Romancing a return to Cusco, Peru

My bride and me, on the Inca Trail (circa 2005).

My bride and me, on the Inca Trail (circa 2005).

More than anything, what I remember most about the time my bride and I spent in Cusco, Peru, are the headaches.

Those damn altitude headaches. That simply wouldn’t go away.

The year was 2005; the two of us were there on a “vacation” from a four-month stint of living in Lima while my wife, an archaeologist, researched her dissertation. The city sits somewhere around 9,000 feet above sea level. I, a chronic sinus sufferer, had serious problems with sinus pressure the entire time.

Still, this did not derail our fun. Over the course of five days, the two of us tromped all over the city, hiking from one archaeological site to the next (including Qurikancha and Saksaywaman), strolling through vendor booths near the Plaza de Armas, sampling coca leaves and choclo from a variety of different storefronts, and marveling at all of the hand-crafted art.

(Then, of course, we did a 3-day, 3-night trek to Machu Picchu.)

I’ve often thought about how much I wished our children were with us in the ancient Incan capital, how much they would have loved the colors and sights and sounds (and super-sweet cookies).

These fantasies—along with a promotion and travel deals from Expedia, a client, and LAN Airlines—have inspired a vivid daydream for a return.

In my daydream, we take the girls down for a week and stay at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, a hotel that incorporates pre-Inca architecture and is now arguably the swankiest property in town. From there, we fan out for daytrips around the city, showing the girls the giant boulders at Saksaywaman and the different architectural eras at the Quirkancha. We take our 5-year-old along for some Spanish immersion classes. We have the 3-year-old learn how to weave. And we eat ceviche. Lots and lots of ceviche.

Granted, the visit would be more of a family trip than a sexy, sultry getaway. But because my wife and I would be returning to a place that meant so much to us once before, it would be romantic in a totally different kind of way.

Expedia has a great new ad campaign that revolves around the concept of “No excuses” for taking the trip of your dreams. It’s time we stop making excuses and get back to Cusco with our kids. The trip likely won’t happen this year, but perhaps it’s time to start planning it for 2016. Who knows? By then maybe they can hike the Inca Trail, too. And maybe I won’t have any more headaches.

If you could take a romantic trip with your partner in the near future, where would you go and why?

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