Subscribe to DareTwoTravel!
Be the first to know when we post new content. Get our best travel tips, guides, and more straight to your inbox!
For Hayley’s sweet sixteen, I planned a mother-daughter trip to Machu Picchu, in Peru. I wanted to get her something that she would never forget, and that would bring us closer together.
Being the mother of a teenage daughter is definitely not a walk in the park. It's hard to get them away from their phones and their friends, or to spend quality time with you that doesn’t include screaming and eye rolling. I figured the bigger the adventure, the better!
Peru had never been on my bucket list (and honestly, it scared me a little) but I found a great package deal. I could not have asked for a better trip.
We spent our first few days relaxing in Cusco and enjoying the town itself. It has some wonderful local markets, and you can not beat the prices there. We stocked up a full suitcase of souvenirs very quickly!
We had so much fun bonding there that we decided to sign up for the cooking class that evening. The teacher/chef took us on a tour of the local food market, and we got to come back with our new purchases and cook an authentic Peruvian dinner.
I can not even begin to tell you how exhausted and hungry I was, but watching the grin on Hayley’s face as she cooked with me and other people from around the world was priceless to me.
....Although Hayley was always watching out for any chance to be distracted and completely enthralled by a llama.
There are no shortage of Incan ruins (or llamas for that matter) on the way to Machu Picchu. We visited Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, Qenko, and Sacsayhuamán.
When I wasn’t acting as a human selfie-stick, I roamed around the two towns taking pictures of the locals and checking out the local markets. Everything there was so colorful to me and I wanted to capture it all.
That night, we were dropped off at our hotel that was literally IN the train station. No worries about missing the train the next morning! We were led to our room that had a padlock on it as our door lock. The adventure part of our trip had begun! We could not stop giggling or talking about what to do with the padlock. We had yet to have hot water in a shower on our trip, so that caused more giggling before heading to bed.
I think we would both say our favorite spot on the way to Machu Picchu was the Sacred Valley.
The citadel there is now in ruins, but you can climb high above the valley floor and look down at the patch-worked patterned fields that are surrounded by vast terraces and stonework.
Oddly enough, my favorite part was walking through doorways that my head almost touched. I am only 5’2 and in Peru I felt like a runway model, which was nice for a change!
It had large panoramic windows all around it and it was perfect to see the countryside of Peru. On the way back to Cusco, the train provided live entertainment in the form of a fashion show, which got us giggling again.
On top of that, the train ride was a perfect place for Hayley to practice her Spanish. The Argentinians next to us spent at least an hour teaching her phrases. As I marveled at how much Spanish she had learned in only two semesters, I realized she was clearly enjoying telling amusing stories about me. I could understand "madre" thanks to 4 semesters of high school Spanish, and the universal language of laughter.
The train dropped us off a few steps from our hotel (hot water finally!), which was at the bottom of Machu Picchu in the town of Aquas Calientes.
You take a bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu and in all my life, I have never been on a crazier bus ride. To say it is terrifying, yet thrilling at the same time, would be an understatement. These buses fly up this winding, very steep, one-way road and it looks like they are playing a bizarre game of chicken with a busload of people. It is not for the faint of heart!
I can think of no other word to describe them. It is one of those places you really have to see to fully appreciate it. We walked from one end of them to another with only a few breaks to pet the wild llamas.
How they got all of those stones up that mountain left me dumbfounded (yes, that is truly how my brain works). How my legs carried me all the way up to the Sun Gate at the end of that day I will never know, but it was worth it!
Huayna Picchu is the peak that overlooks Machu Picchu. You start hiking before sunrise, and then you are able to sit at the top of Huayna Picchu and watch the sun come up.
The climb is difficult and narrow in spots, but it's worth it! You MUST reserve these tickets ahead of time, and they WILL sell out.
I had trained for a few weeks at the gym getting my legs and heart ready for the climb, but it was hard! I’m not going to lie.
At the very end of the climb, you descend into a very narrow cave (this is when I asked myself WTF am I doing, I am claustrophobic), only to emerge at the very top to the most serene atmosphere I have ever witnessed.
Remember: Our recommendations are based on our 2012 trip, so make sure to do your research. Send us a message - we'd be happy to help!
I am a mom first, and a wandering (but not lost) soul second. After years of planning travel for friends, I became a Cruise Planners Travel Advisor. You can learn more about the services I can offer you by visiting me at Memories by Marley
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.