I had always wanted to visit Machu Picchu and Peru. Once it came time to burn the last of my vacation days before I lost them, I decide to make the last minute trip. My wife couldn’t make it because she just started a new job, and my kids couldn’t make it because of the four day hike to Machu Pichu. I enlisted my good buddies, Nic and Jeremy, to join me on the adventure!
The first stop was Cusco, the staging center for all treks to Machu Picchu.
The old town square in Cusco delights!
A statue of the last Inca emperor points the way to the city in the clouds.
In this Peruvian depiction of the Last Supper, Jesus breaks bread with Machu Picchu in the background while the disciples feast on guinea pig, a traditional Peruvian delicacy.
But there are other Peruvian delicacies as well, like this ceviche served fresh in the local market.
The three amigos chilling with some llamas before the big hike to Machu Picchu. Nic is on the left, and Jeremy on the right.
Alpaca, the cousin of the llama, provides great yarn, but also makes an awesome burger. Peruvians don’t eat llamas.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a four day and three night trek reaching altitudes over 15,000 feet and is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail.
We awoke from camp after the first day of trekking to some stunning Andes scenery.
The Andes are the second highest mountains in the world, after the Himalayans, and people often get a touch of altitude sickness. In Jeremey’s case, the touch was severe. If he hadn’t been rushed to the hospital he would most likely have died within 48 hours of leaving the first day’s campsite.
After I escorted Jeremy back to Cusco so he could make his full recovery in the hospital, I took an alternate route to Machu Picchu that followed this river by train.
The end of the line is Aguascalientes, or Machu Picchu City, the small town (inaccessible by car) at the foot of Machu Picchu. I met up with Nic who completed the full trek here, and we enjoyed the hot springs.
Early the next morning, we made it to Machu Picchu! Weather wasn’t great, but after a long week, it felt good to have arrived at this iconic location.
Here’s an alternate view with my buddy Nic on the far right.
The bros pose at the entrance to the city. It was bittersweet that Jeremy couldn’t make it with us, be he fully recovered, and made it up himself by the end of his trip – and on a sunny day!
Machu Picchu is definitely one of the most photogenic places I’ve been, even in the rain and mist.
On our last night, we celebrated by sharing Peruvian Cuy, or guinea pig. Wikipedia says, “Traditionally, the animal was reserved for ceremonial meals by indigenous people in the Andean highlands, but since the 1960s, it has become more socially acceptable for consumption by all people. It continues to be a major part of the diet in Peru and Bolivia, particularly in the Andes Mountains highlands.”
Although little Princeton couldn’t make this trip, he helped daddy unpack, and was stoked on his Alpaca sneakers I brought back.