Mysterious and visually stunning, the Inca city of Machu Picchu is the journey of life. Visit Machu Picchu requires advanced planning, but a trip to this beautiful part of Peru should not refer only to see Machu Picchu. Here are five things that will make you feel the whole trip.
Traveling by train is a lovely way to see Peru. The most convenient way to get to Aguas Calientes, the community at the foot of the mountain on which Machu Picchu stands, is getting on a train. It is an unforgettable experience – the Urubamba river always next, craggy peaks of the Andes above, and the Inca ruins dotting the countryside. Opt for a route in the afternoon sun and get an early start to Machu Picchu the next day.
Climb Huayna Picchu:
Machu Picchu is spectacular, but arrive by bus at the entrance can make you feel you missed the adventure of hiking the Inca Trail, however if you do not have three days to do so the option is to hike the Huayna Picchu, sometimes called Wayna Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu. This arduous trek, giddy up a steep, narrow staircase carved Inca takes between 2 and 3 hours round trip. You get a surprising new perspective on Machu Picchu from the viewpoints along the way.
Visit an indigenous community:
One hour from Cusco, there are communities that preserve their ancient way of life that few visitors have access. Eight of these communities have joined to form the Earth Yachaqs, an association that offers cultural immersion and homestays. The additional income they receive allow them to live in a traditional way. As the community of Amaru, who show their technical skills in weaving, sheep shearing and alpaca yarn. Visit adds depth to any trip.
Try the local food and visit a market:
For a slice of Peruvian life, a visit to any product market – there is one in almost every city. You’ll find only in Peru fruits like aguaymanto, cherimoya and lucuma, to name a few. Quinoa, a grain that has made its way to the shores of North America and is touted as a super food, comes in variety of colors and is widely available here.
Some local specialties to try: Ceviche, typically made with raw river trout bathed in lemon juice which “cooks” the fish, peppers, red onion, cilantro, and topped with corn (maize). You can not leave Peru without tasting the pisco sour, the national drink made with national liquor, pisco.
Attend a festival:
Colorful costumes, marching bands, religious processions and fireworks – when held in Peru is a sight to see. The festival of Corpus Christi in Cusco in June is a deeply religious affair, with Mass in the Plaza de Armas surrounded fifteen statues of virgins and saints.
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