On a recent trip to South America, AFF member amaroo decided to celebrate a special birthday with a visit to Machu Picchu. This historical Incan site is one of the great wonders of the world!

After enjoying the Qantas Business service to Chile, LAN was used for the final flights to Cusco, Peru. Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu, and a window seat is a must for landings into its scenic airport.

Flight path into CUZ is fun… The path takes you pass the airport, and then does a hard LH turn around a mountain. The picture below you can see the runway being lined up. Best landing I’ve had since Kai Tak.

From Cusco, our member ventured on to the town of Ollantaytambo. This is in the heart of the beautiful Sacred Valley.

Sacred Valley has been a wonderful experience – worth visiting in its own right IMO. I’d recommend arranging for a car, driver and guide to get around. We did two days of touring – Day 1 was 8 hours, day 2 was 5 hours. Stunning scenery…

There are two ways to complete the trip to Machu Picchu itself – by train, or by foot. Like the vast majority of visitors, our member travelled by train. On the luxurious Hiram Bingham train, a three course meal complemented the South American wines and incredible views! The train trip to to Machu Picchu is arguably one of the most scenic in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the views that await once Machu Picchu itself is reached.

Most of the accommodation around Machu Picchu is found in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes. But our member was fortunate enough to stay right at the site entrance! The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge may not be the cheapest of hotels, but its location is simply unbeatable.

I wanted to stay at [Belmond Sanctuary Lodge] as soon as I started researching the trip… such an unique location! Belmond is the building just to the left of Machu Picchu.

Sanctuary Lodge is an all inclusive establishment – Full board with alcoholic beverages included. The food presented was of a high standard considering the logistical problems of running a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Visitors have the option to climb Wayna Picchu, the mountain directly behind Machu Picchu. The views from the summit are simply breathtaking. But with only 400 visitors allowed to climb the mountain each day, it pays to book a spot early. Our member did, and it seems the hard work was well and truly worth it.

Awesome views from the top – oh, what a feeling!

There is plenty more to come in this photo-filled trip report, including a luxury train trip to Puno and Lake Titicaca!

Always wanted to visit Peru? This trip report is a definite must-read! Follow along HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]