Tourism is increasing by the month, and you may face restrictions on entry otherwise.
Get up at a.m., take the first bus (around 7a.m.) with your passport to the top of the mountain, and as soon as you enter the site, climb the stairs to your left (just follow the early birds) for the "money shot" overview of this fairytale compound.
You'll stop at four hot restaurants: Cala - right on the beach - for Pisco Sours, Amaz for haute Amazonian jungle food, Huaca Pucllana at the pre-Inca ruins (a perfect example of private enterprise supporting national historic sites, restaurant owners promised to restore and manage these adobe ruins in exchange for placing a top restaurant there.
Come with a guide or secure one at the entrance: he or she can cover the highlights in a couple of hours. Help lift women out of poverty at the G-Adventure Planeterra Community Women's Weaving Project in the Sacred Valley.
You'll learn about the intricacies of Incan textile designs and what each motif represented, while watching a dozen women (some with babies swaddled on their backs) working complicated looms.
In response to an exponential growth in tourism, Andean entrepreneurs hawk products to mitigate the effects of what they call .
The first thing you see in the airport terminal as you make your way to baggage claim is actually something you will never ever find in the States (as a matter of fact, it's illegal here): a big bushel of coca leaves. You'll find coca tea bags, coca candy, and the ever-present bay-leaf-like coca leaves in every hotel, restaurant and market. Machu Picchu stands apart in Peruvian history as the one Inca city that the advancing Spaniards never found as they captured and colonized the rest of the Empire.
The Museum's biggest draw, as you might expect, is its graphic "erotic" pottery exhibit, featuring ceramic figures in every conceivable sexual position dating to second Century ACE.
According to one guest: "It's the Latin ." Plan to stay for a while, and perhaps have lunch at one of the best restaurants in Lima, right on site. Unless you're a starving artist or backpacker with limited funds use a tour company with insider knowledge that is able to move you and your luggage around to multiple areas of Peru without hassle.
The museum building itself is a wonder -- whitewashed and blanketed with Bougainvillea vines in every color.
In the first Storage Gallery, you'll find glass cases crammed with 45,000 ceremonial pitchers in human, animal and food shapes, and each subsequent gallery showcases ceramic and precious metal jewelry over 4,000 years of pre-Columbian history.
Outside, dozens of other women spin raw alpaca wool via a top-like spindle as toddlers and puppies amuse themselves underfoot.
You'll discover the fascinating ways that shorn fleece is washed and dyed naturally, using only plants, minerals and insects to create vivid colors.
Along the way, Lucas or your guide will point out the places that make Lima so special. Let's set aside the ceramic porn exhibit for a moment.