WHEN FRANCISCO PIZARRO and his 167 men defeated the Incas with guns, steel and horses in the 1500s, they conquered a short-lived but extensive empire. The Inca god-king ruled an area that stretched from Quito to Santiago.
The Spanish repurposed many of the Inca buildings in Cusco, but the original handiwork endures in the giant cut stones that fit perfectly together. Some luxury hotels, such as Palacio del Inka and JW Marriott El Convento, contain original stone walls dating back to when the New World was still untouched by Europeans.
One of the most important battles between the Spanish and the Incas happened at Saqsaywaman fortress, just a short taxi ride from Cusco. Many local residents still consider the immense structure a sacred site, and it hosts the grand Inti Raymi festival each June.
The Sacred Valley of Peru is home to many other Inca fortresses, temple sites and citadels. The most famous — Machu Picchu — lies at the end of the valley, but many others appear on daytrip itineraries. Those in a hurry may visit Pisac, Chinchero, Moray and Ollantaytambo in one loop. It’s also possible to get to Machu Picchu and back in one day on the Belmond Hiram Bingham Express train from outside of CuThesco, but what’s the rush? The experience proves much more magical if you stay in the Sacred Valley instead, making it possible to mix visits to the monuments with a deeper dive into the local culture and the Andes Mountains.
Hundreds of tour companies run the standard four-day Inca Trail trek, but a more luxurious option — with real beds instead of tent camping — involves taking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Mountain Lodges of Peru. You stay in small hotels along the route and can enjoy a hot shower each night. The company also runs a Lares Adventure trip along the Weavers’ Route in the mountains. Travelers pass through Andean villages, see high mountain lagoons and visit Inca ruins like Ankasmarca, where they may be the only people there. The tour includes a trek to the ruins and terraces of Pisac on foot from the opposite direction of the tour buses. It visits Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu on the last two days.
Another immersion option allows for a stay at the Explora Valle Sagrado lodge in the Sacred Valley and use of it as a base. Its all-inclusive packages offer a selection of 30 active tours, including visits to Machu Picchu, Chinchero, the terraces of Moray and Ollantaytambo. Top-notch guides lead hiking and biking trips, and a comfortable lodge, a spa and an open bar wait at the end of the day.
My husband and I arrived to The Water Club Hotel at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for our two-night stay and drove directly to valet parking. After the swift drop-off process, we took the escalator to the lobby to check in. With no one ahead of us in line, we were checked in and on our way to our room on the 30th floor in no time.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Spirit Airlines recently announced new service between Oakland (OAK), California, and Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Florida, scheduled to launch April 1. The service is the only non-stop flight between the two destinations.
SkyTeam added a 147-seat lounge at the new Istanbul Airport. The airline alliance’s newest lounge spans more than 6,000 square feet and is open all day.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
Animals taking to the sky are getting a more comfortable journey thanks to a new innovation from Delta Air Lines.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises recently unveiled details regarding its new $5 million art collection, which will find a permanent home aboard Seven Seas Splendor, launching next month. The collection was curated over two years and contains 300 pieces.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Holiday Here This Year: Australians Encouraged to Vacation in Australia to Support Country-Wide Recovery Efforts
In the wake of the country’s devastating bushfires, the country’s tourism industry is encouraging Australians to staycation this year.