The sound of heavy rain woke us in our little hostel and the desire to get out of bed was non-existent. Laying in until the very last minute we made a dash to The Last Bar for breakfast and to get the lowdown on the day ahead. Due to the pouring rain, we made a group decision to drive to our first stop – a decision we would be stoked with by the end of the day! After a half hour drive we were dropped off and told to hike uphill. The rain had stopped but the steamy jungle turned us all into sweaty messes within minutes. Hiking uphill for about an hour we finally reached a small village in the mountains where we could rest for awhile.
Our tour guides Leo and Ronnie showed us all different types of Peruvian foods and drinks, such as cacao and Inca tequila! Only the brave sampled the tequila, which had a fermenting snake in the bottle. They dressed us up in traditional Peruvian clothing and showed us all these different animals. My favourite was the capybara, which kind of looks like a giant wombat with a tail. This placid animal is the biggest rodent in the world and was particularly fond of rice crackers. They also had a macaw and spider monkey called Lisa. We stayed in the village for an hour or so before continuing on with our hike.
By now we were walking along the Inca Trail, which is a pretty cool feeling! The views were amazing as we hiked along the cliff edge. The flowing river that we had rafted in the day before now looked like a tiny stream and the fresh mountain air was a pleasant change from the steamy jungle. We stopped at a lookout, which was a peak that jutted out from the mountain. The phenomenal viewing point gave us views for miles. We could see the Inca Trail where we had walked and it was insane to see where we had come from. I’m not sure why but I preferred this to yesterday when we were mountain biking and rafting, this just felt more like we were actually trekking to Machu Picchu.
Our lunch stop was at this small café somewhere along the trail. We were loaded up with a massive bowl of guacamole with bread (the best ever!) and pasta. Perfect combo for carbo-loading! Having a quick break to digest, we then had to hike uphill for another hour – not so great on a stomach full of pasta! Luckily the hike was over before we knew it and we were met by a bus to take us to the next stop. Unfortunately due to it being rainy season, some of the trails weren’t accessible, so we were catching more buses than normal. However after that strenuous uphill stretch, I was glad to be sitting down!
We were dropped at the next point and had to walk downhill for a couple of hours. This turned into a longer as several of us had taken a wrong turn and ended down by the raging, chocolate milk river. Our stop at the hot springs was just across a small channel of water but we had to re-trace our steps and find the correct way because the current was too strong. It was late afternoon by this stage and the whole situation was too funny for us. Of course the stupid gringos would get lost!
Finally reaching our stop for the day, we pulled up at the hot springs and quickly got changed and jumped in. I’m not usually a massive fan of thermal baths but this felt amazing on my sore legs and back! It was such a beautiful location for the hot springs as well, tucked into the mountain edges by the flowing river – they had chosen well! We wallowed in the warm water for a few hours before it was time to go to our hostel for the night.
The drive to Santa Theresa took about 20 minutes and probably ten years off my life. The driver was dead set on getting us there ASAP and despite the slippery, windy road that only went one way, he sped around the corners honking his horn furiously. We arrived to Santa Theresa and leapt out of the van, glad to have two feet on the ground. Ronnie and Leo took us to our hostel and we were assigned our rooms. The hostel was basic but better than the one before – still no hot water though!
We met for dinner at a restaurant a few shops down and devoured our meals like there was no tomorrow. They gave us popcorn, soup, alpaca steak and chocolate cake for dessert. There’s no doubt about it, we weren’t going to starve here! After dinner we had a few drinks and a boogie at the local nightclub before retiring to bed, ready for the next day.
Fingers crossed the rain stays away!