Marilyn Foster: Climbing Machu Picchu should be on every travel bucket list

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Who wouldn’t want to climb to the top of Machu Picchu? At 7,972 feet above sea level, those of us living in this region can easily climb this mountain, for most of us are used to breathing at over 4,700 feet and when we enjoy visits to Lake Tahoe, the average elevation there is about 6,225 feet.

When I write about climbing, don’t picture craggy cliffs and packing your climbing gear. Though the elevation is high, the climb is mild and meandering, for Machu Picchu was built as a fortress and refuge for Inca aristocracy and is today considered one of the most important heritage sites in the world.. The guided tour will shed light on how building on top of this mountain was made possible and why, after three generations of Incas, Machu Picchu was suddenly abandoned. The mystery lives on.

Collette Vacation’s guided tour to Peru, the ancient land of mysteries, departs March 21, 2020 from Reno to Lima where this amazing tour begins. Today, Lima is quite the bustling modern city, but still embraces its colorful past in the colonial old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lima is known as a foodie city and those tasty Pisco Sours are to be enjoyed.

Departing Lima after a two-night stay, we fly to Cuzco and board a bus to the majestic Sacred Valley of the Incas for two nights to acclimatize ourselves, though for us who can tolerate Lake Tahoe, the Sacred Valley is just a bit higher than the lake. From our base camp, we’ll venture out to meet the locals and enjoy their unique hospitality and learn the customs.

Then, it’s on board the scenic Machu Picchu Vistadome train to take us to the “Lost City of the Incas” for one night. After the guided tour of the mountain, you are free to enjoy the village or stay on the mountain to explore further.

I need to caution you that breathing becomes a bit more labored as we venture into beautiful Cuzco. At just over 11,000 feet, you tend to walk a bit slower, but will soon become accustomed to this altitude. For your convenience, each hotel offers oxygen hits.

Cuzco is a city to tour on foot and to cruise through the local indoor market. You just may want to try the Cuy, a local delicacy primarily served on holidays. You’ll learn a lot about the guinea pig and even see this served in the painting of the Last Supper in the Cuzco Cathedral.

Peru is a colorful land. You’ll see fields and fields of quinoa. In the rurals, you’ll see locals dressed in native costume as they go about their daily lives. Just about everywhere, you’ll want to whip out your camera for a photo shoot.

Collette Vacations is offering a generous $400 discount per person to those who book this wonderful tour prior to early September. With the discount, the tour is $3,249 per person and that includes air from Reno to Lima and between Lima and Cuzco, first-class accommodations, tours, train ride, 13 meals, tour guides, luggage handling, and transfers from the Carson City Chamber office to the Reno airport with free parking at the Chamber. If you wish to remain in Peru longer, there’s an optional three-night tour to the Peruvian Amazon for an extra cost.

These tours fill fast, so early booking is advised. If you want to learn more about this trip and other Collette Tours, be sure to sign up for the free Chamber Travel Club Collette Tours presentation on June 27 at 2 p.m. at the Chamber office. Please RSVP to 882-1565. All tours sponsored by the Chamber can be perused on the Travel Club page found on the home page at


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