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Inca Trail Breakdown: Length and Day-by-Day Itinerary

Inca Trail Breakdown: Length and Day-by-Day Itinerary

How long is the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail is 25,000 miles long, spanning the entire Inca Empire—but don’t worry, you won’t be trekking that far. Although it’s a bit of a misnomer, when most people think of the “Inca Trail” they’re picturing the classic 4-day hike that starts in the Sacred Valley and enters Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate on the final day. This Inca Trail is 28 miles (45 km) start to finish. The distance isn’t difficult. It is the altitude that some trekkers have problems with, and the steep inclines and descents are the main challenge. However, even these obstacles can be overcome with personal determination, pre-trek acclimatization in Cuzco, and embracing the assistance of personal porters and hiking poles. The distance and itinerary of the classic 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are as follows: Day 1 – 6.8 miles After transportation from Cuzco, hikers breakfast in the tiny village of Piscacucho which contains the start of the Inca Trail at KM 82 The first …
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An Insider Look: Hiking the Inca Trail

An Insider Look: Hiking the Inca Trail

In August our Marketing Manager Laura recounted her experience cruising the Galapagos. This month she breaks down trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. For a shorter overview, read our breakdown of the Inca Trail. For me, the Inca Trail was a rite of passage. One of the most famous treks in South America and with name recognition across the globe, the hike had been on my to-do list for a while now. I’d heard friends rave about their experience on the trail and read about it in everything from travel blogs to Time Magazine. And of course, my colleges here as SA Luxury Expeditions sell the expedition daily. It was my time to take on the trail. Pre-trek Anxiety  SA Luxury Expeditions team members Kristina and Laura in Cuzco. Just like before my Galapagos trip, I couldn’t help but fret over the packing. How many shirts should I pack? Would it be warm? Cold? Rainy? Sunny? Of course no one can predict the weather, but our overview of weather in Peru is a good starting …
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Wednesday Wanderlust - Ceviche

Wednesday Wanderlust - Ceviche

Look tasty? Trying local cuisine is one way to embrace cultural elements when traveling. Pictured here are ceviche appetizers, pulled from our Pinterest board. Ceviche is a marinated fish dish popular throughout much of South America. If you’re visiting Cuzco and want to sample some local dishes, be sure to read yesterday’s blog post about our favorite restaurants in Cuzco. To learn how to make this particular ceviche dish, you can see the entire recipe here.
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Where to Eat: Best Culinary Experiences in Cusco

Where to Eat: Best Culinary Experiences in Cusco

Cuzco is a beautiful city, perhaps even more so at night. Old fashioned streetlamps send golden pools of light ripping over cobblestones and down narrow alleyways, chasing ancient secrets. Whitewashed colonial buildings reflect the moon above while stars blanket the sky, wrapping Cuzco in its unique time warp between past and present. This timeless twilight lures travelers out to enjoy Cuzco by night, but it’s the city’s delightful dining scene that keeps them there. Peru is known world-wide for its coveted cuisine that mixes fruits from the jungle, staples from the Andes, and fish from the sea. Cuzco takes this already varied cuisine and fuses it with international gastronomy to create a city of culinary delights. The amount of restaurant options can be overwhelming, especially if you’re only in town for a night or two. We’re here to help. With an office in Cuzco, we’ve had plenty of time to explore the nooks and crannies of this Inca capital, tasting along the way. The following …
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Inca Trail Packing List

Inca Trail Packing List

Properly packing and preparing for the Inca Trail is essential. 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 compiled a recommending packing list for the Inca Trail. What’s Already Included  If you’re traveling with SA Luxury Expeditions, several essential items are already included in the cost of your trip: -          An additional porter to carry your personal items (sleeping bag, clothing, etc.)  up to 18 pounds. -          A private bathroom tent, which will be set up and taken down at each campsite. -          A therm-a-rest sleeping mat. -          Two-person tent, which you will share with your travel companion. -          All meals and related equipment during the trek (ending after breakfast on the last hiking day). What You Need to Bring You will need to adjust this list based on the time of year you decide to …
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Llama Loving: Photos and Facts

Llama Loving: Photos and Facts

If you visit Peru, it’s inevitable. You will run into a llama. Maybe not physically actually run into, as in collide with, but you will certainly see plenty of them. Llamas have a long history in Peru. Pre-Inca civilizations domesticated llamas, along with their close relative the alpaca between 8,000 and 3,000 BC, about the same time locals domesticated food crops (primarily staples such as corn, quinoa, and potatoes – read about the importance of potatoes in Peru). SA Luxury Expeditions marketing manager Laura discovers llamas along the Inca Trail Llamas played a major role in the development of ancient civilizations in Peru, including the Inca Empire. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Peru had few domesticated animals (alpacas provided wool and cuy provided food but there were no cows, horses, pigs, etc.), and none were as versatile as the llama. Llamas thrive in high altitudes, making them the perfect Andean companion. Steady and sure footed, llamas were mainly used for …
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Seeing the Sites: Lake Titicaca to Cuzco

Seeing the Sites: Lake Titicaca to Cuzco

There are three ways to travel between Lake Titicaca and the city of Cuzco: Plane, train, or bus. LAN Airlines is the only flight service currently connecting the two areas, and requires a short transfer from the Lake Titicaca launching point of Puno to the transit city of Juliaca, about 30 miles north. A more scenic option is the overland route by train or bus. The 10-hour train trip has earned mentions as one of the best train journeys in the world, featuring a full lunch, afternoon tea, and special cars for dining and outdoor observation. The classic British Pullman luxury train does not depart every day of the week; departure dates vary depending upon time of year. However, unless you’re a train enthusiast, you may prefer the more affordable luxury bus tour option. This journey also lasts about 10 hours, but includes several stops at sites of interest along the way. Our Destination Expert Staci Steele recently took the trip, recounted below: The bus journey from the high-Andean …
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Travel to the End of the World: Patagonia

Travel to the End of the World: Patagonia

Covering an area the size of Texas and containing a frontier much wilder, Patagonia clings to the bottom of South America, arching icily toward Antarctica. Patagonia's pristine landscape shifts from expansive pampas dotted with gaucho ranchers to ancient forests with frigid fjords. The icy gem of Argentina's Patagonia is Perito Moreno, one of the 47 glaciers within Glacier National Park. Covering nearly 100 square miles and containing the world's third largest fresh water reserve, Perito Moreno is one of the most accessible glaciers on the planet. Travelers can trek across it or view it by boat from the base of a 200-foot face. Across the border into Chile, Torres del Paine National Park offers thrusting granite pillars, turquoise lakes frosted with icebergs, and rewarding hiking opportunities. More than just stunning scenery, Patagonia is packed with hardy wildlife and an interesting human history. Penguins populate the shoreline while whales swim among icebergs. Inland, sheep …
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Share your Favorite Peru Travel Experience!

Share your Favorite Peru Travel Experience!

SA Luxury Expeditions is happy to announce our up-coming “Favorite Parts of Peru” series. We’re looking for travelers, bloggers, and locals who’d like to share their Peru experiences with fellow and potential travelers. Did you try cuy for the first time? Uncover mysteries at Machu Picchu? Explore Peru’s often overlooked northern regions (where there is so much to see!). We want to hear about it. Interested in sharing your travel tale? Send us an email at blog@saluxuryexpeditions.com  
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South America Visa and Entrance Fees for US Citizens

South America Visa and Entrance Fees for US Citizens

Updated visas and entry/reciprocity fees and requirements for US citizens to South America as of 2012. Note that the pre-pay fee for Argentina will go in effect fully by the end of October 2012 for the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport and by the end of December 2012 for the Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also called Ezeiza). Both airports are located in Buenos Aires. If you travel before these dates, you may still pay upon arrival to the airport. All entries to Argentina—by land or by air—are now susceptible to the $160 reciprocity fee. This must be pre-paid online before travel. Chile charges a $160 reciprocity fee for air arrivals. This can be paid at the airport upon arrival. Brazil requires a tourist visa, which costs $160 and must be obtained before travel. Following these three countries, the fourth most expensive country for US citizens to visit in South America is Bolivia, which charges $135 for a visa valid for 5 years. This can be purchased within Bolivia or …
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