In September 2022, Peru became my inaugural South American destination, and it left an indelible mark on my heart. I was captivated by the warm and humble Quechua people, their rich traditions, and their profound connection to Pachamama, Mother Earth. The vibrant tapestry of Peru unfolded before me, from the bustling artisan markets to the inviting restaurants and charming cobblestone streets of Cusco.

Venturing further into the Sacred Valley, I discovered quaint old villages that seemed frozen in time. The natural wonders of Peru also beckoned, from the awe-inspiring Rainbow Mountain to the endearing alpacas that graced the landscape. The pinnacle of my journey was the challenging 4-day Inca Trail, a trek that led me through breathtaking landscapes and past impressive ruins that bore witness to the ancient Incan civilization.

All of these experiences were a prelude to the grand finale: the first glimpse of the mystical ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. It was a moment that made every one of the 10,000 “gringo killer” steps taken to reach it entirely worth the effort.