Tag Archive for Trek to Machu Picchu

Trekking the old Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Photographer and blogger extraordinaire, Philipp Ammon, recently completed the Trek to Machu Picchu challenge. He joined the first Charity Challenge expedition to trek the Ancascocha Trail. Read on to find out about this off-the-beaten-track hike through the incredible Andes mountains, on parts of the original Inca trail.   

Imagination is a funny thing – It can take us to the highest heights and wildest places; but if we really put our minds to it, we are also exceptionally creative at forming reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t live our dreams. The excuses become boundless.

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

You certainly don’t have to twist my arm to get me on an adventure trek. Add a far-away destination into the mix and I’ll practically be rearing to go. I love the feel of the trail under my feet; the humbling size of mountains all around; the wonder of zipping open my tent door to crisp morning air and another day of adventure. We all have our demons, however, and for me one of those is planning trips… Let’s just say that logistics aren’t my strong hand, and often, the daunting prospect of organisation can put my dreams on hold indefinitely. Coordinating an adventure trek on another continent, away from it all takes a lot of time and energy. Along with trying to run a photography business, those are ingredients that seem to be all too scarce these days.

When Charity Challenge approached me with an offer to partner up on one of their adventure treks to Peru as a photographer, I was immediately on board. Catching the last evening rays illuminating the old ruins of Machu Picchu has long been on my bucket list, and I was being offered the opportunity to make that dream a reality. The best part: every last bit of the trek was already organised. All I had to do was show up (and carry lots of heavy camera equipment across some pretty demanding terrain – no big deal…).

The Ancascocha Trail

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

I’m not one for mass-tourism. Show me where the crowds are, and I will walk well out of my way to avoid them. I get enough of that living in London… I’d heard that the Inca trail to Machu Picchu could be quite crowded in April and May with many eager tourists making the trip to experience the beauty of the Andes. I can’t blame them really, but that doesn’t exactly go along with the peaceful mountain experience in a small group I had in mind. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

In response to the sharp increase in tourism on the Inca trail, Charity Challenge recently changed their Machu Picchu trek itinerary to take you down a road-less-traveled. So much so, in fact, that the only other people we saw throughout our trip were local farmers, and even they were far and few between. Sheep on the other hand? Well, they were countless.

Trekking on the Ancascocha Trail

Trek leader George on Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

There is something special about knowing the road you are hiking on was once used by Incan messengers some six-hundred years ago. Not much indicates their rich history, sunken in the river of time, but ever so often, you will spot the old cut stones that marked their way. Our guides, George and Wilson were incredibly knowledgable about the geography and history of the region. I might also add that I admire their patience: I must have asked a hundred questions a day about what we were seeing and experiencing.

Not a single day offers the same views. Lush and colourful flora sweep the lower-laying terrain, with fresh streams and rushing rivers running alongside your route throughout. For those of you into learning more about local herbs, the guides are very knowledgeable and will even help you use some of the plants to remedy the less pleasant effects of high altitude. From higher up, we spotted the jagged and snow capped mountains, believed by the Incas to be Earth’s connection with the Gods.

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

The hiking itself will be extremely challenging at times. The highest point along the trail reaches the Pampaqasa mountain pass at an oxygen-depriving 4550m. Fret not – we had people from all different ability levels in our group, and we paced ourselves accordingly. Nobody was ever left behind, and to my own relief, I was able to keep up, even with a backpack full of lenses and a tripod… We were constantly rewarded for our efforts by what we saw. As we ascended, it was as if the top of the mountain pass dropped like a curtain, revealing an incredibly beautiful view into the lush green valley below.

Medical Staff

I’d arrived in Peru a few days after the rest of the Charity Challenge group, which meant I didn’t have enough time to acclimatise in Cusco. After reaching the pass, I began to feel a sharp headache and nausea that would linger for the rest of the day. Thankfully, we had Dr. Carlos with us, who was appointed to join us for the duration of the trek. He kept a close eye on me, and made sure I was looked after throughout our well-earned descent back into the valley. I was really grateful for his professionalism. It helps to know somebody’s got your back when things aren’t going well. After a few minutes on oxygen and a good night’s sleep, I was back up and running by the next morning. All part of the adventure…right?

Camping in the Andes

Camping in Andes on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Once the sun sets in the Andes, you really begin to realise how far away from it all you are. The dark night sky is perforated with the undiluted light of a million stars, opening up to views of southern constellations. Every evening, after everybody else had gone to bed, I would wrap up in my warmest clothes, and watch the Milkyway slowly drift over our tents, the jagged black silhouettes of mountain ridges lining the foreground.

I’ve never found it particularly comfortable sleeping in a tent, but after a long and strenuous day of hiking, any bed feels like a godsend. It’s a really nice touch that by the time you arrive at your campsite every evening, the porters have already pitched your tent. All you have to do is roll out your sleeping bag and crawl in. When your legs are tired and your belly rumbling, it’s a delightful sight to spot them neatly lined up beyond the next ridge, like a welcoming finish line for the day’s challenge.

Camping Andes on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Not only is your “bed” ready to go, but the team will have set up a dining tent equipped with hot drinks and a snack to tide you over until supper time. The enticing smells of a hot meal fill the campsite and there usually will be a little time to enjoy whats left of daylight, reflect on a hard day, catch up with everybody or to take a quick nap. Three hot meals a day keep you going on even the most difficult of days, and I couldn’t believe the quality of delicious meals we were receiving. One might even say it upgraded this trek from a mere camping trip to a superior glamping trip.

Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

After several days of hiking, hopping on an old, glass roofed train from Ollantaytambo towards Aguas Calientes feels like a downright luxury. The tracks run through yet another stunning valley and offer a couple hours of jaw-dropping views alongside a hot meal. But it’s definitely not time to get too comfortable yet. The train makes what seems to be a random stop at kilometre 106, dropping you off in the middle of the Peruvian jungle.

Inca Trail on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

The climb towards the sun gate is long and hot, but the reward is well worth the effort. Every time we looked back on our progress through a clearing in the underbrush, we seemed to have climbed impossibly higher. The river we started at was but a thin silver vein in the jungle below. Our guide, George knew exactly how to time our arrival, because we reached the sun gate just as the last of the low, warm rays divinely shone down upon the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

Beautiful stone walls shape the side of the mountain, and all around, the iconic Peruvian llamas snack on vibrantly green grass. The sheer beauty of this place feels like a solid reward for the several days of intense work you will have behind you. You will return the following morning for a fascinating history lesson on the lost city, but not before a well deserved dinner, a cold beer and (hopefully) a good nights sleep in a real bed.

A Journey Well Worth It

Camp fire on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

I particularly enjoyed celebrating our effort with my new found friends from the Charity Challenge group. You find a sense of camaraderie with the people you overcome a big hurdle with, and celebrating your achievement is an experience best shared with others who lived through it with you. I can look back with pride on an extremely memorable adventure trekking to Machu Picchu. To know I was able to raise funds for a charity I truly believe in as I struck another major item from my bucket list made it all the more worthwhile. Who’s to say you can’t do good for others while doing good for yourself?

Book your place on Trek to Machu Picchu today. 


Philipp is a London-based travel, documentary and commercial photographer. His career started as an international school teacher working in Canada, England and Japan before he moved back to the UK to make his passion for photography official with a masters in photojournalism. He loves writing about his adventures and  is always looking for new experiences he can use to help other people learn to live theirs. You can follow Philipp’s adventures via his blog or Instagram

Meet the team – Sarah Fairhead

Sarah Fairhead joined the Charity Challenge team in early 2018 as a Charity and Corporate Account Manager. She plays a vital role in the team, looking after all the wonderful charities and corporates that Charity Challenge is honoured to partner with. Her day to day involves working with key clients to ensure the smooth delivery of their events. We borrowed five minutes of Sarah’s time to find out what she’s enjoyed from her time at Charity Challenge so far.

Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Machu Picchu in Peru

Name: Sarah Fairhead

Location: London, UK

How long have you been working at Charity Challenge?
9 months and loving it!

Tell us a little bit about your background and what you did before joining Charity Challenge? Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
I grew up in Hertfordshire and have always been into the great outdoors, I would much rather be camped under the stars than in a 5 star hotel! After many trips hiking UK and European mountains decided to take on my next challenge – Kilimanjaro. Raising money for a local charity and seeing how much hard work they do I decided Charity Challenge was where I needed to be.

What’s your favourite Charity Challenge expedition?
Too many… I would love to experience them all. Patagonia, Trek Transylvania and the Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek would be up there though! The great thing about the challenges are that there is such a wide range that not only challenge and reward you physically but also mentally and emotionally.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Doing something that I love and working with a product I believe in. I remember the overwhelming sense of achievement I felt on my Kilimanjaro journey and to now be part of a team helping others to reach their goals while raising money for charity is just as incredible.
A highlight of my time with Charity Challenge would be trekking in Peru last October on our Trek to Machu Picchu. We didn’t see any other trekkers for 3 days so felt totally remote. Arriving at Sun Gate as a team felt amazing, the views were also incredible every step of the way (all 3,000 of them!)

Sarah Fairhead, Charity Challenge Charity and Corporate Account Manager, at Machu Picchu in Peru

What advice would you give someone who is looking to do a Charity Challenge?
Train, fundraise and enjoy yourself! This isn’t going to be a holiday, but it will be a truly amazing experience. Think of some quirky fundraising ideas and start these early on to raise as much for your chosen charity as possible. Also make sure to wear any new boots in before your challenge!

How many countries have you visited?
Around 20… Not nearly enough! I am very lucky to have friends in the French Alps so have enjoyed many years in the mountains hiking, climbing and swimming in freezing cold lakes!

What’s your favourite cuisine?
Mexican – The hotter the better!

What three things can’t you live without?
Music, a book, laughing

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself…
When I was quite young I was in a marching band – I played the Glockenspiel!

The Best of 2018 – from the Charity Challenge Leaders

Leaders are the heart and soul of any Charity Challenge event. They laugh with you, cry with you, push you to achieve things you never thought you could, and celebrate with you. It takes a very special person to be a leader on a Charity Challenge event.

Looking back on 2018, these are the moments that hold a special place in the hearts of the Charity Challenge leaders. Read on to find out from your favourite leader what made 2018 awesome.

Ian – Trek Transylvania

Trek Transylvania with Charity Challenge

Over the last 12 months or so I have developed something of a specialism for the Transylvania Trek – which is a great short itinerary challenge. In July 2018 I was delighted to be a leader on the Coppafeel “Trek Transylvania Challenge”. I helped almost 60 challengers reach the summit of one of Romania’s highest peaks at 2200m – Batrana (The Old Lady). This trip offers spectacular views, picture-postcard alpine villages, acres of colourful meadows, friendly locals and rugged mountains, along the possibility of spotting brown bears, lynx, wild boars and wolves! Throw in a visit to Dracula’s Castle in Bran too and you have a very special challenge indeed – I love it!

John – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Charity Challenge

In 2018, I was lucky enough to be a leader on the Great Wall Discovery Trek. What a great experience it was for me and the group! As with all Charity Challenge treks, you meet amazing people, doing amazing things for charities. This was no different. Not only did I get to meet some great people, but I also  trekked on five sections of the Great Wall with incredible views.

The areas we visited were steeped in history. Each day we arriveed at our inn to see great local culture and eat lovely local food.

It’s hard to say what my favourite day was as they were all amazing. The final day does stand out; we stopped for lunch and the group congratulated each other on all the hard work each person had put in to complete the challenge. The group took the time to look around and take in the amazing scenery. We knew we had shared experiences that would make us friends for life.

Colin – North South Vietnam Cycle

North to South Vietnam Cycle with Charity Challenge

My favourite challenge during 2018 was cycling across Vietnam. The trip offered lots of diversity from the empty beaches, beautiful cities and lovely scenery. The history and culture is very interesting and the people are generally very friendly and welcoming. The cycling is really varied. Riding around busy cities with lots of other cycles and scooters is very different and entertaining. The riding along the costal roads can be very hard particularly with the heat and if you’re riding into a headwind. The 9kms of continual climbing up the Hai Van Mountain Pass is really challenging but a 10km descent on good roads is the reward for all your hard work.

Overall a lovely country to cycle in and a place that I keep getting drawn back to.

Ray – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

The most rewarding and challenging challenge I’ve ever lead has to be guiding “Blind Dave” as he is known as, on the Albion Foundation Great Wall Challenge in 2018.

Guiding him up and down the steep terrain on the wall in all it’s states of restoration was a challenge within the challenge. He was an inspiration to us all as he tackled crumbling steps, the steep paths amongst thorned bushes and the slippery paved sections without so much as a single complaint. For most people this is quite a challenge but for someone with no sight just imagine how difficult it must have been for him. With his wife and family with us I learned a lot from them about guiding someone who is blind. Having to describe the paths and our surroundings also helped me take in more of the challenge than I have ever done on my previous two occasions.

Our team of local leaders ensured everything went smoothly from checking into our rooms, organising each day on the wall and having that all important celebratory meal on the final night. It was a challenge I shall always remember.

Penny – Trek Patagonia

Waking from a restless sleep, I was aware of my nose being numb from the cold while I lay warm in my sleeping bag. I had strongly recommended digging dig and getting up at 5am to enjoy the sunrise in this spectacular location. I hoped I had inspired the group enough but it was silent in the woods outside my tent. Best I get myself up so I struggled into several layers including hat and gloves and wandered across to the banks of the glacial and fast flowing Rio Blanco.

Impressively the vast majority of the group stood transfixed staring with admiration at the austere and dramatic east face of Mount Fitzroy as the rising sun on the opposite ridge cast its spell onto the granite slab turning it first a pale pink to crimson and to amber before the daylight colours took over. This magical sight was further enhanced by the pools of water on the edge of the river reflecting the spectacle in front of us.

We remained in silence, spell bound for several minutes before gradually moving off to prepare for our imminent climb further up the side of this awe inspiring peak to look down onto its hidden turquoise lake at Lago de Los Tres.

An emotional, unique and very special experience never to be forgotten. Patagonia – challenging but unbeatable!

Richard – Madagascar Trek

The journey to Andringitra National park in Central Madagascar is epic, but  worth it, as the trek is spectacular. We spent the first two days meandering beside rivers, gradually gaining altitude through small villages and farmland. As an area rarely visited by trekkers, we soon gathered small groups of locals. They were pleased to show us their houses and exchange songs. By the third day the settlements are left far behind and we entered the mountains proper, for me, the best day was still to come.

After an interesting night listening to the thunderstorms rolling around the nearby peaks, we rose early in preparation to summit. We had a quick breakfast and then a tough trek up to the summit of Pic Boby. After the descent there was still another 4 hours of walking, but everyone pulled together and supported each other through the hard times. That 4 hours is spent traversing some of the finest granite landscape that I have ever had the privilege of seeing. It’s a hard day and a long day, but truly rewarding. Joining in with the porters singing and dancing is a real hoot.

Danny – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

2018 was a year of contrasts for me on the Great Wall of China. I had scorching hot temperatures in May, taking our trekking stamina to the limits, and a bitterly cold wind on our last day in late October. This made us feel as though we were half way up a Himalayan mountain. But there were also plenty of similarity between the two trips, which helped contribute to their overall success. The dedication and professionalism of the local team was a real highlight.

However, the biggest factor, which leaves me in awe, is the shear grit and determination of the participants. They push on through the Challenge even when they are at their lowest points. They always manage to find energy and a belief in themselves. It’s a pleasure to have played a small part in helping them to achieve their goals. It is an honour to see them battle through each day’s challenges and witness their well-deserved feelings of elation at the end of the week. Truly inspirational!

Steve – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

It’s been 4 years since I began to work with Charity Challenge as an expedition leader. During this time I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited some amazing destinations Worldwide; sharing amazing experiences with some truly inspirational people. Personally; 2018 has been yet another unforgettable year! During September 2018, I travelled to China and trekked the Great Wall with a group of Challengers raising money for The British heart Foundation.

For me, autumn is the best season to visit the Great Wall. The colours are truly breath-taking and the weather was perfect; which is always welcome! The team were great fun to be with. Clearly some were ‘out of their comfort zone’. However; we all worked together helping others who needed it. Our two amazing local guide’s, Miko and Hastings, were always on hand to entertain and impress us with their knowledge about the Great Wall. Overall, we all had an unforgettable experience.

I count myself very lucky to be able to help people realise their dreams and share in their success. Every one completed the Great Wall of China trek safely, with no dramas. Yes, there were some tears; tears of joy… after finally completing their amazing challenge in China!

Laura – Greenland

Arctic Circle Challenge Greenland

The Arctic Circle Challenge (to Greenland) was one of those truly life-changing experiences, where you live your days to the rhythm of nature and the walk ahead.

We trekked 100km through the wilds of Greenland, rough camping in stunning remote locations. Each day held something new – surprise sightings of wild caribou, braving the glacial river crossings and trekking over mountain passes. The sheer scale and rawness of the landscape is breathtaking – one day we walked next to a 80km long lake.

I was lucky enough to have the camaraderie of a truly amazing team – Go Yellow! There’s no better way to start a trek, than to be flown in to your remote start point by helicopter…

John – Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp Trek with Charity Challenge

When I was asked to lead a group to Everest Base Camp in 2018, I had to read the email twice! I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled to bits, it was an amazing opportunity! Then 3 months later, I landed at Lukla Airport with 25 clients to begin a beautiful journey and an incredible challenge.

We climbed through pristine forests littered with small villages and crossed glacial blue rivers on swinging cable bridges. As we climbed higher to Namche Bazaar, we felt the altitude and had to slow our pace whilst we acclimatised. A slow pace was perfect to take in the scenery, the monasteries and to get to know my fellow adventurers and local Sherpas.

One day we stood and watched as three lammergeyer eagles circled one of the many shrines that we passed on our ascent. We were particularly thrilled to hear the local guides tell stories of snow leopards living close to the path! We continued climbing higher, past 4000m then past 5000m.  Arriving at Everest Base Camp was very emotional for us all. After working extremely hard to get there, the group shared were plenty of hugs, a few tears and massive smiles all round!

Despite all the hard work, on the way back down, I definitely overheard someone saying that they would do it again….

James Marriott – Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater Bike Challenge

Charity Challenge

I was fortunate enough to be a leader on the British Asian Trust’s ‘Most Exotic Tour’ for the third year running this year. In 2016 we tackled Rajasthan, in 2017 Cambodia, and now it was time to experience Tanzania. The portents were great as on the first day we had incredible views of Mount Kilimanjaro from the hotel.

The highlight of the tour for me was the day spent cycling around Lake Manyara. We set off from our tented safari camp in Tarangire National Park and cycled down to the lake on the dry salt flats that surround it. We spotting our first wildebeest and antelope in the distance and grew increasingly excited.  Cycling through a makeshift fishing village we saw flamingos parading on the lake shore and marabou storks flying overhead. As we continued around the lake we passed alongside herds of zebra, the odd ostrich eyeing us quizzically and then through Maasai camps, all before lunch.

The quintessential East African experience, made all the more vivid by experiencing it on two wheels where every sense stimulated long the way. It was certainly a day I will never forget!

Lizzy – Great Wall Discovery Challenge

China Great Wall Discovery Challenge with Charity Challenge

One of my leading highlights of the 2018 season was in China, on the Great Wall.  Participants on open challenges come in all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of fitness. I find it particularly rewarding to help those who maybe struggle a bit more than average in achieving their goals. Marion was an inspiration to the whole group; despite suffering from a serious health issue she stoically plodded on, taking shorter breaks than the rest of the group so that she didn’t fall too far behind and regularly thought setting off whilst others were still enjoying a well earned rest. She was an absolute pleasure to lead, highly amusing and frequently kept us all in fits of giggles.  Anyone considering a challenge should go for it in my opinion. It will certainly be life changing!

Andy – Trek to Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu Peru with Charity Challenge

In 2018 I was lucky enough to be a leader on Trek Machu Pichu. The experience of trekking in a remote area of the Andes and interacting with local people in villages, really made this trip for me. The local team were fantastically supportive. On one occasion, after a long day battling altitude, we were greeted at camp with incredibly fresh Peruvian nachos and mountains of guacamole.

Our last day of trekking on the Inca trail started in heavy rain and continued through thick cloud until we hit the sun gate. Suddenly, the clouds parted and there was Machu Pichu directly below us. A magical moment.

Just can’t wait to make your own memories? Visit Charity Challenge to book your next challenge.

10 Reasons to Trek to Machu Picchu for the BHF!

British Heart Foundation is inviting you to join them on their adventurous challenge to Trek to Machu Picchu.

We’ve put together 10 nuggets of inspiration that might just persuade you to sign up, get your boots on and grab those trekking poles, and raise money in the fight against heart disease:

 

1. It will be one of the most memorable things you do this year… in fact perhaps in your lifetime!

2. Meeting new people who also have a close connection to the British Heart Foundation, some of which will stay friends for life.

3. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time is a magical experience.

4. You’ll visit remote Peruvian villages you can only access by foot.

5. Waking up among the breathtaking beauty of the Andes is exceptional!

6. To have a goal to get fit and active, this challenge is no walk in the park.

7. You’ll learn the fascinating history of the Inca Empire.

8. You’ll push your boundaries and test your comfort zone – making the entire expedition an empowering experience.

9. Seeing the amusing llamas and colourful ponchos along the remote Lares trail.

10. And of course, to save lives by raising money for The British Heart Foundation’s life saving research.

British Heart Foundation Machu Picchu

To find out more about our amazing Trek to Machu Picchu, visit our website and you could be admiring these incredible Incan ruins too!

 

10 Reasons You Absolutely Have To Visit Peru!

The South American nation of Peru is one of bewilderment and beauty. Here are ten weird and wonderful reasons that you should visit this incredible country, that are sure to amaze and leave you with the desire to visit and explore this culturally and historically rich and marvellous nation.

 

1) Many people are unaware that the potato in fact originates from Peru, and there are over 3,000 varieties within the country. Those proud Peruvians who wish to exclaim their patriotism even use the phrase “I am more Peruvian than the potato” (‘Soy mas Peruano que la papa”).

potatoes 3

 

2) Peru is a surfer’s paradise, with beautiful beaches and truly majestic waves. One beach in particular, Chicama can boast the world’s longest ridable wave, measuring an incredible 1.5 miles along!

Peru Beach

 

3) Whilst we may think of them as being adorable household pets, the guinea pig is a traditional dish eaten in Peru, with about 65 million being consumed annually. The consumption of the guinea pig, or cuy as Peruvian call them, dates back to Incan times.

guinea pig 1

 

4) The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs and biomorphs that can be found in the Nazca desert plains. They were first found in 1927 and remains one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries, with over 70 figures of animals and human figures.

nazca lines

 

5) Peru’s food has in recent years has earned international recognition as being one of the world’s finest. Although, while quinoa and pisco sour cocktails have become favourites worldwide, the best Peruvian specialities are found in the country itself.

corn

6) Quite remarkably nearly 60% of Peru is covered by rainforest, and hosts the second largest segment of the Amazon rainforest.

rainforest 1

7) In Peru one can find the world’s highest sand dune. Cerro Blanco is located in the Sechura Desert, and measures approximately 3,860 feet from the base to the summit.

sand dune 1

 

8)Thanks to the country’s abundance in rainforests and the 90 distinct microclimates, Peru counts among the 10 most biologically diverse countries in the world. It is home to 25,000 plant species – 10% of the world’s total. – and close to 5,000 species of fish and animals.

plant 2

Peru also ranks first in terms of distinct fish species globally, with over 2,000 species, or 10% of world total. It also ranks second in bird species with 1,736 species and third place for both amphibians and mammals.

fish 2

9) The Cotahuasi Canyon is one of the world’s deepest canyons at 3,535 meters (11,597 feet) deep – twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

canyon 1

And last but not least…

10)  Machu Picchu is the breathtaking 15th century Inca site. Having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in recent years voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World is just a mere testament of the absolute wonder of the renowned ancient relics and mountain.

machu picchu 2

There you have it! If that has not whet your appetite, then we are not sure what will. If you wish to experience some of what Peru has to offer then check our Trek to Machu Picchu trip where you will be able to witness and explore Peru’s astounding culture and history.

 

Why Machu Picchu?

When groups travel to South America to see and experience a continent rich with culture, tradition and colour, it is often centred and planned around one essential activity. This location, Machu Picchu, is totally captivating in every fashion; more than living up to the overabundance of praise and adoration it receives.

The history around the site is genuinely fascinating. Built in the 15th century at the height of the Inca Empire, it was constructed almost 8,000 feet above sea level in what was believed to have been a royal estate. Built in typical Inca style with beautiful, polished dry-stone walls of quarried granite stone, the site was then abandoned just over a century later upon the arrival of the Spanish in Peru.

For over 400 years Machu Picchu remained largely untouched, its beauty and splendour hidden from the world. It was not until as recent as 1911 that Machu Picchu was rediscovered. Reaching the site is no walk in the park, but rather an incredible trek through the seldom visited Lares Valley, a region unscathed by the wrath of time, with awe-inspiring scenery and full with alpacas, llamas as well as the colourful native Quechua people.

Machu Picchu

Since being found again, Machu Picchu has become renowned worldwide for all its extraordinary and noteworthy qualities, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in recent years being voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

This historic site has become so popular for trekking, not least because of its history but also because of the testing and exhilarating journey one has to undertake in order to conquer this magical challenge.

Book your place on Trek to Machu Picchu.

Charity Challenge is turning 16 and offering a 16% discount off deposits!

CC Birthday FB Banner

This month Charity Challenge turns 16 and to celebrate this wonderful coming of age, we are offering 16% off ALL CHALLENGE DEPOSITS* from 10/06/2015- 10/07/2016, all you have to do is type the promotional code: BIRTHDAY16 when making a booking!

If you’ve already done a challenge with us before, then take advantage of our repeat booking discount which has doubled to £100 (£50 for short haul challenges)! Don’t forget to quote VACU at the time of booking.

Our wonderful suppliers have joined us in celebrating by offering additional discounts to all of you that are currently booked on a challenge. Log into your members area and take advantage of this!

The real challenge is deciding where you you want to be in 2016….so to help you decide we’ve put together some of our Charity Challenge favourites…

ANGKOR WAT?

Charity Challenge,

Pedal off from the architectural phenomenon that is Angkor Wat, through the waterways and rice paddies of Cambodia, past the postcard perfect beaches of Thailand and into the barmy backstreets of Bangkok. This truly is the best way to discover South East Asia, can you take on the 450kms that will take you through the heart of South East Asia? Find out more…

 

Cycle or Trek Beautiful Burma

Burma charity Trek, Charity Cycle to Burma

Mystical Myanmar has managed to remain largely untouched in comparison to its neighbours, perfectly preserving its magic, beauty, culture and secrets. Previously known as The Land of Gems, the views in Myanmar are truly humbling, it is the people however that are its best kept secret – warm, inviting and gentle, we promise you won’t find anywhere else like it on earth. Trekking or cycling through Myanmar offers you the opportunity to explore the lazy villages, meet the lovable locals and soak up all the spectacular views. Whilst this might all sound like a holiday, the terrain and the humidity ensure that exploring Myanmar is an incredibly worthwhile but challenging task. Take a look!

Trek Machu Picchu

Charity Trek to Machu Picchu, Charity Challenge, trekking, PeruThe ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu sit amongst the clouds, set an altitude of 2,667m to see them is to witness something truly magical. To get there however is no walk in the park but an incredible trek through the rarely visited Lares Valley, a region untouched by time. The scenery here is breathtaking throughout and you will be greeted by llamas, alpaca’s and the Quechua people in their brightly coloured ponchos.  The route is hard and you will spend your nights camping, under the Peruvian sky, the sight of Machu Picchu as you re-join the Inca trail and complete the 3000 steps to walk through the Sun Gate will however make any aches disappear. Click here to find out how you can climb through the clouds….

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Vietnam Trek – Sapa Hill Tribe

The hill tribes of Sapa combine the iridescent greens of the rice paddies with the vibrantly coloured dress of the remote hill tribes. Trekking here takes you away from the wonderful madness of the eclectic city of Hanoi as we head off the beaten track into this tranquil but rugged region where rolling hills meet the Red River. We will meet remote hill tribes as we trek further into the region, the varied terrain seeing you tackle Mount Silverstone before taking on the jungle terrain as we follow the footsteps of local farmers and camp in this remote and beautiful region. Explore more…

Lombok Charity Trek, Trekking in Indonesia, indonesia, Trek, Mountain

Brank New: Lombok Trek

Lombok Lava Trek! Set in the ‘Ring of fire’ this exhilarating trek offers towering peaks reflecting in ethereal lakes. Taking on Mount Rijani volcano, one of Indonesia’s tallest peaks standing at 3,726m is worth every metre you climb as you stand triumphant at the top overlooking breath-taking views from the natural colours of the forest to the surrounding turquoise bays. This challenge is not for the feint hearted and involves very long days and high altitude. If you think you could take on this sensational landscape then click here to find out how…

A massive thank you from all of us here at Charity Challenge!

Charity challenge, Trekking, Cycling, Adventure travel, charity challenges

Here’s to another 16 years!

*Terms and conditions apply

Celebrate festivals around the world and get 100 pounds off 2015 Peru and China challenges!

With the season of festivals in the air, we have some fantastic special offers waiting for you to celebrate. August is the month of  “Pachamama” or Mother Earth Festival in Peru and the ‘Moon Festival’ is celebrated throughout September in China.

To mark both festivals and to help us all have a successful season of trekking and cycling in the Andes and in China, we are offering a £100 discount* on all of our 2015 Peru and China Challenges! This includes the popular Trek to Machu Picchu, Cycle Machu Picchu to the Amazon,the Great Wall of China trek, cycle, run and multi-activity triple challenge!

To take advantage of this fantastic offer, simply enter PERU (for Trek to Machu Picchu and Cycle Machu Picchu to the Amazon) and MOON(for the China challenges) at the time of booking. Offer ends 30/09/2014, so make sure you book before then!

Don’t forget to include your friends and family in the celebration and share the news of Pachamama, the Moon Festival and the £100 discount!

What is Pachamama?

Every year, in the Peruvian Andes, August is recognised as the month of the “Pachamama” or Mother Earth. The celebration consists of a ceremony called “Pago a la Tierra” (payment to the land) where Andean people offer mother earth the best of last year’s produce. Traditionally, it would include corn, wheat, potatoes, coca, but in more recent times also includes sweets, huayruros (mystical seed jungle), wine and animal foetuses – especially llamas. They are all placed together and buried as an offering to ask for a successful harvest in the coming year, to be sure that it will be good and healthy.  Click here to see how Pachamama is celebrated in Peru.

The Moon Festival

The Moon Festival (also known as Mid-Autumn Festival) is one of the most important traditional festivals celebrated in China. The festival is an inherited custom of moon sacrificial ceremonies. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. Therefore to express their gratitude, to the moon and celebrate the harvest, the Chinese offered a sacrifice to the moon on autumn days. The Moon Festival is celebrated when the full moon rises, and families get together to watch the full moon, eat moon cakes, and sing moon poems!

If you have any questions about these challenges, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts. Sylvana (the Operations Manager for our Peru challenges), is from Peru and has been to Machu Picchu over 50 times and Carmel (the Operations Manager for China) is managing over 25 departures to China and has a wealth of knowledge about the all the challenges in China. They will be more than happy to help you with any queries so feel free to drop then a note at sylvana@charitychallenge.com and carmel@charitychallenge.com.

Tupananchiskama/ Zài jiàn! (See you soon!)

Firdous
Marketing Manager

T: +44 (0)208 346 0500 | E: info@charitychallenge.com | W: www.charitychallenge.com

*Please note you must enter the promotional code PERU at the time of booking to claim the £100 discount. If you book on a challenge with the Self Funder or Flexi Payment option, the £100 will be deducted from your final balance, £100 will be refunded to participants who have booked using the Minimum sponsorship payment option. Offer valid from 01 Aug to 30 Sep 2014. Only one promotional code can be accepted per booking.

Christmas is over; its time to get back into shape!

Christmas is over, it’s January, I’m back at work after a long break, the weather’s cold and miserable and I feel like I’m about to explode! Every Xmas I get a bit carried away and stuff my face with pretty much anything edible, do no form of exercise and basically become a couch potato, and now I’m regretting it!

If you are like me and have indulged a bit too much this Xmas, then here are my top five tips to get you (and me) back into shape and feel much better:

1.    New Year’s Resolution – Make your New Year’s Resolution to get fit and lose weight. Most people at this point would join a gym and then find that at the end of January the frequent visits to the gym are no longer happening. Instead of joining the gym you might want to consider doing a charity challenge. Booking on a charity challenge means that you have something to focus on as you have an end goal . Climbing the highest mountain in Africa; Mt Kilimanjaro or trekking to the lost city of Machu Picchu, cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia for example. It also means that you get fit while you try to achieve this goal and you end up losing weight because you’re getting fit. So it’s a triple whammy! Actually, at the same time of achieving all of this, you’ll be raising money for charity, so really it’s a quadruple whammy! Click here to start your New Year’s Resolution and a challenge of a lifetime!

2.    Take up an active hobby or join a sports club – one of the best ways to lose weight  and get into shape without realising that you’re doing it, is to play a sport you love or do a physical activity. If you love playing football, then join your local football club or arrange a time and place on a regular basis with your friends and play some football! If dancing is more your style, then there are so many classes which you can join, there really isn’t an excuse. I personally enjoy running, so I think I’m going to make more of an effort to run.

3.    Don’t diet,  just eat healthy and in smaller proportions – I’ve personally tried this and can 100% say this works. Changing your diet, even  slightly, and eating smaller proportions will help you lose weight. Remember, you still need to exercise at the same time to get the best results!

4.    Positive thinking!  Well I’m not a psychologist ,  Indian Yogi or self help Guru but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget to be positive. Positivity is not only a way to describe an electric charge, it is a skill that you can teach yourself.  Try this little exercise that my colleague Chad recommends, repeat to yourself 3 times: ‘Negativity is a luxury I can’t afford and I’m challenging myself to make a positive difference today!’.  Once you’ve done that 3 times (don’t cheat), feel proud and  allow yourself a big hearty smile 🙂

5.    Have a massive clear out – Now this won’t help you get fit or  lose weight, but it will definitely make you feel better. Get rid of those items you have because you thought you might need them (and that was 5 years ago!), give those unwanted clothes to the charity shop and shred the household bills and junk mail that you no longer need. It’s time for a spring clean!

Well that’s it from me today. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog, it’s my first one and I hope to write many more. Please feel free to comment on this blog, I would love to read your thoughts!

Don’t forget to join our mailing list and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest news and blogs from us.

Firdous Mulla

When Dreams and reality Collide Part 4 -Laurie Sodomlak starts fundraising for her journey of a lifetime to Peru next year!

People are always surprising…..I received a call from  Mac’s Convenience store owner who had seen my Garage Sale poster.  He wanted me to call his brother because he  wanted to do a fundraiser with me.  I was  completely stunned by the open generosity of this offer.  Later that week, I visited Arshad at his Mac’s Convenience store.  We talked and  decided on a date for a BBQ.

Arshad began collecting donations during the week leading  up to the BBQ and again, I simply created a poster for the store, made a few of  my special pink ribbon cookies.  Arshad, his suppliers and one of his regular customers donated prizes and all of the food items.

On the day of the BBQ, the sun was shining, a good sign  that it was going to be a great day!  My friend Kathy and I, did a little decorating, put up our pink poster on the  road, and promptly at 11:00 a local resident, Carla who had seen the poster showed up to get the first hamburger. The day was filled with many of Arshad’s regular customers stopping by and enjoying a burger, cookie and a drink and of course getting their ticket for one of the prizes that Arshad had wrapped in pink paper!  One of the visitors that stands out in my mind was a 11 year old boy and his friend.  He had a special haircut, a ribbon. I asked him about it and of course took his photo! 

He told me that his hair stylist told him it was breast cancer month and he thought it was a good idea to get this ribbon design.  We need more young people like him.  The great part was that he was one of the lucky winners of the silent auction prizes!

It was another one of those amazing days when so many people shared their connections to breast cancer, thanked me for doing this fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and continued to be very generous.  Thank you to the generosity of Arshad from the Mac’s Convenience Store and his customers, I had a $544.10 to deposit to my fundraising.

If you would like to donate to my cause, then you can visit  my fundraising page here. To find out more about the amazing charity I’m fundraising for, you can visit the Canadian Breast Cancer  Foundation here.

If you’ve been inspired by to take on your own challenge of a lifetime whilst raising money for the charity of your choice, you can visit the charity challenge website at www.charitychallenge.ca where you can find lots of amazing challenges, including the Mt Kilimanjaro summit climb challenge, the Great Wall Discovery  challenge – which takes place on China’s Great Wall! and of course the Trek to Machu Picchu  Charity Challenge based in Peru!