Coco leafs are a lifesaver

by: , South African -
November 02, 2017

There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe what an incredible journey the Inca Trail was. My biggest fear was getting altitude sickness. After our indepth briefing from Juan, our tour guide, I knew that no matter what, I was in good hands. Our first day was blessed with no rain, lots of sun and a nice steady pace to our base camp. To end the day on a high we had a hot shower (10 soles but worth it) at base camp and hot chocolate with popcorn and cookies for tea. Our chefs Vency and Alberto were incredible. They produced dishes so tasty that even if you had no more space left for food after tea time (usually only 30 min before dinner time), we ate till we litterally rolled back to our tents. Day two was the dreaded dead womans pass day. Juan taught us how to chew the coco leaves and prepared it for us with stevia and some black stuff that releases the good stuff. Trust me, it is worth it and will make your hike so much better. And no, you dont get high, you just get an energy that helps you up that dreaded pass. It helps with oxygen flow to the brain which in turn helps with not getting altitude sickness. As they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. All the locals chew the coco leaves, even the porters. Juan guided us at a slow steady pase all the way to the top of dead womans pass. For all of us that was the biggest achievement and reason to celebrate. Lucky for us our porters were very resourcefull and for a few soles we managed to get some rum along the way. Our decent was met with rain and hail. I litterally just laughed all the way down to base camp walking in the hail. You just have to embrace every bit of weather that is thrown at you. My advice of course is, make sure you have the right gear. Come prepared. If not, dont say I dint warn you. Tea time was a celebration with the whole crew. The prepared hot tea with rum, honey and lemon. Best drink I think Ive ever had. We were so thankfull to have survived dead womans pass with zero symptoms of mountain sickness. Day 3 was long but with beautifull ruins along the way and with renewed energy I was up and down the steap inclines with ease. I even had a little competition with the porters which made the journey a lot more fun. We laughed as we competed to get to the top or bottom first and resting time was great to get to know each other a little better even though my spanish was terrible. Somehow we just communicated and knew what the other was asking. Our crew were always happy and smiling and making jokes with us and each other. Laughter really is the best medicine. That night we had to say goodbye to Vency, Alberto, Juan de Dios, Juvenal and Elisio, our crew that took such good care of us. Hugs and tears and more hugs and cake. Yes, can you believe that in the middle of nowhere, with no signal or electricity, our chefs produced a delicious and very tasty cake. The cake, being woken up with a hot cup of tea every morning, hot water every morning to freshen up, checking on my tent to make sure it was secure and waterproof in the middle of a storm, helping me pack up in the morning, cheering when I made it back to camp safely.... All these little things make you realise that its not gifts of things but gifts of gestures that remain deep in your heart. It truly is the small things in life that matter. Arriving at the sun gate and seeing Machu Picchu was breathtaking but if Im honest, the highlight was not seeing Machu Picchu, it was the journey to get there and all the incredible people I met along the way. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Laugh, smile, be kind and fill your life with memories, not things. Enjoy the journey xxx

Special Package:

Machu Picchu Travel

10 Days - A special package including assistance at your arrival in Lima, all accommodation and transportation required...and of course our world famous Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. *