Machu Picchu is the main attraction for most travelers going to Peru. But, as Kate and Tom D. shared with our team in a recent testimonial, the stops and experiences along the way were equally memorable.
Trip highlights in and around Cusco
Travel advisor Jennie D. worked with the couple to customize their trip to Peru.
Like many Machu Picchu bound travelers, the couple spent a few days in Cusco acclimating to the high altitude. Their exploration exposed them to some of the city’s simple pleasures.
“The food was great,” said Tom. “We especially loved the picarones in Cusco.”
Picarones are a crispy Peruvian dessert with a doughnut-like shape. Squash and sweet potatoes are pureed together along with flour, yeast and sugar to make these tasty treats. The dough is formed into circular shapes and then fried. Served hot, picarones are drizzled with a sweet syrup called canchaca before eaten.
Kate and Tom came across a local market while wandering the streets of Cusco. Here rows of small stalls selling fresh produce and Peruvian-inspired products offer travelers an insider look at the local culture. These markets are also a great place to pick up souvenirs to share with friends and family back home.
“The market was a great experience,” said Tom. “It was fun to see all the different types of breads, produce, soups, and meats that were for sale.”
Machu Picchu was just one of many highlights for travelers Kate and Tom.
Photo courtesy of Kate and Tom D.
Not far from Cusco, the Sacred Valley winds through the Andes Mountains. Pisac and Ollantaytambo are two well-known towns in the Valley whose impressive Inca ruins attract many curious travelers.
The couple visited the Salt Mines of Maras, a worthwhile highlight in the Sacred Valley that isn’t on the radar of many travelers. Today locals continue to extract salt in Maras, just as the Incas once did.
The Salt Mines of Maras are located about 25 miles from Cusco and can be visited in a day. Public transportation does not go all the way there, so a guided tour is your best option to visit the Salt Mines if your time in Peru is limited.
After exploring Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Kate and Tom went to Ollantaytambo where they caught the train to Machu Picchu. Upon their Ollantaytambo arrival, the couple realized that they’d left some medication in their luggage back in Cusco. Tom used the 24-hour emergency number to contact our Peru For Less team and the necessary arrangements were made to have the medication delivered to them by the next day.
“This was definitely great service!” he said.
Tom offered a simple, yet accurate description of his Machu Picchu experience: “The ruins were amazing!”
In a testimonial to our team about his travel experience, the couple described Peru as a remarkable country with friendly people and beautiful scenery.
Take a tour of Cusco’s highlights
Britt is a California native who left her home to explore South America and now lives in Peru. She’s just a little obsessed about planning getaways with her family, scuba diving, and trekking.