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 […]

Espiritu Pampa Trek and Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek Featured in NY Times!

  Two of our favorite treks in Peru, Choquequirao to Machu Picchu and Espiritu Pampa – Trek to the Last City of the Incas, operated by Detour partner Amazonas Explorer, were featured in The New York Times Travel section yesterday: “The Hidden Route to Machu Picchu.” These are challenging, off the beaten path treks to […]

Peru Trekking: Goods for the Locals

On many Peru treks you’ll be camping in communities and passing locals along the way. If you’re feeling like you want to bring something to give/trade here is a list of needed goods from a charity school near the Choquequirao Trek (provided by Amazonas Explorer). THINGS TO BRING Food: Fresh fruit, dry fruit, nuts & […]

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 […]

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 […]

Holy week festivities in Cusco

In keeping with the Andean tradition of vibrant, colorful celebrations to mark religious occasions, Cusco unveils a whole host of processions and specialties in the week leading up to Easter Sunday. Every day last week there was a parade complete with singing choirs of children and ornately sculpted religious figures on floats covered in floral […]

Budget-friendly restaurant recommendations in Cusco

If there aren’t too many splurge nights figured into your travel budget, it’s always good to know where in a town you can get a tasty meal that will fill you up for a day of exploring without costing much. Since you may not want to gamble on eating from the street carts after only […]

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 […]

Salkantay Trek: Day 1, getting from Cuzco to Mollepata

This past weekend I was lucky enough to tag along with a guide friend for a 3-day trip to Mt. Salkantay to do some route and camp site reconnaissance. Earlier in the week we made a general plan to leave Cusco on Saturday afternoon and make our way to Mollepata, about 2 hours from town, […]

Top Fine-Dining Restaurants In Cusco

With so many fantastic choices, it can be difficult to narrow the field down when people ask me for restaurant recommendations for a nice dinner in Cusco. There are, however, three stand-outs from recent memory that I have eaten at when visitors were in town; and the budget was expanded to accommodate this relative luxury. […]

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 […]

Machu Picchu Closed July 6 & 7 2011 for Centennial Celebration

Today we were informed that Machu Picchu will be closed to the public on July 6 and 7, 2011.  Those who already have their Inca Trail trek permits will be allowed to trek into Machu Picchu, but it looks like they will only have until 10am to visit site.  So those who haven’t yet booked […]

Back on the bike in Cusco

This weekend heralded my return to really fun, really fast downhill and single track mountain biking in and around Cusco. After two months of being rained out – and a little post-wreck nervousness- I got back on my bike for a few laps on the local Yuncaypata downhill classic. The fact that the ride is […]

Great morning walks in Cusco

Cusco Cathedral

Early morning is definitely the most peaceful time in Cusco; before the multitudes of people, taxis, and buses take to the streets to begin another day in a vibrant and somewhat chaotic city. And now that the rain is letting up I’m reminded by the bright sunlight pouring through the skylight in my room how […]

ATMs, exchange rates, and what things cost in Peru

Ok, so you’re looking at your 15-day itinerary hitting all the highlights of Peru: you’ll be dune surfing and flying over the mysterious massive carvings in Nazca, heading to Cusco and the Sacred Valley with a visit to Machu Picchu included, and spending a few days exploring the lush cloud forest and wildlife in Manu […]

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 […]

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 […]