Pretty much every agency in cusco offers a version of this route to Machu Pichu which includes downhill mountain biking, optional zip lining and rafting and some walking (but a lot less than the inka trail itself!). I booked with Conde tours as I’d had a recommendation for them and they gave me the best price of the agencies I asked.
Our guide picked us up at our hostels and for some reason I’m not sure of we ended up being only 3 as 3 people had mysteriously dropped out. We drove the first hour and a half to a cafe where we could buy breakfast. I was pretty hungry so went for the 20 sol buffet and wasn’t disappointed with the masses of food that kept coming! After another hour and a half back in the car we were at the start of the downhill mountain biking route. The drive was horrible for me! The windows of the van had been covered with the company’s branding and it was a very bumpy zig zag all the way up to 4000 something metres. I still felt sick most of the way down! The cycling was fun, a lot less terrifying than the death road in Bolivia as it was on paved road. The negatives were having to cycle through 15 rivers that crossed the road (yes, 15 and all of them deep enough to soak my legs and feet through the splash back), cycling through thick cloud for an hour with absolutely nothing to illuminate us to oncoming traffic and the traffic itself which often straddles both sides of the road on corners. Not fun when it’s a bus or a large van!
The scenery though was very beautiful.
After we finally made it past stream 15 it was time for lunch. The buffet was pretty average and the chicken looked ropey so I ended up with rice, pasta, sweet potato and some kind of daal. Carb-licious!
Afterwards we were subjected to another hour or so in the van. This made me feel even worse than the first journey and had we not stopped when we did I think I would have had to request a pullover!
Next it was a 40 minute hike up hill through the jungle to our room for the night. I found this unbelievably tough. I can’t really blame the altitude given that we’re now only at 1,800m after weeks of being mostly about 3,000m so I’m going to blame my 35l back pack. I was given the opportunity to have some things driven to tomorrow nights accommodation in Santa Teresa but all I could find to give up were 2 very light jumpers!
We reached our accommodation, a kind of homestay, at 3pm and were told by our guide “have fun, dinner is at 8”. There is pretty much nothing to do here. I’m too tired to walk anymore so I’m currently lying around in a hammock writing this and eating peanuts. Its quite the nice view though.
On a slightly sadder note I’ve seen lots of animals today and most seem happy but at one point we were shown a monkey that we could take pictures of which was chained up by a short rope around its waist and the place I’m staying in has a parrot as a pet, apparently tamed by clipping it’s flying feathers when it was a baby after the owners captured it in the jungle. So sad 😦
Dinner was weird. We had ok soup followed by stir fry of cauliflower and French fries with rice. French fries pop up in all kinds of random places in South America so I asked oour guide if they’re popular here and he said only with tourists. I think people must think we’re so obsessed that we want them on everything! Anyway it was edible and we went to bed at 9.30 as there wasn’t much else to do.