Machu Picchu does just that. Words like mystical and magical fall short in trying to describe what is indescribable. Go there, and you’ll understand.
Begin your journey to Machu Picchu by landing in Peru’s capital city of Lima. Spend a day or two there. Feel like royalty and stay at the palatial Country Club Hotel.
Sites like the Main Plaza, Government Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, and the Santo Domingo Monastery will give you a good glimpse of Lima’s history.
But don’t miss the MirafloresDistrict. You’ll find Huaca Pucllana, an adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms that dates back to the 5th Century, miles of beach, and Love Park, serenely set on the cliffs of Chorrillos overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This is a place to take your honey for sure. There are romantic quotes etched in mosaic tiles, and the massive statue of two lovers embracing in the middle of the park, speaks for itself.
If shopping is your thing, fill your bags at the Inka Market and other artisan markets. Art aficionados will love the Museo Larco, which showcases more than 40,000 pieces of pre-Columbian art in a stately 18th Century building. It’s worth visiting just to view the lovely tropical gardens. The hot-spot though, is the bohemian Barranco District with its Arts, bars, and restaurants.
Drink like a local and order a Pisco Sour or their beloved beer, Cusqueña. Great dining options are abundant in Lima. Put Maras Restaurant, Isolina Tavern, and Osaka on your list. Ceviche is a must!
Much as you'll hate to leave Lima, make your way to Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, and then the train station in Ollantaytambo, a village in the Sacred Valley. Hop on Inca Rail’s First-Class train. You’ll never forget the ride along the Urubamba River, surrounded by towering mountains, gushing water, through plains and then jungle, all while sipping your champagne and savoring a sumptuous meal. In a little over an hour you’ll get what you came for – Machu Picchu.
The place to stay is the five-star Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. It’s at the foot of Machu Picchu and a stone’s throw away from the Vilcanota River. The hotel offers an authentic Peruvian immersion in the décor, the cuisine, the vibe. It’s the ideal “home” during your adventure.
Start your time in town with a walk to the Mandor Valley. Work your way through the paths of the Vilcanota River and the railway to reach the waterfall, orchids, and butterflies. That’s the warm up for the next day’s journey to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu with a shaman from the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Do explore the small town’s coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques. But don’t overdue it. You'll want to get up with the sun, eat a hearty breakfast, and be ready to get a 7 a.m. bus to take you to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Each step you take brings you closer to the ancient city in all its glory. Never mind the endless stone steps. The higher you go, the greater the awe, the beauty. The shaman will give you reason to take a pause, when he stops you and yours in a secluded spot to settle on the ground and soak up all that is special around you and inside you during a cleansing session. His ceremony is engaging, uplifting, enlightening. Anything can happen. Mostly, you’ll feel good, refreshed, ready to continue the rest of the journey.
Even if you only go as high as the Citadel and don’t scale the peaks, who cares? You’ll feel victorious just the same. Pamper yourself afterward with one of the luxurious treatments at the spa at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. And vow never to let your memories fade.