Tag: Paradise

Peru – Machu Picchu & Sacred Valley

Peru has been on my bucket list for almost 40 years.  When I was a young boy, I opened a history book and learned of the of the lost city, Machu Picchu.  Back then, it seemed like something out of a Raiders of the Lost Ark movie: an adventure of a lifetime, a world away, an experience next to impossible.   That said, I fulfilled my lifelong dream and booked a trip to Peru. I was to travel from Cuzco through the Sacred Valley, with the end goal of visiting Machu Picchu and experiencing some of Peru’s amazing history, archaeology, people, culture, art, food, and technology along the way.

Below:  6:00 am approaching Lima at sunrise.  Snow-capped peaks blanketed by cotton clouds.

I’m at 11.000 feet in the Peruvian Andes and feeling the altitude.  Tomorrow we ascend to 19,000 feet as we visit some much-anticipated ancient archaeological sites.  While the altitude is making me woozy, there are 13 cities I am scheduled to visit on this trip, so I’m excited and looking forward to this adventure.



Atop Pukamuqu hill, Jesus sends peace and prayer to the residents of Cusco below.

The view of Cusco from Pukamuqu hill above at 11,800 ft.


Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

One of the many steep hillside roads in the hills above town in Cusco.

One way to get from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes is to take the train through the what’s known as The Sacred Valley.  The trip is simply beautiful. There are three railways providing service to Aguas Calients.  Peru Rail, Inca Rail, and MachuPicchu Train. For Peru Rail and Inca Rail, trains depart from Poroy station (a 20-minute trip from Cusco) or from Ollantaytambo station, located in the Sacred Valley. The trains arrive at Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes).

Early morning at Machu Picchu, observing the Peruvian Andes release tons of moisture into the atmosphere.  The anticipation builds as I wait for an opportunity to capture some amazing photographs of this historic site.

Early morning shot of Machu Picchu, just after the fog burned off.


Just messing around with some locals.

Pikillaqta Lake – Huacarpay


Fiji – Beqa Island

We’re on a visit to Beqa Island in Fiji to meet the locals and experience some of the Fijian culture that is rumored to be warm and welcoming.   Pulling into the cove, it’s clear that these islands are lush, blanketed with dense greenery.

Ahead, I catch a glimpse of a thatched-roofed structure and I’m curious to know what it is.  Later, after visiting the local village, watching a fire dance, and meeting some locals, I learn that this building is part of the Beqa Lagoon Resort.

Some beautiful shots taken on the beach.

Beautiful experience exploring this stunning island and the jungle beyond the beach.

David Loughlin

Deep in thought after drinking one of the best margaritas ever.

Boat on the grass next to the local village.

Locals put on a traditional show for us.

More of the show.

After the show, the locals get us drunk on a potent local potion.

Friendly boys want me to take their picture.

Villager prepares rice for dinner.

Curious children gather on the front porch of the local school house, peering at the visiting strangers.

Local children show off their dancing skills.

Locals do the fire dance, walking on beds of red-hot rocks.

Proud dancers pose for a photo after the fire walk.

It’s a beautiful day for a stroll on the beach.

The bar at Beqa Lagoon Resort

View from the boat as we depart this beautiful island.
David Loughlin

Sunset after a day on Beqa Island.  Headed for the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu.

Diving photos by Ian Lennard & Carrie Berkovich.

Diving photos by Ian Lennard & Carrie Berkovich.