The Inca Trail and Amazon by Olly Leicester
The Inca Trail is a must for any adventure traveller, no other trek can compete with it for its sense of history, as you tread the ancient road network of the Incas. Olly Leicester Exodus’ Walking & Trekking Specialist and Web Sales Team Leader reports on his experience of this magical trek.
After a night spent in Lima to relax after your journey, the next morning is an early start, as you head to the airport for the flight to the Amazon jungle! You will immediately be struck by the heat and humidity of the rainforest when you get off the plane and, after a short drive, its refreshing to be on the river heading upstream to the tranquillity of the Tambopata Jungle reserve.
Here you have the afternoon to relax, taking in the sights and sounds of the Reserve. You spend two full days exploring the jungle by walking and boat cruising at both day and night. The guides are excellent and certainly know the secrets to seeking out all the wildlife. We saw caimans, frogs, spiders, birds and monkeys to name a few - there’s even time for some piranha fishing.
The next stop on this adventure is to the Inca city of Cuzco. At 3300m, you feel short of breath on arrival, and we spent two nights here to acclimatise and prepare ourselves for the Inca Trail itself. It’s a great city with lots of character, if you’re up for trying the local delicacy of guinea pig this is the place to do it! On a free day in Cuzco you can choose to explore the city or visit the impressive Ollantaytambo ruins. I would also recommend visiting the Kiya Survivors Rainbow Centre – a charity project that exodus support in Peru, which offers street children and special needs children with a proper education and the medical therapy they need.
So onto the Inca Trail. The first and fourth days of walking are relatively straight forward. The second and third days will definitely get your heart beating faster as you climb up and over Dead Woman’s pass at 4200m. The service from the guides and porters is excellent as you get all your camping chores done for you. You finally get to see the wonderful sight of Machu Picchu as you look down from the Sun Gate on day 4 of the trek - its definitely worth the walk as the mountain views and Inca ruins are pretty special. You get loads of time to walk around the ancient site the following morning and to say hello to the llamas.
The final stop on the holiday is a visit to Lake Titicaca - the highest navigable lake in the world. You visit the bizarre Uros islands, built out of reeds, before heading to Amantani Island to spend a night with a local family. We ate dinner with them before going to a traditional party to finish the night off!
This trip is definitely one I can recommend!