Ciaran, John and I were put into a group with thirteen others (mostly American) and we started our trek on a sunny morning - together with two guides and twenty porters! The idea of needing so many people to do a trek initially didn't sit well with me, but I soon got used to this luxurious style of trekking, where our tents were pitched for us and the food we were served was delicious. Given that I had just spent six months living at altitude and had done plenty of trekking, I didn't find the going as hard as others in our group. So I was able to enjoy the lush scenery and the Inca ruins that we regularly came across (which added to the historic feel).
Santa Cruz Trek, Las Cordilleras Blancas, 45kms, highest point 4,750m.
After saying goodbye to Ciaran Luttrell and John, I headed ten hours north of Lima with Ciarán Aylward, Elaine and Sally (a friend from Devon who I've met up with several times over the last eight months) to Huaraz to go trekking in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. During the four-day trek we saw some fantastic, rugged scenery and, unlike the Inca Trail, we had it pretty much all to ourselves, i.e. the four of us, our guide and his trainee, and Alberto and his two donkeys and two horses who carried our tents etc. I'm getting used to this style of trekking where our stuff is carried, our tents pitched and nice food served up!It was a very enjoyable trek and the Cordilleras Blancas rank right up there in my list of amazing places.After the trek, I continued north with Ciarán and Elaine. First to Trujillo (a colourful colonial city near a beach and with fascinating pre-Inca ruins nearby) and then to Máncora (a small beach town). Elaine left us to skip up to Colombia to catch up with her friends, so it was just myself and Ciarán left when we hit for the Peru-Ecuadorian border. I had overstayed my six-month visa but only had to pay a dollar for every day that I was over. So after paying the US$28, I left Peru having spent a very memorable seven months there.