Greetings friends, clients, and trusted global suppliers!
Among our top ten global destinations for family private travel, we feel few countries in the world offer such a wide range of geographic and cultural diversity as Peru. The majestic, truly unique Inca ruins ofMachu Picchu and Sacred Valley, the rich Spanish colonial heritage of Cusco, the deep blue waters of 12,500 foot elevatedLake Titicaca, and up north, experiencing the Peruvian Amazon on-board a luxury expedition vessel.
Enjoy perusing our various descriptions/images of our favorite Peru private tour stopover points + Zen’s journal!
Many thanks & safe travels,
Kipling & Clark and travNET
Peru Best Travel Time:
Late April – Early October (Dry Season)
Though the ideal time to travel is during the dry months of late April to September, Peru consists of three main climactic areas: The coastal areas (Lima), the Andes Moutntains (Cusco + Titicaca), and the lush, humid Amason. You are more likely to experience rains in Machu Picchu from November to March. Please note, however, sporadic rain may occur at any time in this area. Having visited Machu Picchu in both November and June, we experienced rain on both occasions. Rain gear is a must!
Idyllic Rio Urubamba Valley, known as “El Valle Sagrado” (The Sacred Valley) is fast becoming a destination in its own right. In addition to the Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, we very much enjoy the various weaving villages and colonial towns.
Salinas de Maras
Among the more unique and amazing sights in Sacred Valley are the thousands of salt pans that have been used for salt extraction since the Incan times. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt-laden water, which then diverts into mountainside pans and evaporates to produce salt for cattle licks; a visually striking site (!).
Explora Valle Sagrado
For those searching an active hiking experience while in Sacred Valley:
Having first stayed at an Explora Lodge while in Chilean Patagonia, I became an instant fan! Opened in 2017, and similar to other Explora properties, the Explora Valle Sagrado is a relatively small luxury lodge (only 50 rooms), located in a remote, ancient corn plantation close to Urquillos Village, and uniquely designed to seamlessly blend in with its Peruvian surroundings. A central feature of Explora lodges is its wood-integrated minimalist aesthetic, in this case, a throwback to Inca traditions. The Peruvian-centered meals are outstanding and always include fine local wines (!). Sorry, keeping with Explora’s “off-the-grid” tradition, no WiFi or TVs in rooms, only in the main, public areas. The many amazing organized hikes (from 3 hours to a full day) vary in intensity and length with elevations ranging from 9,186 ft to over 15,000 ft. Explora offers over 17 different hikes and 5 different biking routes ranging from easy to advanced.
Inca Trail Hike
– 4 Days 3 Nights –
This 4 day, 3 night Classic Inca Trail Hike leads you from the Urubamba Valley floor to the glorious Machu Picchu. Following the route the Incans themselves traversed, from Cusco to Machu Picchu, you will pass through various ‘microclimates,’ ancient agricultural sites and settlements, and magnificent mountain views. Averaging around 7-8 hours per day, the hike fully encompasses the beauty and history of this ancient path. No need to worry, this is luxury camping: private guides, porters, table meal service, toilet tent, and even a masseuse tent (!).
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
This 31-room lodge is the only hotel adjacent to the ruins, a location that grants special access to this other-worldly place. Based on its management by the Oriental Express folks, the service and overall dining options here are good quality. However, we do not consider the sanctuary accommodations as 5-Star or luxury. The fundamental and priceless benefit of staying at this property is having exclusive direct access to the adjacent Machu Picchu ruins. Being able to stroll the ruins in the evening without the midday crowds is truly a unique, surreal experience (!)
Perks of staying at Sanctuary Lodge: scarcity of fellow travelers in the late-afternoon!
Based on your previous high-altitude stopovers in the Sacred Valley (9,420 ft.), Machu Picchu (7,972 ft.), and Cusco (11,100 ft.), you should be quite acclimated for your last high-altitude stop, Lake Titicaca (12,507 ft.). A most unique experience here is an all-day excursion to the Islas Uros (floating islands). Amazingly, these islands were built using bouyant Tortora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. The Uros people have lived here for centuries in order to escape the aggression of the Incas and the Collas.
At an altitude of approx. 12,500 ft. the 5-star luxury Titilaka Lodge possesses a truly otherworldly locale, set on a remote shore of Lake Titicaca (one of the highest/deepest bodies of water in the world!). Notwithstanding the property’s somewhat bland red-brick exterior, the aesthetic and clean, contemporary design of the large 18 loft-like rooms is impressive. All rooms include frontal views of Lake Titicaca, slated-wood floors, rainfall showers, and heated floors (nice for chilly nights, averaging around 40° in Dec.). The open-plan dining area is an ideal place to meet your fellow global travelers (as we know you love to do this!), floor to ceiling windows throughout. Think Mies Van der Rohe meets Lake Titicaca! The dining here is described as “light Peruvian dishes”. Other amenities include a small massage room, library, and a game room with cable TV and WiFi.
Greetings Fellow Global Teen Travelers!
Next week is FINALS at Francis Parker! Sorry, Wonder Woman, you will have to wait until next weekend.
A nice de-stresser is walking through our neighborhood North Pond Park on the way to school. You can always count on the geese and ducks for a friendly welcome!