(Cusco - Km 82 - HUAYLLABAMBA)
Very early, between 4:30 y 5:00 AM, the traveller is picked up from
his lodgings and taken by tourist coach to Piscacucho,
in the village of Chilca. The road goes through the Inca Sacred
Valley, and the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. If you so wish
you can have breakfast in Urubamba.
This place is also known as
the Km 88 on the Cusco-Quillabamba railway line. This is where you
have to buy the tickets to enter the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. If you are travelling on your own, this is also
the best place to find porters for the trail.
The porter is the person in charge of carrying on his back all the
needs of modern man venturing out on the Inca Trail.
Tents, mattresses, tables, chairs, equipment and lots of food and
water.They walk fast and in silence, and carry in their thin bodies,
a great pair of lungs and a never-ending energy.
The walk starts and one should take it easy in the beginning. After a few minutes we reach and cross the hanging bridge of Cusichaca, on the Urubamba River, built with steel cables. We turn left after the bridge and after crossing a forest of eucalyptus we reach the Llactapata archaeological site.
"village in the highland", is an archaeological site at the
foot of a mountain situated on the left bank of the Cusichaca River,
a tributary of the Urubamba River.
It has many cultivation terraces
that probably served to feed people from other places and also keep
full the "Ambos" (storehouses) of the Inca Road. Its urban sector
holds more than one hundred dwellings. It also has an Inca altar
called "Pulpituyoq". (You can also start out on the Inca
Trail from Ollantaytambo. For this you will need an extra
day and trek the extra 20 kilometres (approximately 15 miles) to
the village of Corihuayrachina at Km 88).
The climate is generally hot with a colourful view of the yellow
flowered Spanish broom shrubs along the trail. These plants, of
north African origin, were actually brought to Spain with their
sticky seeds clinging to the fetlocks of the Arab horses and the
Spaniard's horses later brought them to America. You can camp out
at Huayllabamba or continue on to the "Tres Piedras"
camp, about 30 minutes away.
field", is a small indigenous village located in the foothills of
a small mountain and surrounded by fields of corn, potatoes and
other foodstuffs. Many groups camp out the first night in this place,
because there are public toilet facilities and plenty of water.
Close by, in an area called Patawasi, there are Inca terraces and
some ancient Inca buildings.
The first day can be cloudy, almost rainy, but easy to walk because of the level and beautiful trail. The normal fatigue felt after a day on the trail slowly dissipates as the traveller rests and smells the perfume of an orchid, while darkness slowly creeps up the majestic peak of the Salkantay in the distance.
Time on the trail: Three and a half hours to the first camping site at Huayllabamba.