Virtuoso Life - July/August 2018 - 78
OUR FAVORITE PLACES
MACHU PICCHU + PERU
Adventure reaches new heights in South America.
It may be Machu Picchu that carries Peru to the top of many wish lists - it's this year's Travel Dreams Tournament
champion - but that's just the beginning. "Very few places in the world rival Peru for sheer variety of landscapes and
dramatically different regions," says Geordie McDonald, a Calgary-based Virtuoso advisor. "There's so much more to
discover beyond those mist-shrouded peaks in the Andes."
Make a Machu Picchu pilgrimage.
Fly into Lima, McDonald recommends, and spend a few
days sampling the city's culinary gems before heading
to the Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Picchu. "My
best advice is to spend at least one night at Machu
Picchu rather than day-tripping from Cuzco [a threehour train ride away], so you really have time to explore,"
McDonald says. Guests at the 85-room Inkaterra
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel can access the stone city
first thing in the morning via a 25-minute bus ride or a
one-hour walk. Doubles from $500, including welcome
amenities, breakfast daily, and one complimentary
25-minute massage for two.
Kick the exploration up a notch.
Before the Inca flourished here, several other civilizations called Peru home, including the Chachapoya, who
built the sixth-century settlement of Kuelap - one of the
largest pre-Inca ruins in South America. "For the more
adventurous, I highly recommend a trip to northern Peru
to see these massive ruins," McDonald says. "The site
is seldom visited and will prove to be a treasured travel
experience." Big Five Tours & Expeditions customizes trips to the area, including an 11-day adventure that
features a Kuelap visit, a hike to a hidden waterfall, and
more. Departures: Any day through 2018; from $600
per person per day.
From left: Machu Picchu, one of the city's photogenic
llamas, and Kuelap, the former home of the Chachapoya
people - aka the "Warriors of the Clouds."
GO HIGHER: "Huayna Picchu - the peak rising above Machu Picchu - offers a great vantage point," McDonald says. "However, I call
this a do and a don't: It's great if you want a fantastic view over the citadel and can handle the climb, but skip Huayna if you're
afraid of heights. It's very steep and intense, with many precipitous drops behind you."
V I RT U O S O L I F E
(MACHU PICCHU) ROB KROENERT/GETTY IMAGES, (LLAMA) WIN-INITIATIVE/NELEMAN/GETTY IMAGES,
(KUELAP) ROBERT HARDING/ALAMY, (HUAYNA PICCHU) FABIO LAMANNA/GETTY IMAGES