Our trip to Peru started with a few days in Lima – a beautiful and very interesting city, with lovely beaches, a clean spacious city centre and an amazing Gold Museum. From there we flew to Cuzco and stayed in the Monasterio Hotel, a converted monastery with beautiful courtyards and cloisters and sumptuous rooms. The next day we had a private tour of the Sacred Valley visiting salt pans, an Inca agricultural laboratory and the spectacular Inca city of Olantaytambo. That night was spent at the Rio Sagrada Hotel, an idyllic retreat literally on the banks of the Urubamba (or Sacred) River.
The next morning we walked out of the hotel grounds and straight onto the Hiram Bingham train to travel further along the Sacred Valley. We had excellent food, superb views and a feeling of excitement and anticipation for what we would see at Machu Picchu. The Andean mountain sides are steep and so impressive, each turn of the river valley gave us different views and the river became more and more exciting and fast flowing as we travelled up the valley.
We stayed in the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel right at the entrance to Machu Picchu. This was perfect because we were able to go straight into the site for a guided tour the afternoon we arrived. The following morning we got up at 5am to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu from the Inca Guard House, returned for breakfast, and then went back again to climb up to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu – the entrance for the more energetic folk who walk the Inca Trail.
We were very fortunate to have good weather and beautiful clear views of the city and the valley both days that we were there. There was a little drizzle, but that just produced a beautiful double rainbow down in the valley below us.