Ecuador Excursion: Visit to Machu Picchu, Peru

by on Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The incredible Salkantay Mountain trek to 4600m, (c) used with permission by Daniel Fernandez

As Ecuador’s Tour Manager I’m also responsible for managing ISV’s optional excursions to the Galapagos Islands and Peru.  Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu and the Salkantay trail on our ISV Peru/Machu Picchu Excursion, and the experience is unbelievable.

The Incas established an Empire originally based out of the city of Cuzco, Peru (also spelled Qosqo) and used the architectural remains of prior cultures to build upon, leaving behind some of the most magnificent buildings of Mesoamerican indigenous cultures.

Weaving in the Sacred Valley, (c) used with permission by Narelle Webber

Our trip started with a walking tour of Cuzco, stopping at a few of these buildings of the Empire’s capital. Visiting the Q’Oricancha, or Temple of the Sun, I found that one of the most impressive things about these buildings is their work on masonry.  To see stones that weigh up to several tons placed upon each other in a perfect fashion makes me think how difficult it must have been to achieve this with nothing but a few primitive tools and hand labor, and admiring their masonry abilities.

Travelling to what is known as the Sacred Valley, visiting the ruins in Ollantaytambo, and learning about the techniques used by this culture to dye their fabrics with only natural ingredients was an exceptional opportunity.  But this was not the most rewarding part of the tour…

Walking for four days along the Salkantay trail, one of the many trails that crisscross the Andes from the capital of the Inca empire, and camping in subfreezing temperatures at altitudes of up to 4600 m, right at the base of one of the most impressive tropical glaciers, makes you feel exactly as these people must have felt, and realize how difficult it must have been for the Incas to keep control over the most vast of all Mesoamerican influence areas.

Machu Picchu, (c) used with permission by Narelle Webber

At the end of the trip, the most impressive and rewarding thing is to have a full day to explore the Machu Picchu citadel, learning about the cultural significance of this, one of the last, “hidden” cities of the new world.

Truly, the memories of this unique opportunity will stay with me for the rest of my life, making me feel I was one of the lucky people to follow the steps of the last of the indigenous cultures to keep a stronghold up to the arrival of the colonials.

Daniel Fernandez

ISV Ecuador Tour & Excursion Manager

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