Virtuoso Traveler - June/July 2018 - 32
Travel Two Ways
Train It or Trek It?
Prep for your pilgrimage to this ancient Inca wonder.
By Susan Hanson
Guests of the 50-room explora Valle Sagrado get
reserved seating in one of PeruRail's panoramic glassroofed train cars for the ride to Machu Picchu. Back at
the lodge, housed in a sleek wood hacienda overlooking a
corn plantation, you'll stay busy on guided hiking and biking excursions to the surrounding villages and mountains.
at Machu Picchu.
Three-night stays from $2,003 per person, including all
meals, activities, and a Machu Picchu excursion. Virtuoso
travelers receive a $100 credit for the hotel boutique.
ACHU PICCHU IS ONE OF THOSE ICONIC PLACES
you have to see to truly appreciate," says Natasha
Rhodes, a Calgary, Canada-based Virtuoso travel
advisor. "Images don't do it justice." The fifteenth-
century citadel - a series of plazas, terraces, and stone structures shrouded in cloud forest in Peru's Andes Mountains - is
one of the finest examples of Inca architecture. Visitors can
access the mystical city on a 3.5-hour train ride from Cuzco
or via a multiday hike on the Inca Trail. The rail journey is the
most comfortable choice, while the trek attracts "those who
really want to connect with nature and history, and who like
Machu Picchu both ways.
Both modes definitely require some planning, which is
Your travel advisor can work with Peru Empire Co., one
where a Virtuoso advisor is key. Only 500 travelers per day
of Virtuoso's on-site tour connections, to craft a custom
can embark on the Inca Trail, and strict new entrance rules
Machu Picchu exploration, including a private hiking and
mandated by Peru's government last year mean that all visi-
camping adventure on the Inca Trail. The trek is challeng-
tors must be accompanied by an official guide and adhere to
ing - and altitude can be a struggle - but rewards come in
specific entrance times. No matter how you get there, Rhodes
the form of stunning scenery, inspiring moments, and some
says, little prepares you for Machu Picchu's magnificence:
serious bragging rights. Four-day custom itineraries from
"It's more than ruins - it's the mountains, the sheer scale of
$2,211, including all meals on the trail, camping accommo-
the geography, and the landscapes."
32 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R
dations, porters, guides, and Machu Picchu entrance.
(MACHU PICCHU) FBXX/GETTY IMAGES,
(INCA TRAIL) PICTUREGARDEN/GETTY IMAGES
to be physically challenged," says Rhodes, who's arrived at