On the second morning in tents, Filio woke us again with hot coca tea and water to wash. The river hadn’t come up and eaten us during the night and it was time to pack up and head on.
Today we were all required to pack our own sleeping bags and mats with us because we would be taking minimal porters with us to hike up to Llactapata inka site and back down. This is when everyone was jealous of my and Kay’s roomy backpacks. Now with the rain covers on, they looked much less pathetic.One of the Dutch offered us powdered coffee at breakfast because for some reason, Alpaca Expeditions only offered decaf, much to the horror of the Dutch. 🙂 Remembering my headaches in Puno, I gladly took some coffee, but only one cup because I was afraid of the effects of caffeine on my stomach on the trail.
Everyone was looking forward to this day because we would visit a coffee plantation and try some fresh local coffee later.After a couple hours’ hike, with a little more rain, we landed at a “real Starbucks” as they said, where we learned about how coffee beans are harvested, shelled, and roasted over a hot fire in local kitchens.It was hard not to notice the kitchen was full of guinea pigs, which our guide explained that many families keep guinea pigs in the kitchen where it is warm and then they eat them from time to time.They were sooo cute and made this adorable, very odd squeaking noise for food when we fed them. There’s a video further down in case you want to hear. 🙂I only felt moderately guilty for having eaten one of these little guys in Puno.Our coffee was roasted and then it was time to taste it, and boy was it good!We liked the coffee so much we bought two bags to bring back home. This is another reason why having a big bag was useful. We of course put it in Kay’s pack. 😉Afterward we started climbing UP again, which I wasn’t really ready for. The longest Kay and I ever hike is two days back and forth, so my legs were definitely protesting and didn’t understand why I kept forcing them to do hard work in this altitude.Finally we reached the top of Llactapata, where we had just a little way to go. I was pretty pooped out.From here we only had a couple porters carrying our things on their backs, as well as our chef who was with us for the whole journey.This campsite is rarely used by others because it’s a bit out of the way, it’s not really “on the way” to Machu Picchu, but it offers undisturbed views of Machu Picchu from a distance, so we arrived early to watch the sun set and to get up early to see the sun rise the next morning.Along the way on this trail were also some Inca ruins of what could have been prayer sites pointed towards Machu Picchu.
This was also where we started noticing these awful little black bugs biting us… and it didn’t seem to matter HOW much bug spray with DEET we put on, they loved to bite me and the bites would bleed and look awful. They didn’t bother me too much at first and I thought I’d be fine if I didn’t itch them, but holy hell they itched like a mother the next week while I was in Hong Kong! I nearly tore my skin off scratching and writing this three months later, I still can see marks from the bugs on my legs. We set up for our last night of camping and enjoyed our usual popcorn and tea snack before watching the sun set.Dinner was in a room right on the ledge, with views over Machu Picchu. Pretty amazing backdrop. 🙂Below in the center, you can start to see the light hit Machu Picchu. I needed to zoom in to see it better, but it was magnificent from faraway and a totally different view of Machu Picchu that many people don’t get to see.Seeing the preview for the last day just made us even more excited. We were all praying the rain would hold off by then. I mean, look at it!Can you believe that people used to live there?? Incredible!As the sun set, we settled into dinner and more stories from Valentine.I got some special food just for my gluten free diet with this meal, including more cassava.Tomorrow we would start our walk down to Aguas Calientes, but first… we’d get up for the sunrise!
Up next, day four!
Alpaca Expeditions was founded by a retired porter and Inca tour guide. Their fantastic, professional tours specialize in sustainable tourism both by supporting local farmers and by paying fair wages to local porters, employee health/life insurance, and respecting local labor laws. The company also has social projects for children’s needs and they even work to help porters and their families to visit Machu Picchu, something that many locals in the area are never able to do on their own. By supporting Alpaca Expeditions, you can help them give back to the community and support the local Andeans.
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