Inca sites and rainbow looms highlight a South American ramble.
“There’s so much to see in Peru beyond Machu Picchu,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Limor Decter, who recently joined a nine-day trip to Lima, the Sacred Valley, and Cuzco with Virtuoso on-site connection Metropolitan Touring. After years on the top of her list, the Inca citadel amazed her, but it was the Sacred Valley’s many lesser-known archaeological sites that most surprised Decter.
Here, she shares her trip highlights:
Trip Prep: Discuss altitude sickness with your doctor: Medication and hydration are two important preventive steps. I also suggest stocking up on basic medicine for minor ailments. It’s best to leave valuables at home, but I took a spare wallet filled with dollar bills for tips.
Peak Cuisine: We ate dinner in a private dining room on the terrace at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in Aguas Calientes. Andean art and decor provided a warm ambience, while ceviche served steaming on a hot stone added a wow factor.
Salt of the Earth: I was fascinated by the Sacred Valley’s Maras salt mines, created by the Inca and still used by Peruvians today. An elaborate channel system fills hundreds of terraced ponds, which dry to create thick layers of salt.
Weave a Story: At the Centro Textil URPI in Chinchero, indigenous women taught us traditional weaving techniques they use to make colorful wall hangings, table runners, and rugs.
In the Sacred Valley, we stayed at Tambo del Inka in Urubamba, which has a private train station for easy access to Machu Picchu. I loved my overnight visit to Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, where 12 acres of jungle flora, waterfalls, and terraced hills camouflage the adobe casitas. Sol y Luna decorates its rooms with Peruvian art and funds the Sol y Luna Association, which hotel owner Petit Miribel created to provide local families with education and work opportunities.
In central Cuzco, former colonial palace Palacio del Inka sits across from the ancient Koricancha (Temple of the Sun). I enjoyed unwinding at its Andes Spirit Spa; the hotel also offers oxygen for those suffering from altitude sickness.
Top Photo: Tiago Fernandez