How to Book Your Trip to Machu Picchu: Last Minute

It can be done.  We do it all the time.  Organizing last minute vacations to Machu Picchu during the busy season is an adrenalin-pumping ride on waves of hotel rejections, limited train schedules and precision coordinating that would make a military general weep with pride.  The first step is to get to Cusco, which usually takes at least 2 travel days. …

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…

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,…

Pubs and Bars: How to Tipple Toe Your Way Through Peru

Travelers seeking to explore the Andes Mountains through its 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 and most well-known libation is Pisco, a brandy made from grapes grown in Peru's costal…

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.  The reason for the availability is that the permits for 4-Day & 2-Day hikes have been separated.  Anyone with internet access can go to the government website and check availability for 4-day and 2-day hikes. Permits…

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

For travelers seeking Zika-free destinations, it's important to stay up to date because information and locations keep changing.  Brazil was the first to land in the spotlight for Zika virus cases, but what's happening in other countries in South America? And what is the risk of exposure to Zika for travelers to Machu Picchu? Click here: More Machu…

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.  Even when permits for 4 day Inca Trail have sold out, it may still be possible to get permits for the 2-day Inca Trail hike. Update. June 16, 2017:  effective immediately, all permits for both 4-day and 1-day Inca Trail are now viewable to…

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…

Perurail: what you need to know about train station changes

Beginning January 2, 2017 until April 30, 2017, all trains from Poroy station will depart from/arrive at the station in Ollantaytambo. There will be no train service to/from Poroy. Train service from the Urubamba station at Tambo del Inka hotel will not be affected.  And for travelers booking Hiram Bingham luxury train, Perurail will provide bus service…

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…