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Our Inca Trail Porters First Visit to Machu Picchu

13 Mar

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By Raul Ccolque Ccolque

In February the Inka Trail is closed due to heavy rains, government maintenance and the cleaning of the Trail. Alpaca Expeditions took the opportunity during this off month to create lots of activities such as, cleaning the trail for the Lares trek, the Huchuy Qosqo Trail, Inka Trail, and the training for our chefs and guides. We decided to reward our best Inka Trail group of porters and their families with a journey to Machu Picchu. They are from the community of Wakawasi located in the Lares Valley – all of them native Quechua-language-speakers who had never been to Machu Picchu even though they had trekked the Inka Trail hundreds of times. Wakawasi porters were the most organized and responsible porters in 2014. In total there were 65 people who went to Machu Picchu – 35 adult porters and their wives and the rest were children around the age of 8.

11035629_750335275062319_7191463342050698082_oThis journey started on Saturday, February 28th, 2015. Wakawasi is at 3800 meters above sea level. We collected them from their village in two buses to transfer them to Ollantaytambo (a very colorful Inka town) to catch the 7:00PM train to Aguas Calientes. It was so nice to see how excited they were (especially the children!) considering that this was happening for the first time in their lives! After the two hour train journey we arrived in Aguas Calientes. We took them to the restaurant El Tupana Wasi to enjoy dinner as one big family and to enjoy our vacation together.  After dinner we headed to our hotels, all provided by Alpaca Expeditions. We decided to meet the next morning at 5:00AM to be first in line to catch the first buses up to see the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu.10987449_750334635062383_4899141120942871699_o

On Day 2 we met at the hotel lobby for an early breakfast and then walked to the bus station. All the tourists and other Machu Picchu visitors were so captivated to see such a big group -all wearing their traditional clothing! We were on one of the first buses to leave and everyone was so happy to have such a nice morning. We arrived at Machu Picchu and the most exciting part for them was when we got to the Watchtower House of the Inkas. Our porters, their wives and children were overjoyed that they were at the New Seventh Wonder of the World, a dream-come-true for these farming families who frequently never leave their villages. And here they were in the magnificent ruins that were built by their ancestors, the Inka! After checking identification at the Entry Checkpoint, we all headed to the popular lookout point for Machu Picchu where they all got their family pictures.  We then began with their tour of Machu Picchu (in Quechua!!)- thanks to our marvelous guides, Amoroso, Elio, Yoel, and Sabino. We explored all of Machu Picchu and took loads of pictures of them which we are going to make into a DVD/ video for them. Finally we returned by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then took the afternoon train at 2:55PM to Ollantaytambo where Alpaca’s buses waited for then and drove to their village arriving, around 8:00PM.

10922310_750335071729006_8999043211195843062_o Who are the Wakawasi People?

Wakawasi village is located at 3800 meters above sea level; they are part of the Lares Valley and located in Urubamba province. Their main economic activity is agriculture and they farm potatoes mostly, though of course, they do have llamas and alpacas as well. Our company employs most of the people of this village as porters and horsemen.

We want to make this a tradition.

Machu Picchu, as a New Seventh Wonder of the World should not only be visited by tourists. It should also be known and visited by the local people, to put them in touch with their history and heritage. Unfortunately, even the cost of travel makes the likelihood of this happening prohibitive for them. Alpaca Expeditions has now begun this tradition and we hope in the future, to be able to share Machu Picchu with all our porters and their families, especially their children. Not just for them, but also for other villagers who have never been to this magical Inka citadel.

11044556_750334895062357_8865716279022568440_oOur next group will be in August, which is during winter vacation for the schools in Peru (Southern Hemisphere). We decided that we will be taking the residents of two small villages from the area of Ocongate. Ocongate is located at 4100 meters above sea level and belongs to the Ocongate district and Qusipicanchis region. The villages are called Wakatinku and Ullucha and we are expecting at least 100 people including our porters, wives and their children. Then next year in February, during our summer break we will be inviting other villages such as Choquekancha –Lares and Pisaq Communities.

You may be wondering why it is that our porters have hiked the Inca Trail so many times, yet never seen the ruins. The Peruvian government rules do not allow our porters to enter Machu Picchu from our last campsite, so their only options are to go on their own, or not go at all.

In their lives in their villages, our porters are subsistence farmers, living very close to the land. Many of them use the barter system to get the things they need, trading potatoes and other things they farm for what they cannot grow. Money is very hard to come by; therefore many of the things that cost money remain out of reach for them.

Going to Machu Picchu costs money. First they have to get from their remote villages to Cusco. They need transportation, hotels, meals, and bus tickets to and from the ruins. Plus they usually have several children in tow to take into account.

11041876_750334728395707_8281490073575946790_oHow can you help to be part of this project?

Just by choosing us as your trekking company you are already helping these families make it a reality to have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. Alpaca Expeditions is working to make the lives of our porters and their families better, from the viewpoint of learning about our culture and environment.

You can help us to create trips to Machu Picchu for more people who have never been and help them have the opportunity to see what their ancestors created. You can help with making contributions toward purchasing train tickets, hotels or simply economically supporting this project. We can purchase any tickets on your behalf for them – just contact Alpaca Expeditions.

11053296_750334845062362_1530075635549176087_oWhy did we start this project?

Just as many of us (and as many of you) love to travel and explore the various attractions all over the world, our local people would also love to travel. Unfortunately, due to their economic situation they are not able to make it happen. But we at Alpaca Expeditions consider that is very important for them to know their heritage, especially living so close to one of the Seven Wonders such as Machu Picchu. We decided that by helping them to make this happen it would help them to better appreciate their magnificent culture in Peru.

Believe it or not, there are even some children that have never even been to the city of Cusco. We would love to help them have the opportunity to get to know some of our other heritage and history besides Machu Picchu.

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http://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

 

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First Aid Training for ALL Alpaca Expeditions Guides

26 Feb

By Lisa McClendon Sims

11007491_10205473364009279_1592226164_nThe Inka Trail is closed for maintenance during the month of February which gives our busy guides the opportunity to do some additional training and community service projects.

In addition to Culinary Classes for our chefs and a Beautification Project on the Huchuy Qosqo Trail this month, our guides all met in our Cusco office for two days this week for additional training. This included continuing education classes of First Aid, High Altitude Illness Training and Injury Prevention and Treatment courses.

If you have trekked with Alpaca Expeditions, you know that our guides are not only great organizers and motivators, very knowledgeable and entertaining but also very competent at handling just about any situation that can be thrown at them while guiding our trekkers safely through our magnificent Andes Mountains.

Still, on rare occasions something unexpected happens and we want to be 100% certain that our guides are prepared to handle surprise situations. We work in conjunction with O2 Clinics who help us with our annual training. Basic First Aid and CPR Training are obviously valuable as well as training in other health issues that can affect people in the high mountainous regions of the Andes.

It is also very important that our guides understand the basic physics of high altitude and the effects it can have on people who have not acclimatized well to our higher altitudes.  They are trained in how to recognize the symptoms of High Altitude Illness and what to do to help the body with recovery and acclimatization. They carry with them and are trained in how to use a Pulse Oximeter which monitors oxygen saturation and heart rate and also how to administer oxygen if necessary, which they also carry.

We then spent the afternoon on studying various bird and orchid species that are native to the area.

We are now ready to start the 2015 Season! So come and enjoy the majesty and beauty of our Inka Trail and Alternative Treks in and around the Sacred Valley of the Inkas in Peru and know that you are in good hands with Alpaca Expeditions.

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When to book your 2015 Inca Trail

8 Jul
KM 82

KM 82

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular vacation adventures.  But do to this popularity, and some heavy regulations by the Peruvian government, getting your permit is not so easy.  In order to hike the Inca Trail you must have a permit to do so.  Only licensed tour operators, like Alpaca Expeditions, can obtain these permits on your behalf.  You can NOT enter the Inca Trail without a permit and you will enter through a checkpoint where the permit will be matched to your passport – must match perfectly.

The government limits the amount of permits for each day to 500.  Everyone needs a permit to enter the trail – even the crew that is hiking with you – so this limits the amount for travelers to about 200.  While this seems like a very small number, you will actually be thankful for this as you hike because it does limit the crowds along the way.  You only need a permit for your start day.

The government has a website, http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/, that shows how many permits are available for each day.  As I type this, they are all sold out until November 1st – today is July 8th, so you can see how quickly they sell out.  You can currently book a permit through the end of January and then the trail is closed for all of February for maintenance.

Inca Trail Map - Rusty

Map of the Trail

But what happens if you are looking to trek in March 2015 or sometime after?  These permits are not for sale from the government until January.  Around New Years, the Park office will tell us the exact date the permits are released, but for now we guess some time in the middle of January.  But this does not mean you should wait to book your 2015 Inca Trail trek until January.  Most companies like Alpaca are already taking reservations.  The day the permits are released is a bit hectic in Cusco and usually ends with a few days completely sold out of permits.  Last year several days in May sold out within just a few hours of the permits being released.  So its good to have your reservations secured early and have a company like Alpaca fight on your behalf for your perfect start date.

So start thinking of when you would like to visit us.  We ask for three possible start dates, in order of preference, and we will do everything we can to get your number 1 choice.  By getting all your information into us early you will be added to our list, helping us to keep organized and giving us a better chance to get that top choice of yours.

There is actually no risk to you to book early and lots of advantages.  While we do require a $200US deposit per person which is normally non-refundable, we will refund these deposits for 2015 until January.  If we were not able to get any of your 3 chosen start dates, we would refund your deposit 100% as well – but this will not happen.  And by securing your trek for 2015 this year, you are also locking in our current rate for the Inca Trail, which will be a savings.

So when should you book your Inca Trail trek for 2015 – why not now.  We would love to show you the Andes and be your guide and we promise, if you choose Alpaca, you will have the most amazing vacation adventure of your life.

Trek with Alpaca – you will remember this trip for a lifetime.

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http://www.alpacaexpeditions.com

 

With May Comes Huge Crowds to Cusco

1 May

Alpaca Logo 2013

Welcome to May everyone! We have officially entered the heart of the busiest time for tourism in this area. Many of you have treks coming up shortly and we just wanted to remind you of some key preparation points.

Cusco will begin getting overwhelmed with tourists and places will be booked.  Make sure you have all your reservations set for your upcoming trek.  Confirm your flights coming into the city – airlines are often changing the times.  It’s good to do a double check on everything about 2 weeks before you plan on arriving to Cusco.

Most important is weather. While May is part of the dry season here in Cusco, weather is completely unpredictable and it can absolutely rain at any moment. Be prepared. I have reminded everyone to bring jackets, pants and waterproof gloves. Especially for those of you trekking, when you are using your walking sticks your hands are exposed. Being wet with frozen hands is not fun. Please bring everything and hopefully you will only enjoy sun and can return it when you get back home.

Passports.  Please remember that not only does the Inca Trail permit have your passport listed on it, but all train tickets and entrances to Machu Picchu also require your current passport number.  You must show this when you enter each of those placesISIC and your passport needs to match what is on the ticket.  If you have received a new passport number, please give us the number immediately.  Also for you STUDENTS – only green ISIC cards will reward you with a discount, but this card must be valid and with you to allow you onto the Inca Trail or into Machu Picchu.  They check and they will not grant you access if you have a student ticket and no student ISIC card.

Pack light.  No matter which tour you are doing – train or trek – the trains to and from Aguas Calientes limit the size of your luggage to nothing larger than 8kg.  If you are doing a tour by train and have no small bag, please let our office know and we will lend you a small duffel bag.  Every hotel in Cusco is used to this and will store your larger luggage safely.  If you are not comfortable with this, we can do so as well.

Checking in to our office is very important.  We need to know that you have arrived safely to the city and are aware of your start times, no matter which tour you are doing.  Our office is located very close to the main square at Calle Heladeros 157, Office 24 – 25 on the 2nd floor. I am sure your hotel can help you to find where we are located. Please note that we are not the blue door that says ALPACA, that is another company across the street from us – we have a small black plaque above the doorframe that says in gold writing – ALPACA EXPEDITIONS and we are on the second floor of that building.

The altitude effects everyone differently and there is no way to predict this.  Even those of you that are avid skiiers and have spent some time in the mountains can suffer and some people have no effects at all.  It’s good to be prepared.  I definitely recommend visiting your Primary Care Physician or a travel doctor and getting some DIAMOX.  This should be a small dosage – either 125 mg twice a day or 250 mg once a day.  Try to not get the 500mg dosage – it is a diuretic.  Also, drink lots of liquid – non-alcoholic guys – this also helps acclimate.

Travel insurance is a good idea for those of you trekking.  Just in case someone does get hit hard with the effects of altitude sickness.  We have recommended a great insurance agent that can help, but honestly you can find others right online.  And this is really inexpensive.  Our point of contact is Jill Roth and she can be contacted at jroth@afsinsurance.com.

If there is something you think we should address as far as other advice, please let us know and we will add.  Also check our website with some handy packing lists…www.alpacaexpeditions.com.

Journey is the Destination

 

 

 

Machu Picchu is a HOT SPOT in 2013

6 Mar

Machupicchu_hb102013 was a historic year for Machu Picchu, bringing the largest amount of visitors so far.  Nearly 1.2 million people explored the ancient Inca citadel and 2014 has already proved to try to surpass those numbers..

The record-breaking figure of 1,177,308 visitors is contained in the annual totals published by the Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Tourism (MINCETUR).

Built in the 15th century by the 9th Sapa Inca Pachacutec, Machu Picchu is considered by most who come to Peru a must see experience. Most travelers plan a trip to Machu Picchu without realizing the other treasures of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Peru as a whole.  We plan on  continuing to showcase our country and all the beauty to all visitors making Peru the destination and not only our world wonder.

And Peruvian authorities are helping with that mission, working on developing Peru’s other amazing ancient archaeological sites to help take some of the pressure off Machu Picchu.

Come and visit Peru – it will be a vacation that you will never forget!  Especially when you see it with this guy!Raul and Machu Picchu

Huaynapicchu

29 Jan

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone.  Sorry we have been neglectful of our blog, but we were busy securing all our permits for 2014 and doing a little travelling ourselves.  As man you are booking your treks and visits to Machu Picchu now, many people wonder about hiking Huaynapicchu and why there are two prices for this trek.

Huaynapicchu
I will begin with, can you hike Huaynpicchu…OF COURSE YES!!!  While Huaynapicchu is limited to 400 hikers a day, if you plan early and book this extra hike at least 2 months in advance, we will definitely purchase your permit for the hike.

The permits are given for a window of time, either from 7-8AM or 10-11AM.  This is when you need to start the hike.  It takes approximately 45 minutes to the top, snap some photos, and then another 45 minutes down.

We purchase the second time slot for all our travelers, the 10-11AM time slot, so that you can enjoy your tour of Machu Picchu with your guide first.  Once your tour of the ruins are over, your guide will show you where you begin this hike.  This is usually done on your own, but if you need your guide to join you, please let the office know and we will arrange beforehand.

just let us know if you want the permit for Huaynapicchu.  The permit is $25 per person to hike UNLESS you are doing one of our Inca Trail treks.  Unfortunately if you are trekking the Inca Trail, no matter how long of a trek you chose, it will be $65 per person to climb Huaynapicchu.  Why so much more for Inca Trail trekkers?

So when we purchase your permit for the Inca Trail, the permit includes entry to Machu Picchu.  You don’t need a physical ticket into the Lost City of the Incas.  But when you climb Huaynapicchu you need a permit for the hike, plus a physical entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.  This is something required by the Park office and not something done by Alpaca.

When choosing to purchase this extra hike please remember that it is challenging, quite steep.  While the views are extraordinary, they are similar to the Sun Gate which is free to access and it does get crowded.  But if you choose to do this hike, you will have your facebook profile photo for life – the views are incredible.

Please let us know if you have any further questions about Huaynapicchu, Machu Picchu mountain or the Sun Gate.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you!

27 Sep

So many of you have taken time out of your day to write amazing reviews about your experience with Alpaca on websites like TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet.  This is something that is so appreciated by us.  It’s an honor to us just to be chosen as your tour operator.  We hope that each and every one of you falls in love with Cusco, Machu Picchu and everything Peru has to offer.  And we hope that your trip is truly enhanced by being part of the Alpaca team for just a little while.  We honestly strive to make amazing memories for everyone and always want to hear your honest feedback after the tour/trek.  Some times reviewers are able to articulate our ideology as a company better than we can, so we are highlighting the review we received today that just seemed to understand the motivation we have for every single trip.  Thank you so much everyone and thank you Sivia for this review…

As seen on TripAdvisor.com…

“Excellence in every extent of the word”
Reviewed September 26, 2013

The cWacawasiompany and tour team- Our close friends and us just completed the Lares Trek with Alpaca Expeditions and I am at a loss of words to describe the breath taking experience this was for us (no pun intended). If you’re planning to visit Machu Pichu, look no more. You have found the best company to guide you. There are many things to be said about them, but after having spent 4 days in their company, one stands out from the rest. They are a socially responsible organization. They CARE. Raul, its owner, has managed to build such ownership in each and everyone of his employees in a way that is quite tangible in the way they perform their jobs. You see passion in their eyes. They will make you fall in love with their country. The Green Machine as they call themselves will go the extra mile to make this a once in a lifetime experience for you. By the way, they truly live up to the green machine standards. Although the Lares Trek may quite possibly be the less traveled road, there are other companies who offer it and we were appalled by the litter they’d leave behind. Our guide carried a plastic bag with him and picked up any trash we’d run into on our trek. Respect and love for the environment is a value we hold dear to us and were glad to have shared it with the team.

The food- our expectations were exceeded! We were beyond spoiled. I’m quite certain I have never eaten so well before in my life! Our Chef Roger is a rockstar! He didn’t just feed us, he nourished us. The menu is well thought of to sustain the physical challenge it requires for this trek. I’m talking varied, fresh, delicious and well ballanced meals. The best food we had while in Perú, was cooked by him. He did so much in such limited space and very little tools. He’s an inspiration indeed. I mean, for our last day, he baked a cake! A freakin’ CAKE! Without an oven. That’s a rockstar if you ever saw one!

Equipment- They’ve invested on a port-a-potty which made it comfortable for us to use the restroom. I’m telling you, they think of everything! Their tents, poles and all around equipment, are state of the art, so worry not. They will see to your comfort 100%. They pay so much attention to detail.

The trek- everytime we thought we had seen the most beautiful landscape yet, another one came right around. This happened throughout the whole trek. We got to interact with local Andean habitants, got up close and personal with alpacas and llamas, got amazed by the beautiful rivers and glaciars. Don’t under estimate the beauty of the treks other then the incan trail. Although dissapointed at first, we are now glad the incan trail was booked and experienced the Lares Trek instead.

Our guide- last but not least, Sabino, our guide was hands down the highlight of our trip. He’s so passionate about his heritage, that you have no choice but to partake of his passion and submerge yourself in the incan history. He’s incredibly knowledgeable on the flora and fauna as well. At one point, I started to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, and he was quick to let me inhale an herbal oil that quickly made me feel better. He encouraged us every step of the way and I will NEVER forget his words when we reached the highest and toughest part of our trek (Condor Pass) after thinking I wouldn’t make it. Even now, I tear up to think of that very emotional and happiest moment of our trip. Throughout the trip, he took the time to talk to the locals, give out coca leaves and tell us about the people and their culture. He’d say “I was like them. That’s where I come from” making it all the more maningful of an experience for us. We don’t think of him as our guide. He’s a friend now. He’s our Peruvian Compadre 🙂

Once we got to Machu Pichu we felt like it was the icing on the cake, it was beautiful and everything we had hoped for it to be, but nothing could have prepared us for the amazing experience of our trek, thanks to Alpaca Expeditions. The journey truly was our destination. THANK YOU!

Visited September 2013

Great Books About Machu Picchu

19 Sep
Amazing Alpaca guide Efrain receiving a copy of Turn Right at Machu Picchu as a gift from a happy client.

Amazing Alpaca guide Efrain receiving a copy of Turn Right at Machu Picchu as a gift from a happy client.

National Georgraphic came out with another great list of suggested books to read before visiting or while visiting Machu Picchu.  Of course Turn Right at Machu Picchu has been on best sellers list and is really popular with many travelling.  Some have even thanked their Alpaca guide with a copy of the book (Thank you Kathy).

National Geographic created the below list of books, separated into categories for easy reference.  If you have any books you see missing, please let us know.  We are beginning our own list.

By Jason Golomb

Discovery

Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham

Phoenix Press (2003)

Bingham wrote his classic synthesis of adventure, discovery, and history in 1948, 37 years after his discovery of Machu Picchu and just a few years before his death. Bingham reconfirmed what he thought he’d found at Machu Picchu—the fabled last stronghold of the Inca. With Machu Picchu, he’d absolutely found a lost city, just not the lost city. Another of his discoveries at Espiritu Pampa was confirmed as the lost city in the 1970s. Though his conclusions about what he’d found are inaccurate, one can’t help but be drawn into his very real-life jungle adventure.

History

Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie

Simon and Schuster (2008)

MacQuarrie writes a detailed and narrative history of the Spanish conquest of the Inca. Dramatic and historic, this reads more like fiction than the modern standard-bearer of the epic tale of exploration and invasion, John Hemmings’s Conquest of the Incas. It’s interesting to compare MacQuarrie’s more serious history with Bingham’s Lost City to see where Bingham made his leaps of faith, as well as understand how well researched his expeditions were. MacQuarrie also spends a few chapters on the history of Inca research and discovery since the conquest, including Bingham’s adventures as well as explorer Gene Savoy’s work at Espiritu Pampa.

Guidebooks

Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour by Ruth M. Wright and Alfredo Valencia Zegarra

3D Press (2004)

The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu by Richard Danbury and Alexander Stewart

Trailblazer Publications (2005)

Both of these guidebooks are the most detailed and accurate offerings in this category. Machu Picchu Guidebook is a rich guide written by two Machu Picchu experts. It features photos or drawings for each building and object at the site. The guide comes with a full-color architectural rendering of the site as well as a poster that once accompanied an issue of National Geographic magazine.

There are many miles of Inca trails across the former empire, and The Inca Trail focuses on those in and around Cusco and Vilcabamba, including the famous Inca Trail that leads to Machu Picchu. The book is filled with detailed trail maps, as well as archaeological site maps of the ruins strewn throughout the region. An updated fourth edition is in development. A strong companion piece to these two guides is Johan Reinhard’s Machu Picchu: Exploring an Ancient Sacred Center, which helps synthesize what Machu Picchu and the surrounding sites may mean.

Adventure/Travel

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

Dutton Adult (2011)

Cradle of Gold: The Story of Hiram Bingham, a Real-Life Indiana Jones, and the Search for Machu Picchu by Christopher Heaney

Palgrave Macmillan (2010)

While a little hard to classify, Adams’s Turn Right at Machu Picchu is a serious (and seriously funny) travelogue, a smart and tightly written history, and an investigative report into perhaps the greatest archaeological discovery in the last century. Adams sets off on a rediscovery of Machu Picchu, the way Bingham did 100 years ago this July, by hiking, climbing, slogging, tenting, and exploring his way through the jungles of Peru. His adventure culminates with a visit to the site that was recently named one of the world’s new seven wonders.

Cradle of Gold recounts the discovery of Machu Picchu, but also dives deeply into the expeditions leading up to this seminal archaeological discovery, as well as later expeditions and the political intrigues that still exist today. Heaney provides a thrilling account of Bingham’s journeys, through the multifaceted lenses of reports related to his Peruvian expeditions, as well as his own well-known accounts.

For Children

Lost City: Discovery of Machu Picchu by Ted Lewin

Philomel Books (2003)

This picture book traces Hiram Bingham’s trek from Cusco to his discovery of Machu Picchu. A few of the key characters involved in this portion of Bingham’s 1911 trip are interspersed into the short book, but the boy who ultimately led Bingham to the ruins adds a dreamlike quality to the tale. Lewin’s watercolors fill entire pages and explode with color. This book makes the adventure into the Inca heartland accessible and exciting for a would-be traveler and his family.

 

For the original article posted by National Geographic, click here.

Today in History: Machu Picchu Discovered

24 Jul

Machupicchu_hb10

On this date—July 24, 1911—American historian Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. He originally thought he had come across Vilcambra, another legendary Inca site, but Machu Picchu was an untouched and previously undiscovered city. Hailed as one of the greatest archeological discoveries in the world, Machu Picchu was five centuries old when Bingham discovered it. Some of its buildings had collapsed and the roofs, made out of wood, grass, and thin branches, had been weathered away. Though dense vegetation covered the city when Bingham first came across it, most of Machu Picchu is now visible after years of excavation and restoration.

In addition to taking photographs of this previously unknown city, Bingham also removed thousands of artifacts from Machu Picchu and took them to Yale University. The Peruvian government took legal action to recover them, and in 2010 Yale said it would return the artifacts to Peru over a two-year period.

There are disputes as to whether Bingham was in fact the first to “discover” Machu Picchu, as others have claimed to have been there before, and the native Quechuan people who led him to the city clearly knew it was there. However, he is credited with being the official discoverer of Machu Picchu and bringing the city to the attention of the world.

http://travel.yahoo.com/blogs/compass/july-24-machu-picchu-discovered-1911-162514929.html

Seth Green Leaves Lego Trash at Machu Picchu

16 May

When passing through the Sun Gate, did you happen to see a little Lego figure hanging out?  Listen to this funny account of how actor/comedian Seth Green got into some trouble after his visit to Machu Picchu.

 

Seth Green Desecrated Machu Picchu With Lego Trash

 

lego