Trekking in the Andes (Part 3): Machu Picchu

My five-day trip through the Andes culminated in Machu Picchu: a place lives up to, and even exceeds all the hype, and challenged me on many levels.

Trekking in the Andes (Part 3): Machu Picchu Trekking in the Andes (Part 3): Machu Picchu

Trekking the Andes (Pt 2): Huchuy Qosqo, and our Quechua “Mama”

On day two of our trek in the Peruvian Andes, we perform a Peruvian ceremony, visit the ancient Huchuy Qosqo, and meet our Quechua "Mama" who adopts us.

Trekking the Andes (Pt 2): Huchuy Qosqo, and our Quechua “Mama” Trekking the Andes (Pt 2): Huchuy Qosqo, and our Quechua “Mama”

Trekking the Andes: Birthing Llamas, Abandoned Villages, and Rain

Miguel wandered into my life as magically as Peru did. Little did I know that a week later, we'd be on the journey of (my) lifetime, trekking in the Andes.

Trekking the Andes: Birthing Llamas, Abandoned Villages, and Rain Trekking the Andes: Birthing Llamas, Abandoned Villages, and Rain

Integration (or Not) in Pisac

by Nora Dunn on April 17, 2014

 

I’m living in a retreat centre in Peru founded by a New Yorker (turned Peruvian shaman) and frequented by people (mostly “gringos”) from around the world. Pisac is also an area with many expats and tourists; so many that English is heard at least as much as Spanish is, and there’s even a little area of Pisac called “gringo-ville”, where there is such a tight congestion of gringos living there, that locals and gringos alike simply choose to call a spade a spade.

 

This massive influx of foreigners to the area creates a rift between foreigners and locals. I’m used to living around the world in towns as small as Pisac; small enough that everybody says hello to one another when they pass in the streets.

This doesn’t happen here.

Most locals have blinders on to the many tourists and foreign expats; they don’t even see you when you pass in the streets.

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Trekking in the Andes (Part 3): Machu Picchu

by Nora Dunn on April 14, 2014

Shortly before my trip to Machu Picchu, the folks at Momondo contacted me with a challenge to push my comfort zone for an ultimate Momondo experience. As you’ll read here, this trek was both exhilarating and challenging for me, and they agreed to partially support my trip. Thank you!

 

  

When I met Miguel of Allpamama Journeys, I was nervous of my inability to do any serious mountain treks given my injuries from last year’s head-on collision. Thus, he put together a custom five day itinerary for me and two other people that involved hiking the Inca trail to a beautiful campsite on ancient ruins, a canyon descent to Huchuy Qosqo and home stay with a Quechua woman we called Mama, and an ultimate trip to Machu Picchu.

 

Waking up at Mama’s early on the third day, we were well-rested and invigorated by the mountain air. Little did I realize that one of the more challenging parts of the trip (for me) was imminent. The two hour hike down from Huchuy Qosqo to the riverside town of Lamay was incredibly difficult given my injuries. It was steep and unforgiving, making my calves ache and my legs shake uncontrollably every time I stopped. I wasn’t nervous of the heights – I can’t get enough of precarious ledges – rather, the jarring motions of going down the mountain confirmed in my mind that going up is actually much easier than going down.

While feeling sorry for myself and my physical limitations, I passed one after another after another Quechua man, woman, and child climbing up the mountain, with large loads in their k’eperinas (large cloths knotted in the front and used to carry things on their backs). I realized these people hike up – and back down – this mountain in their yanques – sandals made of recycled tires – each and every day, possibly more than once, and regardless of the weather.

With that, I picked up my padded ergonomic day pack, dusted off my fancy shoes, and continued hiking downwards.

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We awoke from our first night of trekking and camping in the Peruvian Andes cold and wet. The sign of a good guide, Miguel was unfazed by it, saying he slept well while he prepared our hot tea and breakfast. We shook it off; although the clouds still looked ominous, the rain had stopped and we had an exciting day in store.

 

The Ceremony

We began by hiking a little way up the Inca trail (away from our ultimate destination) to a sacred site where we performed a beautiful ceremony to connect us with nature, set our collective intentions for our journey together, and celebrate the powerful mountain energy which surrounded us. It was a Peruvian ceremony with fire, song, sacred rituals, and blessings. (See also: Blessed in a Peruvian Despacho Ceremony).

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A Week-In-The-Life of Chris: Postcards from Lapland

04 | 07 Norway

Instead of Chris writing a week-in-the-life of his adventures in Lapland, he has selected 7 days within a year of Lapland, featuring postcards from each.

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Financial Travel Tip #112: 50% off Airfare With Mystery Shopping

04 | 05 Financial Travel Tips

I recently flew from Toronto to Peru for a 50% discount, by mystery shopping. Here’s my experience, and tips for how you can get involved.

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Trekking the Andes: Birthing Llamas, Abandoned Villages, and Rain

04 | 03 Featured

Miguel wandered into my life as magically as Peru did. Little did I know that a week later, we’d be on the journey of (my) lifetime, trekking in the Andes.

Read the full article →

A Digital Detox in the Peruvian Andes

03 | 31 Life as a full-time traveler

I just did a 5-day digital detox in the Peruvian Andes. Although there was no better setting for it, it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

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Blessed in a Peruvian Despacho Ceremony

03 | 27 Featured

I’m linking into some amazing and authentic Peruvian shamanistic ceremonies. My first – and most common in Peruvian culture, was that of the despacho.

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A Week-In-The-Life of Dave and Erin from Nomad Spirit

03 | 24 Week-In-The-Life Series

Here’s a week-in-the-life of Dave and Erin, digital nomads of Nomad Spirit, living it up in the digital nomad hotspot of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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