Machu Picchu is on the bucket list of most people I know. It is a marvel of creation and human ingenuity. It is absolutely breathtaking and, of course, well worth the visit. But there is so much more to Peru that can not be missed…and my trip only touched the tip of the iceberg!
The Sacred Valley
King & Whitson Travel designed an amazing tasting of Peruvian culture for our multi-generational family. We began our travels in the Sacred Valley and at the gorgeous Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama. This casita style rooms are tucked into the valley between the majestic Andes Mountains. The views are spectacular, and the cozy casitas were some of my favorite accommodations. Each evening we were greeted back to our room with a warm fire and a huge, starlit night. The food at all Inkaterra hotels throughout Peru is very well done and locally sourced. A gorgeous option when visiting the Sacred Valley!
The main building of Inketerra Urubamba lit up at night.
The sun coming up over our casitas one morning and shining onto the Andes Mountains
The Peruvian people are the highlight of the country! They are a sweet, hardworking culture who are pleased to show you their land. Their Incan ancestors’ land was a testament to the intelligence and creativity of these people. We had an amazing tour set up to visit the Moray archaeological site and the Maras salt mines which are fed by natural salty springs. The Moray is an agricultural laboratory the Incans created to determine which plants would grow best at which altitude and which temperature. When you see these rings of land, you are in awe of their incredible intelligence and ingenuity!
The Morays…an agricultural laboratory created by the Incans. The temperature from the top to the bottom can be a 15℃ difference.
We visited other Incan ruins and towns and saw many markets with Peruvian people still practicing the trades of their Incan ancestors. The weaving, pottery, painting, jewelry…they are all exquisite! Peru may still be considered a developing country in some ways, but the people love their roots and love their land, and it shows in their pride. We finished one afternoon with an incredible spread of Peruvian delicacies at an outdoor picnic looking out towards the majestic Andes Mountains…an exclusive experience our team at King and Whitson Travel was able to provide for us!
Our fabulous guide and driver setting up a spectacular picnic for just us!
To reach infamous Machu Picchu is such a fun experience! Once you board the vista train, you are swept through the mountains about an hour and a half to Machu Picchu. On board the train they are playing the soothing music of the Incans and serving food and drinks. There are native dancers on board that entertain adults and children alike!
And then you reach the pinnacle of Machu Picchu. Our guide which King & Whitson Travel had arranged was absolutely one of the best guides I have ever had! He took us up to vista points where the crowds below were not aware of to see the grandeur of the place from a high vantage point. He answered every question my 16 year-old son bombarded him with and took delight in how interested my son was in this magical place. A tour guide at a popular and historic place such as Machu Picchu is A MUST!
After acclimating even more to the altitude in Cusco we spent our last few days at the highest traversable lake in the world…Lake Titicaca. Don’t get me wrong, Machu Picchu is a marvel not to be missed, but Lake Tiiticaca was the pinnacle for me! (Literally it was the pinnacle at over 12,000 feet above sea level!) The resort on the lake called Lake Titilaka is an all-inclusive resort with the best food I had in Peru and activities galore to choose from for any interest. Our room, a “dawn” room, faced the lake and, as the name suggests, was a sunrise view over the lake. They have “dusk” rooms also, depending on your preference. Each evening there were roaring outdoor fires, wine and snacks, gourmet meals (I almost couldn’t keep eating what was offered…almost! ☺), lovely lake views, kayaks, bikes, and more.
The view from our bed – the gorgeous Lake Titicaca!
The lake at sunset
There are included activities, and I wish I had had time to do them all. The one we chose was to visit the Uros Floating Islands. These islands are made of river reeds and are floating with homes, families, food, even animals on them. Incredible! The simplicity of their lives was evident and their beautiful carvings and tapestries were so unique. My children each came home with a tapestry which they hung in their rooms. Gorgeous!
Uros Floating Island
A rainbow over the lake on our last day – amazing!
Peru is vast! Lima is home to millions of people on the sea, the Sacred Valley and the Andes Mountains soar thousands of feet into the sky, not to mention the Amazon River and the whole other ecosystem it brings to the country! Go to see this incredible land but really go and experience its people. They were a gift to our family!