Teds Travels – Discovering a new hike in Peru
Guess where I have just returned from?
I was exploring a small village called Lares located high in the Andes of Peru. In fact, 3210 mts above sea level.
I had the pleasure of “test driving” a relatively new trek with Mountain Lodge of Peru (MLP). The program consisted of spending 4 night and 5 days discovering this part of the world. Not sure I would use the word “pleasure” on the first-day trek of my experience- for those of you that know me will know that I’m not the fittest person in the world!
The night before we started the hike, we attended a briefing meeting to meet our guide Aly and the other trekkers. We made a small group of 12: 2 were from London, 4 were from NYC and the rest from Canada. The first day we drove down to the Sacred Valley, past the town of Pisac and up to the small potato growing village of Amaru.
From this point, we started our 3 hours “moderate” (for some) trek. To give you an idea of elevation, we started at approx. 3984 mt, slowly climbed to pass 4303mt and down to another village called Viacha at 3917mt.
Yes, it took all of us 3 hours to complete that first part. Luckily for us, we had a local Quechua lady follow us with a donkey carrying the oxygen! We finished up having a nice lunch provided by the local village…lots of varieties of potatoes! Yum! I walked in second last, followed by a “little old lady”, Evelyn from Vancouver. Oh, so close!
We recovered and were driven back to the Sacred Valley to our beautiful lodge in Lamay. MLP has created two treks to Machu Picchu the Salcantay which consisted of 7 days walk and the Lares and Sacred Valley walk of 4 night 5 days (which is the one I did). If your clients have the time, they can combine the two treks into a 10-day trip. Please note that neither of the treks includes “walking” into Machu Picchu ruins.
MLP have this philosophy of involving the local communities along the way, they are dedicated to including them in the day to day operation and teaching them new skills in the hospitality and tourism. This is to me, a great idea… lots of opportunities for young people to develop new professional and social skills.
I have stayed in all sorts of properties over the years in the Sacred Valley, but the Lamay lodge turned out to be a beautiful surprise, set in a colourful garden full of blooming flowers, even a hot tub! Nice big rooms, bath and balcony.
Next day I choose the “cultural activities” as we stopped at small villages, ruins, along the way on this spectacular road up and over the Andes to the town of Lares. The second night we spent at the Huacahuasi Lodge 3835 mts above sea level. A dramatic day scenery wise… at this the lodge we all had our own hot tub on our balcony with a view down the valley and up the other side of the mountain… wow is my only word!
The third day, we all decided to the trek – only because it was all downhill (ha!). Another great walk of about 3 hours started at 4200mts and finished at 3700mt. A distance of 7 km,
definitely good fun. Back down to the Sacred Valley and one of my favourite towns Ollantaytambo and stayed in a local casita villa property.
The fourth day, we took a train to Machu Picchu Pueblo. Day fifth we visited the ruins and return to Cuzco after lunch.
Are you wondering whether I recommend this trek? Yes, your clients should add this to their list. A degree of fitness would be preferred, last time I did a trek was the Inca Trail 5 day walk, and we camped the whole way. But I have to say, feels much better finishing days walk by staying in a beautiful lodge with a hot tub on the balcony… instead of a tent!!
Oh take a look at the boots, they “blew” the tread! I had to tape them up for the walk into MAPI ruins 😊. I am a real adventurer.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au