Nestled deep in the rolling hillside of the Peruvian Andes, the city of Cusco seems to capture the imagination of travelers more than most other South American cities. Because of its remote location in the mountains, the city has remained insulated from the hustle-and-bustle of modern life in many ways. Though you can find beautiful five-star hotels and most of the amenities that you find in bigger cities like the capital city of Lima, the city of Cusco still retains much of its small-town feel.
Ever since it was introduced to the rest of the world in 1911, Machu Picchu in Peru has been captivating the imagination of travelers from all around the globe. As one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, the site is familiar to most people. However, for most people, Machu Picchu seems like one of those places that you can dream of, but never manage to get to. Whether it seems like it is so far away or whether it appears too hard to get to, it manages to remain on many people’s bucket lists year-after-year. For many travelers, “maybe someday” never seems to come and the dream of visiting this amazing wonder of the world remains a dream.
Peru is a beautiful and amazing country, and its capital city of Lima is no exception. This stunning coastal capital is the fifth largest city in South America and one of the continent’s most beautiful capitals. Even though Lima is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, most people aren’t aware that the city is located in a desert. In fact, Lima is the second-largest desert city in the world after Cairo, Egypt in Africa. One-third of Peru’s population lives in Lima, which also makes it one of the busiest cities in South America.
The Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is one of this world’s greatest hikes for explorers and adventurers. Since the world became reacquainted with Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail following its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, adventurers, academics, and world explorers have been flocking to Peru to hike the trail each year. Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, and then declared one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. This has only increased the popularity of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. This has led to an increase in the number of visitors to the area from in the low 100,000’s in the 1980s to over 1.2 million visitors a year today.
Machu Picchu is both an architectural marvel and a stunning piece of artwork wrapped up into one iconic travel destination. Considered one of the new wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is one of South America’s, if not the world’s, most recognizable places. Because of its beauty, tourists flock to Machu Picchu each year to get a glimpse of it first hand and to try and capture its essence in photographs. However, capturing this beautiful place in photographs is not without its challenges.
There are few places in this world as jaw-dropping as Machu Picchu and few hikes in this world with as much historical significance and as many beautiful vistas as the Inca Trail that was used by the Inca people to get to Machu Picchu. Before you begin to plan your trip, please use this guide to give you a sense of what you will need to pack with you when you visit Machu Picchu or hike the Inca Trail.
Well, we made it this long without any travel issues, but today our luck ran out. We didn’t hit any major snags, but today was a lot more eventful than any of our other travel days thus far. Luckily, the airline we chose to fly is fantastic and made what could have been a very stressful day just eventful.
The past few days have been one of the most amazing adventures I have had traveling. I would say it ranks right up there with our safari adventures in Tanzania. I don’t think I can find the words that accurately reflect how amazing Peru has been.
The city of Cusco is now one of my favorite cities I have visited. It is such an amazing city. After spending the day exploring the city, which I wrote about in yesterday’s journal entry, we got up very early today to begin our adventure of exploring Machu Picchu.
My favorite place we visited was undoubtedly the Plaza de Armas. The Plaza was absolutely stunning, with beautiful flowers, trees, and walking paths crossing thru the center of the plaza. There is also a lot of great things to see surrounding the plaza. With the Cathedral on one side of the plaza, the Compana de Jesus on another, there is no shortage of beautiful sights no matter where you look.
After taking some time to explore the coast, and do a little bit of shopping along the way, we saw some some people paragliding and decided to give it a shot. I thought the views of the city and the coastline were spectacular from the ground, but those views were nothing compared to what we saw from the air. If you have never gone paragliding before, I would strongly suggest you give it a try. It is such an amazing feeling to have the wind grab you and just lift you off the ground and into the sky.