|Laguna Llaganuco in Huascaran National Park|
In the wee hours of Saturday morning we flew to Cusco then boarded a train for a scenic 3.5 hour ride to Aguas Calientes on the banks of the Urubamba River. For those who haven't been to Machu Picchu this is the last town for visitors to stay before boarding a bus for the steep, windy road that crawls up the 2,000 foot vertical feet to the entrance of the Inca Ruins. We opted for the convenience of the train/bus rather than hiking the Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu as some do, figuring we will be hiking enough during our entire lengthy adventure. The ruins and their improbable location atop steep mountains were, simply put, AMAZING! Watching the sunrise illuminate this fascinating creation of an ancient civilization was even more impressive.
However, staying at the only hotel located RIGHT AT Machu Picchu, the 5-Star luxury Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, was equally impressive. We decided staying here ourselves was an important prerequisite for inspection of the property for the benefit of executives who may join us on future STEP Outdoor Adventures trips we may plan. Yes, this is a tough job but somebody has to do it. To ease the burden of this type of work, somehow we were upgraded to the Presidential Suite, the only room of its kind in the hotel with views of the ruins from the bedroom, sitting room, and the expansive private patio & lounge area.
|Jacuzzi at Sanctuary Lodge - with views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu|
Next stop and next mountain, Bolivia and Nevado Sajama.....