I had been dreaming of going to Latin-America for 10 years. This year I finally made it! I had to overcome so many mountains (literally and figuratively) even before getting to Machu Picchu, which made my Peru experience even more fulfilling!
Huacacina is an oasis in the desert, 3 hours of driving south along the coast from Lima. The place is magical, expecially at sunset and at nighttime.
Bring a drink, climb the hill overseeing the oasis and enjoy watching the sun go down behind the enourmous sandhills.
In some travel guides, these islands are called “the poor man’s Galápagos islands”. There is a symbol of a chandelier carved out in lines in the sand and there are multiple theories about who (from pranksters to aliens to the Nazca people who drew several similar symboks in Nazca region in Peru).
Salkantay Mountain trail
When I arrived in Cusco, I went to all the travel agencies to find the best option to do a trek to Machu Picchu as there are different ones. The Inca Trail mainly consists out of stairs, as this route is the original way of how to Incas reached Machu Picchu: by climbing thousands of stone-carved steps. This trail is often fully booked months in advance so if you want to do it, it’s best to book online around 5/6 months before your trip. Another option is the Lares trek, which you can also do independently without a guide if you rent/bring camping gear.
I chose the 5-days Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in a guided group which included climbing the Salkantay Mountain and then later passing through a semi-jungle. I got a very cheap price as I booked very last-minute in the afternoon to leave the day after at 4 am in the morning with a local travel agency. The Salkantay mountain is 6,217 meters high and we climbed up to 4000 meters to cross the pass to the other side of the mountain. For these 5 days, we stayed in huts (in the mountains) and tents (in the jungle) and the key for the trak was wearing clothes in layers and not bringing too much stuff besides GOOD shoes, blister band-aids, a headlight, mosquito repellent, sunscreen and sufficient snacks and water. I brought Diomoxine, a medicine against altitude sickness and grape sugar tablets as well to get through the more challenging routes of the trek. The experience of being in a group of people and taking to them while going up and down mountains was a really interesting one, as we got to know and helped each other. We arrived to Machu Picchu as one family!
Rainbow Mountain – Montaña de 7 Colores
To reach it this magnificent mountain at it’s majestic 5,200 meters height, you can book a tour with one of the local travel agencies in Cusco, who will mostly provide transport and lunch on the way there and some also bring an oxygen bottle up the mountain for in case you experience difficulties breathing. The high altitude makes the air very thin and even if you are in good health, climbing up this mountain will take your breath away (in several senses).
The central square of Cusco is absolutely enchanting. The grandeur of the buildings surrounding the square with the pmountains in the backgound offer a spectacular view.