There’s no greater satisfaction than conquering the Inca Trail, especially by the power of your happily exhausted legs. Reaching remarkable Machu Picchu is only part of the incredible journey, and as Express reader Sean Kennaway discovered there’s more than one way up in Peru…
“In October I travelled around Peru with Intrepid and as part of the trip our group was to complete the Inca Trail, the last section of the track that ends directly at Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is limited to 500 trekkers per day and I had booked the trip too late to get a permit, so I was offered the alternative Lares Trek.
After doing some research it seemed that the two treks were quite different, with the terrain and scenery varying considerably. The Lares goes through local villages so there’s the chance to interact with indigenous Quechuan people, living almost as they have done for the last few hundred years. The trek is rated by some as more difficult than the Inca Trail, so it was with a little trepidation that I decided to do Lares, and hoped I wasn’t overestimating my training, or lack thereof.
When Sophie Wade visited Cuzco, Peru, with her family, she decided then that one day she would be back.
So now 18 months later, after completing her final year at school, waiting tables and cleaning rooms, stints working in Intrepid’s Beijing and Melbourne offices and an unlikely but most amusing job as a USA summer camp petting zoo counsellor, she’s finally back in Cuzco. But this time Sophie is there to make a difference on Intrepid’s Peru Teaching and Building trip…
“After a year and a half I did not expect to remember all that much, but I can say for sure that Cuzco has not lost its appeal. Cobblestoned streets, women wandering in traditional dress with blankets strapped to their backs (carrying anything from flowers to children) and the Andes towering above the city still give this place charm. And arriving from ever-imposing New York I could really appreciate the lack of tall buildings… or any building over 3 or 4 stories. Of course not everything is perfect… some streets smell of things you really don’t want to imagine people doing in the street, and occasionally the extreme altitude will hit you, but it’s all part of the Cusquenian experience and personally, I am loving it!
South Americans are not all poncho wearing pan pipers or crazed futbol fans, there is also a serious majority of the population who love their seafood. In fact, for centuries there has been a friendly rivalry to produce the tastiest ceviche and now this gastronomic battle is being contested between the majority of Latin American countries!
Peru and Ecuador both claim ceviche as their own, as both countries have an impressive variety of fish and shellfish, but historians are leaning in favour of Peru. Every Latin American country gives this seafood salad recipe its own individual flavour, particularly with the garnishes they choose. In Peru, ceviche is served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob, while in Ecuador it is accompanied by popcorn, potato chips, or corn nuts. In Mexico ceviche is even served as a taco filling.
There’s no doubt that exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, now voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, will make you feel on top of the world, but for Intrepid’s Martin Ruffo he was just trying not to feel like a dead man as he made his way to Dead Woman’s Pass…
“Day 2 of the Inca Trail is perhaps the hottest topic among travellers in Peru. Extremely hard for some and a walk in the park for others, everyone is quick to share their experiences, feelings, fears, failures and successes on the most challenging day of the trek. And this is mine: