- Streets of Cusco – walking around this ancient town full of culture and surprises is a must do. Old markets like San Pedro is a great place to stop by for a quick bite, gifts, local clothing, and flowers.
- Peru Rail – other than doing the Inca trail, Peru rail offers an unique experience to get to Machu Picchu.
- Machu Picchu – one of the seven wonders of world. Hiking Huayna Picchu in the morning and Sun Gate in the afternoon are two things I got check off my bucket list!
- Ollantaytambo – along with Maras, they are hidden gems in the Sacred Valley.
- High altitude – Cusco is 11,152 ft above sea level. Many people experience high altitude sickness when they fly into Cusco. One thing to know is high altitude sickness has nothing to do with your fitness level. Avoid drinking alcohol and eating red meat, to save the Oxygen! Also, most of the hotels in town are equipped with Oxygen tanks in case you need them.
- Machu Picchu tickets – It is such a popular destination which it limits 2,500 visitors a day. The actual hike to Huayna Picchu only allows 400 visitors a day, which separates into two groups. To secure a spot, I highly suggest you to purchase the ticket 3 month prior to your trip. If you arrive at Machu Picchu at noon and don’t want to lose the half day, you can actually purchase a half day ticket. To purchase official tickets to Machu Picchu without paying any service fees, go to https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe . Clickhere for detailed instruction.
- When arriving at Machu Picchu – The door opens at 6 am every morning and the line to enter the gate is super long. I highly recommend to stay at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. It’s the only lodging at the top of the mountain. Yes you do pay more, but the trade off is you are within walking distance to the actual gate. Not to mention the hustle of waiting in line for the bus and the 30 minutes bus ride from the town Angus Valley.
Palacio Manco Capac by Ananay Hotel
The hotel ground is surrounding of a beautiful eucalyptus forest, incan ruin site, and its half between Sacsayhuman and the popular Plaza de Armas in the San Cristóbal neighbourhood of Cusco. Not to mention that the hotel is also a lovingly restored 1800s Peruvian Republican Mansion.
The place is hands down a hidden gem, given its quietness and unique location.
The hotel staff was extremely attentive and always available to answer any questions or arrange transportation for departure to Machu Picchu. All staff are very personable. We enjoyed all our conversations with the hotel staff and got to know a lot of local culture. We enjoyed breakfast each morning at the hotel’s expansive buffet in the beautiful dinning room.
Another unique feature of the hotel is they have a pet alpaca and llamas out back. They are super cute and friendly, and enjoy to be fed flowers in the morning.
Special thanks to staff Christian and Claudia. Yow two made our stay super pleasant!
Couple of things to keep in mind while you are at the park:
- You can reenter the park with the same ticket of the day;
- Don’t forget to stamp Machu Picchu on your passport;
- There is no restroom in the park;
- And, use bug repellent and bring some water and snacks.
Huayna Picchu hike
We went with the 7am to 8am group. The entire hike took about 2 hours. The trail became a straight up in the last 15 minutes. The reward though is priceless.
Sun Gate Hike
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge had modest accommodations, but beautiful, tropical grounds, including a secluded outdoor jacuzzi, and a hidden oasis for couples massage. The outdoor massage area is hidden down a pathway in a secluded garden area with a small waterfall and view of the Peruvian mountain peaks. The restaurant serves afternoon tea, which includes all kinds of interesting and delicious tidbits. They also offer Pisco tasting in the evening, which includes a lesson on mixing the famous alcoholic beverage to make different cocktails, such as the well-know Pisco Sour. The convenience of staying at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge made our trip headache free!
Maras and Sacred Valley
The scenery is absolutely stunning. I wish I had planned an extra day there. The salt mine is so unique and interesting, something I have never seen through my past travels.
Dresses: Anthropologie (see similar here andhere)
Sweater: Anthropologie (see here)
Nightgown: Anthropologie (seehere)
Leather jacket: Mango (see here)
Machu Picchu outfit:
Checked shirt: Anthropologie (see similar here)
Jenas: Zara (see similarhere)
Active tanktop: Athleta (see similar here)
Active bottom: Athleta (see similar here)
baseball hat: REI (see similar here)
Cowboy hat: purchased at market in Cusco (see similar here)
Dress: French connection (see similar here)
Shoes: Convers (see here)