First-timers to South America, Desma and Michael were keen to include the iconic Machu Picchu but, they were cautious so they picked up the phone to Luxury Bound for advice. They were in safe hands, Caroline coordinated an incredible week of hikes, cultural experiences and stunning lodge accommodation. Beyond the standard tourist trail, she organised guides to give insight into the history and traditions of the Inca, Spanish and the greater region.
Near Machu Picchu, in Peru’s Sacred and Lares Valleys, Desma and Michael enjoyed the perfect mix of outdoor activity, history and culture combining easy to moderate day walks, bicycle rides and cultural activities exploring the local villages, farmer’s markets and archaeological ruins.
Arriving in Cusco, Peru’s ancient Incan capital city, Desma and Michael acclimatised and explored this vibrant city and its historical ruins before commencing their tour. Guided tours of Moray Inca agricultural site, the salt mines of Maras and the iconic Machu Picchu Inca Citadel highlighted the extensive history of the region. Chinchero’s craft markets showcased the skills and handicrafts of indigenous weavers, including unique hand spun and dyed llama wool products.
All fitness levels were accommodated, with options for shorter, gentle walks to picturesque local waterfalls near Huacahuasi, to more challenging guided high altitude hikes and of course, the iconic and breathtaking climb to the peak of Huayna Picchu. “The tour provided a good balance – it’s not a running race, we could take our time but found a moderate level of fitness helped. We could enjoy the scenery and go to places that were off the beaten track, meet locals and see the true way of life in villages and farms. We hardly came across any other tourists on some trails”, says Michael.
The chance to discover the local customs, culture and food is a highlight on the trip. Sampling Peru’s traditional dishes including causa, a layered potato dish, and cuy (guinea pig) is unforgettable: “Trying guinea pig was certainly memorable! It was cooked in an earthen oven in the ground, much like a hangi, while we enjoyed an alfresco lunch at a high altitude”, Desma explains. “It was a great experience… but although tasty, guinea pig is perhaps not for everyone!”
“Working with Caroline and Luxury Bound made the whole travel process easier. Not only did she provide great advice when planning the trip, her local contacts and their knowledge was invaluable. When we were leaving Cusco, there was a teacher’s strike and blockades that were disrupting traffic. Caroline spoke to her local contacts and arranged a transfer to the airport which avoided the strike area and ensured we made our connecting flight. Her foresight and experience avoided any issues and delays.”