As a country of vast contrast, incredible vistas, fine cuisine and ancient cultures, Peru continues its rise as the top destination in South America.
In the heart of southeastern Peru, visitors will find Cuzco, a colonial city built on top of the ancient capital of the Inca and the gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. The massive stones that the Inca masons used to build their impressive buildings and temples where incorporated by the Spanish as they built the present city of Cusco. To wander its many streets is to understand this contemporary city whose history dates back over a thousand years. With so many quaint shops and charming side-streets, we often find travelers spending at least two nights in Cuzco to take in the beauty and history of this city.
Experience an unforgettable view as you cross over the mountain from Cuzco and drop down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas on your way to Machu Picchu. The road follows the meandering Urubamba River and passes through rich agricultural lands and picturesque villages. In the valley there are many points of interest, including Pisac Market, which operates at its full potential every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and on a smaller scale other days; the massive Incan fortress of Ollantaytambo, and the charming village below it.
In the last five years, Avanti Destinations, a leader in independent travel to Europe and Latin America, has been urging travel agents to have their clients visit the Sacred Valley before Machu Picchu and Cuzco. It’s at a lower elevation than Cusco and is the fertile heartland of this region of Peru. The Sacred Valley is the best place to experience the culture of this region. There are soft adventures like rafting and horseback riding available, as well as scenic views and small villages. At least an overnight and even an extra day are recommended to further explore the area.
Then, travelers can continue their journey by train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, the main attraction for most visiting Peru. Have your clients spend a night in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town, where they can get off the train and have their bags taken to their hotel, while they board a bus for their first trip up the mountain to visit the citadel. By spending the night, your clients can get up early the next morning to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu. Don’t let them board the train for their return to Cuzco before seeing this spectacular sight.
Other options while visiting Peru include the Amazonas region out of Puerto Maldonado. Easily accessed by air from Cuzco, this option is becoming more popular. The second most popular extension from Cuzco is taking the train to Puno to visit magical Lake Titicaca. Here, travelers will find the Uros who built the islands, their homes and their boats out of the reeds that grow along the shore of Lake Titicaca. These kind and welcoming people love to share their history and culture with visitors, and travelers are often surprised to find that many locals still live as they have for hundreds of years.
Whichever route your clients take through Peru, you’ll find that Avanti and its local partners will ensure they have the vacation of a lifetime. For more information, call (800) 422-5053 or visit avantidestinations.com.