February 12 2013 by Mike Mason
If you're the kind of tourist that hates being a tourist, then you probably avoid places like Machu Picchu. "Too many people" you might say. It makes you sad that such a beautiful piece of history has been tainted by commercialism and overcrowding. Even though it's considered by many to be the 8th Wonder of the World you can't bring yourself to spend that much money to visit a ruin where the locals plant several species of llamas simply to enhance the aesthetic.
If you can relate to this so far, then I have an insider suggestion for you. Check out the Pre-Incan sites in Northern Peru. There is one location in particular that is widely unknown but thought to be a contender with Machu Picchu for beauty and historical richness - Kuelap. Before the Incas ever made it down to the Central Peruvian jungles and Sacred Valley they had a very sophisticated society and culture in the north.
You enter the city through a "V" cut into the 60 foot stone walls surrounding the city. Once inside the military stronghold, the intimate tours are said to be very honest and informative. If you want an authentic and private view into the early days of one of the world's most fascinating regions, then Kuelap is the place for you.
Plus, would you believe there's a Best Western nearby?