I travelled to Cusco, Peru on the 5th August and after 3 flights taking more than 24 hurs, arrived at our destination where we would stay for 2 nights.
Cusco is one of the most well known cities of the ancient world with a population of 500,000 and is at an altitude of 3400m. Myself and colleagues suffered with headaches for the first couple of days, I’m not sure if it was altitude sickness or lack of caffeine (I forgot my English tea) and hours of travelling on aircrafts. After drinking Coca tea to help with the altitude my head had cleared by the time we commenced the start of the Inca trail on day three.
In a party of 29, plus our Global guide Stuart and four Peruvian guides headed by Willow, we started the four day trek. The first night we camped at 3000m and after a warm day of shorts and 11km uphill, the temperature dropped as the sun went down and night quickly descended upon us. Head torches were essential as we acclimatised to the cold and dark and crawling around the 2 men tents. We were able to wash with warm water and received pre dinner snacks and a lovely campsite meal cooked by the porters. My colleague hadn’t camped since being a child but really enjoyed the experience.
Day two was the most challenging as we climbed to 3,600m to Pacaymayo, definitely required some fitness and many of the group found it challenging. There were some tears and laughter but those who found it hard also felt they had achieved so much by the time we reached camp. Once dinner was over, everyone retired to bed by 8.30 pm. Porters would wake you up at 5.00 am each day with a cup of Coca tea and another bowl of water for washing. We would leave camp each day at 7 am.
On day four of the Trail and after a lot of stone steps ascending and descending we finally arrive at Sungate where the first sighting of Machu Picchu is seen and it feels spiritual as you individually go through the Sun Gate. Indeed most people had a tear in their eyes. Machu Picchu was so spectacular sitting among the Andes, I could imagine living there as an Inca with all their mysteries and beliefs.
I saw many Inca archaeology sites during the trip and hearing the history of the Incas was so amazing. The views were outstanding and the colours and cultures of Latin America were so different to what I have ever experienced. Global Challenges were well organised and the guides all excellent. The 10 people from LOROS and others in the challenged all gelled really well and will remain always in my memories. I can definitely recommend others to complete a challenge on behalf of LOROS.