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What sets our Peru treks apart

What sets our Peru treks apart

​​​​​​​SA Expeditions was born in the mountains around Cusco and our Peru trekking tours remain at the core of our DNA. Regardless of which trek you choose you’re guaranteed a standard of comfort, professionalism and cultural awareness that goes above and beyond.
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Make the most of your Cusco free time

Make the most of your Cusco free time

​​​​​​​You’ll go on a guided tour of Korikancha, Sacsayhuaman and the cathedral, but Cusco – jewel of the Andes and gateway to Machu Picchu– warrants further exploration on your own.
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4 Spectacular Treks near Machu Picchu

4 Spectacular Treks near Machu Picchu

​​​​​​​The Inca Trail is the most famous trek to Machu Picchu but the Lares, Salkantay and Choquechaca treks all have some unique selling points. Read on to find out which one will be best for you.
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The ultimate Inca Trail packing list (also works for other Andean treks)

The ultimate Inca Trail packing list (also works for other Andean treks)

As a wise man once said, there's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate gear. Cold nights and damp days can turn the trek of a lifetime into a miserable march if you’re not well equipped. To make sure you’re as comfortable as possible during your Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, we've put together this handy list of everything you'll need to bring along. We won't go so far as to actually pack your bags, though!
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Dance the night away in Rio, Buenos Aires and Cusco

Dance the night away in Rio, Buenos Aires and Cusco

Everywhere you go in South America – from the steaming Andes to the towering Andes; bustling metropolises to tiny villages – you’ll hear music playing. And when there’s music, dancing is sure to follow. Read on to find out more about three of South America’s best dance destinations: Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Cusco.
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Cusco and Machu Picchu: Three hotels reviewed

Cusco and Machu Picchu: Three hotels reviewed

I just got back from a trip to three gorgeous – but very different – hotels in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Here’s what I loved about each place…
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Climbing Huayna Picchu (the mountain in THAT photo)

Climbing Huayna Picchu (the mountain in THAT photo)

This short, sharp ascent on narrow paths and stairs is both hair-raising and exhausting. But this is all forgotten when you stand at the top and look down on the wonder that is Machu Picchu. What is Huayna Picchu? Day visitors to Machu Picchu can choose between a regular entry ticket or a ticket that includes hiking to either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Huayna Picchu is the dramatic cone-shaped peak which towers above Machu Picchu in all the photos…you know the one. Machu Picchu means ‘old mountain’ in Quechua and Huayna Picchu means ‘young mountain’. At 8,920ft, it’s the second highest point in the ruins precinct (Machu Picchu Mountain is higher) but it still enjoys great views. This could be you... (Photo credit: Jipe7 on Flickr) Huayna Picchu versus Machu Picchu Mountain If your legs allow it, hiking up one of these two peaks is highly recommended. But which one will it be? Huayna Picchu is much more popular among visitors, and despite the fact that only 400 visitors …
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The Two Day Inca Trail – The Best Kept Secret

The Two Day Inca Trail – The Best Kept Secret

Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu and the subsequent photos published in 1913, in the fledging National Geographic magazine, changed the course of Peru (and the magazine). Today the region of Cusco, which is the gateway to the most stunning of mountaintop Inca citadels, now sees over a million tourists a year. When Bingham first arrived to the site, he traversed the beautiful stone roads that the Inca’s built 500 years prior, a walking path that was bypassed in the subsequent decades by a rail line, built in the 1940’s to bring ever more visitors arriving to Peru, on modern jet airplanes. The Re-discovery of the Inca Trail By the early 1980’s some entrepreneurial explorers recognized the potential of these same paths that Bingham took in 1911 when he re-discovered Machu Picchu (Bingham’s route differed slightly from the current Inca Trail) and created a four day trekking circuit that again changed the course of tourism for the region. It established one of today’s most …
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Five staples of Andean cuisine

Five staples of Andean cuisine

When you combine high altitude, low rainfall and bitter winters you get hungry people. This week’s blog looks at five cornerstones of the Andean diet. Corn Choclo, the most common variety of Andean corn or is much paler than its North American cousin and its kernels are larger, starchier and chewier. Choclo is eaten on the cob (usually with a slice of cheese as choclo con queso) but it also makes its way into soups, stews, humitas and ceviche. What’s more, it’s the base for the quintessential drink of the Andes: chicha, or corn beer. To market, to market... (Photo: Tomas Sobek) While choclo is the most common variety of maize in the Andes, it is by no means the only one. Colors range from white and yellow to red, purple, and black, and Peru alone boasts over 50 varieties. One of the most eyecatching (and delicious) variants is maíz morado, or purple corn which is the base of api morado – one of the most delicious hot beverages I’ve ever tasted. Potatoes The potato was first …
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Lodge to lodge treks near Machu Picchu

Lodge to lodge treks near Machu Picchu

Dilemma: You’ve always wanted to do the Inca Trail but you also value the finer things in life. Get the best of both worlds by doing one of the luxurious lodge to lodge treks on offer near Cusco. You’ll get the chance to hike in one of the most spectacular corners of the Andes and you’ll visit remote villages and Inca ruins. You’ll experience a way of life that modernity has passed by and you’ll spend your last day immersed in the majesty of Machu Picchu. New perspectives on Machu Picchu (Photo credit: Philip Dixon) Lodge to lodge treks give you the chance to live out an authentic Andean trekking experience without having to sleep on hard ground or eat stodgy pasta. On both the Lares and Salkantay treks you can rest assured that the locally-inspired cuisine will be gourmet, the showers hot and the beds luxurious. If the idea of a less crowded, more luxurious and ultimately more spectacular experience appeals, read on to find out more about the various options. The Salkantay Trek …
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Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain

Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain

There’s no denying the 3 to 4-hour hike up Machu Picchu Mountain is tiring, But the views from the top more than make up for the exertion… What is Machu Picchu Mountain? Day visitors to Machu Picchu can choose between a regular entry ticket or a ticket that includes hiking to either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (in Spanish it’s known Montaña Machu Picchu or Cerro Machu Picchu). At a shade over 10,000ft, Machu Picchu Mountain is the highest point in the ruins precinct and it affords those who make the effort with incomparable views of Macchu Picchu. Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu are on opposite sides of the ruins. Huayna Picchu versus Machu Picchu Mountain If your legs allow it, hiking up one of these two peaks is highly recommended. But which one will it be? Huayna Picchu is much more popular among visitors, and despite the fact that only 400 visitors are allowed to hike the trail every day it can get rather busy. Although the ascent is shorter (1 – 1.5-hours) …
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Understanding the mighty walls of Sacsayhuaman

Understanding the mighty walls of Sacsayhuaman

Visitors to Cusco who are struck by how overwhelmingly Spanish the city now appears need only look up towards the incredible fort of Sacsayhuaman which looms over the city; an ever-present reminder that this was once the heart of the Inca empire. Sacsayhuaman’s three megalithic walls are the most astounding example we have of the Incas’ prowess as stone-masons and they are truly a sight to behold. The head of the puma To understand Sacsayhuaman’s importance we have to go back to the time times of Inca Manco Capac, the founder of the city of Cusco and one of the greatest Inca rulers. He laid the city out in the shape of a puma whose body was formed by the Tulumayo and Huatanay Rivers. His tail was the V where these two rivers converge and his heart was the Huacapata (Holy Square) containing the Coricancha. His head was – and still is - the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. What’s in a name? There are more spellings of Sacsayhuaman than there are recipes for Pisco Sour. Sacsayhuaman is the most …
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