Hiking the Salkantay Pass to Machu Picchu was an amazing experience. Our guide Carlos was experienced, knowledgeable, and very friendly. The trek is challenging but wholly worth every ache and pain that your body may experience. I cannot imagine any better way to truly get in touch with Pachamama ("mother nature") and the natural beauty that the Andes and Peru have to offer. Even though we were out in the wilderness we did not forego all comforts.
Our chef and assistant chef were first class and made sure we were well fed with the best Peruvian dishes, which sustained us throughout our journey. I left on this adventure with four friends and came back having made many more who were sharing this magical experience. I imagine most everyone who comes to Cusco makes plans to visit Machu Picchu. After having done this trek I cannot imagine going any other way. My day visiting the ruins was truly magical, but my experience hiking there was serene and will never be forgotten.