Indeed, in my personal opinion, this is the best way to get a feel of nature, while hiking to the Incan City of Machu Picchu, and I wouldn´t consider doing it any other way, due to the fact that, all year long, my family and I live a rather sedentary life, in a city, and our physical condition wouldn´t allow us to assume and enjoy a 3 or 4-day hike, going up and down mountains, camping in nature and standing altitudes of over 4,000 meters (13,123 feet).
So, our best option, as a family of four, definitely was to go for a lighter alternative which SAMEX presented to us in such a professional and safe manner that we were directly conquered, and didn´t hesitate to book our trip to Peru, to hike to Machu Picchu, with that agency, for the following reasons:
First of all, I got in touch with SAMEX, thanks to a relative who had already traveled to Peru, with them, and had thoroughly enjoyed her experience which she shared with us, and out of her whole story, the 2-day hike to Machu Picchu was what most strongly attracted us.
The next step to booking our trip to Peru, and hike to Machu Picchu, took us on a two-way dialogue with one of SAMEX´s travel planning experts who helped us design our 5-day experience, in the Peruvian Andes and, of course, the 2-day hike to the worldwide known Incan City, starting with our arrival in Lima, and connection flight to Cusco.
As my husband and I had decided to book a private program, to live that experience with our two children, SAMEX set-up the perfect scenario by taking us directly from Cusco to a 3-star hotel, in the well-known village of Pisaq, in the Incas´ Sacred Valley, where we had time to rest, in the morning and, after lunch, we gave a stroll around its colorful handicraft market.
Afterwards, we rested, at the hotel, before dinner, and went early to sleep, to get-up before dawn, and ride, aboard a private vehicle, to the ‘Living Incan Village’ of Ollantaytambo, where we boarded the Expedition Train that took us to Km. 104 of the Cusco-Quillabamba Railway, and to our hike´s starting point, at 2,100 meters / 6,900 feet above sea level.
Along the way, the Sacred Valley´s wonderful mountainous landscape fascinated us, as it looked more real and grandiose than on the pictures and videos SAMEX´s staff had shown us, before our trip, and filled us with positive energy, to hike to Machu Picchu,
starting on a rather flat terrain, along the valley´s floor, to then enter the jungle´s edge area, with some moderate difficulty sections, largely compensated by its lush, omnipresent and so varied vegetation that really helped us overcome all minor challenges, on the trail.
On our way, we had chances to sight numerous birds, including the Little Cock of the Rocks; Peru´s National Bird, so many colorful butterflies, of all sizes, visiting exotic flowers, like orchids and bromeliads, as well as ferns and other plant species, endemic to that region.
Indeed, that whole display of life fully caught our attention, and allowed us to pause, on a regular basis, to observe nature, while taking countless pictures and video footage that, today, are great conversation pieces we love to show to relatives, friends and colleagues.
Around noon, we got to the first Incan architectural complex, called Wiñay Wayna which means ‘Always Young’, and is the common name of a species of orchids, abundant in that area, when that site was discovered, in the first half of the 20th century.
There, we had a pleasant open-air picnic-lunch, and visited the site, while our guide was giving us a very enriching and delightful commentary about its known history, architectural features, cultural aspects, and on how the Incan people used to live there, which gave us a positive foretaste of what our guided visit of Machu Picchu would be like.
Then, we resumed our hike, along an authentic Incan path that led us, up 60 stone steps, to the famous Inti Punku, or Sun God´s Gate; a high vantage point (2,730 m. / 8,792 ft.) that allows breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and its natural surroundings.
After a pause, to rest and take pictures, we went on, downhill, all the way to the Incan City´s original trapezoidal entrance gate, and crossed the site, to get a first feel of it, as the afternoon already was coming to its end, with astounding light and shadow contrasts that made us want to remain there forever, as this zip-through visit enticed our urge to witness the sunrise, the following day, and enjoy a full guided tour of the city.
Then, after a 25-minute downhill bus ride, we got to the small pedestrian village of Machupicchu Pueblo (Ex Aguas Calientes), where our guide took us to our hotel.
There, we took a good hot shower, had dinner, and went to sleep early, to get-up at 4:30 a.m., in time to have a light, but energetic breakfast, and catch the first bus up to the Incan City.
Once the entrance procedures over with, we walked up to the Guardian´s House which offers a full view of Machu Picchu´s Urban Sector, part of its Agricultural Sector, and of Mounts Machu Picchu, Wayna Picchu, Huchuy Picchu and Putucusi, just to mention the closest in sight, to watch the Sun rise over that incredible landscape which literally left us in awe.
After that, our guide took us on an in-depth guided visit of the archaeological complex and its main architectural compounds, such as the Sacred Square, Temple of the Sun, Royal Residence, Ceremonial Fountains, the Intiwatana, or Solar Calendar, the Main Square, Condor´s Temple and so many other amazing places, while telling us all about the site, its history, how it was officially discovered by Hiram Bingham, in 1911, etc., for over two hours of exciting moments we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Finally, after having gotten our fill of that New Wonder of the Modern World, we felt so satisfied of the whole visit, but, also, quite glad to let the bus take us back down to the village, to enjoy a delicious lunch, at our hotel, followed by a well-deserved rest and a stroll around the local handicraft market, before boarding the train back to Ollantaytambo, and a private vehicle, to Cusco, getting there on time for dinner and a comfy night´s sleep.
All in all, after such a great experience, we, as a family, have become unconditional fans and promoters of SAMEX, as much at home, as at school and work, and have earned ourselves a special discount on our next trip to Peru which we are already planning for 2021.
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