How I Tested An Uncommon Mosquito Repellent in the Amazon Jungle

You might know this product, but how many people would run down and buy nutritional yeast flakes to take on their trip to the Amazon rainforest? But that's exactly what I did. I was kind of desperate. After multiple trips to the jungle in Ecuador and Peru, I think the mosquitos know me. And tend to announce my arrival and invite their colleagues to…

Peru Maras Salt Ponds Closed to Pedestrians

Effective June 2019, visitors will not longer be permitted to walk among the Maras Terraced Salt Ponds.  Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the historic canyon has a legacy of being part of the economy since Inca times. Naturally occurring salt drains through the canyon where it's collected in ponds, harvested, and sold by the families…

My Trip to An Inca Rope Bridge: What I Learned About Community

In June 2019 I rode 4 hours by car from Cusco, Peru to a small community called Q'eswachaka with Jorki our driver, Hubert our guide, Beebe my gringa friend, and Mario, one of our company trail cooks. (Who was surely sent from heaven to let earthlings know that when we it's our time to cross into the pearly gates, divine dishes will be waiting. But that's…

Changes to Cost of Machu Picchu Entry Tickets in 2020

They're at it again. Word on the street in Cusco is that we need to get ready for big changes to the cost of Machu Picchu entry tickets in 2020.  The cost of early morning entry tickets is expected to double.  And the cost of afternoon tickets is expected to decrease. It's not official yet. And honestly, until the government website actually releases…

Don't Flip Your Lid Over Missing Toilet Seats in Peru

In 2007 when I began traveling in Peru and South America, I noticed that many toilets outside the hotels, did not have seats. I found this to be pretty common all over Peru and other places. For women, especially older women, this can be not just an annoyance but a potential for health problems. I've known some women who will "hold it" until they get…

How to Powder Your Nose at Machu Picchu

It's the elephant in the room at Machu Picchu. The one with his legs crossed. The thing that no one dreams they have to put on their list of "essential things to plan when I go to Machu Picchu."  Who could imagine that you need to organize your entire trip to a world-renowned high-profile destination around the availability of the restrooms? Are you…

3 Tips For Finding Your Guide Upon Arrival in a Foreign Airport

It's common for people who book guided tours and trips abroad to make their own international flight arrangements to their destinations. Their first contact with the tour company could be at the airport when they arrive. Even if they work through a travel agent, they probably won't know anything about the person who is scheduled to meet them when they…

How to Travel Plastic Free: Make your Own Kit

Single-use plastic water bottles are just the tip of the proverbial ice-berg of waste generated by humans all over the globe on a daily basis. Every time we consume foods and beverages inside and outside our homes we are making choices way beyond what's on the menu! We're voting with our dollars for food service infrastructure that supports and reinforces…

New Short Route from Cusco to Ollantaytambo

On the map it looks easy to get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo on your way to Machu Picchu. But there are many obstacles to potentially delay the unsuspecting traveler. The average travel time from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is 4.5-5 hours each way by motorized vehicle and train including time for transitions at the stations. From Aguas Calientes it's another…

Map of Sacred Valley Routes and 1 Day Inca Trail Hike

Map of Cusco, Sacred Valley Tours (2 options) Ollantaytambo and 1 Day Hike to Machu Picchu. Click on markers or zoom in or out to see different features.  Includes the new shorter direct route between Cusco and Ollantaytambo.