Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu - Chinchero
A personalized & private tour of Peru; visiting the Sacred Valley, the navel of the Inca empire and experience several Shamanic ceremonies, escape to a Yoga retreat for several days, travel on-board the Hiram Bingham train to the ancient lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu; explore the ancient Inca capital city of Cuzco whilst staying at one of the city's deluxe Orient Express Hotels and learn traditional Inca weaving techniques with a hands-on approach.
I just returned from a magical ten days in Peru, a place that has been on my bucket list for years. With my eldest daughter turning 30 on August 19th, it was an ideal opportunity to share in a spiritual celebration. We hired two guides and visited Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Every aspect of the tripófrom the people to the food to the markets to the Inca sites, to the cities and their energiesówas unforgettable. The last time I wrote about an impactful trip was after a family trip to Africa in 2009 which inspired my poetry book, Listening to Africa.
Visiting Peru affected me both personally and spiritually. Although I aspired to journal each day, some days were so packed that I collapsed in bed at night. Whether my experience develops into a book is difficult to predict at this point, however, I definitely feel some deep transformative events stirring inside of me. I believe these are connected to not only visiting the sacred Inca sites, but also from two meetings with 53-year old Master Shaman, Pedro, who admitted that he had been destined to be a shaman since he was a little boy.
In preparation for the trip I read a few books, including, "The Lonely Planet" and "Angean Awakening; An Inca Guide to Mystical Peru" by Jorge Luis Delgado and Mary Ann Male.
These books gave me a sense of both the culture and the sites we would visit, but in reality, the photos and descriptions did not come close in preparing us for the poignancy of the actual experience. When first arriving in Lima and throughout the journey, we were given coco leaves to chew on to help minimize attitude sickness and digestive issues. Also available were hard candies which also contained coco. For most of the trip, we were at about 12,000 feet above sea level, except when at Machu Picchu which was, surprisingly, at the lowest point, at 7,972 feet above sea level. I found it fascinating that the shaman always held in his hand a large plastic bag of the leaves and offered them to the hikers he passed along the way. He also offered a handful to the park rangers thanking them for the use of the beautiful area.
From The Sacred Valley, we took a 1.5-hour train ride to Machu Picchu, a 15th centruy Inca site, sometimes referred to as The Lost City of the Incas. It was built by the Inca emperor Pachacuti. For a long time, the site was abandoned and was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham (train named after him), and since then has become an important tourist attraction. Although we only spent two days and one night at the Sanctuary Lodge,, being there was definitely the highlight of our trip.
Machu Picchu is surely a place to be revisited. I would love to have spent more time meditating on the edge of some of the Inca sites imprinting the majesty of this transformative place. The shaman hiked with us and made an alter in what he thought to be a sacred and quiet area (August is busy tourist season) and conducted a very special ceremony. To take home, he gave both Rachel and I a little ceramic pot and placed a chakana pendant around our necks suspended from a black string. The chakana depicts the Southern Cross constellation which the ancient Andeans believed to be the center of the universe. They saw this very clearly on the ancient Andean skies. Each of the four stars depicts a compass point. The Incas also called the chakana, The Tree of Life. It has 12 points and signifies the three worldsó the underworld (symbolized by the snake; affirmation to live and behavior is not to lie), the current world (symbolized by the puma; affirmation to work and behavior not to steal), and the upper world (symbolized by the condor; affirmation to love and behavior not to be lazy). All these add up to 12 points on the chakana. The hole in the center signifies the city of Cusco, and how the Incas saw that place as the center of the universe. For Pachamama (mother nature) he unwrapped some candies and tossed them in the forested area. "Pachamama loves sweets," he told us. Pachapapa, on the other hand, refers to earth potato, probably a testament to the fact that there are more than 3,000 varieties of potato in Peru.
All five of us hiked part of the Inca trail to Intipuncu. Inti is the sun or Sun Temple. The Incas worshiped mother nature (Pachamama), especially the sun and the mountains. They saw the mountains as their protectors and always lived on the mountaintops because they felt safer there.
I will share more about my journey next week. Meanwhile, please enjoy these photos of my magical journey to Peru!
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Incl. Miraflores Park, Monasterio & Sanctuary Lodge Hotels, all trains, all private tours, finest service guaranteed
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Good morning. I wanted to thank you again for all your help in planning my recent trip to Peru. Read More
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Helping children in one of Peru's poorest village schools supporting hands-on initiatives such as implementation of classrooms to ensuring the robust education, health, and well-being of young children
As part of our philanthropic projects we support the older community to promote sporting and social events in the lesser known regions of Peru.