Another day and another feat overcome in the life of an injured backpacker. Having traipsed around a couple of tour agencies in Cusco with my long suffering travel companion, I can confirm that you cannot do the entirety of the Macchu Picchu trek on a donkey. The results are in and you will need to be able to walk at the least along a train track for three hours.
Bleary-eyed and crumpled against the bus window, I roused myself from sleep and looked up at my companions. Following their gaze, I looked left and felt that heart-dropping sensation people talk about..I wasn’t looking left, I was looking down and I could have scooped some mud off the mountain floor, despite being sat in a bus.
Guess the rain and the bad roads had finally caught up with us.
Full of conflict, I stared longingly into the travel agent’s eyes.. Could he tell me if the next eight days would be full of sunshine and no rain… Please let it be.
Despite my better thoughts, Irish enthusiasm, US determination, French.. je ne sais quoi and Israeli courage had convinced me into handing over 900 soles to Jose for the Huayhuash trek. I was in, committed to the 105km, 5000m high and 8 pass mountain trek… with 8 other strangers for the next week.
This walk is just breathtaking and I adored every step of it over the three days. Perhaps two of my favourite elements is that it costs nothing and you can navigate it all yourself. Complete freedom!
Feeling trapped by the city, Reid and I started to check out the possible day tours from Quito. Cotopaxi seemed to tick all the boxes, not too far (55km), the opportunity to exercise and hopefully, as the world’s third highest active volcano, some stunning views.
Expectations were high for my next city stop but regardless I couldn’t have been more delighted to disembark from the sea-sick inducing 10 hour bus through the mountains from Bogotá. If you can fly this cheap, short distance, do it! My arrival was also rather momentous as I had what now felt like a long lost friend waiting for me at the terminal, ready to help me navigate Medellin’s streets and lug my overweight bag around town. 😊
A day’s rest in Santa Marta (thank you Santa Marta) and we were off to the neighbouring town of Minca. A slightly less trodden path, no doubt about to be overwhelmed by the increasing tourist flow, Minca retains the authenticity, charm and familiarity that for me, Cartagena lacked.