We didn’t get to bed until around 11:30 pm so morning came quick at 5:30. We needed to have our luggage outside of our door by 6:00 am to be transferred up to the Sacred Valley. We then gathered for breakfast at in the hotel restaurant. It was a nice buffet with some interesting foods on it. We had a chance to try prickly pear, which had an interesting taste. We were loaded on the bus for the airport shortly after 7:30 am. This was the first time our entire group was together as we had a number of people fly in late the night prior.
Because this is a familiarization tour, there were other people from Disney that joined us on the adventure, including some sales representatives for Disney Destinations as well as some of the people at Adventures by Disney that helped to put together the tours and do the promotion both with the public and with us as travel agents. We also have a couple families with us. These families consist of a few children plus members of the media who will be highlighting our tour in the future.
We made our way to the Lima airport for our flight to Cusco. This is where we first got to see a bit of Disney magic. Disney is the only tour company in Peru to be allowed to do what happened next. We didn’t collect our luggage and make our way inside. We just took our carryons and walked into the airport, past ticketing and on to just before security. Here we were handed our boarding passes by our Adventures Guides. We then got into line for security and were through in a few minutes. This was as easy as flying with carryons only and preprinting boarding passes at home, but we didn’t have to do anything! Adventures by Disney also has the ability to do this in a few other locations as well like China.
Our flight to Cusco was a little delayed leaving, but once we were in the air, it was just a short one hour flight. We had been warned about the possibility of altitude sickness. We were told not to obsess about it, that it would be fine for most of us. I must say that I absolutely noticed the altitude when we got off the plane. I immediately felt my heart racing a bit. When I got off the plane and started walking down the jetway, I felt a little light headed with labored breathing. I just took it easy and took my time walking. Once we got in the bus, I felt a little queasy, but the bus was very warm inside and I’m certain that contributed. I had brought some ginger candies for queasiness and that helped a lot. Our guides also had lollypops that would help as well.
We made our way out of Cusco to the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. Here we had a fantastic lunch with so many different treats. Three kids of homemade potato chips started us off with some guacamole, a trout sushi dish, mashed potatoes, alpaca, salad, quiche. We had some drinks as well including tea to help with the altitude symptoms. For dessert we had locally grown elderberries on cheesecake. We moved over to watch a demonstration of the weaving when the skies opened up. It started to hail! And it came down for a while. Then the rain started. We ended up going inside the building and looked at the incredible weavings and knittings that these ladies do. We had some time to shop and I picked up a couple hats for my husband.
When we got back into the bus for our trip to the Sacred Valley, our guide Ernesto told us that the altitude in this location was 12,000 feet above sea level or about 1,000 more than in Cusco! By this point, I was feeling winded, and tired, but didn’t notice the racing heart anymore. The tea must have helped!
The view as we descended was incredible! I snapped many photos from the bus, but we also had a couple photo stops. We saw snow in the mountains up much higher than we were and even some glaciers up there!
We eventually arrived at Sol y Luna, our home for the next four nights. Adventures by Disney is the only company that spends four nights in the Sacred Valley. Most companies only spend a night or two here. This will prove to an advantage to us in the next few days.
This resort is truly amazing! Instead of hotel rooms we all have casitas. Our home is Casita 25. As we made our way to our home, we found the stone paths lined with flowers and heard birds chirping everywhere. We immediately saw a few hummingirds. It was truly incredible. Our casita is beautiful. There is a little seating area on the front and inside with two beds by the back wall and a cute quarter circle bathroom. We have wooden beams lining the ceiling. It is amazing. We noticed a water channel behind our casita so we left the window open at night to hear the babbling brook as it flowed by. I was awoken by the birds chirping.
After checking in, we went for dinner and a show. We had a Pachamanca dinner which was very interesting to see how they prepared the meal. While our meal was cooking, we had a story told in the Andean Gods Theater about the earth and the sky coming together. It was incredible. Our meal was then served which was very good as well. All the food we have eaten so far has been wonderful. In fact, one agent suggested they should have an Adventures by Disney cookbook available.
It was time to call it a night in our casita, surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Tomorrow we will go river rafting in the morning and get our first view of some of the Incan ruins.