Trekker report: Ancascocha Trek

Views on the Ancascocha Trek taken by Apus Peru guide Urbano Huayna

This is an excerpt from an email from Apus Peru trekker Angela Bowers, who with 3 friends trekked the Ancascocha route in late October. For more info on the Ancascocha route see http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/ancascocha.htm.   Thank you to Angela for writing a comprehensive and interesting trip report!

“We are back in Michigan after a long flight home and catching up on emails, sleep and laundry. I wanted to write for several reasons, one of which is to tell you that this trip was amazing, incredible, breathtaking, fun, challenging, heartwarming, and most likely one of the best adventures I (we) have ever experienced.

From the hotels (I would strongly recommend Second Home as a place for your clients to stay) to the people (Urbano was a wonderful guide, funny, experienced, knowledgeable and Mauro’s cooking was incredible!) to the scenery and locals, and even the weather seemed to be smiling on us most of the time, this trip was just about perfect. Even the day of nasty altitude sickness I had on the second day (thank goodness for that horse) was worth the price to see and experience the hike that we did. The very first day, we saw a couple of condors high in the clouds and a couple of falcons fly right over our heads!

Some of the local sheep on the trail. Photo courtesy of A.Bowers

After the Salkantay Pass on the morning of the second day we met NO other hikers on the trail – the world was ours! Just us, Urbano and the crew, and farmers here and there that we met, including the sheep farmers, which was a great experience! The mountains were majestic and breathtaking, the hike down the last day in the valley, seeing all the waqanki orchids was truly amazing.

Urbano was very knowledgeable with mountains/rock formations, flowers and plants and some of the birds/animals we observed. If he didn’t know something, he said so, which was great compared to trying to make something up. He has a great sense of humor, we do need to apologize, though, I think we thoroughly corrupted him with plenty of American slang, including ‘road apples’ for horse manure, and a few really good Canadian jokes (Aye).

On the drive up to the start of the hike, Urbano jumped out a few times and would go collect what turned out to be mint leaves along the road – for most all of the hike, every evening, he would have Mauro brew some mint tea, which finished my day and meal off most perfectly!

Avalanche on Salkantay mountain. Photo courtesy of A. Bowers

Mauro’s cooking was just incredible!! What he was able to create with a pressure cooker and out in the middle of nowhere and care so much about the presentation of the food as well was amazing – we ate like royalty!!! His quinoa risotto was my absolute favorite.

The dinner at the Treehouse in Aguas Calientes was just amazing, every dish was shared and tasted and even Urbano was highly impressed! A definite gem. The La Cabana was a nice stay as well, good recommendation, comfortable rooms, clean and lots of hot water for the long shower after hiking. Machu Picchu was a very, very rainy morning, but with a smile, even with a cold, Urbano took us on the tour – we ended up not climbing Huyana Picchu as it was completely covered in mist and the rain was coming down steady, making the climb most likely treacherous. We explored some more and then went out and hid under some umbrellas, waiting for lunch. There, the guys, including Urbano, proceeded to tell each other jokes and stories – it was awesome. After lunch at the Machu Picchu lodge, Urbano said goodbye and we headed back into Machu Picchu to explore some more as the rain had stopped.

We met Carlos, the owner of Second Home, the next morning and he was so friendly and courteous! Urbano and his wife and son caught up to us shopping and we walked around Cusco together, had lunch, and said good bye. Our taxi to the airport was covered by Carlos and off we went. I was sad to leave.

Orchids en route. Photo courtesy A.Bowers

If you have clients that want to spend a day or so in Ollantaytambo (which we enjoyed immensely), the Hotel Sol is a great place to stay! Aguas Calientes was an interesting town – probably our least favorite except for the Treehouse, the hotel and the ruins. Unlike Ollantaytambo, the town was a complete tourist trap, but that is to be expected at the base of Machu Picchu.

Overall, the trip exceeded our expectations in so many ways. We would be happy to recommend Apus Peru to anyone considering a trip to Peru.

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