Monday, May 29, 2017

A Machu Picchu Tour Package Can Be Personalized Just For You

By Kathleen Kelly

If you are planning a trip to South America and are a lover of history and ancient cultures, Peru must be on your agenda. There is so much to see and do that most visitors have to pick and choose what they want to experience. There are companies happy to create a Machu Picchu tour package that fits your interests, time constraints, and budget.

Flying into Lima, the capital of Peru, is usually the first stop on one of these trips. If you have a day before you fly to Cuzco, you should see as much of Lima as possible. It has survived colonial and Republican periods, and some of that time is still in evidence at the Plaza de Armas. The palace and cathedral believed to house Pizarro's remains is located here. Tourists with a weakness for jewelry will love the Gold Museum with its extensive collections.

Once you get to Cuzco, you have to stop in at the ChocoMuseo and sample the chocolates they have on display. You can even take a two hour course in the art of chocolate making. You should also take time to go by the Museo de Arte Precolombino. They have some rare and interesting artifacts collected from all over Peru.

While you are in the vicinity, you must spend some time in the Sacred Valley. It takes at least a day to see the main attractions. There are the Incan ruins at Chinchero to be explored, and you don't have to be a farmer to marvel at the Ollantaytambo agricultural terraces. The farmer's market in the city of Pisco deserves a few hours for those who enjoy haggling with vendors.

Depending on how much time you have and how physically fit you are, you might decide to hike the Inca Trail from the Sacred Valley all the way up to Machu Picchu. Local guides accompany guests and will point out the wild orchards and amazing rainbow colored moss. The journey ends at the Gate of the Sun and the entrance to some of the most famous ruins in the world.

Hiking isn't the only way to get to the Lost City of the Incas. You can sit back and enjoy the amazing views during the two hour train ride up the mountains. Once you get to your destination, guides will lead you through the ruined royal palaces, temples, and astronomy observatories. The Sun Temple, Room of Three Windows, and Stone Sun are must sees. If time permits guides allow guests to walk around on their own.

Although this should be the centerpiece of your vacation, there are wonderful side trips for those who have the time. Titicaca Lake is one of them. It is the largest body of water in South America and borders both Peru and Bolivia. You can visit the Uros, which are tiny floating islands, and take a ride in one of the reed boats used by the natives of this region.

For lovers of history, culture, and archeology, the Lost City is the destination of a lifetime. It is difficult to believe the ingenuity and creativity that must have thrived in this ancient civilization. This is a trip to be treasured and remembered for a very long time.

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