Blogs from Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru, South America


South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu December 13th 2023

Undoubtedly the greatest challenge I’ve taken on in my life I’ll clarify a couple things here before beginning. First, I am writing entirely of my own experience in this blog, as my Dreamchaser soulmate Stan opted out of this particular adventure. Secondly, I’d like to state that, although I have done a few hikes in the past, I am not a devoted trekker. Not even close. I’ll take a bike, scooter, or kayak any day, instead of walking. The last - and only - time I even did an over night hiking trip was when hiking the Kalalau Trail on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, but that was close to fifty years ago, when I was about twenty years old, and I believe there were some mushrooms enhancing that hike. 🤣 So I think its fair ... read more
Alone in the Mists and Magic, Chanting to the Gods
Well, looks like yet another staircase.  Bring it on!
The Highlight of My Trek

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 22nd 2022

Our last day in the Sacred Valley was dedicated to Machu Picchu. Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. Getting there is no easy task. First, we had to ride from our hotel in Urubamba to Ollantaytambo's train station. The train ride to Aguas Calientes takes a little over 1 1/2 hours with a stop along the way for people who are continuing on the Inca Trail. The portion of the trail from the train stop to Machu Picchu is normally hiked in three to six days. The route goes over elevations between about 8,530 and 13,780 feet, and it is lined with Inca ruins Upon our arrival in Aguas Calientes, there was another bus ride that climbs nearly 1,640 feet on a winding ... read more
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes
Train Ride to Aguas Calientes

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu July 16th 2022

We are now within about 2 weeks from leaving Chile, and while there are moments of sadness, especially with all the goodbyes we have to say, in my heart I know it’s time to go. It has been an amazing experience here, with some serious ups (the travel, the friends, the culture) and some serious downs (the pandemic, the social unrest)…but I think the biggest testament to all this, is that if we had to make this choice again, I would not change it for the world. There was a time in 2021, probably at this time last year, where we were sooooo close to packing up and leaving early. And thank god we did not. This experience would not have been complete with our last year here, to reconnect with people that we were cut ... read more
Laguna del Inca
Big Mountain Girl

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu March 9th 2021 8th March - Machu Picchu When the explorer Hiram Bingham III encountered Machu Picchu in 1911, he was looking for a different city, known as Vilcabamba. This was a hidden capital to which the Inca had escaped after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1532. Over time it became famous as the legendary Lost City of the Inca. Bingham spent most of his life arguing that Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba were one and the same, a theory that wasn’t proved wrong until after his death in 1956. (The real Vilcabamba is now believed to have been built in the jungle about 50 miles west of Machu Picchu.) Recent research has cast doubt on whether Machu Picchu had ever been forgotten at all. When Bingham arrived, three families of farmers were living at the site. Machu Picchu ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu November 5th 2020

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail opened again on November 2, after being closed since the State of Emergency and Covid-19 quarantine were announced in Peru on March 15th. I had the amazing good fortune to be able to hike the Inca Trail on November 4th and visit Machu Picchu on November 5th with a group of friends. All but one had never visited Machu Picchu before, though all of them have sat through more than seven months of isolation, quarantine and lockdown in Cusco. I was so happy to be able to join them for their first time at this amazing UNESCO World Heritage site, especially since it was free! The Peruvian government opened both the Inca Trail from KM104 and Machu Picchu for free the first two weeks of November, with a very limited ... read more
Social distancing on the Inca Trail
Sustainable tourism with a mask
Social distancing at archeological sites

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu August 25th 2019

Today was one of those days I'll remember for the rest of of my life. The day started at 4.45am so we could be at Machu Picchu when it opened at 6am. I didn't feel the least bit tired all day: so much adrenaline from such an amazing day. I'm really glad we came on a guided tour because Claudio knew exactly how to make the most of this remarkable site. Machu Picchu was built around 1450, primarily as a religious centre by Pachacuti, the Alexander the Great of the Incas. It was functional for less than a century because in 1539 the Spanish invaded and destroyed the Inca Empire. They never found Machu Picchu but they brought smallpox which runners from Cusco carried to Machu Picchu. The population was decimated and the site was abandoned. ... read more

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu June 8th 2019

k8th June – Machu Picchu If yesterday was an early start, today we awoke at ‘stupid o’clock’!! Our original pick up time was stupid enough at 05:45 but yesterday evening everyone had a note left in their room advising us that the pic up time had changed…to the even stupider time of 5am!! The breakfast salon didn’t open until 05:00 so we were provided with somewhat stale buns and slices of cheese together with a flask of muña. As we all waited in the foyer for our driver and guide, I learned that some tourists had booked an overnight stay in Machu Picchu that should have started on Thursday, the day of the strike. This had to be cancelled and as the authorities only allow a finite number of tourists on to the site each day ... read more
Virgen del Carmen Church, Aguas Calientes
The majestic condor, guardian of the upper world
The road from Aguas Calientes to Macu Picchu

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu March 28th 2019

Our final 5 days in Peru were spent in the heart of the formerly glorious Inca Nation. At its height, when the Spanish arrived in 1523, it stretched from Chile and Argentina to Colombia. It is mind boggling that fewer than 200 Conquistadors destroyed a powerful empire of 15 million! We marvelled at their building skills, without iron, the wheel or animals that could do the hard work, in really demanding terrain. Their scientists developed strains of potato, corn and grains suited to climates from rain forest to desert. Yet they had no written language to record their accomplishments. The Spanish managed to reduce their number to less than one million through disease, wars and the Inquisition. The Inca was the king. The common people were “of the Inca” his to command. Panoramas (5 seconds between ... read more
Puccara Bulls
Palacio del Inka
Palacio del Inka

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu March 6th 2019

Im letzten Eintrag hatte ich ja bereits beschrieben, wie mir kein ruhiger Schlaf vergönnt war. Und nun stand ich schon um 4 Uhr in meinem Zimmer in Cusco und habe auf mein Taxi gewartet, welches für 6 Uhr bestellt war. Und der dazugehörige Bus sollte um 7:50 losfahren, doch es wurde einem geraten schon eine halbe Stunde früher zu erscheinen. Um zwanzig nach sechs stand ich im Wartesaal. Naja, die Vorfreude war groß. Und um 7:15 saß ich im Bus, der bald darauf losfuhr. Das war allerdings kein Fehler, sondern ganz einfach gute Organisation von Seiten der Veranstalter, die sich nämlich darüber im klaren waren, dass die Menge an Menschen die in einen Zug passen nicht mit einem Bus zu vergleichen ist und man also auch schon fahren kann sobald eben jener Bus voll ist. Jetzt ... read more
Der erste Aussichtspunkt
Die Sonne bahnt sich ihren Weg
Der Pfad auf Waynapicchu

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu March 5th 2019

Today we are going to Machu Picchu. We have to get up at 5 am for a second consecutive day, added onto a 17 hour overnight coach journey and I would be flagging, apart from the fact that the drop in altitude has rejuvenated me. Machu Picchu isn’t cheap; train £268, hotel £73, entry £75 and bus to the entrance £37. That’s £453 for a 4 hour visit. And that doesn’t take into account the cloning of our credit card whilst purchasing the tickets. We get to the bus queue by 5.30. It’s very busy but well organised with a constant stream of buses, so we are on our way within 10 minutes, driving the 5 mile uphill zigzag to the entrance, trying to avoid pedestrians too tight to pay $24 to be driven up a ... read more
Machu Picchu at dawn
Alpacas at Machu Picchu
Alpacas at Machu Picchu

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