Booked my trip to Machu Pichu thru these guys and couldn't recommend them enough. They told me not to do the more expensive tour that I planned originally because it wasn't worth the extra money, so did themselves out of a big sale, but the one they did sell me was exactly what I wanted. They also sold me good value travel insurance, which paid out quickly when my camera was nicked.
ViaSpanish Language School is a great Spanish school in Cusco in the San Blas region. I had a fantastic time here - I took two weeks of group classes and one week of private lessons and learned a surprising amount. The school itself is big and airy, the teachers are lovely and they have a nice big sunny terrace. My home stay was perfect and I hope one day to go back and visit everyone - I really miss them all!
Great alternative trek to Machu Picchu and it takes in it all. Just book when you get there, you can usually go next day. Oh, and please don't take any notice of the Guardian's advertised £3.95 price (do they earn commision from this agent?). It costs around £120 pounds, all meals included with camping.
Any agent in Plaza de Armas
The classic four-day trek, the Inca Trail, to Machu Picchu now has an adventurous alternative. From Cuzco, I went across the scary Abra Malaga pass by local transport to the attractive warm jungle village of Santa Teresa and visited hot warm springs (very few foreign visitors at the present moment) and stayed with a local family in a rustic adobe lodge where fresh coffee beans were roasted in front of my eyes and papaya picked off the trees for morning breakfast!
The journey from Cusco to the jungle on to Machu Picchu with the local Quechua speaking guide involves one night staying by the hot springs in tents, one night with his family (a great experience!), a horse trek, some trekking and the final descent to Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. In the morning, rise early before the other travellers and take in this famous lost Inca citadel.
A more varied experience overall, following a different route to the majority of people and great to get to stay with a local family, even for one night!
Santa Teresa is about a fivehour ride from Cuzco. I travelled with the volunteering and alternative adventure travel organisation, Inka Magik, which works with local schools as well as the Cuzco guide and rustic lodge.
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