When selecting a destination for your corporate incentive travel program, it is so important to take into consideration the entire journey, not just the ultimate reward destination. For many destinations, such as Peru, the journey IS the destination…
Machu Picchu – One of the 7 New Wonders of the World
Machu Picchu is on every traveler’s Bucket List, but because of its remoteness, is not a destination that people frequent on their own. This makes it a perfect location for a Corporate Incentive Travel Program. But a trip to Machu Picchu is more than just visiting one of the greatest archeological sites in the world. It is about the incredible journey – through Lima, the capital of Peru, to the historic town of Cusco, the Ancient Inca capital. It is about exploring the Sacred Valley that winds through the Andes Mountains. It is about the food, the art and the local people. It is about exploring and learning the history of this varied region’s cultures, from the Inca to the Spanish Colonial and modern day.
Peru is located on the Western side of South America in a time zone that is equivalent to the US Central Time Zone. This makes it easy for phone calls to family or the office – and! there is no jet lag!
Upon arrival in Lima, your incentive program participants will have an opportunity to explore the wonderful and historic city. The recommended hotel is the 5-star Orient-Express hotel, located in the most fashionable Miraflores District with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
The flight from Lima to Cusco is an easy 1 hour, 20 minutes. Cusco, the Ancient Inca Capital founded in 1100 AD, is located at the base of the Sacred Valley and is the starting point for any adventure to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Cusco was constructed around the beautiful Plaza de Armes and is surrounded by historic buildings with red terrace roofs and beautiful colonial churches. It is a walking city and your travel reward recipients can wander the maze of cobbled streets featuring shops, galleries and restaurants. Every street has remnants of Inca buildings, walls and doorways showcasing the incredible Inca stonework that is still regarded as the best stonework in the world.
It’s important to note that Cusco is located 10,500 ft. above sea level. Your incentive travelers may feel a little light headed as there is less oxygen in the air; they will need to assimilate slowly (no strenuous activities for a day or so) and drink lots of the local coca tea.
Restoration Chic – the new Palacio Nazarenas Hotel
The highly recommended hotel in Cusco is the new Palacio Nazarenas Hotel, which opened in June 2012. Located just off of Cuzco’s main square, this former palace and convent (from the 1700s) was recently restored and opened as a 5-Star luxury hotel. It is the city’s most exclusive new address, making it the perfect spot for your top achievers to celebrate success.
This intimate urban retreat has 55 suites, each with butler service. The hotel also built the first heated outdoor pool in Cusco; it has a center courtyard with a fountain that dates back to 1715; a full-service spa; and a modern restaurant. Sleeping rooms are enriched with 30% more oxygen, helping guests assimilate in the higher altitude.
A Destination Achieved – Machu Picchu, Peru!
From Cusco, your travel reward recipients can take the Vistadome train or the classic Orient Express train from Olyantambo station to Agua Caliente, which is located at the base of Machu Picchu. It is a 3-hour journey along the floor of the Sacred Valley of the Incas with the Andes Mountains on each side. This is an adventure right out of an Indiana Jones movie!
Machu Picchu is overwhelming in its presence. It is the Ancient Inca citadel in the Sacred Valley, built over 500 years ago and deserted 100 years later where it remained completely overgrown by jungle for 400 years. The reason that Machu Picchu was abandoned is still a mystery as the Incas did not keep written records.
After a guided tour through the ruins and lunch at the Qunog Restaurant located within the Orient Express Sanctuary Hotel, your incentive winners will have time to wander, explore and photograph this amazing site. There is a fun local handicraft market at Aguas Calientes to explore while waiting for the train to return to Cusco.
Following a day in Machu Picchu, your program winners will want a day to explore the many other adventures available within the Sacred Valley, such as whitewater rafting in the Urubamba River, mountain biking to the small traditional town of Maras with a visit to the salt mines, and horseback riding through the Sacred Valley.
This adventure is definitely not just about experiencing Machu Picchu…It is a journey of sights, sounds, tastes and scents. I can’t wait to take this journey again one day, as I know that I will have new discoveries and experiences. If you are interested in offering an amazing travel incentive program to your top achievers or VIP customers, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-343-4546 and I’ll be happy to assist you!
Written by Matt Kisser
Matt Kisser is the Director of Planning at JNR Incorporated, has been with the company for over 15 years and is a member of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) Board of Directors.
JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.