luxury tour to Machu Picchu: From Inca monumentalism to modern modernism, passing by the Spanish baroque, Peru presents an extraordinary palette of architectural styles. The most imposing and most famous remains the city built at the top of Machu Picchu in 1440 which embodies the grandeur of architecture and its construction techniques. Focus on this treasure and its surroundings.
A pictures and colorful crossing
From Cuzco , we drive through some typical villages – Coroa, Pisac or Calca – and our curious gaze captures a few scraps of local life: women in traditional dress with their hats of dierent colors indicating the origin of the village, they came from, children on their way to school in blue or green uniforms, peasants digging their land and crops on the terraced terraces of the mountains. Suddenly the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes arises in all its splendor and we become truly aware of its excess. The most surprising is this vegetation reminiscent of that of Europe. Indeed, conifers of all kinds, in particular , cypress, ” indimpa ” (local conifers), weeping willows, elder trees … cover the surrounding mountains with shimmering green cloaks. Then a stop at Huayllabamba where the Aranwa hotel , an oasis of greenery, is located , cuts o our Peruvian journey.
The picturesque “Incatrail”
The most original and typical way to visit the famous citadel of Machu Picchu is to take the train to Agua Calientes by the Urubamba river . We will take it to Ollantaytambo (72km from Cuzco ), a charming Indian village structured like an Inca city . Modern houses have been inserted into the old urban fabric without changing its layout. The ” Incatrail ” train follows the sacred river in a canyon which was until the 1940s, the path of the traders carrying sugar cane alcohol, rice …
Colorful and lively scenes punctuate our stroll during 1h30 until the arrive at Aguas Calientes . Some Peruvians dressed in their traditional clothes carrying their baby in their large woven “manga or keperina” scarf, follow the track. At a turn, we pass the Inca trail km 82, leading in 4 days to Machu Picchu , always used by trekking enthusiasts . And always these grandiose and breathtaking landscapes, which keep part of their mystery surrounded by clouds and cling and fray at the summits.
Aguas Calientes starting point for Machu Picchu
Finally arrived at Aguas Calientes, the immense dark masses of the mountains rise like giants of greenery encasing the small typical village. We cross it on foot and our eyes catch its colorful stalls full of alpaca scarves , hand-woven carpets, fabric dolls, Peruvian ute …
A few steps further lead us to an authentic setting nestled in the countryside, not far from the sacred river.
The Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel: charm and authenticity
“Inkaterra, Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel “. This small ecological establishment, located in the middle of the jungle, plays the card of authenticity and sustainable development. He prides himself on 395dierent kinds of orchids and an eco-center oers activities within their jungle: discovery of bird species, visit with a biologist, meeting with endangered bears… Some bungalows with replaces, buried in the vegetation exuberant, alpaca blanket and stone bathrooms, oer authenticity and local decoration. An outdoor stone patio extending the room allows you to be in direct contact with the jungle and hear the whistle of hummingbirds.
In the evening, after a necessary visit to the Spa , dinner awaits you in a sort of greenhouse surrounded by light, its immense bay windows allowing sunlight and tropical vegetation to lter through. Nice surprise, the food turns out to be excellent. We will see it all along our journey.
Machu Picchu, jewel of Inca architecture The next day
wake up at 5am because Machu Picchu does not wait! Eyes still sleepy, we climb into the bus where some Peruvians are already installed. The light comes in silence. An unreal moment, the mist oats in the sparkling and dense air, above the mountains. Not a sound. Only the bump and the hum of the bus rock us along the steep path. This one, set between the mountains leads us to the famous citadel of Machu Picchu at 2450 m. Finally we guess it before we see it!
A remarkable pre-Columbian site
You will still have to walk to discover this ancient lost Inca city . Words seem weak to express our emotion at the sight of this absolutely magnicent site, the most spectacular pre-Columbian monument in South America . Imagine, above the Urubamba river , a citadel and earthen terraces at the top of a steep and narrow ridge, beaten by the intense winds of the mountains of the Amazonian buttress . The ruins of this Inca city, covered by the jungle, discovered in 1911 by an American archaeologist, Hiram Bingham , were never found by Pizarro , which explains its remarkable state of conservation.
Orient Express train
After dreaming about this lost civilization and spending a few moments of solitude in the virgin forest contemplating the splendor of the panorama, return to civilization with the Orient Express night train. In just four hours, this will take us to Cuzco in comfortable 1930’s restaurant and bar wagons. Remarkably restored, we will enjoy a drink at the bar and have dinner at the rhythm of Peruvian melodies in an atmosphere of dim light.
Machu Picchu is not just a jewel of Inca architecture, the sacred city is, above all, the supreme expression of man’s work in harmony with the environment!