One of the highlights of my life has been from the Sun Gate, watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu.  Extraordinary.

My very first multi-day hiking trip was to Peru and I learned a lot and had a truly memorable experience.  See 5 Hiking Lessons Learned The Hard Way – How Naive Was I? for my lessons learned!

Day 1 – Cusco

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I arrived in Cusco, Peru on Peruvian Airlines and checked into the Casa San Blas Hotel and immediately had some coca tea.  I kept reading about how hard it would be to breathe at the altitude there – 3,399 m / 11,150 feet – and it was noticeable.  I drank A LOT of coca tea during my time in Peru.

The hotel was located near the Plaza Mayor del Cusco and the Catedral del Cuzco.  I wandered around the square for a few hours taking it all in!

I found the Starbucks!

Day 2 – Cusco to Sacred Valley

Today I toured Sacred Valley!  Wow!  Incredible!

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My best memory of this day is the tour guide’s girlfriend who was along for the tour.  I had my nails done in different colours that came out when the sun shined on them.  She had different coloured nails as well.  Somehow, two women who could not speak each other’s languages managed to communicate about our nails!  Life really is all about the people.

I spent one night at Inkallpa Hotel in Urubamba – beautiful spot and room!

Day 3 – Ollantaytambo – Km 82 – Huayllabamba

Today was the day!  The start of the hike!  I was picked up at my hotel and we left for Km 82 which was the departure point!  We hiked about 5 hours today.

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Day 4 – Huayllabamba – Pacaymayu

Today was the day from HELL!  I had a bladder infection and I suffered.  It should have been about 6-7 hours hiking and I think I was about 10 hours.  I won’t get into it all again – see this post for the details:  5 Hiking Lessons Learned The Hard Way – How Naive Was I?  It was a wet, rainy, miserable day.

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Day 5 – Pacaymayu – Phuyupatamarka – Winay Wayna

Today I was feeling like a million bucks and we hiked about 7 hours!  It was still rainy, but it just couldn’t take away from the fact that I was pain free.  The views are fantastic!

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Day 6 – Winay Huayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes

We were up in the middle of the night to begin the hike to the Sun Gate and our first glimpse of Machu Picchu!  Watching the sun come over Machu Picchu was amazing as was Machu Picchu itself.  I was awestruck!  Everyone should do this.

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My hotel in Aguas Calientes was the Hatun Inti Hotel.  I cannot begin to describe how excited I was to have my very own, very clean toilet!  My room also had a tub and a shower — oh the bliss!

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Yup, after getting clean, my priority was booze.  Seriously, is anyone surprised?

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Day 7 – Machu Picchu – Cusco

I spent the morning wandering around Aguas Calientes before getting the VISTADOME Train Nº304 back to Ollantaytambo.  I was supposed to transfer by bus back to Cusco and the tour group forgot about me here.  I figured it out, got back to Cusco and spent the night at the Casa San Blas Hotel again in Cusco.

I got my certificate!

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Day 8 – Cusco – Lima

This morning I was up bright & early for my flight back to Lima and I had the afternoon to explore Lima before flying back home.  The highlight was a parade!


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