Peru, South America
Peru has a lot to offer for adventurous travelers. But its number one destination is currently Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is one of the new seven wonders of the world and spectacular. There are only two ways to get there: train or hike. Hiking the Inka Trail to the famous lost city is one of the most difficult hikes in the world. The three mountain passes at 13,828 feet provide a challenge for even the most fit. Day two involves an 8 hour uphill climb with little air, all original cobblestone steps, and several fake summits all leaving the hiker with unbelievable views and did I mention little air, and a steady need for Coca tea, and for some oxygen. The breathtaking view from the sun gate makes the four day struggle worth every breath. Seeing the site for the first time is a memory that will never be forgotten and the difficult struggle getting to that amazing point is something to be proud.
Taking the train is a far easier task with some amazing views of its own. Traveling into the train station in Aguas Calientes and the amazing market within the train station is a fun experience for all. Aguas Calientes is a destination worth a day or two visit. It is a small but lively town and after the last train for the day leaves for Cusco the town slows and has few people but many restaurants, hotels and its own thermal baths. Taking a early morning bus up to Machu Picchu before the trains arrive allows for a cooler and less crowded experience. There are several great and very adventurous hikes around the Agues Calientes town and Machu Picchu.
Most visit Peru for Machu Picchu but there are many cool and beautiful places within Peru to visit. After adjusting to the altitude in Cusco one can see many historic locations and ancient Inka ruins all within a day tour. Cusco was the capital of the Inka Empire and many ruins and Inka customs still remain today.
Traveling to Puno and visiting the floating islands on Lake Titicaca, one of South American's largest lake and the world's highest navigable body of water is a once in a lifetime experience. The water is clear with little to no pollution. Traveling out onto the late and staying with local families a few hours outside of Puno will give one a step back in time experience. Many local families continue to cook with dried cow manure and fishing is the primary form of income. Seeing how these small villages survive with little influence from the outside world is worth the visit and loss of technology and on many islands electricity for a few days.