Inca jungle trek, Peru: biking, trekking and hot springs

IMG_1100These four days were definitely one of my favourite adventures in South America, full of adrenaline, new friends, hikes, laughter and one of the world wonders.

Waking up around 6.30am, I made sure my small backpack was filled with clothes for all weathers plus hiking gear. I had a shower and ate some bread. I checked out of the hostel, placed my big bag in the luggage storage room and walked to the agency. I waited here to be picked up for 5 minutes.

My tour guide picked me and told me to wait with others in the centre. I tried to speak to others but they were already in a group. They were French. I was slightly worried my next four day was just going to be with them. I have to say, not to generalise, but the French like to speak French and not any other language. Anyway, from here we walked a little and waited more until we squashed on a minibus. It was filled with people from around the world: The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Colombia, Switzerland, Canada. Great!IMG_1116

We drove to Abra Malaga, where we picked up some bikes, and stopped for breakfast. I bought some coca tea and a vegetarian sandwich. On the journey, I spoke to others in the vechile, realising they were a lovely bunch of people. It was going to be a good few days.

At the top of a mountain, 4200m high, we jumped off the minibus in a random carpark. We were given our cycling gear: helmet, jacket, protection pads, yellow jacket, gloves and a bike, and then surrounding our guide, we were briefed about the bike ride. It was basically all downhill, where we would need to use the breaks most of the time.

We cycled around 60km, stopping once on the side of the road. I pedalled on windy roads, through some rivers overlooking a stunning scenery of mountains and villages. It was so cool and such an easy ride. Part of the way down, it decided to chuck it down with rain, soaking us but it was still great fun.

At the bottom, with my clothes and shoes soaked, I changed out of my gear and returned my bike to the minivan. From here, we were driven a little further to Santa Maria. We took our luggage out of the van, and walked to a restaurant, where we had a two course lunch. After, we were placed in different dorm rooms, where we left our luggage.IMG_1189

Some of the others were going rafting in the afternoon but unfortunately as it was such a big group, there was no space for any extra people. Instead myself and the two girls from Colombia walked around the town, buying a juice and trying a new strange fruit, which I had never seen before.

After, we relaxed at the hostel before the others arriving back. In the evening, we had dinner at the restaurant, where we were told the itinerary for the next day. We had another two course dinner with soup, rice, potato and an omelette. We decided to go to bed pretty early as we were  getting up early the next day.

The following day, I woke around 6am so I could have a shower and pack my bag up. We all gathered for breakfast consisting of chocolate and banana pancake, bread and tea. Once we were ready, we set off for the long day ahead. We had the option to send our backpacks in a taxi to the next hostel but I thought I would take it as I had packed my small bag lightly.

We started walking along a dirty track towards the mountains alongside a river for a few hours. It was a flat walk, where we were just chatting to each other. Then we hiked through the jungle, first stopping at the coca plants, where we were given information about them, then at a fruit stall in the middle of trees and up to the first monkey house for a rest. There was a monkey tied up but the owner explained this only happens when there are others around, normally it’s free. Also here, there were guinea pigs crawling around the kitchen, like 30 of them. I was feeling terrified for them because in Peru they eat them as a main meal, and this is probably what was going to happen to them.IMG_1146

After, we hiked vertically up the mountain to the next monkey house, where there was a monkey being passed around on people’s shoulder. We rested here for a while and we told about different juices, chocolate and inca tequila. We had sample of passion fruit juice, chicha drink, 90% chocolate with honey and a taste of the tequila. They were all so delicious but haven’t alcohol that early in the morning wasn’t ideal.

Once we had a long break, we carried on through the jungle, hiking up to part of the Inca trail. We had to walk extremely close to the wall as there was a vertical drop but the views were incredible; just breath-taking. On the top, we stopped to take photo before walking on more until the restaurant. By this time, we were all feeling hungry and ready for food.

For starter, we ate guacamole with some bread, which was amazing, then a soup and for the main course, we had spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese. It was delicious and just what we needed. After we chilled on the hammocks, enjoying the rest and sun.

Then we carried on our hike through the jungle and along the river, over a dodgy bridge until the little man made cable car. It was basically a metal box, where two people could sit in and fly across the river on a cable. It didn’t feel that secure but that was the only way across. It was actually quite fun. There use to be a bridge across but unfortunately it broke, which meant we had to pay for the ride so that the finances could go towards building a new one. It took the group a while to get a cross as there were so many of us. On the other side, some people had a beer. Then we walked through a dark tunnel with our torches for about a kilometre.IMG_1405

We walked a little further until we reached the hot spring. There were three huge pools at slightly different temperatures. It was exactly what we needed after a day of hiking. We stayed here for about an hour and a half, chilling and enjoying the spring with the rain starting to pour. The hot spring was surrounded with mountains with many locals using the facilities too.

Once we were ready to leave, we hopped in a mini van, which took us to our hostel in Santa Teresa for the night. I was sharing with the twins from Belgium, where we dumped our stuff then we all met down t reception to walk to the restaurant, where we were going to have dinner. Unfortunately, it was chucking down with rain so we half ran to the place, trying not to get wet.

At the restaurant, it was happy hour so we bought some pisco sours. The whole group was ready for a night of dancing and drinking. First, we were given dinner of soup then rice, potato and avocado. Once we had all finished, our guide brought out the inca tequila and some other alcohol concoctions. There was a cup in the shape of a penis, where alcohol was poured inside and condensed milk on the tip. The tables in the restaurant was moved to one side, creating a dancefloor for the gringos in the restaurant. For the rest of the night, we danced and drank until we were kicked out so we had to retreat to out hotel rooms. I slipped in the rain on the way back and scratched my face. Back at the hotel, I couldn’t get into my room as one of the other girls had the key. Instead, some of the other girls from my group let me sleep in their room.IMG_1406

When I first woke up the next morning, I was a little confused with where I was but soon got my navigation. I went to my hostel room, where I had a shower and packed my things ready for the day ahead. We had to wake up early so I was feeling sleepy.

We all went back to the restaurant, where we had some breakfast of bread, eggs, jam and tea and reminisced over the fun night.


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