Machu Picchu! Or, I finally made it to Machu Picchu…

Well, it only took four and a half months, but I have finally been to the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, and the primary reason that so many thousands of people plan trips to Peru every year. I’ll admit; I was skeptical at first. There’s something about destinations with that much hype surrounding them that […]

Aguas Calientes AKA Machu Picchu Pueblo

It can safely be said that Aguas Calientes’ (newly renamed Machu Picchu Pueblo) reason for being is it’s fortunate designation as the last stop before Machu Picchu. Every day, year-round, the trains from Cusco and the Sacred Valley unload hundreds – if not thousands- of eager visitors here. The sheer number of annual visitors and […]

Train options and Ticketing for Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu is an amazing experience, and if your travel plans bring you anywhere near the ancient sanctuary you should definitely plan on making the trip. But, navigating the ticket purchasing/route finding options isn’t necessarily what I would describe as easy. Getting to Machu Picchu from Cusco involves a combination of train and bus/private […]

The sun’s return: emerging from Cusco’s rainy season

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by potential Cusco visitors, or those who already have their trips booked is “so, what’s the weather been like?” And, to be completely honest I had to cringe when answering that question for most of February and into early this month. Who wants to have to tell […]

Inca Trail Permits Selling Fast: alternative trek ideas

As of today, Inca Trail permits for April and May are completely sold out, and spaces for peak season (June, July, and August) are rapidly diminishing. This is the time of year when people across the world start planning their vacations, and Machu Picchu and the world renowned Inca Trail are often at the top […]

Lessons learned, half-way through my time in Peru

I’ve now passed the half-way point of the time I plan on spending in Peru (note that plans are always subject to change, however), and feel certain that I’ve seen places and met people that have left vivid, permanent impressions. I also know that this experience has taught me more about myself and what I […]

Last day of Carnival in Cusco. Mayhem.

Today was the last day of celebrations for Carnival in Cusco, and while it may not rival the massive world renowned festivities of Rio de Janeiro, there was certainly enough mischief and mayhem to go ’round. Of course there was! This is Cusco, where everyone loves a party – and apparently water balloons. Yep, over […]

Reasons to take a guided city tour in Cusco

In an earlier post I listed ideas for a free day in Cusco. Having acknowledged that there are great ways to learn about the city’s history and culture on your own, I’d like to make a quick case for actually taking a guided city tour. Most likely this will be your first, and perhaps only, […]

Day 2 of Huchuy Cusco Trek: Delicious and Downhill

Day 2: The pounding rain beating a steady rhythm on the roof of my simple room in Mama Natividad’s guest house the night before had covered the surrounding mountain peaks in a luscious blanket of fresh white snow. For me, this discovery first thing in the morning was something of a gift. Allow me a […]

Huchuy Cusco Trek: 2 days of beautiful views to ourselves

Day 1: After the Moray to Maras hike my mother decided she hadn’t seen enough of the incredible mountains, lakes, and rivers surrounding Cusco – so we loaded the packs up again and headed out early Saturday morning for the 2 day Huchuy Cusco trek. This route is another hidden gem; we didn’t see any […]

Lush green and endless flowers: bonuses of rainy season

I’ll be honest, it actually is quite rainy in February – the supposed peak of the rainy season in the Peruvian Andes. In December we had a string of rainy days, and January was really pretty docile weather-wise, but February’s been full on soggy, aside from a few brilliantly sunny days thrown in for good […]

Gorilla dancing in the Festival de Candelaria parade

It´s show time. And, unfortunately, the show had to start for my team of dancing gorillas at 7AM…kind of rough after another night of feeling like my hotel bed was actually in the middle of the main street. But, it´s hard to stay salty when you walk into unbridled enthusiasm in costumes of every color […]

Day 3 of Candelaria: Lake Titicaca and Uros Islands

My first day in Puno ended with dancing and drinking until 3AM and sleeping in a shared dorm room at a hostel (my younger roommates actually outlasted me on Puno´s party circuit by a few hours. I was impressed and humbled). My second day began with a walk in a town already erupting with tuba […]

Day 2: Bus travel to Puno and Gorilla initiation

The first day of my epic Puno street party adventure started a little early for my liking on a Saturday. The little electronic bell alarm on my phone went off at 6AM, reminding me I still had to pack the minimal amount of clothing, toiletries (i.e. toilet paper. always travel with some toilet paper in […]

Day 1: Festival de Candelaria in Puno. Why go?

Two factors coincided this week to prompt me to make my first big excursion from Cusco in months: a friend is headed to Puno for the Festival de la Virgen de la Candelaria, a massive folkloric celebration (paying homage to, yes, the Virgin) with 9 days of dancing, and general partying in the Andean style. […]

Cusco after dark: ideas for a night out on the town

Cusco is a vibrant city at all times, but the volume definitely gets turned up when the sun goes down and the city lights get switched on. After you´ve had a day or so to acclimatize, and as long as you don´t have a 4AM Inca Trail departure scheduled, you should definitely get out and […]

Big adventure, small suitcase: what to bring to Peru

The diversity of climates, terrain, and adventure opportunities you’ll experience during your trip to Peru will be impressive, to say the least.  But, in today’s world of  (literally)  ‘no free lunch’ flights, this creates a dilemma: what should you bring to Peru to be prepared for such a wide spectrum of weather changes, recreational activities, […]

Peru Adventure: Expect the Unexpected

When you arrive in Peru, or preferably before you even leave your house, let go of the need to adhere strictly to THE PLAN. In place of the tightly scheduled itinerary plotting your every move, write the words “roll with it” on a piece of paper (I think Buddhist philosophy refers to this way of […]

Just How Rainy is Rainy Season in Cusco?

Rainbow in the Peruvian Andes

  While there are generally two seasons in Cusco, a rainy one (November to April) and a dry one (May to October), this doesn’t really tell the full story of weather in the Cusco area. For instance, although December is technically within the rainy season, it’s still a very pleasant time to visit. February is […]

Eating Fresh and Local: Cusco’s Market Scene

I love food. More specifically, I love fresh, local food that feels like it’s nourishing me more than just filling a void. So, I was pretty stoked on my first day in Cusco when I discovered how readily available and inexpensive fresh produce, meats, cheeses, bread (insert food group of your choice here) are within […]

Flying to Lima and Cusco: What to Expect

Inca Trail Trek

After you’ve been seduced by photos of giant snow-capped Andean peaks, harrowing accounts of rafting rivers with Class IV-V rapids, your office mate’s endless tales about how seeing Machu Picchu changed his life, and you’ve booked yourself an awesome, sustainable trip to Peru with a reputable local operator. Now it’s time to look into booking […]

Sustainable Travel Tree Planting Meets Mega Adventure in the Mountains of Peru

In the past 5 days I’ve soaked in the Lares Hot Springs cradled in a deep river canyon in the Lares Valley, planted trees with local rural communities between 13,000 and 15,000ft under towering glaciated Andean peaks, and ridden the Megavalanche downhill course: the steepest, fastest, most technical single track I’ve ever attempted.  So, overall, […]

Amazement and Awe – Touring the Sacred Valley

Last Saturday I took the one day tour of the Sacred Valley, and it was truly, truly amazing. I was a little cynical at first; it’s a bus tour that’s popular with tourists and those are the kind of trips I generally avoid when trying to absorb the nature and culture in a place like […]