254 Kms from Ayacucho
Instead of walking over the dozen footprints, I decided to combine downhill biking with hiking on old Inca trails. I started my journey by moving from Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. I then headed to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, which hosts many beautiful Inca remains. Moving up into the mountains towards the glacier, I reveled in this place’s scenic beauty. On the way I visited Abra Malaga, which is a habitat of endangered species of birds which live in Andean forest. This high pass has forests with extensive zones of bamboo and straw Andean meadow. This is where I started my downhill biking. The unspoiled jungles imbue you to take your time to immerse in its crude existence. I pedaled further to town of Santa Maria. I took some time to explore this quaint town, and ended the night with a lovely dinner and stay in a small hostel.
218 Kms from Ayacucho
Ollamtamybo, one of the more important sites of the Inca era became the last stop in my Inca trail. I arrived here after walking for 4 days from my living Inca trail. This is where I would take the train to Aguas Caliente for Manchu Picchu and return to Cusco after. I returned to Ollamtamybo, wanting to do a short 2 days in this tiny town. After Manchu Picchu, the wonderful ruins of Ollamtamybo seemed a little underwhelming. While visiting one of the ruins, met a very friendly Peruvian and his son who worked with the archaeological digs in nearby areas. He invited me to his home to look at some of his archaelogical finds. This became the highlight of my trip to this town. The house was a typical mud brick construct with guinea pigs running around the mud oven kitchen. Quite a sight by itself to have dinner running around. He took out some Inca burial artifacts from a serious of cardboard boxes, one of the fascinating finds was a tiny desiccated human baby.Then there were others, adult human skulls. Some had broken cranium, a chilling proof that these were human sacrifices. The non-enlongated skulls showed these human artifacts were not from royalty but of normal descent and hence the Inca sacrificial burials for these mummies were for minor events. Still, the artifacts were fascinating and a great opportunity for a close up glimpse which otherwise be viewed from afar in boxed up windows of a museum.
164 Kms from Ayacucho
Then, the most exciting morning was here. We arrived at the station a bit early as advised. It was very different from usual railway stations we see across the world, for example, the station has a gate - for the trains to go through. And that gate remains closed unless a train has to come out or in. That happens thrice a week.
200 Kms from Ayacucho
Go sand-boarding in Huacachina: Literally 5 minutes away from the sleepy town of Ica (see map), is the oasis town Huacachina. Bet your bottom dollar, you wouldn’t have seen anything more beautiful in your entire life! Book a buggy trip with a hostel to ride up and down the sand dunes and make sure you don’t miss out on sandboarding. Try to take the last trip of the day (~4.00 pm) to witness the sunset.
238 Kms from Ayacucho
Bond with the sea lions at Paracas: Going south from Lima, Paracas islands a is popular destination for wild life watching. Take a ferry to the “Bellastas islands” and say hullo to friendly sea lions! Chuck Antarctica and meet the cute, human like creatures right here in Paracas. Yep, warm weather penguins are not very popular and are only found in Paracas and Galapagos (in Ecuador). The ferry will also take you through the Candelebra, one of the mysterios geoglyphs in Peru.
189 Kms from Ayacucho
After reaching Aguas Calientes, we need to take a bus ride lasting about 20minutes to reach the ancient site of Machu Pichhu The bus ride itself is spectacular as the narrow track winds its way up the mountainside The scenery is lush cloud forest with great views of the sacred mountain.
235 Kms from Ayacucho
Following breakfast on the third day, I hiked by crossing the Vilcanota River by hanging in a basket or ‘Oroya’. The river is a segment of the Urubamba River. My next stop was the hydroelectric station village. I spent some time exploring the archaeological ruins of Intihuatana. It is a ritual stone associated with the astronomic clock or calendar of the Inca. After travelling for two more hours I arrived in Aguas Calientes, which is also known as Machupicchu Pueblo. It is the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu. This place is enclosed by stone cliffs, cloud forest and rivers.