Today was my day of rest after a full week of travel, so this post has the potential to be a ridiculously long summary… I am going to try to avoid that though, and plan on giving both trips (Inka Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu and Apurimac River Rafting) the individual posts they deserve. This will just be a higher level summary of tips.
The city itself was awesome. Definitely highly recommended for anybody to try and see sometime. It was smaller than I expected, but no less majestic. I didn’t book climbs for Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, but the view from the Sun Gate was a great substitute (and less walking).
Although the people who did the real Inka Trail got a great initial view of the city (arrival is through the Sun Gate), they didn’t arrive until about noon. This means they missed seeing the city through the clouds and fog, which made it look that much more mysterious. They also didn’t get a chance to walk around the ruins without an absurd number of tourists about. The 4-Day Incan Jungle Trek that I did also had a ton of variety. We had downhill biking, rafting, ziplining, and hiking.
The best things that I brought along for the trek was extra food, and a smaller bag inside my big backpack. The former because the portions on the trek were very small. After talking with many people who have gone on tours with other companies, this was the case for them as well. A smaller bag was really needed because you aren’t allowed to bring food or drinks into Machu Picchu itself, and the prices at the top were exorbitant (even for US standards).
I really lucked out with my tour group—there were few of us, we got along very well, so grew really close. By the end, we really felt like a little family after everything :).
Apurimac River Rafting:
Overall I really, really enjoyed the rafting trip with the Mayuc tour company. It was my first time doing anything of the sort, and we tackled rapids ranging from Level II to V. Although our guides kept on telling stories and pointing out where people had died on previous trips, I felt pretty safe throughout.
We were camping along the river the entire time, so I didn’t need to bring my passport or anything really other than swimming trunks, long-sleeved clothes for camp, bug spray, a big bottle of water, a headlamp, my GoPro, and toiletries. All the food, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, etc. were all provided by the company. I would highly recommend going on this trip with Mayuc to anybody who has interest in rafting in Peru.
The only bad parts of the trip for me were the insane number of mosquitoes, and the fact that I didn’t bring appropriate sandals. I think I got at least 30 bites all over my legs and arms, despite my 100% DEET spray. Parts of the river were too dangerous for us to raft, so we needed to walk over the rapids on the shore. I just brought my rainbows instead of those dorky looking things that were strapped via velcro to my feet… However, I really regretted it cause my flipflops just kept on slipping off so I had to climb barefoot, which was really slow going.
I left for a three-day rafting trip the day after I got back from Machu Picchu. If I could do it over again, I would have preferred at least a day of downtime between the two trips since I got sick on the last day of Machu Picchu. That morning, I actually woke up with a fever having sweat my brains out all night. If I had not packed rehydration salts with me, I don’t think I could have made it to rafting. Drinking the powder mix was a magical experience… I immediately felt soooo much better I almost couldn’t believe it.