|Page Type:||Trip Report|
|Lat/Lon:||12.55767°S / 75.23812°W|
|Date Climbed/Hiked:||Nov 30, 0000|
Machu Picchu Trek via Soray Pampa, Inca Chiriaska Pass, 16,000’+, Inca Trail
July 17 – 29, 2016
This was a Colorado Mountain Club Trip, with 10 members, for an extended 7 day trek from Soray Pampa, Peru, over Inca Chiriaska Pass, 16,000’+, to Wayabamba to join up with the traditional Inca Trail and on to Machu Picchu. Essentially, this trek replaced the 1st day of the traditional 4 day Inca Trail Trek with 3 days of trekking coming from the opposite direction, joining up with the end of the 1st day of the traditional Inca Trail. The was done to give more time trekking in the fantastic Andes Mountains, on less crowded trails, with spectacular close-up views of Mt. Salkantay, 20,574’ and other neighboring peaks. We also added another full day at Machu Picchu.
Overall this was a great trip thanks to our guide service, Wayki Trek, and their guides, porters, chef and horsemen who were all excellent and provided A+
service! All the CMC members did great, there were no major problems and we all had a great time. We all learned a great deal about Inca and Pre-Incan culture and history.
Pics from the trip are at:
Day 1, Sunday July 17, 2016
Leave WI, GA and DIA
Day 2, Monday, ~10 AM.
Everyone arrived on schedule together in Cusco, except one person who was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, due to extra-curricular travel to Equador and the Galapagos Islands before our trip. The hotel had a shuttle waiting for us at the airport in Cusco and got us to the hotel in a timely manner with no problems.
Our hotel, Tierra Viva Cusco Centro Hotel, http://tierravivahoteles.com/tierra-viva-cusco-centro/, was ready for us to check in and even had rooms ready for us that early in the day, before noon by the time we got to the hotel, with all our luggage, and checked in to 5 rooms. This was a great surprise to me that we were able to get into our rooms so early and freshen up after the long flights. I expected to have to drop off our luggage and come back later to get into our rooms.
We then went down to Ave El Sol to exchange money, buy Boleto Touristco, tourist tickets and find a place to eat lunch.
If you’re going to visit any museums and archeological sites, I recommend buying a Boleto Touristico, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294314-c162929/Cusco:Peru:Boleto.Turistico.html.
It’s a good value to get into many, but not all, locations in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
After all that, we started touring city the rest of the afternoon. The weather in Cusco was clear and sunny all day.
Day 3 Tuesday
In the morning we toured the Saqsaywaman ruins, a.k.a sexy woman and several museums including the Chocolate Museum. Our last member arrives on schedule in the afternoon.
At 4 PM, we have a briefing with on of our guides at the Wayki Trek office which is only a block from our hotel. At the briefing, we discuss the details of the entire trek and Sacred Valley
tour. All trip participants attend and actively participate in the discussion and Q & A. This meeting was extremely informative and gave everyone a good sense of the high quality and preparedness of the guides and guide company. At the meeting we find out the, due to the long drive to and construction on the road to the TH, we will be picked up at our hotel to start the trek at 4 AM on Thursday.
Afterwards we have a great group dinner at Morena Peruvian Kitchen, morenaperuviankitchen.com.
The weather in Cusco was clear and sunny all day.
Day 4 Wednesday
We have a great tour of the Sacred Valley. We stopped at the ruins at Pisca, a Llama and Alpaca farm, lunch near Urubamba and ruins at Chinchero. We are back in Cusco at 5PM.
We spend ~1.5 hours packing for the early pickup the next morning.
After packing, we headed to the planned dinner at Green Point Vegan Restaurant but get there to find out it has over 1 hour wait. So we went to another one near by: Pacha
Papa, across from the San Blas church. See review at: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g294314-d1076636-Reviews-Pachapapa-Cusco_Cusco_Region.html
The weather in on the tour was clear and sunny all day.
Day 5 Thursday, July 21
We are picked up by the guide and 2 drivers promptly at 4 AM for transport to the TH at Soray Pampa.
We stop for breakfast at a tiny cafe in a tiny village, Mollepata, on the way to the TH. This café was a cultural experience in itself. Rooster crowing nearby the whole time. The food was good simple food, eggs, handmade breads, fresh squeezed juices, etc.
Thanks to the early start, we make it to the TH without any delays in the construction area. Upon reaching the TH at Soray Pampa, we organize our gear for the porters and our packs. Before starting the actual trek, 8 of us do a little warm up hike, ~3 mi, 1800’ gain, to a picturesque high mountain lake at ~13,800’ at the base of Nevado Tucarhuay, 19,385’. The other 2 slowly start the hike to 1st camp.
Back at the TH we start the trek and hike ~3.5 miles to 14,700' to our 1st camp, just below Inca Chiriaska Pass, 16,006’. All do great and we are at camp before 4 PM. Guides, horsemen and cooks have camp set up quickly and we have tea-time and a great 1st dinner. On these 1st 3 days, before reaching the official Inca Trail, we have 2 horsemen carrying group gear on horses and helping at camp.
The weather was clear and sunny all day.
Day 6 Friday
Temps over night are just below freezing. There is light frost on tents and gear in the morning. During night we heard 2 big ice-rock falls off of the south face of Salkantay. They were loud enough to wake us up but there was no danger of them reaching our camp. Before leaving camp, we did introductions with the head chef and his assistants and each of the horsemen and all the participants.
Today we hiked over Inca Chiriaska Pass. Maps show the pass at 16,006’ but our GPSs read 16,250’ to 16,345’. Everyone did great and had no problems with the altitude. The last person was at pass in 2.5 hrs. after leaving camp. The guides were impressed. They had told us it would take anywhere from 2-5 hours to hike the 1300’ to the pass. I predicted 2.5 hours and we all beat that. Seven members of the team set new personal high altitude records.
From the pass we hiked in down to our next camp at 13,700' for lunch and siesta before tea time and dinner. The food has been great at all our meals.
The trail up and over Inca Chiriaska Pass was in excellent shape. It is a typical trail over a high mountain pass that is all single track trail and easy to follow. It has nice, well-engineered switch backs in the steep areas on both sides of the pass. While it is no where near as heavily traveled as Dead Woman Pass on the official Inca Trail, it is no problem for even beginner trekkers.
The weather was clear and sunny all day.
Day 7 Saturday
Today we hiked down to join the main Inca trail at the little village of Wayabama, 10,000'. Up to Wayabama, we had the whole trail and campsites to ourselves. We only saw 1 other party in the distance behind us from the pass.
At Wayabamba we celebrate with bottled beers b ought from a local vendor and local Chicha, traditional Peruvian corn beer from a local wedding. As we arrived
in this little village, a wedding had just finished at the local church. We saw the wedding procession walk from the church to the reception nearby where a great party commenced. For a tiny little village high in the Peruvian Andes, this place sure knows how to party!!! Our guides were able to get a pitcher of Chicha from the reception for us to sample.
The wedding celebration, reception had LOUD music that went on ALL night. The only was we got any sleep was with ear plugs. It was still going all through breakfast and far up the trail. We could almost hear it at DWP! It's amazing there is enough power here to drive speakers for that much sound!!
The weather was clear and sunny all day.
Day 8 Sunday
Today we hiked over Dead Woman Pass, 13,828’, ~3 miles, 3800’ gain. All did fine with the altitude again. We were at the next camp at Pachaymayo, 9512’, which is back down in the cloud forest, by 12:30 pm. Finally can't hear the wedding music any more. It was interesting hiking through different climate zones: dry - near desert terrain up through the cloud forest with huge trees and lush vegetation, up to high mountain tundra and back down into the cloud forest.
At camp we had another great lunch, a nice siesta and delicious dinner. We also did introductions with each of the porters and participants. We also heard lots more about Inca and pre-Incan cultures from our guides.
The guides offer us the option to stay in a hostel when we get to Aguas Calientes for an extra S./20, ~$6.50, instead of camping. We think about it and decide the next day.
Weather clear and sunny all day till late in afternoon when clouds developed but no rain.
Day 9 Monday
Today we hiked over Runkurakay Pass, 12,467’ and back down to camp at Phuyupatamarka, 11,940’, in the cloud forest by mid afternoon. We stop at several more Incan ruins along the way where the guides share more about Incan culture and history. We enjoy another great lunch, siesta, tea time and dinner.
We decide to take the hostel offer and the guide arranges it. Had I know about this option, I would have included this in the trip plan originally.
Day 10, Tuesday
For our last breakfast today, the cooks surprise us with a beautiful 2 layer cake, complete with frosting, decorations, writing and fresh fruit!! We are all thrilled and amazed and give a big cheer to the cooks.
Today we hike to Intipunku, 8900’, the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu! And on into Machu Picchu itself where the guides give us a 1.5 hour tour. We take one of the last buses out of MP ~5:30 and have dinner at a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes where our cooks from the trek actually cook our last meal.
The guides arranged for us to stay at Margarita’s House Hostel, http://www.margaritashouse.com/.
See review at: tripadvisor.com
Day 11, Wednesday
We are up early and at ~6:30, half of us start out to hike from the hostel in Aguas Calientes, ~6600’ ~1.5 miles on the road to the trail and another 1.5 mi
and 1400’ gain to Machu Picchu, ~8000’. The other half get in line for the bus and wait in line for over an hour for the 25 min bus ride to MP. The hikers beat the bus riders to MP by at least 30 mins. The trail switchbacks up near the road and comes out right where the buses drop of the riders.
At MP, 7 of us hike up Machu Picchu Mtn, ~10,100’. Two hike to Huaynapicchu, 8900’. One stays in the MP site area. We plan to meet back at the bus line at 2 PM. By 1PM the line for the bus is very long. Most of us arrive at the bus line early and decide to hike down. The last of us are at the bus line by 2PM and head down the trail. We are all back at our hostel by 3:15 to get our luggage and head to the trail station by 3:45 for our 4:22 PM trail to Ollantaytambo where we are met by a Wayki Trek driver who drives us back to our hotel in Cusco. We arrive back in Cusco by 9PM.
Day 12, Thurday
We have a great final group lunch at Ciccolinas Tapas Bar, http://www.cicciolinacuzco.com/english/cicciolina_restaurant.html.
We also do our last minute shopping in Cusco before heading to the airport and home.
Day 13, Friday
All arrive back in Denver.