I loved my trip to Peru! My travel agency's suggestions and arrangements were for the most part excellent. I traveled solo for 11 days and visited Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.
My hotel in Cuzco was comfortable, though I wished it were a little closer to the Plaza.. The first morning in Cuzco, my wake-up call was somehow forgotten, and the first call I got was from my guide telling me she was downstairs waiting for me. She told me to relax and we would work things out, and to take my time. We left late, but it didn't detract from wonderful ceremony with a local shaman. We drove up above Cuzco and hiked up to a spot where Asencio performed a ceremonial blessing with my guide translating his words. An unforgettable and moving experience that's difficult to describe! My guide was superb!
From there I traveled by bus with a group to the Sacred Valley, stopping at Pisac, a colorful market, and Ollayntaytambo (both worth seeing!) before settling into my hotel, a former convent with beautiful gardens and a chapel right next door.
The following day I rock-climbed for the first time. Gorgeous views of the Sacred Valley and river running through it, while climbing 1300 feet up the rock face! This isn't for those who fear heights, but if you don't, this is a fantastic way to climb for the first time, then descend via 6 zip lines! A must do!
Traveling to Machu Picchu via Vistadome was next on the itinerary. The train was first-class---very comfortable, with excellent service. The vistadome allows passengers to see the amazing views of the Andes while en route to Agua Calientes and Machu Picchu. Upon arrival I was greeted by our guide who arranged for bags to go to the hotel, and led us to the bus that takes you to Machu Picchu. I knew Machu Picchu would be amazing and it didn't disappoint. No words really to describe its beauty. I opted to go back the second day without a guide to continue exploring on my own.
After a return train trip to Cuzco, I left the following day for an all-day bus ride to Puno that included stops at varied and interesting sights--a beautiful church with painted ceilings, a colonial bridge, a pre-Incan temple, at the top of the pass (over 14,400 feet), a tasty lunch buffet where we were serenaded by Peruvian music and more.
After an overnight in Puno, I was picked up at the hotel and taken to the dock for an overnight stay on Amantani Island. Unfortunately, the transfer process broke down. These guides seemed to be subcontracted by my travel agency and had a different company name. The guide left me with the driver who was supposed to connect me with the group and the boat I was going to take. The guide seemed overbooked, and the driver disappeared while I was buying gifts for the host family, and I was left wandering around the dock with a crowd of people and unmarked boats, not knowing where to go. I finally asked one of the vendors to make a call and I eventually figured out which boat I was supposed to be on. Once settled on the boat, I thoroughly enjoyed the visits to Uros and Taquile and the overnight on Amantani was fascinating and a wonderful ending to my Peruvian trip!
Shaman ceremony, via ferrata climb in Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu. The incredible views on Lake Titicaca! It's difficult to pick just one because each experience was so different and wonderful!
I wish I had visited Colca Canyon to see the condors.
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