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Tuesday, 28 January 2014 03:42

Peru Mountain Lodges Lares Trek

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Pisa Ruins Sacred Valley Peru  Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley Peru

Peru Mountain Lodges Lares Trek

New lodges for Trekkers in Peru will come online and available in 2014 on the Lares Trek. Discover one of the best ways to experience a moderate mountain hiking adventure vacation by staying in superb comfortable cozy lodges with 8 to 10 of your hiking companions while enjoying guided hiking through the spectacular scenery, majestic mountains of the Peruvian Andes in charming lodges which include all meals, hot showers, private rooms and comfortable beds, no camping on the ground or getting wet in your tent.

The Lares Trail, a wonderful alternative to the more heavily traveled Inca Trail, is noted for its cultural attractions, including traditional weavers attired in colorful dress, roving herds of alpacas and llamas, and a panorama of waterfalls, snow peaks, and glacial lakes. The new mountain lodges, built in the towns of Lamay and Ollantaytambo and in the rural community of Huacahuasi, serve as deluxe “base camps” for day hikes in the surrounding environs. Guests may join a fixed departure or exclusive group from Cuzco, complete with an expert guide who will be with the group for the entire journey to Machu Picchu.

An extensive network of trails throughout the region lead to traditional Andean highland communities unchanged for centuries, where guests can meet local weavers and farmers and get a glimpse of the distant past, and to spectacular Inca archaeological sites including Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, where the rebel Inca leader Manco Inca defeated the Spanish in battle. The lodge at Ollantaytambo is also an excellent gateway to visiting the spectacular site of Machu Picchu. More challenging trails bring guests to remote passes with views of Andean peaks, with the occasional condor soaring above. Two programs (7-day and 5-day) are designed to offer different hikes daily for a variety of experience and abilities.

In addition to the Lares Trek is the established Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. This lodge-to-lodge trek is 9-days/8-night journey beginning and ending in Cusco with overnight stays in 4 unique comfortable cozy lodges with hot showers, private rooms and all meals and guide. This deluxe mountain lodges experience primarily catering to travelers from the United States and Europe. The lodges on the Lares Trail and in the Sacred Valley will be of similar type as to the lodges on the Salkantay Trek. Similar architecture designed will blend into the existing landscape along with the use of local materials—stone, adobe, wood, and straw—that reflect the region’s traditional construction. The lodges are also energy efficient, with high-performance solar and space water heaters.

Thinking of a trek into Peru this year but not excited to sleep on the ground in a tent, call us for details on these new hiking adventures at 1-800-626-3483.  

 

Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:07

Cusco to Machu Picchu Rail Peru Schedule Change

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Cusco to Machu Picchu Rail Peru Schedule Change

Cusco to Machu Picchu on Rail Peru schedule change for 2012.

Beginning Jan. 02 – April 15, 2012, train service between Wanchaq Station in Cusco to Ollantaytambo will be via bus service.  From Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes train service will resume   PERU RAIL will run bimodal services (bus services from/to Wanchaq Station in Cusco and train services between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu).

This temporal bimodal service will ensure safe train operations, due to landslides risk during the rainy season.

Hiram Bingham luxury train service will also be provided on bimodal basis (bus service from /to  Wanchaq Station and train service from/to Río Sagrado Orient-Express Hotel in Urubamba), with all amenities and regular inclusions.

Modified timetable for trains regularly departing/arriving from/to Poroy are mentioned below:

  • Tourist trains:
  • Luxury train
  • Route from Machu Picchu
  • Other train services from/to Ollantaytambo and/or Urubamba will be operating in regular basis.
  • Peru TravelPOINTS is always at your service to help you with planning your Peru vacation.
Route to Machu Picchu
Service Train Bus Wanchaq – Ollantaytambo Train Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Vistadome 31 05:55hs 07:55hs 08:29hs 09:52hs
Expedition 33 06:45hs 08:45hs 09:15hs 10:51hs
Vistadome 203 08:05hs 10:05hs 10:32hs 12:11hs
Route from Machu Picchu
Service Train Train Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo Bus Ollantaytambo – Wanchaq
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
Vistadome 32 15:20hs 17:08hs 17:38hs 19:40hs
Vistadome 504 16:22hs 18:01hs 18:30hs 20:30hs
Expedition 34 16:43hs 18:31hs 19:05hs 21:05hs
Vistadome 604 17:27hs 18:56hs 19:30hs 21:20hs
Route to Machu Picchu
Service Train Bus Wanchaq – Rio Sagrado Hotel Train Rio Sagrado Hotel – Machu Picchu
Departure Arrival Departire Arrival
Hiram Bingham 11 07:50hs 09:10hs 09:40hs 12:24hs
 
Service Train Train Machu Picchu – Rio Sagrado Hotel Bus Rio Sagrado Hotel – Wanchaq
Departure Arrival Departu Arrival
Hiram Bingham 12 17:50hs 20:31hs 20:45hs 22:25hs
Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:06

Peru – Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley Affordable

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Peru – Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley Affordable

Peru – Machu Picchu Value

Recently one our clients wanted to see Machu Picchu but they were concerned about price and they did not want to skimp on the number of days they had planned to visit Cusco and see some of the sites in the Sacred Valley.   So we did a little digging and came up with a very fun itinerary that offered all the ingredients of the trip they wanted while staying within their budget.   Last year while visiting Peru we visited many different hotels and assortment of boutique small hotels that were very accommodating in the 3-star price range.   These hotels along with the “shared” tours were the perfect combination for our travelers to experience Machu Picchu the Sacred Valley and stay within their target range.

9-Day / 8-Nights Travel Value Package to Peru

Day 01 – Arrival to Lima – 1-Night Lima Costa Del Sol hotel
Day 02 – Flight Lima to Cusco, tour Pisac ruins, overnight Ollantaytambo Munay Hotel
Day 03 – Ollantaytambo Fortress visit, overnight Ollantaytambo – Munay Hotel
Day 04 – Tour Maras Salt Pools & Moray Terrances, Overnight Ollantaytambo Munay Hotel
Day 05 – Ollanta Train Station to Machu Picchu, Overnight Aguas Calientes – Inti Punku Inn
Day 06 – Machu Picchu, train to Ollantaytambo, overnight Pisac Pisac Inn
Day 07 – Pisac to Cusco, overnight Cusco Casa Andina Catherdal Hotel- Afternoon free
Day 08 – Free Day Cusco to walk around – ovnight Casa Andina Catherdal Hotel
Day 09 – Cusco to Lima flight.  Lima to USA (international airfare not included in price)

Price Per person:   $1399.00 per person  (includes airfare from Lima to Cusco roundtrip)
Trip Includes:

All hotels listed, Rt Air between Lima / Cusco, RT Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, 2-day Machu Picchu entrance, Sightseeing with english speaking guide as indicated, Transfers as indicated, RT Air between Miami & Lima. All taxes and fee’s.  Airfare subject to dates of travel.  Rates based on travel between September – November 2012. All rates subject to availability and change.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:04

Peru Train to Machu Picchu Luggage Up-date

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Peru Train to Machu Picchu Luggage Up-date

Recently the luggage policies on board the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu will require travelers to pack their hand luggage in/on the compartments.   Effective August 06, 2012, all hand luggage mush be stored in/on compartments within the train car. No hand luggage  that exceeds 11 pounds or a dimension of 62 inches (length, width & height) will be allow in the train car.  All other luggage is stored in a separate luggage car. Hand luggage cannot be placed in/on the aisle, exit doors or emergency windows or on the sets.  The hand baggage will be transported on board the train, under the passengers´custody and liability.

Route to Machu Picchu

Passengers hiking the Inca Trail will be allowed to apply for the “Exceptional Flexibility Policy” for Luggage on Board the train.  When showing their UGM permission, ONLY ON THE WAY TO MACHU PICCHU. On the return train, the hand luggage must be transported on the luggage car offered. Passengers with at least one overnight in Machu Picchu can transport their overweight luggage in a luggage car available on the following schedules by showing its valid ticket:

Route                                  Departure         Arrival

Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu            08:53hs        10:52hs

Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo            16:22hs        18:01hs

Luggage free of charge up to :23kg per passenger

A Storage Service facility is available at Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu stations.
Ollantaytambo: Monday to Sunday 07:00hs to 19:00hs
Machu Picchu: Monday to Sunday 10:30hs to 16:30hs
Storage service is FREE OF CHARGE, by showing valid ticket.

TO AVOID DELAYS ON THE DEPARTURES, THE LUGGAGE CHECK-IN WILL BE MADE AT THE STATION MAIN ENTRANCES.

Route to Puno
Please note that on route to Puno, a luggage car is available to transport over weight luggage FREE OF CHARGE.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:03

Peru Tourism up in 2012

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Peru Tourism up in 2012

Recently I received an email from Peru’s Tourism division.  The newsletter talked about tourists from around the world and why Peru is becoming a popular destination in 2012. Over the past years, Peru has started to recognize the importance of making improvements to its tourism infrastructure and the investments are starting to pay off.

As stated from the bureau of tourism, “Peru’s tourism levels are projected to rise between 11 and 14 % over the course of 2012. This investment plus the country’s uniqueness as a vacation destination is the source of this increasing popularity. Peru is a fascinating country and home to the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu, the breathtaking with Amazon Rainforest and the incredible Andes, it’s also a holiday destination where the majesty of the old Incan worlds and the buzz of modern life intertwine. Peru has invested heavily in its tourist infrastructure in recent years, bringing its amenities in line with popular Mediterranean holiday spots and increasing its appeal with even the most timid holiday makers”.

Over the years as more inexpensive vacation deals have become available to adventurous travelers,
Peru’s tourism levels have grown steadily. According to figures posted by the World Tourism Organization,
Peru reportedly saw a 9% increase in tourism levels in 2011 and visitor numbers this year
expected to be even higher.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:57

Bolivia Mountain Biking And Peru Adventure

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Bolivia Mountain Biking And Peru Adventure

Looking for a unique vacation that mixes adventure with mountain biking in Bolivia and a peaceful Catamaran cruise on Lake Titicaca over to Peru then this vacation in South America may be for you.  This adventure is for couples and individuals who are act Looking for a unique vacation that mixes adventure with mountain biking in Bolivia and a peaceful Catamaran cruise on Lake Titicaca over to Peru then this vacation in South America may be for you.  This adventure is for couples and individuals who are active from 12 to 60 plus in age. If you like to walk, bike or hike on weekends and you are in fairly good to good physcial condition then will  easily enjoy this trip ( it is not an extreme trip).

Most Dangerous Road In the World Bolivia

Bolivia - La Cumbre Pass at 15,260 feet

In Bolivia the mountain bike day-trip down the “Road of Death”  is a full day guided tour riding 45 miles down hill.  The mountain bike adventure starts out with your guide at the top of La Cumbre Pass at 15,260 feet. After a full day of riding down the mountain you end up in the Tropics at an elevation of 4000 feet.  The remainder of the trip will be a combination of cruising on Lake Titicaca, motorcoach across the high plains of Peru and a train trip to Cusco.  As you travel from Bolivia over to Peru your Catamaran will depart the shores of Bolivian on Lake Titicaca to the shores of Peru.  Smooth sailing to Sun Island then Copacabana before crossing over the  border into Peru where you will overnight in Puno.  Your journey will continue on to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and return back to Cusco where you can either fly home or continue on for another journey into the Amazon or other areas of Peru.

Bolivia - cruising on Lake Titicaca

Bolivia - Sun Island on Lake Titicaca

Package Includes:

-       Transfers from La Paz Airport to hotel in La Paz

-       City tour of La Paz and Moon Valley

-       3-Nights lodging in La Paz

-       Guided biking tour of the “Most Dangerous Road in the Road”

-       Transfers to Catamaran on Lake Titicaca

-       Lake crossing from Bolivia to Peru on Lake Titicaca on Catamaran

-       1-Night Lodging in Puno, 3-nights lodging Cusco, 1-night Sacred Valley, 1-night Aguas Calientes.

-       All sightseeing, entrance fees, meals as described with English speaking guide.

Land Price from:  Call for a current Quote on this package

Does not include international airfare to Bolivia or from Peru.

 

Peru Amazon Lodges Tambopata National Reservea – Refugio Amazonas & Posada Amazonas

Refugio Amazonas & Posada Amazonas Lodges located in the Tambopata National Reservea in Peru,  managed by Rainforest Expeditions announced that as of May 1, 2013 Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas lodges will have superior rooms and will be available as follows:

Refugio Amazonas: 24 standard rooms + 8 superior rooms
Posada Amazonas: 24 standard rooms + 6 superior rooms
Superior rooms will have full painting, doors at the entrance of the room and bathroom, electric light and outlets (during the hours in which the generator is turned on) and decoration according to the environment.

In addition, since 2013, following SERNANP regulations – All passengers entering Refugio Amazonas lodge must pay U.S. $ .13.00 for admission to the Tambopata National Reserve. If the passenger also visits TRC only one payment of U.S. $ .60.00 should be made.

Finally, your passengers will have the opportunity to visit Tambopata Research Center on a 4 days / 3 nights program, thanks to the changes made to maximize passengers stay at TRC. Now they will only stay the first night at Refugio Amazonas, and enjoy the rest of nights at Tambopata Research Center. On the departure they will return directly from TRC to the city, so passengers are requested to book outbound flights starting at 1.00 pm.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:48

Restaurants in Lima & Cusco Peru Worth a Try

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Restaurants in Lima & Cusco Peru Worth a Try

Restaurants in Lima & Cusco Peru Worth a Try

Restaurant Rafael – Miraflores
Travelers visiting a foreign country are sometime reluctant to search out restaurants outside the hotel especially in a large city like Lima or Cusco Peru.  One restaurant located in the suburbs  of Lima in Miraflores is  “Rafael” is a French-Peruvian restaurant that attracts visitors from all over the world.  Chef Rafael Osterling, the restaurant’s namesake, serves up a fusion of delicious dishes. The restaurant is best Known for their apple martini.  The restaurant is located in a 1920’s style republican mansion in the older part of Miraflores, which is easy access from many of the hotels in Miraflores by cab.  Visitors are welcomes to try its decadent cuisine and elegance. Physically, Rafael’s restaurant’s art deco and minimalist details mirror his casual personal touch. The menu is full of creativity that is sure to inspire visitors.

Restaurant Panchita – Legendary Peruivan Dishes in Miraflores
Located in Miraflores Chef Gaston Acurio’s has been creating new versions of legendary dishes since opening in 2009.  The cuisine is said to be resonant of traditional crillo food which many native Peruvians eat in their homes. It is known to many as Peruvian “comfort food.” At Panchita the signature dish is the anticuchos, which are skewers of barbecued meat with boiled potatoes and corn.

Restaurant Fiesta in Miraflores
Not far from Rafael and Panchita in Miraflores, is restaurant Fiesta.  With a number of other restaurants located all over Peru, Chef Hector Solis opened Fiesta’s doors in 1996. The restaurant is committed to tradition and a connection with Peru, serving traditional regional cuisine and number of carefully selected national dishes.

Restaurant Chicha – Cusco Peru

Restaurant Chicha acclaimed Chef Gastón Acurio is known for his fantastic culinary work at Chicha, a restaurant located in Cusco, Peru. Chicha is not only the name of the restaurant, but is also a traditional Peruvian beverage. The restaurant is known for its attentiveness to regional cuisine and ingredients, celebrating Peru’s diverse culinary attributes.

Restaurant Limo – Cusco Peru
Restaurant Limo is not only the name of Chef Coque Ossio’s restaurant, but the ingredient that serves as the center of its dishes. At Limo, the Chef prepares red, green, yellow, orange and violet aji limo that show the chef’s commitment to traditional Peruvian cusine. Limo is located on the second floor of the older Casa del Inquisidor with tables set on a balcony overlooking the Plaza de Armas.

Restaurant Incanto – Cusco
Another restaurant that Chef Ossio operates is Incanto, located in an old Inca palace in downtown Cusco.  With a glass-enclosed kitchen featuring over 80 dishes of Italian-Peruvian fusion. The restaurant opened in June 2006 and even features a dish of Alpaca loin for 30 soles.

Restaurant Hotel Sol y Luna – Wayra
Restaurant Hotel Sol y Luna is an authentic Peruvian cuisine.  Located in Sacred Valley’s unique climate, the restaurants prepares Peruivan cuisine that is easily-digestible food. At Hotel Sol y Luna, visitors have the ability to share a one on one culinary experience or cooking workshop with their chef where he explains the choices made in their dishes. The kitchen also combines Sacred Valley’s traditions and contemporary vibrancy in their food. The menu is based on local produce where the kitchen assumes a social and environmental responsibility to the Valley and desire to increase local delights in the region.

Mountain Biking “The Road of Death” in Bolivia and Luxury Lodge Trekking in Peru

Discover the glorious heights of Inca culture and the grandeur of the Andes.

If you are looking for a unique vacation that mixes adventure with mountain biking in Bolivia and or  trekking through spectacular Andean Mountain ranges in Peru, staying in luxury mountain lodges, then this vacation in South America may be for you.  This adventure isn’t for the average Inca Trail camper who shares the trail with crowds of other trekkers, regimented to tent camping and sleeping on the ground.   This vacation adventure is intended for the hiker who wants to mingle with maximum of 12 hikers and who wants to enjoy the majestic mountain scenery and relax in luxury lodges that provide hot showers, comfortable beds and gourmet Peruvian cuisine.

My husband and I recently completed this adventure and I can say it was one of the best trips we have taken.  We are an active couple in our mid 50’s who live in Colorado occasionally hike, bike and spend weekends outdoors.

Our trip started with flying into Lima Peru where we stayed the first night in Miraflores a 45 minute taxi ride to the Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel.  We choose not to stay at the hotel located at the Lima airport because the room rates are high and Miraflores gave us an option to explore the quaint town nice cafes and boutique shops.

The next morning we continued our journey with a flight from Lima to La Paz, Bolivia where we were picked up by the tour company we made arrangements with for the next 4 days.  The capital city of La Paz is at an elevation of around 12,000 feet and surrounded by the high plateau plains and majestic mountains that exceed 20,000 feet.

The city of La Paz is located in a crater like valley with buildings and adobe houses built up and down the steep canyon sides.  The streets are busy with traffic, pedestrians and cabs all in a hurry to get somewhere quick.  Cabs are easy to find and very reasonable in price. Like many large cities in South America, travelers always need to be cautious about being approached by strangers and aware of their surrounding and activity.  Bolivian “boliviano” is the accepted currency and it is recommended to exchange USD either with the hotel or at the airport.  Our exchange rate was 1-USD = 6.8 Bolivian dollars.  There are many restaurants, shops and cafes located along the main Prada Avenue in La Paz. There are also a variety of accommodations from backpacker hostiles to very nice 4-star hotels.  Our hotel for the next 2-nights was the Ritz Apart Hotel located in the downtown area of La Paz.  Rooms at this hotel are large and spacious, some with kitchens for a longer stay.   The hotel has a nice restaurant on the main level with wonderful food and service at a reasonable price.

The next day, we set out to bike down the” Most Dangerous Road in the World “or “El Camino de la Muerte”, Road of Death.  Our main reasons to travel and visit La Paz, Bolivia was to ride the Death Road and find out if it’s really “The Real Deal”.  My husband and I both like to Mountain bike and we have experienced mountain biking in and around Colorado and Utah on moderate to difficult trails.

The local biking company we choose to work with was recommending by the trade organizations I belong to.  It became very apparent this particular bike excursion appeals to the 20 and 30 something age group even though we were the oldest in the group.  We meet our group at the specified meeting location and loaded into the van with bikes on top. We headed to the La Cumbre Pass where we were dropped off at 15,260 ft.  Our guides passed out the necessary gear: bike helmet, bike gloves and rain gear and goggles if we wanted them. Our sunglasses were perfect to block the wind and protect the eyes, since it was a nice sunny day.  From the top of La Cumbre Pass, the bikes were unloaded and instructions from the guide were given regarding what to expect for the next 60km.  The ride starts out on paved road for a fairly long section before you arrive at the cut in the road that marks the beginning of the Death Road  (El Camino de la Muerte).  Our biking company was very attentive and strict about safety, stopping every 20 – 30 minutes to inform the group about the pending section we were about to ride.  During the ride we were able to make stops and take pictures of the different climate zone we experienced, from sub alpine tundra to humid subtropical climate at 3,900 feet.  We saw amazing foliage, birds and scenery the entire ride.

This ride is not to be taken lightly, there are some very extreme drop offs of at least 1,830 feet on curves.  The dirt gravely road is only a little bit wider than a single-lane and  occasional on coming commercial buses and trucks to watch out for during the ride. In many of the sections, it is very steep and you use your back brake to curb your speed, especially around the hair-pin corners and curves.   There are very few guard rails (we did see a couple, posts wrapped in black and yellow tape, would not keep you from going off the edge. We believe it was to warn you the road was a bit unsafe in that spot, usually a spot that represented falling edge). The road terrain is a dirt rocky road with loose gravel that has been kicked up from years of car/truck tires, spinning wheels.

The scenery is amazing and well worth the ride. Our weather was mostly clear with fantastic views of the valley and mountains surrounding the area.  Our ride ended up with a small animal sanctuary where we had lunch and a cold beer.  After our lunch and brief visit with several tame monkey’s, beautiful Macaws, turtles and Coati a member of the raccoon family. We loaded the van and headed  back up the death road to return to La Paz.  It was our turn to watch out for bikers and other cars coming down.

Our travel continued the next day with a transfer to Chua, a small town at the edge of Lake Titicaca where we boarded a new enclosed Catamaran for a day trip across Lake Titicaca to Sun Island and Copacabana, the border town between Bolivia and Peru.  After our day excursion we boarded a nice motor coach which took us into the city of Puno, Peru.  Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world at over 12,300 feet is one of Peru’s major tourist destinations to visit, it is a beautiful lake with surrounded by villages and  small islands.  Lake Titicaca is also known as the sacred lake of the Incas.  Sun Island is the most important island to visit because it’s considered the cradle of the Inca Empire.

Our overnight accommodations were at the Casa Andian Private Collection Hotel, located a short distance from Puno.   The property sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca with great views of the city across the bay.   It’s a quiet and peaceful hotel, with the ambience from the Peruvian architecture.  Rooms are spacious and a nice, the restaurant had delicious food, great service and reasonable prices.

After a good night’s sleep and wonderful  breakfast  we boarded a motor coach for our 9 ½ hour ride to Cusco.  Sounds dreadful, but it was a lot of fun. The tour company that offers this excursion caters to the American, European and world traveler.  Clean comfortable modern European buses with comfortable seats, tour guide along with a hostess serving soft drinks, coffee and water.   Our bus fare also included lunch and various stops at interesting ruins and a Peruvian textile stop along with way. On arrival into Cusco we took a local cab to our overnight accommodation:  Inkaterra La Casona Hotel, a quaint luxury hotel.  La Casona is centrally located in the serene Plaza Las Nazarenas.  With only eleven suites each surround by a delightful courtyard, where the patina of time is tastefully preserved. This small boutique hotel’s service and accommodations are the reasons why you treat yourself to this wonderful romantic experience.

The following morning our trekking company picked us up early and we headed to the trail head. We are  about to began our 6-day trek, hiking from lodge-to-lodge over the various mountain passes to reach the town of Aguas Calienetes , which was our final destination located at the base of Machu Picchu.  Each of our days started with a full breakfast prepared by the lodge staff before we headed out with our water bottles filled with purified water, snacks in our packs and our guides leading the way on moderate to some semi- difficult hiking days.  Evening and morning briefings were a daily routine by our guides to provide us, history and information of the area and what to expect for the next day hiking terrain.  Hiking mileage varied each day from 7 to 12 miles depending on the distance between the lodges.  The Andean Mountains, which tower over 21,000 feet were the back drop to our hikes every day.  As the week progressed, our elevation slowly decreased from 12,500 ft from our first lodge to around 7,000 ft at the last lodge.  Every afternoon we were welcomed by the lodge staff with warm towels and hot  tea and beautiful Peruvian smiles.

During our first 2-days of the trek, we spent 2-nights at the first lodge to get acclimated to the 12,500 ft altitude. The second day at this lodge we hiked to a Glacier fed lake as a warm up to help acclimate to our surrounds and prepare us for the altitude gain we were about hike. There was only one day that the hike was challenging with an elevation gain of approximately 2,500 ft which encompassed  a pass of over at 15,000 ft. Our guide was very attentive to our group making sure everyone was hiking at the pace that was comfortable for them.  Plenty of water was available to hydrate during the hike and snacks were always available. (we loved the little Sublime chocolates, pecans, peanuts and treats we’d pack in our snack bag each morning from the lodges)

These lodges are exceptionally nice, the rooms and lounge spaces are very accommodating, warm and inviting.  With the majestic views and rugged snow capped mountains off in the distance, the Peruvian design and style of the lodges blended in with the native surroundings.  Natural stone and dark woods were used to create an ambience that was characteristic of Peru.  Guest rooms were spacious, beautiful bedding, down comforters along with hot showers, flush toilets and internet service.  Three meals a day were included along with a nice selection of wine and beer available for purchase.

All supplies between the lodges were transported by donkey and horse train on a daily basis by the lodge wranglers.  These donkeys and horses carried everything including our duffle bags, water, fuel, food and other supplies that were needed at each of the lodges for the guests.  Each lodge had its unique features and ambiance, but all provided a warm clean friendly inviting atmosphere.  Guests could relax in the lounge area and enjoy the hospitality and happy hour before dinner or soak in the hot tube after a long day of hiking. There are no roads to these lodges and all the construction of the lodges was done by years of donkey trains carrying all the materials to build these wonderful unique lodges.

Our trek ended with our arrival into Aguas Calientes the small town at the base of Machu Picchu.  Here we spent the evening at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, another fine boutique hotel with exceptional service and ambience.  After an enjoyable evening walking around the small town exploring, the culture and people we returned to our hotel.  In the morning and took a short ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu where our guide provided us with a private personal tour of the Machu Picchu.  Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and this year they are celebrating their 100th year anniversary of the rediscovery by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham.  Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 7,970 feet above sea level.  It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Machu Picchu is often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.

After spending all day exploring Machu Picchu we left late afternoon we rode the train back to Cusco where we spent the last evening of our trip at the Hotel Monasterio, a former monastery and national monument dating from 1592. This delightful and elegant Orient-Express hotel combines its centuries-old charm and ambience with luxury hotel service, inspired restaurants and boutique rooms.  This is another hotel that if you are going to splurge, this a wonderful hotel to splurge on, you won’t regret it, you will remember it forever.

I would highly recommend you challenge yourself as you trek through the many different biozones of the Peruvian Mountains, changing altitude and varied terrain. You will marvel at the exquisite beauty of Salkantay Peak, Salkantay Glacier and Humantay Glacier Lake. You will share in the culture and customs of local Andean families who maintain age-old traditions while being pampered in the comfort of enchanting mountain Inns, the innovative local cuisine and the warmth of the Peruvian people.  You will be inspired and impressed by the majestic mountains of the surroundings and the knowledge and feeling  that you are following in the footsteps of the Incas.

Written by: Patsy James co-owner of ATP Tours, a wholesale tour operator that has been customizing vacation packages into Central and South America for the past 14-years.  If you would like more information about this trip or have interest in booking this package please call or  visit our web sites at www.belizetravelpoints.comwww.costaricatravelpoins.com, www.perutravelpoints.com and www.ecuadortravelpoints.com, or call her at 1-800-626-3483 or email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Testimonials

"All three stops exceeded expectations--and everything moved along smoothly. Our transfers were without incident, and every resort awaited our arrival with open arms."
- Lori and Brian Skope

"I just wanted to tell you that it was one of our best trips ever. It was a pleasure to work with you, so thanks for your great planning and service!"
- Kari Harrison

"Everything went very smoothly. The hotel was great, the outfits selected for the diving and tours were fantastic and their commitment to service made the trip all the better. 
- Alina Gonzale

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