Read my related posts here:
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Day 1
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Day 2
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Day 4
Day 3: The Memorable Day
Trek from Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna | 10 miles
Day 3 was arguably less hard than the Day 1 & 2, but much longer and more tiresome. Today we woke up at 5am from our beautiful campsite that was tucked underneath a waterfall and little stream. I had a serious hard time getting out of the tent and was feeling extremely sore in the morning, but most of all I was dreading walking to the bathroom because they were disgusting…probably the worst ones I’d seen on the trail.
We were told that today was going to be beautiful, if the clouds parted, and we’d get to see a lot of amazing inca sites. We started the trek uphill for 2 hours and stopped at our first small inca site. The views were great and it was fun to see we were getting closer to Machu Picchu from the amount of Inca sites we started to see! After continuing to hike uphill we ended at another inca site called Sayacmarca which was tucked into the mountain and only accessible by climbing up 99 narrow steps. Unfortunately it was a little rainy and foggy so we couldn’t see the views from the site, but it was interesting to hear how they mummified the incas and was fun to look at the different rooms. My legs were SHOT so coming down from the narrow steps was a bit difficult!
After a little bit longer the sun started shining and we had beautiful views of the valley. This next part of the trail was gorgeous! We picked up again on the rocky inca trail on the side of the mountain and watched the scenery continue to change. I thought today would be a little easier, but there was a lot of up and downhill steep parts and my legs were shaking all day.
We kept trekking uphill and finally hit the 2nd highest peak of our trek (highest was Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,828 ft), but this one was called Phuyupatamarka. The views up here were phenomenal and as we were hiking we could tell we were getting closer and closer to Machu Picchu! The scenery started to turn green and lush with jungle plants which was a nice change of pace from the desert we hiked in the 2 days before. The views up here were breathtaking and we got some great photo ops. Ernesto took us up to an even higher point and explained the Andean cross symbology, explained the different languages of Peru (Quechua is the local language), and did another coca ceremony to Pachamama. This was one of the prettiest views I’ve ever seen and the best part was that we could see the back of Machu Picchu mountain from the top!
Finally it was time for lunch and we stopped and saw a few llamas at our lunch site. The last part of the hike was brutal and they call it the ‘Gringo Killer’ because it’s tiny steps on a steep downhill for 2 full hours. After this entire day plus yesterday my legs were ready to give out on me. I was so tired! I could see the sun terraces right under us though and knew we were so close! Unfortunately this was a lot farther than I thought, but when we came to the sun terraces they were SO worth it!! More awesome views and more llamas made me soooo happy!
Finally we made it to our campsite on our last night of the trek. The porters had a little ceremony for us, we tipped them and they even made us a cake! I loved having the porters there. Their jobs are SO hard, but the ones on our trek seemed to be treated really well and seemed to enjoy themselves! How they managed to make a cake on the trail blew my mind, but practically everything they did amazed me!
We were so happy we made it to that final campsite and went to bed excited for Machu Picchu the next morning! Wake up call at 3:30am on Day 4!
To be continued…
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