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Peru Trips & Tours
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Many visitors who travel to Peru to see its most famous ruins, Machu Picchu, don’t realize how close they are to the country’s other best known sights. Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, shared with Bolivia, is only a day’s train ride, and the Amazon, just a half-hour flight. Some of the Amazon’s best wildlife viewing may be found in Peru such as Manu National Park and in the vicinity of Puerto Maldonado. And adventure sports? You’ll find them just about everywhere you go.
AND MORE RUINS
If you want to see Peru’s ancient ruins, the oldest found to date in all of South America, head north of the capital where among other remnants, you may explore Chan Chan, ruins of the world’s largest adobe city, built by the Chimu civilization. It once stretched 800 miles, all the way to Lima. For Peru’s most exotic ruins, travel south of Lima to view the mysterious Nazca Lines, symbols and figures discovered in the 1940s that archeologists believe were scraped into the surface rock no later than 600 AD. The mammoth site, consisting of fifty images, stretches over a ninety square mile area, and can only be appreciated on Peru tours by air. Nearby Ica is known for producing the wine made from the pisco grape that goes into Peru’s signature drink, the Pisco Sour. A trip to Peru isn’t complete without sampling this frothy amalgam of pisco, egg whites and lime.
Peru’s geography offers a wide range of species to observe, humpback whales on the coast to the magnificent Andean condor with a 10-ft wingspan, most likely to be encountered while hiking in the vicinity of Colca Canyon, more than twice as deep as the America’s Grand Canyon. Many travelers to this southern highland region visit beautiful Arequipa, located in an area of eighty volcanoes. Called the white city, most of Arequipa’s buildings are constructed of white volcanic rock called sillar. Throughout the Andes, you will encounter all of the camelid species, the domesticated llamas and soft alpaca of fashion fame, the wild, diminutive and softer-still vicuna, plus the endangered guanaco. The Amazon Rainforest, with its vast biodiversity, comprises 63% percent of the country.
There is always something to celebrate in Peru. Religious holidays and Peru’s thriving indigenous traditions make up a busy calendar that will sync with almost all visitors’ vacation schedules. You’ll see everything from processions celebrating a Christian saints to food and drink events thanking Pachamama (Mother Nature) for her bounty.
If ever there was a time to wrap yourself in alpaca, now is it. From Lima’s fashionable Miraflores District to craft markets throughout much of the country, luxurious alpaca wool calls out to shoppers. Spinning fleece into yarn is ubiquitous in Andean culture. In many places you will see villagers twirling fleece into yarn on a small spindle while tending flocks, walking home from work or chatting with friends. Knitting throughout the day between planting and harvest seasons is common. The yarns, colors and patterns of alpaca handicrafts vary geographically and culturally. While tourists may be thinking about aesthetics as they pour over knitwear designs in a village market, to local consumers, the patterns may represent a passage in life’s voyage or the garment’s village of origin.
And finally, there is the newest of Peru’s treasures to be discovered by international visitors, its cuisine, a fusion of indigenous Andean and colonial influences. Open any foodie magazine and you’ll find Peru.