Is it really a vacation if you are waking up at 4 am every morning? A question I was asking myself on this day. Our tour guide came to pick us up at 5 am at the hostel. We walked a bit to the main street and had to meet our ride there. This time, it was a tour bus (not a van). The walk to the bus was a bit hard since we had just woken up and the steps were really steep. Again, when you are making accommodation booking, read the reviews to see if there are any mention of steps or high hills.
We took the bus for about 2 hours to Mollepata Village and purchased our tourist ticket there. It was 10 sols but ours was included in the price so we did not have to pay extra. If your tour package did not include ticket prices, the tour guide will collect them later. Make sure you talk with your tour agency to see if ticket prices are included.
After purchasing our tickets, we continued to Soraypampa. Once at the foot of the mountain, we walked to the entrance of the trail and had breakfast there. The walk was beautiful! The snow capped mountains with all the greens was just a sight to see. It was also quite chilly here. I’m not sure if it was due to the mountain air or the morning chill but make sure to layer up!
We were served breakfast before the hike but this was worst than the breakfast at Rainbow Mountain. There really wasn’t a lot to eat so if you need some energy before a hike, bring your own meal!
After breakfast, we were all on our way. There was no official guide with us so we were all on our own. If you wanted to take a horse up, you would have to ask the guide before leaving. From the start of the trail, we could see Humantay Mountain and Salkantay. There were a lot of people taking the Salkantay trail but that would have to wait for another time.
The guide said the hike would take roughly 1 hour so we hurried along. This hike was even harder than Rainbow Mountain. The road was very rocky and steep. And a lot of the rocks were loose so watch your step here. When our guide said 1 hour, it didn’t seem so bad but I was wrong. It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the top and I had to take a lot of breaks in the middle. I’m glad a lot of the hikers were encouraging each other and with everyone’s help, I made it.
And I’m so glad I hiked it because the view was 100% worth it! The mountain and the lake, a harmonious marriage. And the perfect weather made everything here extra wonderful. It was serene. There were lots of people at the top but I was still able to get some photos without anyone in them.
After taking in all the nature and all the photos, we started to walk back down. There is no horse for the downward hike because of all the loose rocks so make sure you get the timing right. The downward hike was just as hard as the upward because of how slippery the trail was. I even slipped a couple times even with hiking boots.
Once we were back at the start of the trail, they served us lunch. Lunch was better than breakfast, having things like soup, fried chicken, fried rice, pasta, and veggies. It wasn’t the best tasting food but after the hike, I needed it. We ate as much as we wanted and enjoyed the scenery before getting back on the bus. I thought it would be the same amount of time to get back to Cusco but the traffic didn’t agree with us and we arrived at 7 pm. I guess that is what you get for trying to enter the city on a Friday night.
We quickly dropped off our belong at the hostel and took an Uber to Mercado Molino. I needed a bigger bag for all the stuff and my companion needed to get a sim card. We were told that Mercado Molino would have everything and they were right! If you are thinking about doing shopping (not touristy), this place has it all! From clothing to electronics, you probably could find everything here. It was closer to what I would consider a mall. They even had a small food court at the front.
While waiting for my companion to register her sim card, I got some picarones, which are like peruvian fried donuts. They fried them as the orders came in so it was super fresh and so good. It was a great pick me up for 3 sol. Once my companion had internet, we roamed around the market. We found several stores that sold luggage and suitcases but vast majority of them did not take card. I didn’t have a lot of cash on me and the ATM machine at the market was not working. Luckily, my companion had some cash and she was also really good at bargaining so we were able to make a purchase. Mine (the purple one) went from 160 sol to 120 sol and hers from 150 sol to 100 sol. I think we did pretty good, right?
After all the shopping, we headed back to the hotel. The laundry was done and all the items were neatly folded and in a plastic bag. Our laundry at the hostel was 12 sol per kilo and I know this wasn’t cheap but I guess I was paying for the connivance. You can find laundry mats all around Cusco and the average price would be around 4~7 sol per kilo.
With the new luggage and clean clothes, I reorganized all my things. And it was so nice to see empty space in my bag for souvenirs! Next time, never take a full suitcase on a trip because you will definitely buy things.