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Tour Machu Picchu with Hairyhood Tours Inc.

Written on: Sunday September 21st, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

Has the Treasurer advised you are over-budget?  Are you trying to avoid the tourists in a place where more than 1,000 people go each day?  Then join Hairyhood Tours Inc for an adventurous 4 day journey to the back door of Machu Picchu. 

Day 1

We leave Cusco early on a crusty old bus in a dodgy part of town.  Watch as the locals start getting restless at 9am because we are still at the bus station, shouting and banging on the side of the bus and get even louder when 5 minutes after leaving we stop at a petrol station for 30 minutes.    Experience 3 hours of the only smoothly tarsealed road in Peru, climbing up the side of a beautiful valley till we get to the top (known locally as Piss Peak) where male and female alike can get out for a two minute break to relieve themselves in full view of the bus and each other.  For the next 3 hours a bumpy, dusty dirt road leads to the small town of Santa Maria, where you can negotiate with a taxi driver for the 1 hour drive to the town of Santa Teresa before nightfall. We choose the driver who looks least likely to drive off the edge of this narrow road dug into the side of a steep mountain.   Santa Teresa has magnificent hot springs, the best in South America. 

Day 2

On a Hairyhood trek, the chances of rain, even snow, are high.  When the rain clears wait for some gringos who have paid for a guide and subtlely follow them.  Walk 2 hours along a river amongst banana trees, see the mud bricks out drying, wonder at all the butterflies, and the invisible mosquitos who eat you alive and who you manage to eat too.  A 2 hour walk along railway tracks (please, no songs from Stand by Me) and arrive at the town of Aguas Calientes ("Hot Waters" in Spanish), the base for all tourists to visit Machu Picchu. 

Day 3

This is the big day, your visit to the most popular archaeological site in South America.  There are two mountains, Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) and Wayna Picchu (Bogan Mountain).  Only the first 400 visitors each day can climb Wayna Picchu, so we drag you out of bed to get in line at 4.30am for the 5.30am bus to the site - local women will sell you coca tea, coffee and banana cake to start the day.  There's an air of anticipation as the line for the bus nears 600 people by 5am. The reason this Inca site is so well preserved is that the Spanish conquerers didn't know it was there, it subsequently got grown over and was only discovered by Westerners in 1911.  Its a big place, so although there can be 2,500 people there it's easy to find a place away from it all to have a nap - you'll need it after the steep climb up Wayna Picchu.  Listen in on the tour guides and their creative answers. 

Day 4

The return journeyYou could pay $60 to get the train back to Cuzco, or take the same enjoyable journey back with the Hairyhoods for $5.  Sure it's a bit longer, there are bugs and its hot and humid, but where's the fun in a tourist train? Especially when you can return to the hot pools for another sunset soak before heading to the local disco (empty) to drink lots of pisco sours and cuba libres with the barman-come-dj.   Get nicely hung over for the 6 hour bumpy ride back to Cuzco tomorrow. 

Cost: Whatever we think you are foolish enough to pay $$$$$

Included: Spanglish speaking guide, 2 bottles of beer a day, mosquito bites

Not Included:  Hot showers, quiet lodgings