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Winter 2018

Summiting the Inca Trail in Style

How would you like to explore the most beautiful sights in Peru while enjoying seven-course meals, morning yoga sessions, and daily massages? Many tour companies travel with professional chefs, but hiking to Machu Picchu and beyond with a professional yoga instructor and masseuse is a treat now provided by Kusa Treks—a small company that offers big experiences.

These treks can be as preplanned or personalized as you want them to be. The luxury trip is a 10-day adventure that takes you through some of the highlights of Peru: the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Lima, markets and ruins in Pisac, and of course, the 500-year-old Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, which passes several Inca ruins and allows for stunning stargazing at night.

That’s the preplanned version of the trek. But the treks can be easily customized to your budget, your time frame, and your interests. You can shorten your trip to include only your bucket list items, or you can extend it to hike, river raft, and zip line through the Amazon or visit unique natural wonders like Rainbow Mountain and Lake Tipitacca.

Perhaps one of the most “luxurious” parts of these treks, whether preplanned or personalized, is what you don’t have to experience—stress. Kusa Treks will become your personal booking agent, preparing rides to and from the airport, flights, hotels, and entrance tickets. With all of the travel and itinerary arrangements taken care of, all you need to worry about is bringing a light daypack, a few personal belongings, and a pair of broken-in hiking shoes.

While the hikes can be challenging, the treks are designed to be as pleasant as possible. Porters will carry the majority of your gear and hike ahead of the group to set up camp before you arrive. The camps are composed of four-man tents with raised camping beds and real mattresses. The tents will house two people each, so you have the roomiest and most comfortable accommodations possible.

To add to the amenities, every trek has a professional chef. Meals are served family style and include fresh vegetables, indigenous grains, and local meats. Don’t be afraid to try the lamb or alpaca! The chef can also customize meals to accommodate any food preferences or allergies, such as gluten-free or vegan diets.

Without the need to worry about carrying your gear or food, you will be free to fully experience the natural beauty of the Peruvian Andes. You’ll be hiking through diverse microclimates, including cloud forests and rain forests, while viewing spectacular mountain scenery. It’s an experience unlike any other.

The “secret ingredient” to these incredible treks? Erik Bayona. He’s a direct descendant from the Incas and was recentlyinterviewed by National Geographic for his tours. As with all luxury experiences, you are truly getting the best of the best. He knows the natives well, which is why the campsites are private and the prices are more budget friendly. You’ll be camping in the lush backyards of locals instead of dealing with the grunge of public campgrounds.

In addition to the campsite perks, Erik or one of the guides he has trained will take you on trails off the beaten path and point out lesser-known spots to take the best pictures. All of the guides are contagiously passionate and will provide you with a rich cultural experience as you listen to the histories of the different trails and archeological sites you will visit.

With a professional chef, yoga instructor, masseuse, and guide, these treks are truly a luxurious experience. There’s no better way to summit the Inca Trail in style.

Jessica Johansen