Adios Basecamp

Can you Enter the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Without a Passport?

No matter what language you speak, hopefully you will understand that the answer to that question is.  No. Under no circumstance is anyone ever allowed to enter the Classic Inca Trail Hike without checking in with the original copy of his/her valid passport. If you forget your passport in your luggage in Cusco, which happens more than it should, because everyone must leave their luggage at their hotel,…

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Trader Joe's Cookies big hit in Peruvian village

Before we departed to Peru for our big overland expedition into Manu Biosphere Reserve, I went to Trader Joe's where I saw my favorite seasonal cookies.  The "astounding" multi-flavor Joe-Joes.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Cellophane  wrappers stuffed with stacks of over-the-top, fudgy, double everything, minty delicousness.  For a traveler, the box was big, but I bought them anyway.  And…

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Guide to getting "Liquored Up" in Peru

We're not talking about night after night of binge drinking. Travelers seeking to explore the Andes Mountains through food and culture will appreciate the range of alcoholic beverages available in Peru.  From indigenous Chicha beer to coastal wineries, Peru offers a variety of drinks exclusive to the country. The first libation is Pisco, a brandy made from grapes grown in Peru's costal regions where…

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Inca Trail's Best Kept Secret: Availability!

There's good news.  And even unprecedented news.  Permits for 2-day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu are plentiful and available almost every day in 2016.  But not so good news. The permits for 4-Day Inca Trail hikes have sold out through most of the year, and at this time, are only available for October, November and December.  The reason for the difference in availability is that the permits for 4-Day…

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Pisac ruins: temporarily closed April 2016

One of the most popular tourist sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is temporarily closed.  Sadly, the closure of Pisaq Archaeological Ruins is precipitated by an accident on February 12, 2016, when a Peruvian family hiking to the Pisac ruins with 10 year old Valeria Arlette Garcia Escobar, died when crushed by a rockfall.  Heavy rains the night before, coupled with strong sunshine may have loosened…

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Machu Picchu and the Zika Virus: what you need to know

If you're following the Zika virus story you may notice that several countries in South America have not been added to the list of countries where the virus has been found.  Brazil is in the spotlight for the majority of Zika cases and with the upcoming Summer Olympics, has initiated eradication procedures to hopefully prevent the spread of the virus and convince the world to come to Brazil next August. A…

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2016 Permits for 2-day Inca Trail Hike: website not open to the Public

The good news is that in 2016, the Peruvian government added 250 more permits for the 2-day Inca Trail hike.  The bad news is that the website that shows availability is not open to the public.  Before 2016 you may have heard about the limit of 500 people per day allowed on the Inca Trail, including porters and guides.  The 500 places were available for both the easy 1-day hike as well as the 4-day…

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Peru is Not Launching a New Route to Machu Picchu

Beginning with the new year January 1, 2016, came the news that the Peruvian office of The National Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP) was launching a new route for hikers to Machu Picchu.  It is called "Route 5."  And is labeled a "new route and a whole new experience."  It further states that 250 people per day can buy permits (from a licensed operator). Which is kinda true, except for…

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Perurail: what you need to know about train station changes

The first thing visitors to the official Perurail website will see is the pop-up window announcing the temporary use of Pachar train station in the Sacred Valley.  Beginning January 2, 2016 until April 30, 2016, all Expedition and Vistadome service will begin and end in the Pachar station as well as the station in Ollantaytambo.  Pachar is about 1 hour 50 minute drive from Cusco.  And Ollantaytambo…

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The least visited place in Peru: we can take you there Part 1

It's called Manu Biosphere Reserve.  It's part of the Amazon rainforest basin on the "other" side of the Andes Mountains in Peru.  It might as well be the dark side of the moon.  Inaccessability has been the key to survival of this jungle.  You can't drive or fly there.   This is the place where National Geographic might send a journalist and an anthropologist to explore and write for their magazine.…

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