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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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Celebrating Inti Raymi tomorrow, June 24th

23 Jun

Inti-raymi-copiaTomorrow, the Green Machine of Alpaca along with all our fellow Peruvians and foreigners visiting our beautiful country will celebrate Inti Raymi.  During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. The celebration took place in the Haukaypata or the main plaza in the city.

The Inti Raymi (“Festival of the Sun”) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti, one of the most venerated deities in Inca religion. It was the celebration of the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year in terms of the time between sunrise and sunset and the Inca New Year. In territories south of the equator the gregorian months of June and July are winter months.

According to chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Sapa Inca Pachacuti created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas. It lasted for nine days and was filled with colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to thank Pachamama and to ensure a good cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish and the Catholic priests banned it.

Today, it’s the second largest festival in South America. Hundreds of thousands of people converge on Cuzco from other parts of the nation, South America and the world for a week long celebration marking the beginning of a new year, the Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun.

Every day has its events, from daytime expositions, street fairs, and people milling and dancing in the streets. In the evenings, live music from the best of Peruvian musical groups draws the crowds to the Plaza de Armas for free concerts. During the preceding year, in preparation for Inti Raymi, hundreds of actors are chosen to represent historical figures. Being selected to portray the Sapa Inca or his wife, Mama Occla, is a great honor.

The centerpiece of the festival is the all-day celebrations tomorrow, June 24, the actual day of Inti Raymi. On this day, the ceremonial events begin with an invocation by the Sapa Inca in the Qorikancha, built over the ancient Temple of the Sun. Here, the Sapa Inca calls on the blessings from the sun. Following the oration, Sapa Inca is carried on a golden throne, a replica of the original which weighed about 60 kilos, in a procession to the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán, in the hills above Cuzco. With the Sapa Inca come the high priests, garbed in ceremonial robes, then officials of the court, nobles and others, all elaborately costumed according to their rank, with silver and gold ornaments.

They walk along flower-bedecked streets, to music and prayers and dancing. Women sweep the streets to clear them of evil spirits. At Sacsayhuamán , where huge crowds await the arrival of the procession, Sapa Inca climbs to the sacred altar where all can see him.

Once all the celebrants are in place in the grand square of the fortress, there are speeches by Sapa Inca, the priests and representatives of the Suyos: the Snake for the world below, the Puma for life on earth, and the Condor for the upper world of the gods.

A white llama is sacrificed (now in a very realistic stage act) and the high priest holds aloft the bloody heart in honor of Pachamama. This is done to ensure the fertility of the earth which in combination with light and warmth from the sun provides a bountiful crop. The priests read the blood stains to see the future for the Inca.

As the sun begins to set, stacks of straw are set on fire and the celebrants dance around them to honor Tawantinsuty or the Empire of the Four Wind Directions. In ancient times, no fire was allowed that day until the evening fires.

The ceremony of Inti Raymi ends with a procession back to Cuzco. Sapa Inca and Mama Occla are carried on their thrones, the high priests and representatives of the Supas pronounce blessings on the people. Once again, a new year has begun.

While Alpaca encourages our staff to celebrate this important holiday, we will still be around to answer any of your questions.  Just be patient as the office will be closed from 12 – 4PM tomorrow for us all to have a little celebration.

 

 

Peruvian Cuisine Showcased in NY City

25 Sep

untitledFor all of you New Yorkers, or those planning a trip to visit Manhattan next week, the 8th Annual StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress will take place from September 29 – October 1, 2013 at Pier 57. And what makes it more special this year, Peru’s Export and Tourism Promotion Board (PromPeru) will attend this year’s showcase and display the international appeal and gastronomic innovation of the Andean country.

The aim is to promote Peru’s cuisine among American opinion leaders and the country as a dining destination in that market.

Likewise, the entity intends to promote agribusiness and fishery products for human consumption that are part of the Peruvian exportable offer and are typical of the food supplies.

This is just another step in establishing Peru as a world leader in culinary art.

Food

Alpaca Expeditions is Honored as a Top Performing Travel Agency on TripAdvisor

23 May

Alpaca Logo 2013CUSCO, PERU – May 23, 2013 – Alpaca Expeditions is pleased to announce that we have received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“Alpaca Expeditions is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Raul Ccolque Ccolque, owner of Apaca Expeditions. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”

Alpaca Pride

Peru’s Top 5 Attractions

15 Apr

Cusco AirportSorry I haven’t updated the Alpaca blog in a while.  I saw this article today in STUFF magaizine and thought it was a great start for people who were just beginning their planning of their trip to Peru.  This list is originally from the newest Lonely Planet Peru book and I think its pretty accurate:

Peru startles with its variety – parched coastal desert, jagged Andean peaks, lush Amazon rainforest. Its rich culture runs the gamut from sophisticated Lima to traditional weaving villages and mist-shrouded ancient ruins.

Peru’s Five Top Experiences

1. Machu Picchu Machu Picchu early morning
A fantastic Inca citadel lost to the world until its rediscovery in the early 20th century, Machu Picchu stands as a ruin among ruins. With its emerald terraces, backed by steep peaks and Andean ridges that echo on the horizon, the sight simply surpasses the imagination. Beautiful it is. This marvel of engineering has withstood six centuries of earthquakes, foreign invasion and howling weather. Discover it for yourself, wander through its stone temples, and scale the dizzying heights of Wayna Picchu.

2. Floating Reed Islands, Lake Titicaca lake titicaca
Less a lake than a highland ocean, the Titicaca area is home to fantastical sights, but none more so than the surreal floating islands crafted entirely of tightly woven totora reeds. Centuries ago, the Uros people constructed the Islas Uros in order to escape more aggressive mainland ethnicities, such as the Incas. The reeds require near-constant renovation and are also used to build thatched homes, elegant boats and even archways and children’s swing sets. See this wonder for yourself with a homestay visit that includes fishing and learning traditional customs.

3. Hiking in the Cordillera Blanca
The dramatic peaks of the Cordillera Blanca stand sentinel over Huaraz and the surrounding region like an outrageously imposing granite Republican Guard. The range is the highest outside of the Himalayas, and 16 of its ostentatious summits breech 6000m, making it the continent’s most challenging collection of summits-in-waiting. Glacial lakes, massive Puya raimondii plants and shards of sky-pointed rock all culminate in Parque Nacional Huascaran, where the Santa Cruz trek rewards the ambitious with a living museum of razor-sharp peaks.

4. Colonial Arequipa Arequpa
Peru’s second-largest metropolis bridges the historical gap between the Inca glories of Cuzco and the clamorous modernity of Lima. Crowned by some dazzling baroque-mestizo architecture hewn out of the local white sillar rock, Arequipa is primarily a Spanish colonial city that hasn’t strayed far from its original conception. Its ethereal natural setting, amid snoozing volcanoes and the high pampa is complemented by a 400-year-old monastery, a huge cathedral and some interesting Peruvian fusion cuisine eloquently showcased in traditional picanterías (spicy restaurants). Ad Feedback

5. Parque Nacional Manu
Traverse three climatic zones from rearing Andean mountains to mist-swathed cloud forest on the lower slopes en route to the bowels of the jungle in Parque Nacional Manu, the Amazon’s best adventure. Manu has long been Peru’s best-protected wilderness, brimming with opportunities to see fabled jungle creatures such as the anaconda, tapir, thousands of feasting macaws festooning clay licks with their colours, and jaguar. In this deep forest, tribespeople live as they have for centuries, with barely any contact with the outside world. This is an edited extract from Lonely Planet Peru (8th Edition) by Carolyn McCarthy, et al. © Lonely Planet 2013. In stores now, rrp $36.99.

Cusco International Airport Still Planned for 2017

20 Feb

Taken from today’s article in the Huffington Post.

Alpaca Logo 2013Construction of a new airport near the famed ruins of Machu Picchu is going ahead despite local concerns over corruption and the environmental impacts such a large project could have on the delicate mountaintop ecosystem of Peru’s Sacred Valley.

Planned for Chinchero, between Machu Picchu and Cusco, the new airport has the blessing of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who says the $460 million project will boost tourism, create jobs and “permit modernization,” The Telegraph reports.

The current Cusco airport, Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, “only operates with limited daytime flights,” The Telegraph reported in 2012, “and is limited by its location in a city, surrounded by hills. Large aircraft cannot fly into the facility.”

An atmospheric video introducing new airport, which would be named Chinchero-Cusco International Airport, suggest that it would be able to accomodate Airbus A380 and Boeing 757 aircraft, both of which can seat hundreds of passengers.

The new airport’s detractors say that sort of tourist volume is more than the region can handle sustainably, citing an already overwhelming number of arrivals to Cusco and other Sacred Valley towns. At Machu Picchu, arrivals have surged from 1.7 million in 2010 to 2.3 million in 2011, according to the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism. Officials already limit the number of visitors allowed into the Machu Picchu site to 3,500 people daily in order to satisfy UNESCO, which has designated the ruins a World Heritage Site.

But the problems with the new Chinchero airport don’t end with the sheer number of arrivals, writes journalist Nicholas Asheshov. “The airport is not even needed, even if it were to be, in the words of Roger Valencia, Cusco’s top guide and thoughtful ecologist, ‘properly managed.'” Asheshov wrote in an article in the Peruvian magazine Caretas. “But, again, as everyone here knows, it will be badly done. The quality of the regional and municipal administrations of Cusco and Urubamba, of which Chinchero is a district, is Third World incompetent with a well-entrenched tradition of corruption.”

Asheshov and other locals in the tourism industry worry that making it easier for tourists to get here will only destroy the things they’ve come to see. “The Sacred Valley has become a conurbation of million-dollar maize fields among the hotels,” Asheshov writes.

Others in the tourism industry wonder what the effect might be on Lima and its attractions, if passengers bypass the Peruvian capital in favor of a direct flight to Machu Picchu and its surrounding tourism bounty.

Peruvian news reports suggest the new airport could be open for business by 2017.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/20/cusco-peru-planning-new-airport_n_2695787.html

Stay Safe While Visiting Peru

1 Feb

While a lot of the details are still a little confused about the story of 3 American tourists getting attacked in a village outside of Cusco, it is an important reminder that we all need to be safe while we travel.  If you haven’t heard, last week on a TV program in the USA, 3 Americans talked about how they visited a small village and were immediately taken hostage and beaten.  While the stories we hear in Cusco are very different than the stories told in the below video, its still important to remember that you always need to be careful and respectful, no matter how safe a city/area is supposed to be.

Most of the villages around Cusco are not used to foreigners visiting them.  They do not speak english or spanish – they only speak the local language, quechua.  If you want to visit a local village, it is no problem, just go with a local or guide.  All Alpaca guides were born in these villages and were raised speaking quechua, so bring us with you – we will show you how these amazing people live and make sure that you are safe and secure the entire time.

http://youtu.be/sJYX7D633GI

The most important thing to remember is that this story is extremely unusual.  In fact, we have never heard of such a thing and believe that there are some details missing.  We are so sorry these people had such a hard time while visiting, but all of us in Peru loves tourists and encourage everyone to visit – we just don’t treat people this way and hopefully nothing like this will ever happen.

Your friends at Alpaca Expeditions!

Machu Picchu wins world’s leading green destination award

20 Dec

Machu Picchu early morningThe Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru was voted as the World’s Leading Green Destination for 2012 at the 19th World Travel Awards held in India.

Elisabeth Hakim, Promperu tourism coordinator for North America and the UK said that besides Machu Picchu is known as an historic icon; it’s also a green destination as it has a great biodiversity.

“Basically I think why we won it’s because Machu Picchu is very rich in biodiversity. You will find a number of orchids, fauna and flora, animals, birds. I think that is the reason why people recognize it,” she said.

World Travel Awards is the most prestigious, comprehensive and sought after awards program in the global travel and tourism industry.

Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Inca city. This UNESCO World Heritage site is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, is one of the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire, and is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world.

5 Things To Do In Cusco (other than Machu Picchu)

24 Oct

Mysterious and visually stunning, seeing the well-preserved Inca city of Machu Picchu is a trip of a lifetime.  But a trip to this beautiful part of Peru shouldn’t only be about seeing Machu Picchu. Here are five things to include on your itinerary when visiting Peru.

1. Take A Train Ride

Travelling by train is an amazing way to see Peru. The most convenient way to get to Aguas Calientes, the community at the foot of the mountain upon which Machu Picchu is perched, is to hop on a train. It’s an unforgettable experience—picture the fast-flowing Urubamba River with its green embankments, craggy peaks of the Andes mountains high above, and Inca ruins spotting the countryside. Opt for a late afternoon itinerary to catch the sunset and get an early start at Machu Picchu the next morning.  Most trains leave/arrive at Ollantaytambo which is well worth a visit.  Ollantaytambo is the starting point for the Inca Trail and has Inca ruins of its own. Insider Tip: Land a seat on the left hand side of the train to Aguas Calientes and on the right on the way back; you’ll get the best views from the train’s panoramic windows. And be sure to buy your ticket to Machu Picchu before you book your train trip as tickets to Machu Picchu are limited and can sell out.

2. Huaynapicchu

Being let off a bus at the entrance can make you feel like you missed out on the adventure of hiking the Inca Trail. If you want to earn your visit to the Inca city but don’t have three days to spend on the trail, opt to hike Huaynapicchu, sometimes called Wayna Picchu, the sugarloaf mountain that towers above Machu Picchu. This arduous, vertiginous hike up a steep, narrow set of Inca-carved stairs takes between 2 and 3 hours roundtrip. Only 400 people are allowed up Huayna Picchu per day at two entrance times (7-8 am and 10-11 am) and admission must be purchased at the same time as your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu. Note: you must buy your Machu Picchu plus Huayna Picchu ticket at the same time, you cannot add on Huaynapicchu later. If you plan to hike Huaynapicchu, book tickets ahead of time. Aside from the impressive quad burn that says you’ve been there, done that, you’ll get an amazing new perspective on Machu Picchu from the various mirados (landings) along the trail.

Insider Tip: Treat Huayna Picchu like any other day hike and bring water and snacks but don’t overburden your pack. Take it slow due to the altitude. Wear hiking boots, sunscreen, and a hat and dress in layers as mornings can be chilly but the afternoon sun is unrelenting and there is very little shade. Most importantly, don’t forget your camera.

Bonus: Bring your passport with you to Machu Picchu—they’ll stamp your passport once you descend Huayna Picchu and one when you leave Machu Picchu.

3. Visit an Indigenous Community

Under an hour from Cusco, there are indigenous communities that preserve an ancient way of life few visitors are granted access to. Alpaca Expeditions actually visits one of these villages during the Lares tour and spends a lot of time with the children, helping them with providing school supplies and other treats.  The additional income these communities receive via limited tourism allows them to continue to live in a traditional manner.  Visiting them gives a lasting impression of a quickly disappearing way of life and really adds depth to any trip.

Insider Tip: Be sure to bring cash in small denominations of nuevo soles to purchase hand-woven dolls, textiles, bracelets, bags, and belts from the community of weavers.

4. Eat

Sample Local Food and Visit a Market For a slice of Peruvian life, head to any produce mercado (market)—there’s one in virtually every town. You’ll find only-in-Peru fruits, like aguaymanto (gooseberry), cherimoya (custard apple), and lucuma (eggfruit) to name a few. Quinoa, a grain that has made its way to North American shores and is touted as a super food, comes in a variety of colors and is widely available here. Some local specialties to try: Ceviche, typically made with raw river trout bathed in lime juice, which “cooks” the fish, hot pepper, red onions, cilantro, and topped with choclo (corn) and sweet potato cubes. Pachamanca, a traditional dish of marinated meat and potatoes cooked in a hole in the ground lined with hot rocks. The meat is first marinated in Andean herbs such as chincho, hierba buena, and paico and is wrapped in banana leaves. You can’t leave Peru without trying a pisco sour, the national drink made with pisco brandy. There are many opportunities to learn how to make it (2 or 3 shots pisco, 1 shot lime juice, 1 shot simple syrup, 1 shot egg white, shaken with ice, dash of bitters) and discover pisco macerations, which include everything from local fruits like aguaymanto to coca leaves. Locals drink coca tea and chew coca leaves to cure soroche (altitude sickness) but the coca leaf is also held sacred and used in spiritual rites.

5. Fiesta

Attend a festival with colorful costumes, marching bands, religious processions, and fireworks—when Peru celebrates it’s a sight to see. Cusco’s Corpus Christi festival in June is a deeply religious affair with mass in the Plaza de Armas surrounded by fifteen statues of virgins and saints. The statues are brought from churches in nearby districts, which come to Cusco to be blessed. In the early afternoon, the beaded, brocaded, 15-foot statues are hoisted onto the shoulders of teams of men and promenaded around the plaza, genuflecting at various altars and ending at the Cathedral. It’s a day-long party where the whole city crams into the Plaza de Armas to watch the parade, eat, drink, and make merry. Other spectacular local festivals include Cusco’s Inti Raymi festival on June 24, which marks the winter solstice, the Fiestas Patrias, Peru’s Independence Day on July 28-29, and Ayacucho’s Semana Santa (Holy Week) Easter celebrations.

Insider Tip: Cusco’s Plaza de Armas has many restaurants and bars with a view of the action if you want to stay above the fray. Go early for the best views.

When to Go: High season is June through September.  January is the height of rainy season and the Inca Trail is closed in February. For near-ideal weather and manageable crowds, consider a spring or fall trip.

Katy Perry trekking to Machu Picchu

23 Jul

Katy Perry is planning a holiday to South America!

Katy Perry is reportedly taking a three-month holiday. The singer’s divorce from Russell Brand was recently finalised and after a whirlwind publicity tour for her concert movie Katy Perry: Part of Me, she feels ready to take some time out.

The star is said to be planning the trip of a lifetime. “Katy’s said she wants to jet off to a place where she’s never been. She’s planning a three-month vacation with her brother David and one of her best pals.  According to People magazine, she booked a trip to South America, starting in Peru and doing the Inca trail hike to Machu Picchu something Katy’s always wanted to do,” a source told Heat magazine.

Katy thinks the holiday will help her recharge and also get over the breakdown of her marriage. Although she is happy to be single, she is still coming to terms with life without Russell.

“Ever since Katy split from Russell, she’s been saying she wants to get away from everything and truly heal her heart,” the insider added.

 Maybe Katy will be the next Alpaca hiker – could be.