What is Hiking the Inca Trail Like?

So you’ve dreamed of going to Machu Picchu… and you’ve thought about hiking the Inca Trail… and you’re curious what it’s like? The Inca Trail is one of the world’s classic treks, and it is a fantastic experience for anyone willing to take the effort to make the trek. The traditional Inca Trail trek was […]

Cusco’s Top 10 List: What to Do and What to Avoid

At the two-month anniversary of my arrival in Peru, I feel ready to offer a little unsolicited advice about what I recommend as do’s and don’ts before and during your trip to Cusco, Peru, and the surrounding area. Listed in no particular order, I’ll begin with my list of do’s. TOP TEN THINGS TO DO […]

RAFT PERU: Rio Tambopata (Sept 20 – 30, 2013)

JOIN A ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP RAFTING THE RIO TAMBOPATA INTO THE WILD AND SCENIC AMAZON JUNGLE.  Trip Name: Wilderness, Wildlife and Whitewater on the Rio Tambopata Dates: Sept 20 – 30, 2013 Rate: $2,804.00 per person View additional trip details here – http://www.detourdestinations.com/wilderness-wildlife-whitewater-rio-tambopata.html The Tambopata River snakes through the Tambopata-Candamo National Park in […]

Why We Travel, Lessons From Life In Switzerland

Switzerland is like life on steroids.  The mountains are stupid beautiful and gnarly as your heart desires.   Turquoise blue lakes drowned the verdant countryside in startling color and white-tipped, saw-toothed peaks line the background.  It reminds me of a coloring book, photogenic scenes splashed with the most outrageous colors you can think of.   And the […]

Trip Opening: Wilderness, Wildlife and Whitewater on the Rio Tambopata (Sept 20 – 30, 2013)

JOIN A ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP RAFTING THE RIO TAMBOPATA WAY OFF THE BEATEN PATH INTO THE WILD AND SCENIC AMAZON JUNGLE.   A great trip for nature lover’s and adventure seekers alike. Trip Name: Wilderness, Wildlife and Whitewater on the Rio Tambopata Dates: Sept 20 – 30, 2013 Rate: $2,804.00 per person View additional […]

Traveler Testimonial: Trip of a Lifetime

Trip: Galapagos Islands on the Eden We went aboard the Eden with very average expectations and were overly impressed in every area, especially the guide, Reuben Montalvo and the crew. Helpful, careful, knowledgeable, cheerful, fun and always sensitive, inclusive and caring.  As good as good could be. We loved it all and were sad to […]

Trip Report: Lares Valley Trek (Day 2): Lakes, Waterfalls and Hot Springs

I awoke to the sound of our cook staff offering “Café. Coca tea?” to the others in my group. When they reached my tent I opted for tea. I’m not much of an instant coffee gal. I sipped it in my sleeping bag while I mustered up the courage to bare the bite of morning […]

Traveler Reports: Huaorani Ecolodge

A Detour traveler shares her adventures at the Huaorani Ecolodge in Ecuadors Amazon. The Huaorani Ecolodge is a community based tourism project to visit and explore the rainforest with the Huaorani people.  While wildlife is not quite as plentiful as it is at other lodges, the chance to visit the jungle with the Huaorani (whose […]

Lessons from seven months in Peru, and the value of travel

I’ve been back in Montana for a month now, trying to figure out a new routine in a place I’m grateful to call home for its beauty, the chance to ride or hike for hours from my back door, and a great community of people that extends across an entire state. More importantly, I’m trying […]

Days 7-10 of the Huayahuash Circuit: adventure complete…for now

After the soul shaking descent from San Antonio pass, a frigid night sleeping in a cow pasture, and a several hour lost backpack search, the rest of the trek was relatively easy. But, what really comes into focus is the simple fact that you don’t really want it to be easy; you’re in the most […]

Day 6 on the Huayahuash Circuit: a day of (mis)adventure

One really useful tip I can give you if you plan on doing any solo trekking in the Peruvian Andes is if anyone tells you that the trail you’ll be taking isn’t necessarily the most obvious or well-traveled path *STOP* and realize that means: you are going where nobody else wants to, and there’s a […]

Days 3,4, and 5: easy trail and gorgeous sights on the Huayahuash Circuit

In retrospect, days 3-5 could be called the ‘smooth sailing’ section of the Huayahuash Circuit trek. Not to say the trekking itself is especially easy- there are still plenty of ups and downs at high altitudes- but the trail is well-defined and (although never marked…ever) easy to follow. To firm up our confidence that our […]

Day 1 of the Huayahuash Circuit in the big peaks of Peru

The morning of our departure for 10 days on the Huayahuash Circuit trail we woke up at the inhuman hour of 4AM to catch the 5AM bus out of Huaraz to Chiquian. It was rough, but there’s always something exciting about being up that early for an adventure, especially an adventure that would be so […]

Off the beaten path in the high peaks of Peru: Huaraz

As almost every one of my posts has mentioned, repeatedly, Peru’s diversity of ecosystems and landscapes is beyond anything I ever imagined when planning my trip and was a constant source of amazement during my time there. To top off seven months of amazing experiences I spent the majority of my last two weeks in […]

Trip Report: Lares Valley Trek (Day 1)

Lares Valley Trek (Day 1) 3:40 am – Pick up from my hotel. This dead of night departure is not the norm, but a construction project on the road to Lares mandated it. Original pick-up was scheduled for the much more sane 8 o’clock hour. Unfortunately, most of our drive through the Sacred Valley was […]

Day 3 of the Choquequirao Trek

Needless to say, we woke up on the morning after our huge day of climbing to and descending from Choquequirao a little behind the eight ball in terms of energy and motivation. Once again we listened to the group next to us awake before dawn for the climb out of the canyon and back to […]

Day 2 of the Choquequirao Trek

When the only other group camping at Playa Rosalina woke up way before dawn to begin the climb to Choquequirao we had a good indication that this was going to be a big day…and that certainly turned out to be an understatement. Unfortunately for us, neither my friend nor I could muster that same pre-sunrise […]

Day 1 of the Choquequirao Trek

Technically, Day 1 of my Choquequirao experience was the entire day my friend and I spent negotiating the local bus/taxi connections in order to get to the village of Cachora and the trailhead for Choquequirao that leads out of it. Since Cachora is such a tiny town, located 40 or so minutes by car from […]

3-day Apurimac River trip; amazing fun!

I have wanted to get on the Rio Apurimac since reading about the non-stop Class III-V rapids in a gorgeous river that runs through an amazing canyon, so I was more than stoked when I secured a spot for myself and a friend on Amazonas Explorer’s 3-day trip May 15th-16th. The first thing that impressed […]

Hiking in the Colca Canyon

As smooth and inviting as the elegant city of Arequipa is, I couldn’t resist the nagging urge to get out of the urban chaos and check out what lies beyond the bordering peaks: massive stretches of desert leading up to the Colca Canyon, the world’s second deepest. (Actually, if you keep going you will in […]

Relaxing in Arequipa

After a couple of days back in Cusco it was time for another excursion – this time to a new and unknown area of Peru. I’ve been interested in traveling to Arequipa since I got here due to the inspiring pictures of the palm-treed city with snow-capped volcanoes looming in the distance and the mouth-watering […]

Free day in Ollantaytambo

The day after the Inca Downhill we were pretty much toast, and ready for a little R and R in the Sacred Valley. While the main plaza can be all hustle and bustle as the many tourist buses unload and load again, just a few blocks away the peace and quiet allow the true beauty […]

Inca Downhill mountain bike race in the Sacred Valley

There were rumors circulating for a while when I first arrived in Peru this fall that Peru’s Megavalanche downhill race was a thing of the past. Turns out that’s true, kind of. This year the race was reorganized and renamed the Inca Downhill to differentiate this uniquely Peruvian race course from a larger DH race […]

Day 2 of Salkantay Trek: up and up to glacial peaks

After falling asleep to clear skies I woke up on the morning of our first day on the trail to a steady rain that made it seem like some great deity in the sky had turned the faucet on full-blast. Sigh. We’re definitely moving out of rainy season, but this was another reminder that in […]

Dealing with Cusco's street merchants

Cusco is a beautiful city, and the people here are generally great. This is is a fantastic place to explore Peru’s intricately layered history, culture, and recreational opportunities. It is also, however, a city whose residents’ primary way of making a living is tourism – not only in the direct sale of tours and treks […]

Cusco's election parades and spontaneous dance celebrations

With two weeks to go until Peru’s presidential and congressional elections, the campaigns are throwing out some highly visible banners, billboards, and a constant string of parades in the homestretch. Since I arrived in November the promotions have been omnipresent in Cusco and the Sacred Valley; but in the last few weeks not a day […]

Hiking Wayna Picchu Peak (at Machu Picchu)

Our intrepid Peru traveler, Shannon, gives us a first-hand account of the famous climb up Wayna Picchu (or Huayna Picchu) at Machu Picchu.  If you are afraid of heights, hiking up the jutting peak in the middle of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary may not be for you.  But, if you’re looking for a thrill and […]

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 […]