Tag Archives: archaeology

Things to Consider When Choosing your Macchu Picchu Trek

 

Photo credit: justin_vidamo / Foter / CC BY

Easily one of the most popular destinations in the world, Macchu Picchu is one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips. So when choosing how to get there, obviously it is important to choose the right trek that will meet your expectations and time-frame (not to mention your hard-earned cash). However the different treks, especially when combined with add-ons and other excursions can be bewildering to say the least, and overwhelming at most.

After visiting the Destinations Travel Show the other week and speaking to countless tour operators, I have put together a helpful overview of the three most popular trekking options to help you decide which is best for you.

Inca Trail: Easily the most popular route to Macchu Picchu, it also means there is an approximately six-month waiting list to get a permit. Book well in advance if you desperately want to go on this trek, particularly between the high season of June to August, or you will wind up disappointed.

With a maximum of 500 permits a day allowed on the Inca trail, it is the busiest trail to Macchu Picchu. Many tour operators claim tour groups leave in a staggered rota in the morning so the trail is not too clogged with people. Regardless, with 500 people on it at any one time, you’re bound to see some groups on the way, and if the idea of potentially sharing the trail with several tour groups leaves you feeling irritable, then perhaps a quieter option is best. On the other hand, if you enjoy the camaraderie of meeting new people on your travels, then this might be the one for you.

The Inca Trail is supposedly the trail with the most archaeology to see, but is also the most touristy. In addition to this, because it is the most popular trek, it is generally cheaper than the other options.

Salkantay Trek: If you are looking for a challenge, then the Salkantay trek is for you. Following a high-altitude trail that passes by the Peruvian Andes, and in particular the impressive Salkantay peak, this trek is a good choice for those wanting breath-taking scenery. Permits are not required for this trek luckily, and as it demands a certain level of fitness, it is also the most quiet. Speaking of fitness, this is a fairly demanding trek that requires an excellent level of fitness – good for those with time to train, not for those wanting a last-minute trek to Macchu Picchu.

The trail goes through the ‘back-door’ of Macchu Picchu, through Santa Teresa and ending at Aguas Calientes. There, you have the option of either walking the last kilometre to Macchu Picchu or getting the train. Whichever you choose, just make sure you arrive early!

Lares Trek: For those wanting a glimpse of traditional rural life in Peru, then this is the ideal trek. The Lares trail goes through remote mountain communities that still retain a strong sense of local culture. As it is a slightly shorter trek (three days) and does not require a permit, the Lares Trek is a good option for those short on time, booking a last-minute trip, or wanting squeeze in a trek while backpacking through South America.

Similar to the Salkantay Trek, it also ends in Aguas Calientes, with the option of the train or hike up to Macchu Picchu.

 

Which trek have you gone on, and what made you choose it?

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From Amman to Wadi Feynan- Digging in Jordan

 

Awhile back I wrote a feature for inTravel magazine about my time working on an archaeological excavation in Jordan, an excerpt of which is included below:

Admittedly, it was with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I initially accepted a position as a volunteer archaeologist in Jordan. Stories of grotesque camel spiders and venomous snakes were a source of apprehension, but the thought of working with the local Bedouin people on ancient sites in Jordan’s picturesque Dana Biosphere Reserve quenched any initial misgivings.

Soon after arriving in Amman we were all whisked off on a long journey south to Jordan’s remote Dana Biosphere Reserve. As Jordan’s largest nature reserve, it is home to a variety of endangered species and a series of mountain ridges, not to mention the ancient Ata’ta tribe. Moonlight and stars were the only source of light as they shone on the enormous canyons and small villages we passed through, with the van bringing us closer to the Wadi Feynan Ecolodge, which was to be our home for the next month.

To read the entire feature, head to inTravel’s website here.

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Qatar’s Zubarah Site is Appointed UNESCO World Heritage List

Qatar is a country that holds a dear place in my heart. As a graduate I spent months driving all over the country to record and protect its heritage and eventually grew fond of its desert landscapes, and of its ability to spring archaeological sites upon visitors in the most unexpected of circumstances.  When I read that Qatar’s archaeological site Zubarah had been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List, I felt this appointment was well-deserved. Having visited Zubarah several times and learnt about its history in relation to the rest of the world, the rarity of sites like this meant it urgently needed further investigation and preservation for the posterity of history. I was fortunate enough to visit Zubarah back in 2011, and you can read about my experiences visiting the site at Vagabondish magazine.

A two hour drive north from Qatar’s capital city Doha brings you into a region known as Al Shamal, where the clay-hued fort of Zubarah suddenly rises out of the horizon against the backdrop of the flat desert landscape. Once a central role in the pearl-diving industry from 1811 to the early 19th century, Zubarah faced a steady decline following the introduction of the Japanese pearling industry and the discovery of oil off of Qatar’s coast until the site was eventually abandoned in the early 1900s. Today archaeologists are excavating a small portion of the Zubarah town, and have already discovered an expansive complex of houses, streets, and mosques that denote a thriving trade industry. Over the decades a natural blanket of sand blown from the coastal winds has perfectly preserved this area, allowing archaeologists and historians alike a rare archaeological glimpse into the everyday life of the Bedouin who called Zubarah home. The fort however continues to stand resolute against time and weather erosion, a testament to Qatar’s early trade links stretching across the Indian Ocean, Western Asia, and Arabia.

With Zubarah making it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in 2022, this country’s tourism is set to rocket in the next few years. Now is a better time than ever to beat the crowds and explore the country’s heritage for yourself while it is still quiet. Zubarah is only one of Qatar’s treasures, there are still several listed below waiting to be explored…

 

 

Qatar's Own Hollywood: Film City

Qatar’s Own Hollywood: Film City

 

Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings

Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings

 

 

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