Whether you choose to get there by way of the Inca Trail, take the train, or to take your time by visiting beautiful projects, here is how you can get to this wonder of the world in highest possible class.
Early birds: get yourself to Incapunku, the sun door.
This enchanting sanctuary radiates profound energy, and nowhere is this as apparent than during the dawn at the Inkapunku (The Sun Door). For those who are open, the rising sun filtering through the complex’s ancient stone buildings can be a deeply spiritual experience. In my opinion, this is the best time and place to enjoy silence and peace at Machu Picchu. The mysticism of at the Puerta del Sol cannot be put into words, it has to be sensed.
The Intipunku his was probably a look-out for controlling access. Because of this, it offers a view of the whole complex. It’s also the entrance gate to Machu Picchu when hiking the Inca Trail. To get to this sacred spot, you need to walk one kilometer south from Machu Picchu.
Take a moment to smell the flowers: orchid mania
Peru is one of the few places in the world that’s classified as mega-diverse. And it lives up to these terms for its geology, geology, geography, biology, and culture. With all of this diversity, it’s easy to overlook one of its most beautiful treasures: the variety and quantity of its native orchids. It lays claim to more than 10% of the total number of species in the world (around 30,000).
With great dedication and effort, Inkaterra Asociacion has built an admirable sanctuary at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. They’ve actually created an orchid trail, which is a result of a collaboration with the “Centro de Investigacion y Conservacion de Machu Picchu”.
At the sanctuary you can see 372 native species, consisting of 80 genera, at least 15 of which are newly discovered. Despite our meager knowledge of the subject, we have visited a couple of times. It’s the most fantastic if you can organize your visit for when the orchids are in flower. The most intense colors and shapes intertwine with the rainforest foliage; it seems like there’s something new around every corner.
Lastly, a word of advice about the trail: approach your walk with calmness, so as to see beauty in its purest form. And don’t forget to take a camera.
High-Class Inca Trail: champagne, massages, delicious cuisine and hot water
The Inca Trail is not an easy hike. With each step you’ll discover what your body is capable of, while at the same time marvelling at the wonders created by nature and by our ancestors.
This route, which once linked Cusco and Machu Picchu, can be traversed in four days and three nights, or three days and two nights. If you can afford it, it’s much better if you choose one of the luxury options in which all you have to do is walk and enjoy the flowers and wildlife.
The trail’s 40 kilometers contain significant climbs and descents, as well as stairs and bridges. You walk by day and spend your nights at specially prepared camp sites in insulated tents. But the luxury doesn’t stop there. You’ll enjoy gourmet food as well, which is prepared by a private chef. If that’s not enough, there’s even a masseur to help walkers relax at the end of the day. As far as beverages go, you’ll can even drink champagne to make cheers for the completion of a good walk.
How to hike the trail with luxery
In the 1990’s, at the request of a Virtuoso Adventure Specialist, LimaTours operated the first luxury Inca Trail hiking program to Machu Picchu, which includes gourmet cooking, massages, hot-water showers, chilled champagne and personal coca leaf reading sessions with a master Andean shaman.
Today, under the PureQuest active travel brand continues providing for who wish to go over the top, when hiking to the top. To find more out about this option visit their website.
Take the best train (not that one, the other one)
PeruRail’s Hiram Bingham train
If you thought you had seen everything in this world, you’ve missed this: a luxury train journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu, aboard the Hiram Bingham train, named after the explorer who “discovered” Machu Picchu.
The Victorian-styled coaches have only 42 seats, and their design is inspired by coaches brought from Singapore. The design is similar to those of the Orient Express that ran from Paris to Istanbul 1833 and 1977. From the journey’s views, to the service, it’s a luxerious experience at its finest. There’s beautiful details everywhere, from art nouveau vases, to embroidered linen, glassware and crockery.
For those who want to make a cheers, the bar is always open, with background music and musicians playing creole rhythms. Everything is tasty and as exquisite as the journey itself. We suggest you don’t go to sleep as this is a once in a lifetime experience.
How to book your ticket
The Hiram Bingham train departs every day from Monday to Saturday. It stops at Ollantaytambo for a few minutes. The journey takes four hours. You can take the outbound service, stay for a night in the village or the sanctuary and return the following day. The journey includes a guide, transport and entrance to the sanctuary, as well as tea at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel. Book your ticket here.
One step up: the Inca Rail Presidential Class
There is no better way to get to a wonder of the world than to do it in a wonderful ride. The Presidential Class is a refined train with private wagons that hold exclusively private groups of maximum 8 people. During the amazing journey, you can share with your companions an exquisite menu, enjoy a courtesy bottle of champagne, free bar and the best wines of the region. The inside is elegantly decorated and has comfortable seating, large spaces and windows that become beautiful pictures thanks to the incredible mountain scenery, vegetation and Andean sky. Enjoying this journey with your loved ones is an experience you will always cherish.
Diego Oliver is a Peruvian writer and author whose work can be found in the travel magazine Ultimate Journeys. He loves to focus on Peruvian culture both modern and classic, traveling the country, as well as social responsibility.