Llactapata to Aguas Calientes
- DATE: OCT. 12, 2017
- DISTANCE: 15 KM
- ELEVATION: 2700 M (Camp Loreta) – 2000 M (Llactapata)
We woke up early to watch the sun light up the ruins between Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu. It started to hit me that our journey was almost over. I felt like I had done and seen so much. But in reality it was only 3 days ago that we started the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.
According to Manuel today we would be entering 100% civilization in the city of Aguas Calientes. Over breakfast he gave us a short briefing of what to expect, hotels, ATMs, restaurants, busses, trains and lots of people. After breakfast Umberto presented us a cake. We had no idea how he did it, this man is clearly a genius.
It was a hot day, and after packing up our sleeping bags, we were back on the trail again. We were all sweating buckets, and our insect bites were so itchy, they were pulsating. We slowly slipped and slid our way around the trees. The trail was still muddy from yesterday’s rain.
Once again team alpaca past us on the trail even though we left 20 min. ahead of them. They used the side trails, which went through thicker patches of trees. Manuel did mention that the Inca’s created tons of trails along their empire, main trails to travel to far cities, and side trails to reach the smaller villages in the Andes.
Manuel caught us taking an early break in a small wooden shelter. He herded us on to our official rest stop. It was a small fruit stand, which served us an entrance to a waterfall in private property. The owners maintained the trail and sold fruits. There were delicious pineapples, giant avocados and what Manuel called jungle tomatoes.
After snapping some pictures by the waterfall we crossed a hanging bridge. The trail then joined the road. We were getting close to our lunch spot where we would have our last meal with Team Alpaca. After lunch they would board a train to head back home. Manuel would take us onward to Aguas Calientes, and then to the ruins of Machu Picchu the next day.
Lunch was delicious. There was my favourite aji Galina, giant avocados for appetizers, and so much more. After stuffing our faces we had to say goodbye to the team. We pooled our tip money. Nothing seemed enough for all the hard work, and care that they gave us during our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. We were sad to give our final hugs goodbye.
It was a quiet walk by the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. The afternoon sun burnt our backs, and there was no breeze to console us. Manuel found a ripe avocado on the tree and snuck it into my pack. My husband and I asked him what his plans were after the trek. He would be heading home to Paru Paru, close to the sacred valley. We told him we were heading to Pisac and he said maybe we can catch a ride together. That was something to be excited about.
After a slow roast in the sun we made it to Aguas Calientes. As promised it was 100% civilization, Manuel walked us to our hotel. It was glorious! A real bed, clean toilets and a shower! Who could ask for anything more? We were booked at Gringo Bills, which was considered the not so fancy choice. But after 4 days of hiking it felt like a 5 star hotel.
We washed away the dirt from our 4 day hike, and after a quick nap we met up for dinner with our fellow trekkers. Manuel met us there, and gave us a briefing for our visit to Machu Picchu. We would all meet at the bus line up at 4 a.m. Then at 6 a.m. Machu Picchu would open its doors and our dream would come true.
We took a short walk around the market, supplying ourselves with snacks and water for our big day. I could hardly believe that tomorrow we would get to see Machu Picchu. It felt like so much had already happened, I was satisfied with all our accomplishments. Our adventure on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu was coming to a close.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
- DAY 1 – Soraypampa to Wayracmachay
- Day 2 – Wayracmachay to Camp Loreta
- Day 3 – Camp Loreta to Llactapata