Machu Picchu was officially discovered in 1911, after a local farmer tipped off American historian Hiram Bingham. By referring to the mountain where the ruins were located as Machu Picchu, the farmer inadvertently turned a local indigenous phrase for ‘old peak’ into a namesake instantly recognizable across the world. Once a flourishing 15th century Inca city, Machu Picchu is now regarded as one of the world’s most significant archaeological discoveries and is a true heavyweight among “wonders of the world” lists.

Because the ruins are so well preserved and come with one of the most stunning backdrops imaginable, there is a constant stream of tourists venturing into the steep mountains where it calls home. As one of the select few permitted per year, your quest to reach the fabled ruined city bypasses all the usual tourist routes. You are not just visiting Machu Picchu; you are participating in something much more heartfelt and personal.

First things first, let’s talk about the basics. Throughout your trip a private concierge team is on hand to take care of whatever is needed to enhance your trip, so you don’t have to lift a finger. Refreshments, meals, and private transportation are all available whenever you need them. The concierge team also covers all of the local groundwork so that you just keep focusing on actively enjoying the trek. Who said adventuring was difficult?

Meeting the Local Communities

Your very own local guides provide a gateway into another world, one that most who visit Peru never get to experience. As they lead you on this eye-opening journey, you get to visit some of the more underserved neighborhoods in the region along the way. These trips give you the chance to truly mix with local communities while also observing first-hand how life really is, away from the tourist trails. These excursions allow you to deliver much needed supplies to households and schools who genuinely welcome any extra assistance they receive.

Helping out the local community increases your personal level of appreciation of living in the moment, which in turn prepares you for the upcoming 4-day expedition to Machu Picchu. As you traverse mountainous paths that have been used on and off for thousands of years, you become even more bonded and accepted in the local way of life. Your private exploration group will be guided by local porters who are descendants of the indigenous populations that have been living here since Machu Picchu was a thriving city.

These sustainably paid porters take the best care of you and your belongings, as you trek up into the clouds and towards the iconic hilltop ruins. Every night your tents, sleeping bags, and food are set up in advance, while you enjoy the camaraderie and stories from those who are a part of this magical land.

Not only do you get the chance to bond with your guides during the trek, but their families too. Home visits are included, where you will be treated as family as you get a glimpse of the real life these proud and distinct people live. But remember these aren’t just visits to photograph a different way of life. No, you are here to forge real human connections and help make a difference in people’s lives.

Trains and Culturally Immersive City Tours

After you have completed such a monumental journey and thoroughly explored the ruins of Machu Picchu with the aid of expert knowledge and eyes, it is time to breathe a little easier. Your return trip to Cuzco will not require the use of legs; instead, you board the train for a more scenic and relaxing route back. This is the perfect moment to look out of the windows with a knowing eye, absorbing the views thoroughly as only those with intimate local knowledge can.

Your time in Peru includes spending a few days in both Cuzco and Lima. Your concierge will already have hand-picked excursions planned, which let you continue on your path of cultural immersion. Of course there may be a day or two where you prefer to use some of the exclusive spa facilities of your hotel and maybe just enjoy some luxurious downtime. Once the batteries are recharged you can move on with a culinary experience or two in Lima’s burgeoning restaurant scene.

Once satiated, other trips can be arranged such as private, behind-the-scenes tours of culturally important sites. By the time you leave the country your bond will be so strong that it won’t be long before you come back to Peru on your own, and continue friendships that began on the mountains around Machu Picchu.