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Peruvian perfection

Muddy's Sascha just trekked Machu Picchu for her 50th. Holiday inspiration incoming...

The chat around the Muddy HQ kitchen kettle this week? Well, there’s my homemade quince jelly (a whole tree makes, er, three jars) and how much champagne we ploughed through at our Literary Salon last Thursday (LOTS!). But mainly it’s all about our marketing whizz Sascha Way and her amazing holiday. She just won’t stop blathering on about it – and when we saw the photos and got the lowdown we could totally understand why.

Sascha, fourth on the right, with the final ascent to Macchu Picchu in the distance

She celebrated her 50th birthday by gathering nine of her girl friends for a two week trip travelling around Peru; the highlight of which was a four day trek to Machu Picchu, the 500-year-old Inca city. The girls booked with Latin Odyssey, a Henley-based travel agency that specialises in Central and South America.

Let’s just say things have changed somewhat since I conquered (OK, crawled up) Machu Picchu in my early twenties, wearing the same clothes for four days, and bedding down in pigsties along the way. Sascha’s squad did it in serious style. So while they camped for three nights during the trek, they had 14 porters – yes, you read that right! –  on hand to set up said camp, and chefs to keep them fed and watered. Plus, afterwards in Cusco, they regrouped at boutique hotel Inkaterra La Cascona, a chic 16th century manor house that’s a favourite with the Rolling Stones no less. The trip also took in jungle walks, mooching around gorgeous markets and spa treatments – now that’s the kind of backpacking we can totally get on board with.

Inkaterra La Cascona

Sounds pricey, right? Well, the 14 day trip of a lifetime came in at a very reasonable £3500 per person, including all flights, the trek, transfers, hotel B&B – basically everything except a few dinners and a truckload of pisco sours.

Latin Odyssey’s founder Mark Rolfe set up shop in 2003, having spent a good decade in the region – both travelling and as an expedition leader, so he really knows his stuff, and knows how to keep you away from the tourist hoards. But if you’ve already conquered the mighty Macchu Picchu, yet want to do something different and exciting – either for a honeymoon, trip without the kids, a big birthday or a once-in-a-lifetimer with mates – Latin Odyssey also have the inside line on the rest of Central and South America  – think Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Argentina, Brazil or even Antarctica. It all sounds amazing, and with Sascha still going on and on (and on – enough now lady!) Latin Odyssey gets a big Muddy thumbs up from us. The only downside is you won’t get to take one of those nice porters home with you.

Latin Odyssey, 1 Market Place Mews, Henley-on-Thames, Oxon  RG9 2AH; 01491 410492.


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