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By Sarah Sekula Many head to Peru because Machu Picchu has long been on their bucket lists. It was definitely on mine, so I was thrilled to finally check it off. Beyond this epic archeological treasure, however, there is much more to love about this geographically diverse country. May I suggest carving up waves on the Pacific coast, hiking up high-altitude volcanoes or taking on some class V rapids? It’s easy to see that this is an adventure traveler’s dream come true. Here are six of my favorites. 1. Hike the Inca Trail OK, so this one is quite obvious. After all, it is one of the most famous treks in all of South America and perhaps the world. In just 26 miles it manages to cover subtropical jungle, vast mountain scenery, a breathtaking cloud forest, Inca ruins and tunnels. Over the course of three days, you’ll be trekking alongside fields of orchids, past travelers from around the world and at heights of 13,600 feet. And the grand finale, Machu Picchu, has you scoping out the roaming llamas, stunning terraces and fascinating structures. Don’t worry, though. If you want to see Machu Picchu, but aren’t necessary up for the Inca Trail hike, you can catch a bus to the site and leisurely check it out. (Note: Hikers should book at least six months in advance. Only 500 hiking permits are given out each day.) 2. Visit an Inca Family If you’d like to see what daily life is like for locals, try visiting a home in the village of Ollantaytambo. Here, you’ll catch a firsthand glimpse of the culture, the living conditions and the unique cuisine. Check in with your guide or hotel to see if you can peek into a working home. Then, head down the charming cobblestone streets, past water channels and into a stone home that likely dates back to the ancient Incan times. You’ll see woven items here and there, dirt floors and animal skulls, but what might really catch you off guard are the hundreds of guinea pigs squeaking and waddling around. As adorable as they are, though, they are not pets — they are dinner. Guinea pig is a popular meal here. 46 july/august 2013


SFLuxury_July-Aug2013
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