I always love to read about a new country I plan to visit, and this book was a New York Times bestseller. The author is a comedic writer who seems as funny as Bill Bryson, the renowned travel writer.

This book is about Mark’s adventure to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu of Hiram Bingham III who supposedly discovered the famous Inca site. It’s also about Mark’s mid-life crisis. He’s a self-proclaimed unadventurous guy in his 40s, and the editor of an adventure magazine. He decides to quit his job, take time off to get in the best shape of his life, and climb Machu Picchu. He is also married to a Peruvian woman with whom he has three children. He has been traveling to Peru his entire married life so he writes as someone who loves the country but also has an objective perspective. I love how he calls Peru a wonderful place but also wonderfully weird.

I don’t consider myself as adventurous, so I related to his hilarious observations and reactions to hiking the Inca trail. It was fun to read this while traveling through Peru—he described the very things that I was experiencing. My two favorites were Inca cola, a yellow-colored soft drink that tastes like banana bubble gum, and eating guinea pig – which I had to taste to the demise of my stomach.

The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was that the history of Henry Bingham and the behind the scenes battles between Yale University and the Peruvian government to obtain the artifacts that Henry supposed “borrowed” but never returned, went on for too long.

Otherwise, if you are planning a trip to Peru and Machu Picchu read this book to prepare, or during your trip. It will enrich your understanding of this magical country, the Incas, and you might be more adventurous trying the Inca Cola and the guinea pig… yes, it takes like chicken!

Bring Pepto-Bismol and your sense of humor.


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