Higher Than A Kite In Peru

“Realm of the Incas” is an excellent new 7-day exploration of the former Incan kingdom, rich in natural beauty, culture, history and archeology.  On an Exertion Scale of 1 to 5, this trip falls on 2.5: easy hikes at medium elevations and overnights in top hotels.  The operator is award-winning Mountain Travel Sobek, an adventure pioneer since 1969, keen on offering unique experiences , trips that are inspirational and enriching, sometimes transformative.

Start off high and cool in the city of Cuzco (UNESCO World Heritage Site), former capital of the ancient Inca Empire and today the undisputed archaeological king of the Americas.  Just outside of the city, explore the Inca ruins and the spectacular mountain fortress of Sacsayhuaman.  See the terraced ancient aqueducts, canals and waterfalls in Tambomachay.  Visit Pisac, ancient hilltop ruins and vibrant market.  Hike into Chinchero, an adobe village overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas and believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. (Love this.)  Visit the village of Huilloc where weavers still speak the language of their Incan ancestors and still grow crops on tiny terraced plots 12,000 feet above sea level.  Whew.

Then two days in Machu Picchu, world-class grand slam travel finale and voted one of the “new Seven Wonders of the World.”  This iconic, mysterious and marvelous city was hidden in dense jungle-covered mountains for almost 500 years until discovered in 1911 by intrepid Yalie, Hiram Bingham.

Four departures in 2012: July 28, Sept. 1, Oct. 6 and Dec. 22 just in time to celebrate Christmas.  Pricing starts at $3,595 per person, double basis.

For the full scoop on “Realm of the Incas,” click: www.mtsobek.com or call 888-831-7526.