Client Info: - Jay and Heather DeLong, (Laramie, Wyoming)
Destination Name: Huyna Picchu
We returned from our trip to Peru, visiting Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lima. The entire trip was outstanding. We stayed at the Lima Airport Hotel which was perfect for our late evening arrival and morning flight to Cusco. I would recommend others to stay there rather than in Miraflores if you are leaving Lima the next morning. It saves the 45 minute drives to and from Miraflores and the airport.
Upon arrival in Cusco, we were met by the representative and driver who took us to our hotel. We stayed at the La Casona Hotel which was top notch in every way. Their service is impeccable and the staff very friendly and helpful. We experienced no altitude sickness since we live at 7200'. Our first afternoon, we took the Marcelo Batata Cooking Class, which we scheduled on our own. The instruction covers everything from Peruvian food, fruit tasting, pisco tasting and drink making, and of course cooking. This was a great introduction to Peru and its food culture. I would highly recommend this to everyone visiting Cusco for their first time.
The next morning we were met by our guide, Juan Carlos and our driver Roddy. We had the same driver and car throughout our time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Roddy made sure we had bottled water in the car every day. We also did the Cusco Planetarium on our own, which was very informative. They covered the Inca sky beliefs along with current sky phenomena. Highlights included seeing the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn with their telescopes. I would also recommend it for someone looking for something different to do in the evening. They pick you up and drop you off in Cusco. We were with a group of 3 other people. The planetarium is located near Sacsayhuaman. Our guide, Juan Carlos, was also with us the entire time throughout the Cusco area; including the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Having the same guide throughout was a great advantage, since he could tailor his information more to our interests. Of note, Juan Carlos took us onto the Maras salt fields, rather than just on the outskirt path. We got to see firsthand and up close, some of the workers preparing their areas and they explained what and how they were doing it.
Machu Picchu is everything we've read about and more. We stayed at the Sanctuary Lodge, which was well worth the expense. We were there for two day; one full day with the guide and another without the guide. The guide also climbed Huayna Picchu with us. The advantage of the Sanctuary Lodge is we were able to leave the park, shower after our hike and have lunch in the hotel residents only area, then return back into the park. Our Lima guide, Sophia, was outstanding as well. When we arrived in early afternoon without lunch due to our flight, she made a reservation for lunch for us at the Museum Cafe so we had a table available when we arrived. She also made sure we arrived at Miraflores in time for the sunsetting over the Pacific.
Overall, the trip was everything we expected and more.