by Hiko Mitsuzuka
Forget Palm Springs.
2013 was the year we discovered one of the best getaways we've ever experienced. Nestled in the Sacred Valley of Peru -- about an hour's drive from the Incan capital city of Cusco, where we started our excursion -- is Wilka Tika, a luxury garden retreat for anyone looking for some spiritual replenishment, good yoga, a meditation session or two, or some simple peace and quiet while reconnecting with Mother Earth (or "Pachamama," according to the locals).
Founded by author Carol Cumes (pictured, below), Willka Tika (which translates as "sacred flower") is a breathtaking haven surrounded by natural beauty and healing energies that will have you forgetting all your troubles the moment you arrive. It was easy for us to leave the Hollywood hustle-and-bustle behind as soon as we stepped foot on the premises.
Meals, which are included, consist of scrumptious vegetarian recipes we've never heard of, and our taste buds savored every morsel (our mouths are watering just thinking about the homemade soups that accompany every dinner).
And if yoga and meditation isn't your cup of herbal tea, you won't have any problem decompressing in one of the outdoor solar baths at night (the stars make a beautiful ceiling). For those looking to further unplug and unwind, there's also plenty of spa treatments to choose from (our crystal bed therapy session proved to be quite emotional).
The property, which is divided into gardens representing each one of the seven chakras, is something to behold. Don't let the dirt road to the gates fool you; once they pass through the entrance, guests are immediately greeted by the floral scents of the lush foliage that surround the guesthouses and facilities.
For those of you looking for a little more adventure, there's plenty of hiking at nearby archaelogical sites like Ollantaytambo, Pisaq, the salt mines of Maras, and of course, the magnificent Machu Picchu (tour guide included, of course).
Many thanks go out to Carol and her extraordinarily hospitable team for providing one of the most unforgettable trips of our lives.
To book your Magical Journey to Peru, visit WilkaTika.com.
And tell them HIH sent you.
*Stay tuned for more from our visits to Cusco and Lima...