Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Endings

South America has been an amazing journey. Getting sick in Ica, visiting family in Vina, white water rafting in Pucon and horseback riding in Puerto Natales are just a few parts of my journey in South America. I will never forget the adventures I had and the people I met along the way. I am sad to head back to  the states but I am excited to continue my travels to India and Nepal. 

My trip to Peru and Chile has come to happy end with the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. I arrived in Cuzco on April 1st. At the bus station I met Rob a tall funny guy from Whales. I accompanied Rob to the hostel and we set out to find a good deal on a trek to Machu Picchu. We booked a trek with his friends for the following day. I was a bit weary of the altitude but I was feeling fine.

Hiking to Santa Theresa
We prepared for a journey with a bit of partying at our hostel. We began the tour from Cuzco, heading through the Sacred Valley before arriving at Abra Malaga at 14,271ft. We put on helmets and reflective vests and headed down the mountain on mountain bikes. It was thrilling to zoom down the twisty roads on bike. The ride down into the valley had amazing views of the mountains. We flew through rivers, past honking cars, angry bulls that ran at us in the road and small mountain towns. We all it down in one piece and loaded back up into the mini-buses and headed to Santa Maria for the night.

We woke up early the next day to set off on a 7hour hike that would take us to Santa Theresa and along the Inca Trail. We set off on our hike after a heavy rain storm the previous night. We had to cross many puddles and landslides on our way to the Monkey House. We climbed up through the jungle, visiting coca, and coffee plantations, and snacking on bananas, oranges, and maracuyas from the trees. 

At lunch we were given some bad news. During the previous nights storms the bridge across the river was washed out and we would have to hike much longer to get to Santa Teresa. We decided since we were on the "Jungle Trek" and we had no fear that we would build a bridge over the river. We walked a mile to the washed out bridge. The river was swollen with water from the previous nights down pour. We worked hard cutting down trees to make a bridge for us to cross. 

Local Native Americans
To make matters worse two local Native Americans came to attack our group. Actually two of the guys in our group Rob and Greg decided to strip down to their boxers and make leaf and grass skirts and masks. They wielded sticks and approached the group, making everyone laugh. A couple members of the group actually thought they were natives. (Not sure why because they are the whites boys on the trip and I don't think that the natives would be wearing fancy boxers.)

Everyone crossed the river safely and we headed on to our next river crossing. The next crossing involved 3-4 people getting into a metal basket hanging from a rope across the river and being pulled across the river by hand. It was great to load into the basket and be pulled across the raging river. Due to having to build a bridge, it began to get dark before we arrived at our next stop. We turned on our torches and headlamps and headed off to our next stop the Santa Teresa thermal baths.

We soaked under the stars in the warm baths near the river. It was amazing after a long strenuous and adventurous hike. We loaded back into the mini-bus to Santa Teresa town. We settled into our hostels, ate some dinner and headed off to the discotek for some dancing. We danced the night away in a small club knowing that we had to again wake up early for zip-lining across the jungle valleys.

The next day we headed to the canopy tour, which consisted of 6 of the highest zip-lines in South America. On this two hour tour we glided at almost 60km/hr over jungle rivers, canyons and trees. We then headed off on another three hour hike to Aguas Calientes. Here I explored the town with Sol before meeting the group for dinner. We all went to bed early after some quick drinks to wake up at 4am to head up the mountain to Machu Picchu.

The alarm went off at 4:30am. We hurriedly put on our cloths and headlamps and set off up the Inca stairs to Machu Picchu. After a total of 2800 steps we arrived at the entrance to the park. It was full of people getting off buses. Even though we were exhausted by the climb we were proud of ourselves for  hiking to Machu Picchu. It was amazing to see Machu Picchu with my own eyes. After hearing so many stories and seeing so many pictures I was very excited to be standing in the sanctuary and walking in and around the ancient city.

Sacred Valley
We enjoyed the view exploring every part of the city for over 5 hours. Sol and I hiked up to the top and ate lunch admiring the size of the stone town. Thousands of people poured into the park to learn about the Incas. We headed back down to Aguas Calientes for dinner and drinks before boarding a train back to Cuzco. It was an amazing trip mainly due to our funny and exciting group. I am definitly going to visit Machu Picchu again. and I would definitly recommend the Jungle Trek.

The following day I explored a handful of other Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley including Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero. It was great to learn so much about Inca history and culture. I am now back in Lima, Peru waiting for my flight tomorrow.

I would like to thank everyone who made my South American journey amazing and full of love. Thanks again to my family in Chile who made me feel like Vina del Mar was my second home and all the friends who I have made along the way.


  1. Oh boy after this trip I don't think anybody will ever be able to stop you from experiencing life to the fullest. Congratulations.

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