges

We eventually met the train and took it to Aguas Calientes where we stayed at the luxurious Inka Terra Hotel. It was an incredible hotel that blew us away and an incredible journey and what a fantastic place to end it all.  The Next Morning we went to Machu Picchu

 

To Close the trip we traveled by train to Ollantaytambo and then by bus back to Cusco.

 

Heading home below bummer

 

Below my lawyer and frined , “he keeps me out of trouble” if you believe that you are crazy!!!

It was an awe-inspiring trip.