By Frances Tolero
What an amazing, unforgettable, spiritual and physically invigorating vacation!
To celebrate my 60th birthday, my partner Ron and I decided to spend our summer vacation in Peru last year, because we wanted to do a trek to Machu Picchu while we were still “young” and in pretty good physical health.
We spent three days in Cusco to acclimate to the altitude. While there, we enjoyed walking around, discovering this unique city with its cobblestone sidewalks and narrow streets. (Warning: Pedestrians have no right-of-way, so be careful crossing streets!)
Our lodgings were at Tupac Yanpanqui Palace. The building was one of the original Inca palaces. The outer wall of the hotel still has an original, Inca-built, polished stone wall. The staff was accommodating; gave great customer service; and they’re used to trek tourists. The hotel is in a safe place, within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
We selected Eco Inka for our trekking guide company and we highly recommend them. They have been in business for more than 15 years; they’re eco-conscious; and they treat their porters well. (It’s very important to pick a reputable, trustworthy company.)
I suggest the four-day trek. If you try to do the trek in three days, you won’t have enough time to enjoy the beauty and vastness of the Andes. You’ll just be running from campsite to campsite.
With four days, we had time to take pictures, absorb the scenery and enjoy the natural beauty around us.
We selected the alternative trek to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. While on the trek, we didn’t run into any other tourists on our trail. All we encountered were a few local villagers, some cows, and cattle dogs. This trail led us up to 13,ooo+ ft. around Apu Huallanay, through mountain passes, wide, sweeping vistas, and waterfalls down to the Inca trail.
Our guide, Flor, was top-notch. She put so much of her heart and soul into our trek. She was personable, humorous, calm, helpful and very knowledgeable about the Quechua culture, Inca history, Inca lore, architecture, the landscape, topography, flora and fauna.
Machu Picchu was amazing. The Incas were certainly great architects: Their genius work was obvious in how each stone was placed and each building and room was situated.
This ancient city still holds the grandeur and mystery that beckons thousands of visitors each year.
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