My journey to the sacred land of Peru ignited a deeper passion for travel and self expansion for me. I experienced a spiritual awakening as I met the loving, kind souls native to Peru; hiking the land, visiting the ruins and learning about the ancient mythology of the Incas. Pachamama (Earth/Mother- is the goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes) holds a healing energy that I hope all who are being called can journey to & embrace.
Machu Picchu in Peru has been on my “dream list” of travel journeys. I honestly didn’t think I would travel there for another 3-5 years. As all opportunities come knocking, some at unexpected times, Peru did just that. Good friends of ours and highly respected AZ yoga instructors, Desiree Lapre Grobstein and Anton Mackey were hosting a Peru yoga retreat. We have previously journeyed on one of their yoga retreats 2 years ago in Tulum, MX. We had an amazing soul connective experience and met so many new friends, whom we are still very close with today. We found out about the yoga retreat in Peru with our soul family, answered the knock at the door and eagerly said yes!
It took me a couple of weeks to fully digest that we were actually going to Peru, not to mention Desiree and Anton’s retreats happen to fall on our wedding anniversary, June 21st. My husband and I choose not to do gifts for each other, instead we invest in travel! Traveling offers us time to connect, to expand and learn…creating truly eternal memories. Peru was certainly an awesome way to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary! Interestingly, June is winter in Peru, as here in the states June is our summer. My husband picked our wedding date, June 21st because it is the “summer solistice”- longest day of the year. In Peru June 21st is their “winter soltice”, shortest day of the year. On top of all of this, June 21st 2016 also was a full moon! Needless to say, there was some amazing full moon, winter solstice, Peruvian energy happening on our anniversary.
The land and culture in Peru is colorful, filled with heart and purity. We flew into Lima, then into Cusco (first of the Incan sacred cities) and took a two-hour bus ride to the Sacred Valley where our resort, Willka Tika resides. We drove thru winding roads in the mountains and thru tiny alleyways in the villages. The bus ride itself was very adventurous. On our way to the resort we stopped in an area that had an outlook on the vast mountains. There were also some local artisans selling their handmade, colorful goods, and sweet children holding baby sheep & alpacas. They are there to take photos with you, all they ask for is a Sol (Peru’s currency) in exchange for a picture. It was a wonderful start to our Peru vacation.
Willka Tika Resort: The local Quechua Staff “who are like family”, as well as the locally sourced, sustainable food were truly an experience I will never forget… AMAZING! Carol Cumes is the owner and founder of Willka Tika, our group had the pleasure of Carol walking us thru her extraordinarily beautiful & lush Seven Chakra Gardens. Each garden contains symbols, shapes, sculptures and medicinal plants that resonate with one of the seven chakras, or energy centers, of the human body. Carol shared the history of Willka Tika and what inspired her to build this healing retreat center.
The Seven Chakra Gardens were my favorite of the property, a place to meditate, nap and just breathe. I was most connected to the Heart Chakra garden. My husband and I spent 2 hours at the Heart Chakra on our anniversary. The funny thing is, we didn’t even know it was the Heart Chakra garden right away, we were just energetically drawn to it. We certainly felt the love and our hearts connected.
“The gardens heal and balance by allowing guests to connect directly to the wisdom of Nature. Tune in and receive the whisperings of Pachamama, Mother Earth.”- Carol Cumes
Our yoga retreat included two daily yoga classes lead by Desiree and Anton, our accommodations and 2 daily scrumptious vegetarian meals all at the Willka Tika Resort. Also some amazing excursions into Peru with our retreat group to Machu Picchu, Pisac and Cusco. Both my husband and I mentioned that we were so grateful to experience Peru with our friends and have all the arrangements made by Desiree. I personally love doing all the research on where to stay, hike, eat etc… but this time it was a pleasure having it all taken care of…as it offered the ability to fully relax and take in the experience. Thank you Des!
Pisac ruins: Though little is known as to the history of the site before the Spanish conquest, Pisac was probably used as a ceremonial and military centre. The site was abandoned and fell to ruin after the conquest in the 1530s.- Historvius
There is so much to mention about Peru but here is my favorite, Machu Picchu!!! The journey to get there in itself was epic! 2 bus rides and a two-hour beautiful train ride into the green, lush Peruvian mountains. The train that we took was very nice, the seats were roomy and comfy. The views from the train were amazing, the train had big windows and even had rooftop windows to view the majestic landscape. Pretty cool experience for me as I haven’t been on many train rides before. Now I will note that going to Machu Picchu is touristy and busy, the train station was packed and the city we stopped in before our second bus ride, again busy. And yes, Machu Picchu is also very busy with visitors. With that being said, be prepared to be around a lot of people and to have patience. We had a great guide who took gave us a very educational historical tour of Machu Picchu itself.
We arrived to Machu Picchu around 10am, it was breathtaking!!!! I could instantly feel the peace of the land and the mystic wonder of how this place even exists? How was it build in 1450 with such intricacy, alignment and heavy, massive stone work?
“In 1983, UNESCO designated Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site, describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”- wikipedia.org
“The central buildings use the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar.”- wikipedia.org
Here is what I experienced with the busyness of the historical site…the mid morning was very busy. We toured thru the ruins with our guide while he educated us on the ancient Inca history. We took a break, ate lunch and then went back to navigate the ruins with our two very good friends, Jason and Alexis. We went on a beautiful hike to “The Inca Bridge (trunk bridge)” , this took about an hour, it was way less busy and a hike. On our way back, we hit the main ruin site where it was just packed with visitors an hour ago. Now the time was around 3pm, it was way less busy, literally half the amount of people there. We could see the ruins more clearly, you certainly could feel a stronger energy from the land. I highly recommend going up mid to late afternoon if possible, as it allows for more quiet space and breathing room to take in Machu Picchu.
The Inca Bridge (trunk bridge ) : This Inca Bridge is a part of a mountain trail that heads west from Machu Picchu. The trail is a stone path, part of which is cut into a cliff face. A twenty-foot gap was left in this section of the carved cliff edge, over a 1,900 feet drop, that could be bridged with two tree trunks, otherwise leaving the trail impassable to outsiders.
We also were able to connect with some wandering Alpaca … their eyes are so big with long eyelashes. Truly sweet creatures.
Once we were done navigating Machu Picchu, we had the option to take the bus down to the city to meet our group or hike all the way down the mountain via steps, hundreds of steps. We decided to take the steps to fully experience the mountains and fresh air. Boy oh boy, I will say, I think we all were taken back at how many steps there were. Though we loved it, our calves the next few days…lets just say they were a tad over used and tight!!! Yowzers!!! Was so worth it though!
The city Aguas Calientes, is where we met back up with our group. It’s a bustling little town full of tourists nestled amongst the green, lush mountains. The Peruvian architecture and local artistry were cool to experience. I would love to stay there next time for a few days. Yes, you heard correctly, I said, “next time”. We are certainly going to go back to Peru as there is so much more to explore. The land, culture and communities are so amazing, welcoming and kind. My soul was very connected and peaceful there, so we will be going back on another journey to the sacred land.
I wish for everyone to have the opportunity to travel to Peru, if it comes knocking, open the door and say yes…you won’t regret it.
With love and gratitude,