Anthony Rich is an Account Manager for Luxury Gold and Insight Vacations in the USA. Last year, he traveled on the Luxury Gold’s Treasures of the Incas journey and shared his experience with us below. Find out more about the Treasures of the Incas itinerary here or view other exceptional Luxury Gold journey’s here.
Traveling to Peru was an experience I was extremely excited for, but I also didn’t quite know what to expect. I was, of course excited to see the iconic Incan sites like Machu Picchu and intrigued by their traditional cuisine, but I did not expect for Peru to broaden my perspective on living a vibrant and happy life.
I have a few standout highlights of the trip, but one of the top highlights was our visit to Machu Picchu, the bucket-list, UNESCO World Heritage Site set high in the Andes Mountains. We boarded a luxury vistadome train and settled into our first-class seats for the scenic journey to Aguas Calientes, known as Machu Picchu Village. The train was like something out of a Hollywood classic film, complete with food and beverage service, viewing cars, and live entertainment.
When we arrived, we checked into the InkaTerra Hotel, our home for the next two nights. The InkaTerra was one of the most interesting hotels I’ve ever stayed in with beautiful rooms, amazing food and incredibly unique features that include a tea plantation, an orchid sanctuary, natural springs, and protected endangered wildlife. It’s is a just three-minute walk from town, and the train pulls right up where the local people get off to go to work. We found it was a great way to interact with some of the locals who were more than happy to say hello.
After a relaxing night in the hotel, we arrived at Machu Picchu early in the morning, before all of the day trip crowds arrived on the first train, giving us almost exclusive access and a chance to soak in the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ in peace. We met our Local Expert for a guided trip around the archaeological site which taught us all about what once existed at the centuries old site. Describing the feeling of Machu Picchu in one sentence… it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to God.
The people who touched my soul
The people of Peru are some of the most engaging and warm people I have ever met in my travels. They’re so welcoming of tourists and embrace you into their culture. I went running every morning on my trip, making my way through the villages where the locals lived. If I had done this through the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I surely would’ve been robbed before making it to the top. But in Cusco, Peru, people came outside their shanties to greet me, hold my hand and give me a blessing. It was truly moving.
One incredible experience that myself and the other Luxury Gold guests were lucky to enjoy was being welcomed into Victor Delfin’s home studio. Delfin is a renowned Peruvian artist who created El Beso, one of Peru’s most famous statues located in Miraflores. The sculpture depicts Delfin and his wife kissing in a passionate embrace. We were lucky enough to explore his workshop and meet with his wife who welcomed us with open arms.
Vibrant Colours and Flavors of Peru
Peru continued to amaze me with the delicious, flavorsome cuisine and bright colors found all over the country in woven fabrics and the diverse landscape. It was incredible to try fresh ceviche and pisco sours, but my favorite dining experience was the Pachamanca Feast in the Sacred Valley. Our meal was prepared and cooked underneath the earth, the traditional way of cooking. It was amazing watching the food uncovered from the soil and then getting to taste these delicious flavors.
Our Travelling Concierge – there every step of the way
One final touch that made my trip so incredible was our Traveling Concierge. Not only did he ensure everything was taken care of and organized for us, making the entire trip stress-free and seamless, he also went above and beyond to ensure each guest was having the time of their life. I have a huge passion for music. It’s a very big part of my life. When our Traveling Concierge heard I wanted to watch some local live music, one night after dinner he escorted me to the best spots to watch local bands. Later in the trip, I was having the hardest time recalling one of the songs that I loved so much. Before I knew it, he was singing the song for me- what a man!
I’ve returned home with a new appreciation for Peruvian culture and tried to embody the kindness of the people in my everyday life. I’ve also brought back a few of my favorite meals and tried to recreate them. They’re not even close to the flavor and authenticity of what I experienced in Peru, but alas, they remind me of my wonderful time in the country.