My friends and family always want to know why I keep going back to Peru. I’ve been going to Peru at least once a year since 2008! My answer: there is just so much to see and do in Peru that I never get tired of it.
Here are my top 5 favorite places I love to go in Peru. (It was so hard to choose!)
Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu is Peru’s crown jewel. Named a new 7 Wonder, exploring this UNESCO world heritage site is a bit like wandering through an Inca ghost town. Stone buildings, winding staircases, still functioning aqueducts, and farming terraces hint at what life must have been like during the time of the Inca.
Machu Picchu is so strategically located that the Spanish never found it during their conquest of Peru. In fact, it wasn’t until 1911 that the existence of Machu Picchu was revealed to the world when Hiram Bingham re-discovered it while he was looking for the lost city of Vilcabamba. (more…)
New rules affecting visitors to Machu Picchu are already afoot. Recently, our guests reported that park rangers would not allow them to bring their camera tripods and monopods into the park. The use of hiking poles, even with rubber tips, was also prohibited.
When I was at Machu Picchu in early May, these rules were not in effect.
In addition, I’ve learned that Machu Picchu will also be debuting a new schedule designed to increase the number of visitors who can access the park. The park will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and again from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (more…)
Hiking the Inca Trail can be an amazing experience! Or it, can be the stuff of nightmares.
Follow the tips below to ensure you are absolutely miserable on the Inca Trail.
- Be a porter instead of hiring a porter. Your quads will be screaming as you summit not one but two mountain passes at nearly 14,000 feet each.
- Hire the cheapest trekking company that will have you. Horror stories abound about guests going to bed starving because their designated company didn’t pack enough food.
- Forget to bring toilet paper. Enough said.
- Hike in sneakers or brand new hiking boots you haven’t broken in yet. You’ll wish you could make the hike in flip-flops once the blisters begin.
- Let a friend talk you into hiking the trail without first researching what you are getting into. You need to train for this hike. If you aren’t in good shape for it, you’ll wish you could kill your friend.
- Think that because you hiked Kilimanjaro the Inca Trail will be a piece of cake. Kilimanjaro is gradual. The Inca Trail is steep.
The Inca Trail is a terrible place to get altitude sick. You’ll either feel miserable hiking with a pounding headache or desperate as you search for a secluded, makeshift bathroom to deal with stomach issues brought on by altitude sickness. And, to be frank, there aren’t many secluded spots on the popular Inca Trail.
Here are four tips to help you ensure that you don’t end up in this uncomfortable situation.
- Spend two to three days in Cusco. You can explore the nearby Inca ruins, visit a weaving community in the neighboring Sacred Valley, wander through the local market, and look for signs of Inca rebellion at the colonial cathedral while you give your body a chance to adjust.
- Slow down. On the Inca Trail, slow and steady wins the race. It’s normal to feel panicky about your ability to keep up. Instead of giving into the temptation to rush, though, slow to a pace that allows you to keep your breathing under control. Huffing and puffing is a sure sign that you are hiking too fast.
Whenever I plan a trip to a new destination, I like to include the can’t-be-missed experiences that characterize that area. If you are planning a trip to Peru, these are the top 10 experiences you should make sure to include.
Ancient ruins. Machu Picchu, Peru’s most famous ancient ruins, draws droves of tourists from the world over. The country is rife with ancient ruins, though, some dating back to centuries before Christ.
Worth seeing and on the beaten path are the four archeological sites on the outskirts of Cusco, Pachacamac a little over an hour’s drive from Lima, and the ruins at Ollantaytambo and Pisac.
If you are willing to hike, you can visit the remote ruins of Huchuy Cusco. This Inca town, whose name means “Little Cusco,” is believed to have been constructed by an early Inca emperor to mark the conquest of a nearby rival tribe. Today, it’s best known for its impressive number of stone buildings and commanding views of the Sacred Valley. (more…)
Planning a trip to Peru? Here are three things you should definitely consider that you probably can’t find on the internet.
1. Altitude. Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, and Puno, home to the Uros floating islands are both very high. Un-medicated, most people suffer symptoms of altitude sickness that range from a splitting headache to an upset stomach.
Whenever possible, you want to plan your trip to move from lower to higher altitudes so that you can acclimatize as you go. For example, you might start at sea level in Lima, then travel to Cusco before continuing to Puno. (more…)
Llamas, those weird looking Andean camelids with the long neck and buckteeth, are almost synonymous with Peru. If you haven’t spent time in the company of a llama during your trip to Peru, you’ve missed out on a quintessential experience.
Here are 5 places you can go to make sure you get some quality llama time in. (more…)
Guest Blog Post by Lili Mahlab
Following our wonderful buffet breakfast on the top floor of the Miraflores hotel, we checked our bags with the concierge and met up with Gustavo and our driver at 9:00 to head to the Museo Raphael Larco Herrera. Larco Herrera’s son was a renowned archeologist, who wrote several books on Inca history and culture.
The museum houses a spectacular private collection of rare objects with wonderful pottery pieces, jewelry, mummies, tapestries, and more. Gustavo made sure to point out some of the most interesting pieces in the museum and explained their historical significance. (more…)
Guest Blog Post by Lili Mahlab
We were met at 7:30 by Mary and our guide, John Alexander. The first part of our day included a tour to the Uros floating reed islands. Mary left us after we crossed the train tracks in front of our hotel to get to the pier where our private boat was docked. It was a 25-passenger boat. But since we had booked a private tour, it was just the six of us plus our guide and the two boatmen.
After traveling through acres and acres of tall reeds, we came to a “toll-like” hut where our guide paid our entry fee to the floating islands.
Imagine our shock when we saw islands literally made of nothing but reeds lashed together. They appeared to be at least a full meter thick with multiple layers of reeds lashed together with rope. We learned that the islanders need to repair their islands twice a month as the organic material of which they are made eventually decomposes. (more…)
Guest Blog Post by Lili Mahlab
We were met by Mary and John Alexander, our guide, at 6:30. While we weren’t able to print our boarding passes for our flight from Juliaca to Lima due to a glitch in the LAN website, Mary made sure that we were checked in for our flights and were assigned seats.
Two members of our group had been bumped on the flight from Lima to Cusco. So she made sure that this wouldn’t happen again. As it turned out, there were a couple of people who had been bumped on the return flight. But, thankfully, we got on the flight without a hitch.
Our first stop was the Umayo lagoon, a body of water that at one time was a part of Lake Titicaca. However, as the earth moved and reformed, the lagoon was cut off from the main lake and eventually formed a separate body of water.
As there were six of us, we were met by three boatmen (one was a woman) who rowed for about a half hour to the wild vicuna preserve on Umayo Island. (more…)