is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.


The biggest travel treat of all is, hands down, seeing the places that most people miss. Not having to elbow other sightseers, or wait in lines, or spend the whole time wishing you’d timed it better so you didn’t have to deal with crowds.

So when I heard that Peru’s Sacred Valley is skipped by most travellers in their rush to get from Cusco to the famous Inca citadel Machu Picchu, I knew I had to spend some time there.

Believe it or not (and I’ve had to explain this to so many people since I’ve returned from Peru), I didn’t want to see Machu Picchu.

Well actually I did want to see it. I just didn’t want to share the experience with the 5,000 tourists that are estimated to visit every day, just to get that selfie. You know the one I mean.

Instead, I spent two days hiking through the valley – just me and my Crooked Compass guide – visiting local communities, participating in ceremonies, exploring ancient (and deserted) ruins, and helping local farmers plant their corn, quinoa and potato crops.

I didn’t see a single other traveller the whole time.

I’ve captured most of the highlights in this video. Well, except for me eating a worm, creating lightning in my bed, and dancing in an embarrassingly uncoordinated way with the local women. That’s all to come in a feature that I’ll share with you guys in the coming weeks.

For now, I hope this video inspires anyone planning a Peruvian pilgrimage to take the time to stop and smell the quinoa in the Sacred Valley. It just might end up being the highlight of your trip.



  1. Yolande Lindquist
    February 13, 2017

    Just came back from Peru. Went to MP and it took my breath away regardless of the other 2000 tourists. During the summer I believe there are 7000 tourists per day. Also Lake Titicaca was great. I first went to MP early 70’s. No tourists then. But if you stay up at the Bingham sanctuary which is at the entrance to MP you can be in the door at 6am with zero tourists. Even though I was very put off by the thought of all those tourists there was space for all and I think it would be a great shame for people not to go there because there are other tourists there. Any time we travel away from our own back door we are “tourists” even if we like to think we are not. I also had many photos taken like you did with the baby lamas. Another tourist thing to do. Happy travels

    • Nina K
      February 13, 2017

      That sounds amazing Yolande, and thank you for the great tip about getting there with no people! I’m not against touristy experiences, I just don’t like crowds. What a stunning country that is. Happy and safe travels, Nina


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