We have been a bit busy with school as its nearing the end of the semester, but finally here is our holiday post:
Our vacation started off with a flight from Buenos Aires to Cuzco, Peru through Lima, Peru. We arrived to Cuzco with nothing but our backpacks on our backs and a mood set for adventure. The moment we stepped out of the terminal we were overwhelmed by the amount of people offering different kind of treks and packages to Machu Picchu. Once we got out of the airport dozens men started offering taxis for ridiculous prices (20 soles (almost 6 euros) and more) what is known to be the cheapest country in Latin America. We decided to walk for 1km to our hostel. The guy at the hostel was incredibly nice. He offered us some coca tea, it helps with altitude sickness, since it was our first time so high. Cuzco is elevated about 3.5 km. He advised us about where we should shop for souvenirs and where to eat for cheap. We spent a few days getting used to the altitude in Cuzco and enjoyed the scenery until the hard part…
One morning we jumped on a bus and met 24 people, of which 10 were tourists. This was the beginning of our Inca trail. We took a bus to Ollantaytambo for a last moment of civilization for 4 days. We continued to road marker 82 to start the hike. The Inca trail is a legendary trail that originally starts at Cuzco (the ancient capital of the Inca empire) and leads to Machu Picchu, unfortunately the start of the trail is not restored to its former glory. The trail we took was roughly the last 40 kilometers. Over the days we walked in the valleys, on the same stone steps the Incas used. We visited several ancient archaeological sites along the trail, most of them are thought to be some kind of resting places along the way.
The path that took us 4 days, the Incas did in 1-2 days, including the alpacas or llamas they had with them carrying fresh food or offerings to Machu Picchu. On the second day we reached “Dead Woman’s Pass” – the highest point of our trail, over 4200 meters high! After reaching this, it became much easier as the rest of the trail was mostly downhill or very slight uphill. During our trail we had a team of local people trekking with us. On top of our 2 guides, we had a team of porters carrying all the food for 4 days and the tents for the whole group (mattresses and sleeping bags we had to carry ourselves). One guy was the cook and he was very good. The cook made us a breakfast, lunch, “teatime” and dinner every day. Lunch and dinner had a starter, main course and a dessert. On the last day he even made a huge chocolate cake!
Our Inca trail ended on the last day hiking up to Inti Punku, The Sun gate. We woke up on the last day before 4 and reached Machu Picchu upon sunrise. The sight was simply breathtaking. We could see the city light up along the edges, It was so early that there were no tourists and you could really see the glory of the city it once had. We really recommend anyone to do the Inca trail and enter the city in this way, because it was really great and it gives you the perspective of the Incas. We walked down to get the famous postcard photo took a little bathroom break before starting the tour inside the city. We walked through the city and after the tour spent a little spare time there to enjoy after the hard task we had done. The weather was perfect, but we knew our train left back to Cuzco at 2pm, so we decided to grab something to eat at the nearby tourist city, Aguas Calientes. Finally after 4 days we were back to civilization, but we would have wanted the trail to continue endlessly. It was time to relax for a day in Cuzco before our next adventure.
Stretching our legs for a day in Cuzco was good for our sore muscles, but then it was time to jump on a plane again and head to Chile. Our first stop was in Santiago where we were supposed to just change planes and get going. We sat on our connecting flight when the captain announced “Dear passengers, we have to change the plane due to a technical difficulty”. Everyone had to get off the plane and back to the terminal only to be told that they are investigating and we would get more information in 2 hours. They offered us lunch in a terminal cafeteria. After 2 hours we headed back through security and waited for an announcement at the gate. Shortly few flight attendants, accompanied with 3 security guards, walked to the desk. One of them started the announcement saying that our flight would leave in 6 hours and as soon as he said that the local people started to yell and shout.
No one heard what he had to say after that. At the end they told us that we will take you to a hotel, where you will have a room to sleep & shower for the time you wait. We thought “Oh wow, any hotel they take us is probably better than the forest we called home for 4 days”. They took us away from the airport, deep in the center of Santiago de Chile to a hotel called Crowne Plaza. We felt a bit out of place with our backpacks and hiking shoes
This was one of the fanciest hotels we had ever seen. After serving us a three-course dinner we went to a hotel room to take a warm shower and relax. Crowne Plaza was nice, but it was also very nice to finally get on board the plane. We were in total 9 hours late but the destination was worth the wait: the Easter Island!
We arrived to the Easter Island, an island of 3000-4000 inhabitants and 1 plane arriving every day, almost at midnight. Our airport pickup from the hostel was waiting for us at the airport and soon we were on our way to the hostel. The next day we were both very tired from walking and traveling so we decided to just walk around the city of Hanga Roa for awhile and look for opportunities to rent a car, scooter, bicycle or even a horse for the following day to go around the island. We decided on a scooter, because it was simply the easiest, fastest and the most comfortable way to travel. On top of that it also was twice as cheap as a car.
It was time to see the Island. Isla de Pascua is not too big so you can definitely go around it in a day, but we would recommend to take 2 days for seeing the Moai, maybe 1 day to see the city of Hanga Roa and another 1-2 days to relax on the magnificent Anakena Beach. We started off on our trip to see the Moai and had lunch at Anakena Beach. We went to try the waves and try the silky sand beneath our feet, it was one of the coolest beaches we have seen. We finished the day by stopping at few more Moai platforms called Ahu and as the sun was setting we reached the final Ahu next to Hanga Roa. We were very pleased. The weather was once again perfect for us and the day was simply one of the best during our entire Latin American trip.
Flight home was just around the corner, but first we had to stop at the Santiago Airport – again. Good news first: Our connecting flight wasn’t late. Bad news: Our connecting flight was in 18 hours. We found kind of an “abandoned” place, it was in the international side of the terminal, we put 2 airport benches together and we had a double bed
The flight took us back to Buenos Aires, which felt like home after a long trip.