I have been working for Mava Travel for the last 7 years. However, I have seen Mava Travel grown since I was a child of 6 six years old, when my mother decided to ventured into the tourism & travel industry and start this company. I always saw how many people visited PERU ❤and did amazing trips to CUSCO and hikes like the Inca Trail. I had asthma all my life so thinking of joining was never in my head. But everything changed when I moved to NYC (almost 10 years ago) and grew this huge sense of pride and love for my country. I decided to start working for my family business because I wanted to represent Peru and help others get to experience the greatness of my country.
Last year, I decided to take on the INCA TRAIL 🛤 challenge and told family/friends who was up for it. Everyone was shocked but still motivated me, some of course doubted of my physical abilities to fulfill it, and 8 others decided to join me. I traveled to Peru on July 8th and on the 11th I was in ER for an entire day due to a stomach infection. I was so sick and in so much pain that I thought my dream of doing the Inca trail was fading away. Luckily, I was treated and decided to travel to Cusco on the 12th and continue my treatment there. On July 14th, sick and all, me and the rest of the people I gathered from 🗽NYC, started the hike. When it started I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I mean, as Business Development Director of Mava Travel I knew and had knowledge on it because I have made several presentations about the hike to my clients, but one thing is to present it to other people and another to actually do it.
On day 1 I saw people returning and quitting. To say it’s a challenging hike it’s an understatement. However, the views, our guide and porters, the food and my group motivated me to keep going. The path was mostly of flats, some ups and some downs, it was just a little taste of what was next to come. The campsite for lunch and dinner where super nice. I was shocked on how amazing was our team, very friendly and attentive and gave us delicious meals in a great and organized set up. My favorite part was the sky full of stars on this day. It’s hard to see clear skies when you live in polluted cities.
I knew day 2 was going to be challenging and the hardest, that’s what everyone had told me. I’m not an avid hiker so when I started to go up from 11,000 feet to 14,000 feet I reached a breaking point, where I cried because I was overwhelmed. This all happened within the first hour of this day’s hike and I had 5 hours to still go up. I remembered my mom words before I left: «When you feel you are giving up, be strong, pray and keep going. Don’t give up and represent us the best». 💪 So I did. I played the Rocky song over and over in my head and kept screaming motivational phrases, not only for me but for the rest of the group, I noticed the altitude was taking a toll on all of us. From being the last one of the group I was leading the group alongside with my cousin and our guide, who always made sure everyone was keeping up. At some point I just kept going and tried not to stop. I reached the Death Women’s Pass 2nd out of my group of 8 people. I developed a sense of pride for pushing myself so hard, listening all the people screaming at the top «You almost here», felt incredibly encouraging. I started tearing up and when I saw my cousin up there filming me and telling me «You are making it, Vane», tears started coming down. I was wearing a poncho because it started raining, snowing and when I made it to the top, hailing. I looked back seeing the marvelous Veronika mountain right there close to me, was an amazing feeling. We hugged and cried together because we reached the highest point of the trek 4,300 meters above sea level (starting point on this day was 2,800). After this, I knew that I had 2 hrs. to go down stone stairs, but the hardest part was already fulfilled. By the way, the stone stairs were so slippery that I fell twice but thank God and the Pachamama for the hiking poles. They were literally our best friends and without them we all agreed we wouldn’t have made it. I have bad knees so going down was painful (knee braces helped a lot though). Reaching campsite and talking to the porters along the way was amazing. Breathing the pure air, taking in the views and get together with all the group for dinner was GREAT. We knew we were making it to Machu Picchu 🌄 at this point. The freezing night was mentally tolerable because I knew we had only 1 more night to go.
Day 3 was the longest day (9hrs). Had hours of several stairs going down (ouch), flats, ups (not as the day before), breathtaking views and perfect weather. It felt easier. The last night was very emotional. We said our goodbyes, tipped and donated our stuff to our cooks and porters. They were amazing! They took such good care of us, made amazing fresh food 🥣😋 (breakfast, lunch and dinner), carried all our equipment, always welcomed us with a nice smile in each camp with hot tea and fresh warm water to clean ourselves, and of course, helped us when they saw us struggling along the way. Seeing these men carrying 60 pounds, pushed us to make it. «Haku haku» which means let’s go 💪 in Quechua was our favorite saying. On this last night we couldn’t thank them enough. It was filled with laughs and tears of happiness.
Day 4: Next morning, we woke up as early as 3am. Hike down in the dark with our head lanterns guiding us throughout the path. We saw the sun coming out and rise above the Andean and jungle mountains. We walked 3 hrs. of flats, downs and some ups. I was going so fast that I was surprised. Last part was a steep set of stairs, «gringo killer» they called it. Once we climbed it, we reached 🌄Inti Punku. I asked the guide, are we here? He said yes, that’s Machu Picchu. We all screamed, took a rum shot and hugged each other. We saw others crying, the atmosphere was full of happiness all around. We have finally made it!!!! Seeing Machu Picchu wake up was amazing. The citadel looked tiny from there. The pride we felt when we reached the citadel was like no other. I felt like a pro, our guide told us: «You guys are now hikers, you guys have completed one of the toughest treks, you guys are now in 🛤 Machu Picchu, you guys MADE IT«. Hundreds of group pictures came right after with the mountain behind us. All sweaty and smelly, but absolutely overjoyed (and exhausted lol). Machu Picchu tour came after followed by a delicious buffet lunch where Pisco drinks 🍸 (Pisco sours and chilcanos) were overflowing our table.
I’m sharing with you all this long post today because this experience has changed my life. I kicked my asthma in the butt, I didn’t let my stomach infection stop me, I came out of my comfort zone, I stopped being a scaredy cat. I reflected on my life, had too many hours to do a life catharsis while hiking. I felt so proud of my Mava Travel team. I met and surrounded myself with amazing human beings, who taught me how happy you can be with so little. The fact that with our hike we were able to create jobs for these people, who go back to their communities to provide for their family, was a honor. To see firsthand how powerful and intelligent were the Incas, made me reassure myself on how rich is our culture, how amazing is our people. Furthermost, I pushed and challenged myself to the point where quitting was not an option, and I did it.
For this reason, I invite you today to join our #IncaTrailwithMavaTravel challenge because I know that this one of a kind experience is only available for those who want to venture to take on such a challenging path that our Incas walk on centuries ago. It may sound bias but the level of service and quality we provide during the trek is A+. You have to see it for yourself, so are you ready for our 2019 challenge? Email me at [email protected] for details on our LIMA-CUSCO-INCA TRAIL package. Trust me, it’s a journey you will never forget.
Note:Mava Travel supports conscious travelers, before our adventurers take on the Inca Trail hike, we educate them about being responsible and mindful of the regulations to protect our ancient sites. We also encourage them to be appreciative with our team, specially our porters that come from rural communities of the Andeans. We want them to be appreciated the same way we look out and take care of them for being part of our staff. Traveling with a purpose and leaving a positive impact during our trips is a must when planning our clients’ journeys.
The Mavatravel team
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