J and T at Wayna

An update from Huayna Picchu, the tall mountain inside of the Macchu Picchu park itself. So the adventure to Macchu Piccu is a little confusing and is basically a big tourist trap so if you plan on visiting it in the future and you want to save a few bucks here is how it all works. Most people take the train to Macchu Piccu owned by the company “Peru Rail”. This is basically an option for anyone that doesnt mind a little cramming into public transport vehicles for extended periods of time or walking for 2+ hours along the train tracks. The cheapest price the train offers is just under $50 each way for what they call the “backpacker” option, while if you go the way that we did, you can get there for $8.33 each way…granted the more expensive option will get you there in 3hrs 9min (from what the website says) while our option took from the bus leaving at 7:15AM and arriving at 7-8PM. So if you are considering this option, make sure you are willing to spend all day. It is basically a question of time vs money. Our journey began waking up at 5AM getting to the bus station for a 6:15Am that apparently doesn’t exist. We took the earliest bus from Cuzco to Santa Maria leaving at 7:15AM and after a painstakingly curvey mountainous road we arrive in Santa Maria 7 hours later. From there we waited about 30 minutes for a Cumbi (public transport minivan) to fill up and we drove about 1.5hrs along some cliff roads to Santa Teresa. From there we paid a taxi to take us to Hidro, a hydroelectric dam, which took about 30 min to get to and is where the path to Aguas Calientes or Macchu Picchu is located. From here we walked for 3 hours along the train tracks dodging only one train that passed and getting some good views in before it got dark.  We met some people on the way that we roomed with and were able to swap stories about travels for a bit before going to bed around 10. The next morning we had another choice to make, take the bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu for $7 (each way) and arrive in 15 minutes, or walk up which was free but took an hour. We weighed our options and decided that it was not worth taking the bus because in order to arrive at the park at a decent hour we would have had to get up early enough to queue up. We bought bread, Oreos, (Pops I can´t get rid of this darned sweet tooth you gave me) and Ritz to eat along the way and walked – climbed is more like it, up 16 levels of stairs lasting from 50 stairs to 500 stairs each. Panting and sweating we reached the entrance to the park with the bus-ers giving us looks (Come on, we had showered the day before) and we entered the park. I am going to let the photos and video do the talking.  Machu Piccu from Wayna Piccu Llamas Window Machu Piccu and Inca Face face

So here Jeff and I are at our fanciest restaurant yet. We dropped $15 on dinner, which is huge when sometimes we spend that much in a day. Yum Yum Yum Guinea Pig and Alpaca steak.


After a few days of lying low in Cusco, we decided that we needed some more adventure in our lives. Tyler´s friend Dan recommended a rafting agency staffed by guides that used to work with the US rafting team in the States for 9 years, and when we heard that we were going to be braving some Class 4+ and 5 rapids, we decided that guides with that much experience would be a great way to go. Unfortunately, they were not our actual guides on the trip. Instead we had a guy named Segundo, who turned out to be even better than we expected. He had ten years of experience on the river we were rafting, and was an ex-marine who loved his job and was willing to do anything in his power to make sure his clients were safe and happy. At night he would tell us stories from his experiences on the river, here are two of them that we found especially funny…    

Background: There were two Israeli girls on our trip that were very scared of rapids, flipping, getting wet, and anything that involved speed. To get their goat, our guide Segundo started telling us stories about the people that have died on the river. One of these incidents happened seven years ago, a Canadian girl fell in and did not grab the safety rope and dissappeared under a class 4 rapid and was never found even though they searched for her body for a month.  After this story, the two girls did not want to run the class 4s and 5s that we were planning on running the third day, and he offered this anecdote:   “We had four girls that came out a few months ago that had never rafted before. They were gung-ho about it, and were with a large group of friends who gave them lots of support.  When they heard about the Canadian girl, they decided to walk the class 5 rapids the third day. It took them two hours to walk the rapids, and we ran it in 25 seconds…two hours it took them I mean, they could have died in that 25 seconds, but it would have been much faster…”   Seing the shocked looks on the Israilies faces, he decided to give a personal anecdote to make them feel better.   “Once I almost died.  I was guiding a class 5 and hit a rock poorly and flipped the raft. I was not able to grab the rope, and was thrown into an area that another raft has been lodged and stuck at the bottom. There I was, 5 feet below the water, tangled in the safety rope of a sunken raft. The weight of the rushing water was so strong that I could not even move my arm an inch.  I had a knife strapped to my chest for these kinds of situations, and I was helpless.  But the human body is an amazing thing, you know, they say that humans have three forces when they are in a life or death situation. The first one is a normal response and is weak.  That is why I could not move my arm. The second is much stronger, almost superhuman. With my second force, I was able to rip my arm from the grasp of the current and cut myself free with my knife.” The girls stared in disbelief and fear, and someone asked, “What about the third force?” He smiled. “With my third force I arose from the water with my knife in my teeth and fish in my hair. ”   Luckily we had no experiences like that, and the only flips that we did were on purpose. In the three days we rafter a total of thirteen hours through every class (except 6) and even had some time to fish, roast marshmellows, and sleep hard.  We camped out at night and even though there was intermittent rain we still had a great time. Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (111) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (82) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (80) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (48) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (37) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (34) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (28) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (129) Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (128) Jeff, Segundo, Tyler Apurimac 03 noviembre 2009 (139)

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Author: tdepke

2 Responses to “Week 09-ish:Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Rafting”

  1. rebecca says:

    I knew you were missing Lucky! woof woof…..

  2. laura p says:

    i don’t think i’ve commented on your blog yet, but i thought i should say – i love it, and am faithfully reading!

    this is all especially interesting/useful because i think i’m going to live in perú this summer. so, you know, when you guys get back, we could talk or something.

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