Peru: An Inspiring Journey to Machu Picchu and Beyond

Peru: An Inspiring Journey to Machu Picchu and Beyond

Peru is home to everything from Amazon rainforest to Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city in the Andes mountains.  It's a stunningly beautiful country, so when we learned that a trio of Guideposts staffers had enjoyed inspiring trips to Peru (none of them traveled together), we had to share it. Be inspired and awed and, sometimes, amused by their travels.  

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  • Katie Hogin on the journey from Cuzco to Machu Picchu

    My route to Machu Picchu from Cuzco was a 4-hour colectivo (a type of public bus) ride through the Sacred Valley, followed by 2 hours in a cab, another 1 hour in a bus and a 5-mile hike. Such beautiful scenery.  Due to the high altitude and the winding mountain roads, I threw up multiple times. It was definitely worth it for those views!—Katie Hogin, Assistant Photo Editor, Guideposts

  • The Sacred Valley, an area in the Andean Highlands that was considered the heart of the Inca Empire

    This area in the Andean Highlands, known as the Sacred Valley, was considered the heart of the Inca Empire. Farming was (and still is) done on terraces built along the slopes of a mountain.—Kate Norris, Copy Chief, Guideposts

  • A young woman paints a traditional Peruvian instrument call the ocarina.

    In a small town in the Sacred Valley, I found this tiny shop where a young woman painted a traditional Peruvian instrument, the ocarina.  The shapes and animal figures represent sacred symbols to the indigenous peoples.—Adam Hunter, Managing Editor, Mysterious Ways

  • Adam and his friend Jay at the start of our 4-day hike along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

    My friend Jay and I at the start of our 4-day hike along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Walking in the footsteps of the Incas was the most grueling physical experience I’ve ever had, but one of the most rewarding.—Adam

  • Adam was never in better shape—physically and spiritually—than he was at the end of the Inca trail.

    By Day Two of the Inca trail, I was ready to quit. Up for a mile, down for a mile. Sometimes fog and freezing rain, sometimes scorching sun. But the awe-inspiring views from the mountain passes and stops at sacred sites along the way kept me going. I was never in better shape—physically and spiritually—than I was at the end of the trail.—Adam

  • Kate at Machu Picchu with her husband, Mike

    Here I am at Machu Picchu with my husband, Mike. We were lucky enough to go back to the site at night and see the ruins under a full moon. Magical!—Kate

  • Adam meets a llama as he enters Machu Picchu. According to the Incas, llamas served as spiritual guides offering endurance and strength to travelers.

    I made friends with other hikers on the Inca trail—and got to meet the local wildlife, like this llama as I entered Machu Picchu. According to the Incas, llamas served as spiritual guides offering endurance and strength to travelers. I thought this one was a statue...until it moved.—Adam

  • While walking up towards the Sun Gate, Katie stopped often to soak in the breathtaking vistas.

    While walking up towards the Sun Gate, I stopped often to soak in the breathtaking vistas in between countless bouts of getting sick. Literally and figuratively breathtaking!—Katie

  • One of her travel buddies took this photograph of Katie.

    One of my travel buddies and friends from grad school took this picture of me as soon as we walked into the park. It was pretty incredible to witness how quickly the fog come and went; within 45 minutes, it was warm, bright and sunny.—Katie

  • Ollantaytambo was the last major town Adam visited before embarking on the Inca trail.

    Ollantaytambo is the last major town we visited before embarking on the Inca trail. It provided good practice for the climbs we’d have to make on our way to Machu Pichu. Here we purchased walking sticks carved by one of the locals—they were life-savers on the steepest parts of the trail.—Adam

  • Taking a break at Ollantaytambo

    Taking a break at Ollantaytambo. In the background, you can see a face in the mountain, between two sets of storage buildings. Engineers marvel at the skill of the Incas, who were able to move huge stones up steep mountains to build their cities.—Kate

  • The Man in the Mountain in Ollantaytambo

    The Man in the Mountain in Ollantaytambo. I remember my friends telling me about this place. I got to the city after it had already closed, but it was a beautiful sight to see carved in the mountain side.—Katie

  • Iglesia de Santiago Apostol in Ollantaytambo

    Iglesia de Santiago Apostol in Ollantaytambo. While waiting on my friends to meet back up with me, I walked around the side roads and came across this church. It was really peaceful and quiet inside.—Katie

  • Near Nazca, Kate had lunch at a hotel restaurant that featured a pet toucan, a pet monkey and live music.

    Near Nazca, we had lunch at a brand-new hotel with a pet toucan and a pet monkey. Some musicians gave us a good show.—Kate

  • Katie and friends board the plane to Cusco

    Boarding the plane to Cusco!—Katie

  • Two examples of the Nazca lines, mysterious giant drawings of animals and other figures etched into the earth in ancient times.

    These are two examples of the Nazca lines, mysterious giant drawings of animals and other figures etched into the earth in ancient times. This shows the tree at the top and what may be two hands. We saw them from the air in a stomach-churning plane ride. It was worth it, though!—Kate

  • The lovely Monasterio Hotel in Cuzco, built, as its name suggests, in a former monastery

    The lovely Monasterio Hotel in Cuzco, built, as its name suggests, in a former monastery. Oxygen was pumped into all the bedrooms to help combat altitude sickness, as the city sits more than 11,000 feet above sea level.—Kate

  • Cusco Cathedral

    The Cusco Cathedral has such lovely architecture.—Katie

  • The Parque del Amor, a hidden gem in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru’s capital city

    The Parque del Amor is a hidden gem in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru’s capital city. A place dedicated to love, it provides a breathtaking view over the Pacific. Couples come from all around and compete to share the longest kiss.—Adam

  • Reed fishing boats on the beach near Trujillo, on the Pacific coast

    These are reed fishing boats on the beach near Trujillo, on the Pacific coast. We watched some being made, the same way they have been for thousands of years.—Kate

  • The view from the island of Taquille in Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake and the largest in South America

    This is the view from the island of Taquille in Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake and the largest in South America. Churches can be found on most every island here, many built during the Spanish conquest of South America.—Adam

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