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Trip Report Wonderful Trip to Peru! What a beautiful country!

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We just got back from a trip of a lifetime! In 8 days, we stayed in 6 hotels, visited a new wonder of the world, other ruins, and the worlds highest navigatable lake! Peru is a beautiful country and the people are so nice! Here is a trip report. If anyone has any questions, please let me know!

Arrived Lima at night, so stayed at the Ramada airport hotel. LOVED IT. within 5 minutes of getting my bag, I was checked in to my room and having my 1st pisco sour! And the next morning, they start serving breakfast at 4am, so I was able to eat, and then walk to the airport to catch my flight to Cuzco. My room was clean, I would suggest staying here.

The local tour company we used was Condor Tours....TOP NOTCH all the way! They picked us up from the airport and drove us to the Sacred Valley, specifically to the Rio Sagrado hotel. All I can say is STUNNING! The hotel is on the river, the grounds are beautiful. We stayed in a 3 bedroom villa - with glass walls overlooking the river, grounds, and mountains. The villa had a living & dining room, kitchen, and 3 bedrooms each with it's own bath. We all had massages and ate in the restaurant. The cerviche was excellent. Then we headed back to our hotel to have a glass of wine by the fire. A great way to relax and start to get acclimated to the altitude.

Next we took the vistadome to Aguas Calientes. We learned we couldn't take all of our luggage on the train, so the hotel stored it for us at no cost. The train ride is beautiful! In Aguas Calientes, we stayed at the Sumaq Hotel. It was fabulous. Upon arrival, we were able to drop our bags with the rep at the train station. We then walked leisurely to our hotel. They were waiting for us with hot towels, cocoa tea, and cookies. Our rooms were ready as well. We had a private tour of Machu Picchu set up for the next day.....yet we couldn't help ourselves....since it was only 1030am, we decided to go to Machu Picchu that afternoon......

Machu Picchu....O M G......the bus ride up was fantastic. I've been on every continent and I've never seen anything more beautiful. and I loved the game of chicken the bus drivers took! So you walk in to Machu Picchu, walk up a path, and then behold! Machu Picchu opens up before you!!!!!! We climbed to the Guard's Hut for an even more spectacular view, and then proceeded to the Sun Gate - where Hiram Bingham walked through when he came upon Machu Picchu in 1911. It's also where all of the Inca Trail hikers enter Machu Picchu! I was in awe of the site. It was very emotional - so very beautiful.

By the end of the afternoon, it did pour down rain, one fo the locals sold me a poncho for 5 Sols, he even gave one off his back when he sold out. One may think, what a drag, rain. to me, it made no difference. It was still so special. It took a bit to catch the bus down the mountain..but who cares? I'm at Machu Picchu for goodness sake.

The next morning, The Sumaq hotel arranged to have the bus pick us up at the hotel - for the ride up to Machu Picchu again! We left at 530am....when we arrived MP, the gate wasn't open yet!!!!!!! We walked in and was able to watch the sun rise over the peaks!!!! OMG......my bro-in-law climbed Wayna Picchu, so we walked him over to the entry gate! HOW FUN, to talk to all of the hikers who were so excited to climb the mountain! It was great.

While my bro-in-law climbed Wayna Picchu, we continued to explore the site. At 10am, we had a private guide, Miguel Guiterrez show us around MP. He was GREAT!!!! So spiritual and insightful! You are able to go in/out of MP all day with your pass. Don't forget to get your passport stamped!!!!!

After Machu Picchu, we then headed for the Monasterio hotel in Cuzco! WOW! The pictures do not give this hotel justice. The lobby area is stunning. The room flawless! We had a triple room with 3 comfy rooms. We at tapas in the restaurant and had breakfast every morning. The staff was wonderful, the courtyard quaint. Can't say enough about this hotel.....the location...steps away from the main square. STAY HERE! It's worth every penny.

We took an all day tour to Pisac and Ollantaytambo. In Pisac, a local vendor educated us on how to look for authentic Alpaca and good silver. After a successful shopping extravaganza, we then headed to the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo! Our guide, Julio, was extremely knowledgeable. He told us how the Inca's used this site to fool the Spanish and hide Machu Picchu. He explained how the Incas diverted the river to get the huge boulders down the river bed. It was facinating to learn about! Loved, loved, loved this tour!

In Cuzco, we also visited the Inca Sun Temple church and the main cathedral! and did some more shopping. Would love to spend more time in Cuzco......

From Cuzco, we flew Taca (great airline - our USA domestic airlines should take note) to Juliaca - and then drove an hour to Puno, to our hotel, Casa Andina ON LAKE TITICACA!

The elevation is high! 12600 feet! YOU WILL FEEL IT! GO SLLLLLOOOOWWWWW.

We took an all day lake tour from Eduardo. We visited the Uros Island and Taquile Island. The Uros people built these reed islands to evade the Inca's. Ever since, they live on these reed islands. Their houses are made of reeds, as are their boats, islands itself, it's incredible! It is touristy, but I didn't mind. The history behind the Uros is facinating.

We then headed to Taquile Island. Our guide took us up a non touristy route, we climbed about 1500 feet, and had lunch at a local family's house. The trout was the best I ever had. We could see the snow capped mountains of Boliva. Lake Titicaca is gorgeous.

From Puno, we flew back to Lima. We ended up staying at a Casa Andina (classic - should be basic) in Miraflores. Be SURE to ask for a refurbished room or you will be disappointed. I changed rooms and ended up in a clean room. The hotel staff were mostly okay. The 1st person we dealt with was cranky....but after she left, the rest of the staff were great. In retrospect, I think I would stay at the airport (since we had an early flight) and take a taxi in to town.

Overall, Peru is a beautifulc country and it's people are equally so. We totally indulged in great hotels, private tours, private transfers, but it was worth it. I would now like to go back and hike.....and see other places....the Amazon... Arequipa........bolivian salt flats....South America is awesome.

If anyone has any questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Have a great time. PERU IS A MAGICAL PLACE.

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