Paul Brady

Correspondent

  • New York, USA

Paul Brady is a correspondent who lives in New York and covers Dubai and Machu Picchu for Forbes Travel Guide. As a travel journalist, Brady has written for Budget Travel, Condé Nast Traveler and The Huffington Post, among other publications. His favorite hotel is the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.

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  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    What are the best things to see and do in Machu Picchu?

    Machu Picchu is legendary for its vast ruins, and there are plenty of ways to explore its wonders. The five best things to do and see at the magical lost city of Machu Picchu include:
     
    1. Exploring. Simply exploring the massive grounds of the ruins can easily take a full day, from hiking the historic agricultural terraces to exploring the pristine temples. You can spend a considerable amount of time photographing the famous ever-changing clouds above the surrounding pinnacles.
     
    2. Climbing Huayna Picchu. This very steep summit is accessible as part of the Machu
    Picchu site, and a climb to this peak offers a stunning vantage point for photos of the ruins below.
     
    3. Riding the PeruRail. This train leaves from Cuzco and arrives at Machu Picchu; it has panoramic windows for excellent views of the river gorge that carves a path through the mountains to Machu Picchu. Make conversation with your fellow passengers, who've likely traveled from around the world to see the site.
     
    4. Hiking the Inca Trail. Many visitors hike the Inca Trail, a four-day guided trek that delivers you to Machu Picchu after exploring the Sacred Valley of Peru. While the 20.5-mile hike wouldn't be too strenuous at lower elevations, some points top 13,000 feet, leaving hikers gasping for air. Many insist the spectacular mountain scenery is worth the challenge.
     
    5. Visiting other Incan settlements. Nearby towns like Ollantaytambo and Pisac are well worth the visit for their own Incan sites, and tour operators in both villages provide a number of excursions by van, bike or horseback that explore the wider Sacred Valley and its indigenous history.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    What are the key ruins to see at the vast Machu Picchu site?

    There are a few key ruins to see at Machu Picchu, which sprawls across the top of a mountain at more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend several notable sections and you’ll need a map to seek them out. The most impressive stonework can be found at Temple of the Sun, and the central plaza is a grassy patch at the heart of the site that was the central hub of the city at its height. It’s a steep hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, which over looks the ruins, but those who put in the effort are rewarded with breathtaking views. If you haven’t reached the site by the Inca Trail, you can trek up to the Sun Gate for a taste of the four-day journey and the view of the ruins that hikers first see at the end of their walk. Few visitors trek to the Inca Drawbridge, a sort of back door to Machu Picchu that offers an outstanding panorama on the valleys below.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    What is the best thing to bring home from Machu Picchu?

    There are some fantastic souvenirs to bring home from Machu Picchu and Peru. Even at the ruins themselves, you’ll see alpacas, the llama-like animals whose fleece yields a thick yarn that’s woven into hats, gloves, ponchos, sweaters, rugs and more. While quality varies greatly, it doesn’t take an expert to tell shoddy mass-produced work from finer pieces. While you can find vendors at the ruins, Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend the boutiques in Cuzco (just a short train ride away) or even the ones in Aguas Calientes, the town nearest Machu Picchu. Peruvian pisco, a flavorful grape brandy, is the base of the pisco sour cocktail and is a delicious indigenous firewater that’s difficult to find in the United States. Postcards are another great buy: No matter how good your photos are, postcards will show the ruins in different light, at different times of year and from vantage points you may not have explored. Stock up.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    Where is the best nightlife in Machu Picchu?

    Nightlife is not a main (or even ancillary) attraction at Machu Picchu, where the elevation, sun and wind sap the energy of even the most prolific hikers. You’re most likely to find visitors calmly sipping a Peruvian pisco sour or two at a hotel bar before tucking in early for a pre-dawn wake up call — seeing the ruins at sunrise is more important to many tourists than going late into the night. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend visiting Aguas Calientes. It’s the town at the base of the mountain where Machu Picchu is located and there are a number of locally owned and operated restaurants and bars there. Dancers head for the only club, Wasicha, and there’s a small, lively bar at Indio Feliz restaurant. Other cafes and restaurants lining Avenida Pachacutec, the main drag of the city, may stay open late if there’s a crowd.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    What is the best way to see Machu Picchu in one day?

    Some visitors start their day at Machu Picchu by racing to the mountaintop ruins before the sun even rises. While there’s considerable charm to seeing daybreak here, the stunning high-altitude light makes for a breathtaking spectacle at any hour of the day. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest strapping on comfortable shoes or boots to join other visitors at the gates midmorning. While the entrance is often laden with tourists, the ruins are so large that even on busy days you don’t feel smothered by crowds. If you’re interested in climbing the terribly steep Huayna Picchu mountain that overlooks the site, you’ll need to get in line early because access is capped at a small number of visitors. Otherwise, simply wander the grounds with a map and a camera in hand — you’ll need them both. The early birds will start leaving around lunchtime — and you’ll really feel like the ruins are yours alone. The longer you stay, the more deserted the site gets. When you’ve finally seen it all head back to Aguas Calientes or wherever you’re staying in the Sacred Valley to treat yourself to a giant meal of comida tipica, or typical Peruvian food, which is heavy on meat, potatoes and corn. A Cusquena beer or Peruvian pisco sour might also be in order. After all, you’ve earned it.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    Where is the best shopping in Machu Picchu?

    Most shopping around Machu Picchu centers on souvenirs, which are either charming or kitschy, depending on your perspective. Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend stocking up on postcards as a way to arm yourself with magnificent photos of the ruins. Clothing, rugs or bags made from alpaca fiber, a Peruvian specialty, can be found in Aguas Calientes, the town nearest Machu Picchu. But you’ll find a better selection (and much higher quality) in the shops of Cuzco, a short train ride away and a major gateway to Machu Picchu (almost all visitors to the ruins pass through it). Do your shopping there, and you’ll find stylish boutiques, crafts markets and international shipping agents who can help you get your haul home.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Paul Brady answered the question: Paul Brady

    What are the best day trips from Dubai?

    There are a few excellent day trips from Dubai, a city with world-class infrastructure that makes getting into and out of the area a breeze — as long as the sometimes-standstill traffic keeps moving, that is.
     
    Forbes Travel Guide’s editors note that locals and resident expats frequently head to the empty quarter of the desert just outside Dubai for a day of dune bashing, the local term for high-octane, adrenaline-pumping 4x4 cruising up, down and over the sands. If you’re not already very handy at off-roading, leave the driving to a professional; your hotel concierge will no doubt have a well-qualified tour company on speed dial.
     
    Abu Dhabi is a two- to three-hour drive from Dubai, again depending on traffic, with the UAE capital offering its own megalithic malls, spectacular skyscrapers and a blossoming arts scene that will really shine come 2013 when outposts of the Guggenheim and Louvre both open on Saadiyat Island.
     
    Tranquil Sharjah, just a half-hour drive to the north, is one of the more culturally conservative emirates and has a completely different flavor than Dubai despite the fact that the two share a border.
     
    In Al-Ain, which is the second city of the emirate of Abu Dhabi and is about 90 minutes by car south of Dubai, is the hometown of Sheikh Zayed, the revered founder of the union and a national hero. There are a number of fascinating historical sites here, with the best probably being the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum.