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Goway Destination Expert Answers Questions about Travel to Peru

Vanessa visits Machu Picchu

Peru is at the heart of travels to South America and at the heart of Peru is Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Vanessa Reid, one of Goway’s Central & South America Destination Experts, recently travelled to Peru. The following are her impressions of Peru and why everyone is looking to travel there.

What do you think is the biggest selling feature about Peru?

For me, the biggest—and easiest—selling feature in Peru is Machu Picchu. After the bus ride to the entrance, there are almost 150 stone steps to get up there, but with a few stops, I finally made it. Once there, I stood in awe, staring at the Lost City of the Incas and all I kept saying was “Wow!”, while staring at the intimidating (but climbable) Huayna Picchu Mountain that is the backdrop of every picture taken of this magnificent place. I had also just checked off another one of my big bucket list items. There is a reason people flock to Machu Picchu—its sheer grandeur is overwhelming and finally seeing it in person made the journey all the more satisfying—as it would for anyone’s client. It is worth the trip.

What was your favourite hotel and why?

Visiting the Larco Museum

It is a bit difficult for me to pick my favourite hotel because I stayed at three of the very best in Peru. However, The Palacio del Inka Hotel in Cusco was just beyond words. I felt as if I were staying in a friend’s mansion. This one dates back nearly five centuries and is right in the historic centre of Cusco, next door to the Qorikancha Museum and ruins. The main square, with an array of museums, the market, and your choice of restaurants, was only three blocks away. This is the place to be if you love history, food, and culture and it is one of Goway’s most popular choices for Cusco.

What was your favourite experience?

My favourite experience was visiting the Andean community of Misminay. This is a local community supported by Goway and its Peruvian partner with proceeds from the visit going back into education, health, and local infrastructure programs. We were welcomed with a wonderful traditional ceremony and were dressed right there, in the village, in traditional local outfits and welcome flower leis. We got to experience and take part in everyday farming activities and learned all about the history of the Andean people. A traditional Pachamanca lunch (meat cooked in an underground oven, much like a Maori hangi) was prepared for us and was delicious.

As a Goway Central & South America Expert, was there anything that surprised you?

What I think surprised me the most was the cost of everyday items and shopping for gifts even from some of the local vendors. It was very affordable. Whenever I travel, I tend not to have any expectations, because I like having “Aha!” moments. I researched online and read that the World Bank classifies Peru as an upper-middle-income country with one of the fastest growing economies. It was then that I had my “Aha!” moment, checked my wallet, and said, “Girl, you are good to go!”

Bartolome Island, Galapagos
Bartolome Island, Galapagos

What area would you recommend if clients wanted to combine a trip to Peru with another country?

I would recommend a combination of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Peru. Uniting these two destinations will take you on a wonderful, historical, and archaeological trip through South America. Plus, you will get to cross off two bucket list items in just one trip for an unforgettable vacation. The Galapagos and Machu Picchu—stretch it and you could also throw in the Amazon from either Peru or Ecuador.

Are there any tips or insight about travelling to Peru that would be great for travel agents to know, so they can share with their clients to make their trip even more enjoyable?

Do not rush through the country. I personally don’t think seven days is long enough to enjoy all there is to see and do in Peru. You’ll need at least 10 days. Spend at least three nights in Lima and explore the city and all the great archeological sites there. Huaca Pucllana and the Larco Museum are not to be missed. Try the local restaurants, as Peru is known worldwide for its culinary wonders. Explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley over five nights. And last but not least, spend two nights in Machu Picchu and the nearby town of Aguas Calientes instead of just overnight as most others would suggest. Take a day of being guided around the ruins by passionate and very well-informed local guides. Then the next day, explore at your leisure. Sit on a rock and stare and contemplate, or wander off on the many paths. Two visits are the way to go.

There are some great restaurants in Cusco and Lima as well as great markets dotted all over the country. Shopping is easy when in Peru.

Do you have a favourite local dish?

We had the most amazing Quinoa and Corn Soup during our lunch at Misminay. It was so good that I had to ask for seconds.

Born in the UK, Vanessa started travelling at the age of four when her family moved to Jamaica, and she hasn’t looked back. Why does she love to travel? “To challenge myself, to learn new things, to reconnect, relax and rejuvenate, and to experience adventure.”

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General Manager, Central & South America - Born in Australia and raised in Canada and Papua New Guinea, Don took his first solo trip to Bali – aged just 13. Since then, Don’s travels have taken him to every continent. He’s been a backpacker in Asia, Europe and Egypt, an overland adventurer in East and Southern Africa, and an overland driver in South and Central America. He is especially fond of Peru, Patagonia and Namibia, though his longest adventure to date has been a London to Kathmandu run via the Middle East.

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