The Juicy Truth about my 5 day Trek to Machu Picchu


  1. Machu PIcchu has been on the top of my bucket list since primary school! I loved reading your story, however you did scare me a little, haha
    Do you have to be really fit to do the trek? And what time of year did you go?
    Congrats on completing despite your setbacks :))

    • Thanks Britt!
      I would say it helps to be moderately fit. But we had people of varying fitness levels in our group. You can go at your own pace.
      Don’t be deterred by my story. I was just struck down by the flu making it doubly hard!
      I did the trek in November last year. I am so excited for you to do this trip, with or without the trek!
      Gemma xo

  2. Your trip sounds amazing and awe- inspiring (albeit the coughing). My bucket list would definitely have to be Morocco and Tanzania :-). I was just wondering how much the whole tour and trip cost, roughly?
    Ps. I love your blog!

    • Oh wow. Where specifically in Morocco and Tanzania?
      The whole 5 day trek including food, tent and sleeping bag was $220 US!
      I always recommend booking when you get there because everything is negotiable.
      Some people on my tour paid $400 because they booked in advance. Rookie error.
      Thank you for your support towards my blog! xo

  3. Wow, wow and WOW again. What beautiful stunning pictures and such a tale – loved it. I could have heard so much more, definitely not too long Gem 🙂
    I have always wanted to go to Machu Picchu but am nervous that my asthma will not survive the altitude. and my dodgy knee won’t manage the hills for five days walking on such terrain. Your story is definitely inspirational and makes me want to just go and give it a go though. Maybe I should try your mantra – I think I can, I think I can 🙂 LOVE IT 🙂
    Well done for overcoming your illness and fears to live your dream I absolutely love this and want to hear more about your adventures. xoxo

    • Thank you for your words Pippa! Even if you don’t do the trek, visiting Machu Picchu alone will satisfy any wanderluster.
      It’s just so magnificent. You can even get there by a scenic train ride. Pretty cool.
      Once again, thank you for your continued love + support towards my blog. Sending you nothin’ but good vibes. Love Gem x

  4. Hey Gemma do you have any recommendations for accommodation in
    Antigua Guatemala?
    Is it recommended to book before you go or is it easy enough to just rock up somewhere?
    We’re heading up to pachu pitchu also so I’m loving your new post!

    • Hi Corrie!
      If you’re looking for a hostel, Jungle Party is fun! They have cool rooftop bar with swings! xo

  5. Wow Gemma, every week I feel like you’re living the life I always dreamt of but 35 years in a wheelchair and the last 15 unable to get from bed to wheelchair made impossible. So thanks for giving us this opening on the fantastic world around us, and the sheer joy (even when you are feeling like you’re on death’s door or waving your toenails farewell) that permeates every sentence and every photograph. x

  6. This is awesome Gemma! Absolutely love the photos (especially with the llama ). Definitely the kick in the butt I need to start ticking off the bucket list and not just adding to it!
    The top few on mine currently are seeing the northern lights, a road-trip around Australia (we have so much beauty in our back yard!) and Peru!

    • Hello my gorgeous name-sake. I agree! There is so much beauty in our back yard. An Australian road trip is high on my bucket list too!
      Very keen to see the twelve Apostles and check out the great barrier reef!

  7. Great commentary Gemma. Can I ask, is there any specific reason why you chose this trek? It seems strange that you trekked for 5 days then ultimately got a bus up to Machu Picchu. Friends of mine did the 4 day Inca Trail option and arrived on foot at the Machu Picchu Sungate at dawn. I think I’d need that feeling of accomplishment!

    • I chose the Salkantay trek because it is the longest and the least popular. Is it no where near as the crowded Inca Trail. The Inca trail also doesn’t have the variation of scenery as The Salkantay Trek. AND you have to book 3 months ahead to secure a spot on the Inca trail. I didn’t want to restrict my travel dates. I was able to book the Salkantay trek 2 days before departure.

      I probably should have mentioned this in my post… I caught the 10 minute bus ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu while the rest of my group hiked up. I couldn’t hike in my condition at 4am (although I desperately wanted to!). So just like the Inca trail, you would ordinarily still be arriving by foot. But with the Inca trail, you arrive much later in the day, so you don’t get to be the first through the gate when the park is still empty.
      Hope this answer your questions. Let me know if I can help you out with anything else.
      Gemma x

  8. First thing, I want to thank you for choosing to write the long version of your trek to Machu Picchu, I’m sorry you had to suffer with the flu but the fact that you soldiered on doing whatever you had to do in order to reach your goal is admirable; a testament to an amazing mental and physical strength. My studies in college took me to the rain forest in Peru but sadly I was unable to make it to Machu Picchu. Since I was a teenager I have wanted to visit all fifty states here in the US, as of now I have only six left! At the very top of my list is to see or at least hear a wolf in the wild. Of course an entire pack of wolves would be even better! Thanks again for sharing your adventure and the beautiful photos.

    • Wow Melanie! Six states to go. What a fantastic bucket list you’ve ticked off so far.
      I haven’t heard of a wolf in the wind before. You’ve certainly got me googling!
      Thanks for sharing. I hope you get to tick off the remaining 6 soon and one day get a chance to visit Machu Picchu once and for all!
      Love Gemma x

  9. Hey Gemma! Loved the post and your photos!
    I’ve always wanted to try trekking! But I’m not sure I’m up for a 5 day trek! It’s amazing how you completed yours while suffering from a terrible cough! I wanted to know if there are any treks that are very scenic but not 5 days long?

    From India

    • Yes there are! There are actually options for a 2 or 3 day trek to Machu Picchu too. No doubt the scenery will also be stunning. Plus you’ll never be disappointed when you reach Machu Picchu. It’s mind blowing! xx

  10. Wow gemm!! Sounds fantastic. It seems like such an amazing trip to do. Ive always loved aventures!! Im soo going to do this onee somedaayyy. Hope you can come to colombia again (i saw you were in medellin) its such a beautiful place, full of happy people! And you must visit the beaches around, like santa marta and baru…they are breathtaking destinations! Loved your page, is full of inspiring things to fill my day with.
    Sending you all my love.
    From an adventurer’s heart to another.

    • Hi Lina,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so in LOVE in Colombia. I honestly feel like I could live there.
      I fell madly in love with Santa Marta and swooned over the stunning scenery of Tyrona National Park.
      I hope you have some upcoming adventures abroad. I know I’m biased, but I can’t recommend Australia enough. So many hidden pockets to explore.
      Sending love fellow adventurer!

  11. Hey Gemma,

    I would love to know what tour company you used for Machu Picchu and Bolivia Salt Flats as we’re looking at doing a similar trip at the end of the year and yours looked so amazing and included all the things we’re after experiencing!

    Hope Mummahood is treating you well!

    Em xx

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