I’m not gonna lie, after struggling through day two on the Inca Trail, I was a bit nervous about day three which is the longest day (10 miles) and included two mountain passes. However, this was by far my favorite day of the Inca Trail because this was also the day that we explored some of the most incredible archaeological sites on the trail, and we hiked through the Upper Amazon Rainforest!
We were pretty tired when we started this day. My knees shook a tiny bit going up the steps, and Stacey had a really bad bout of altitude sickness going up the first mountain pass- she felt as though she couldn’t breathe, but she championed through it, and with a little help from our guide was able to catch her breath, and we just took it a little slower so it was much more enjoyable (and less painful) for her.
Runkuraqay Archaeological Site from the Inca Trail
After the second pass of the Inca Trail, we came upon an area with several lagoons. Because we were going a bit slower, at the tail end of our group, we were the only three who got to see this beautiful tiny Andean deer (vicuña) drinking from this lagoon.
What a gorgeous lagoon!
Stacey and I on top of the third mountain pass- I had to talk her into going up here, but we just took it slow, and I’m really glad we added those extra steps!
The trail up to Sayaqmarka was incredibly steep and narrow- it was a bit scary passing people.
Looking down into the valley from the edge of Sayaqmarka to see Qonchamarka Archaeological Site
A view of the Inca Trail from Sayaqmarka. I didn’t realize how much the trial dropped off until I saw it from here. Crazy!
The Inca Trail through the Amazon
Me climbing down the Inca Tunnel on our way to the third mountain pass.
There were all kinds of bright mosses and other plants growing all around the Inca Trail. It was stunning.
Stacey using those walking sticks!
The trail had a new look to it. It wasn’t the same earth tones we had seen before. Reds, yellows and oranges were now surrounding us.
Río Urubamba Valley
Our guide found this beautiful (but apparently poisonous) caterpillar along the trail and wanted to show him to us.
Phuyupatamarka Archaeological Site from a distance. (Phuyupatamarka means ‘town above the clouds’.)
Almost to the end of day three on the Inca Trail, about to go down the steps of Phuyuptamarka. Even after almost 10 miles, a little quarrel and two mountain passes we were still giggling at the end of the day. That’s the beauty of traveling with your best friend!
Stacey making her way down the steps of Phuyupatamarka
These mountains made me feel like I had double vision. Truly beautiful.
The last sunset on the Inca Trail for us. We went to sleep early with dreams of Machu Picchu the very next day.
Things I Loved About Day Three:
✴︎ Hiking in the Amazon. If the Inca Trail alone wasn’t a dream-come-true, the fact that it meant us hiking through the Amazon just made it even more spectacular.
✴︎ Actually being able to walk through the different archaeological sites and explore them at our own pace.
✴︎ Seeing a vicuña. We had been told about these little guys because their known for making softer wool than alpacas, but seeing it drinking water from the lagoon was so beautiful.
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