Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca citadel located 2430 meters (8000 feet) above sea level. It's on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Cusco and by the Urubamba River. It's called "The Lost City of the Incas". Machu Picchu is one of the best known symbols of the Inca Empire. They say it was forgotten for centuries. An American historian, Hiram Bingham called worldwide attention to the area in 1911. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Machu Picchu was declared Historical Sanctuary of Peru in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The Spanish did not destroy this area when they conquered the Incas, so it is especially important as a cultural heritage site. I invite you to get to know one of the wonders of the world.
The magic of Lake Titicaca is not only to be found in nature but also in its people. Getting to know the ancient culture that surrounds this place is captivating. From the veneration of the mamacha Candelaria, the worship of Pachamama, the traditional dances of the area and many more historical and cultural events, make this an unforgettable experience.
It is a mall that has nightclubs, bars, cinemas and of course shops. You have all kinds of shops both big-brand stores and ones selling Peruvian handicrafts and products. But what makes it different, when most malls are the same worldwide, is the privileged view of the Pacific Ocean. All cafes have terraces directly overlooking a cliff to the ocean so the views are beautiful. It is worth watching the sunset.
The Grand Plaza or Plaza de Armas of Lima, was the founding site of the city of Lima, the capital of Peru. It's the main public space of the city. Located in the historic center of Lima, it's surrounded by buildings such as the Government Palace, the Lima Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace of Lima, and the Municipal Palace of Lima.
Miraflores is a district of Lima, where you can find many attractions, great shopping, restaurants, and recreational areas. And the most beautiful part of the district are the views of the sea from the cliffs. When you find yourself in Lima, don't miss the opportunity to see this neighborhood.
It is a spectacular fortress, or temple as it´s called now, built with huge carved rocks laid together with absolute precision. Along with Machu Picchu and Choquequirao, it is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural works of Tawantinsuyu. Its Quechua name means "satisfied falcon". It was erected on a high hill that overlooks the entire city and this falcon was believed to stand guard over the empire. Cusco was designed in the shape of a puma with Sacsayhuaman as the head and Koricancha corresponding to the feline's genitalia. We hired a local guide who was very friendly and knowledgable about this amazing work of art. After we spent a few hours hours here it starting raining -- January is rainy season so we had to wear our rain ponchos almost every day!
Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley and Cusco very near Inca town is practically today, the ruins are almost inside of this and all the people prehispanic buildings are preserved. It is really worth staying at least one night in Ollanta. We couldn't but if we can return someday we will. Ollantaytambo is also a great destination if you want to save money in the train to Machu Picchu town, as it comes out of Cusco it is much more expensive. The train is and economic option and it leaves at about 20 pm from Ollanta to Aguas Calientes. As mentioned earlier the cheapest way to travel is by local bus Ollantaytambo from Cusco, but you should stop in Pisac to do some shopping and to visit the ruins before getting back on the bus.
The international airport of Lima - Callao is the main airport in Peru, focusing the majority of domestic and international flights in the country. It is located 16 km (9 miles) northeast of downtown. Lima Airport offers banks, ATMs, currency exchange offices, post office, conference rooms, VIP areas, telephone, internet access Wi-Fi, restaurants, fast food, several cafes, bares. You can also take some time to browse the (duty free) shops. There are also taxis and limos, but we insisted on asking the tourist office to take a local bus, even though we were told it was not advisable. We did it anyway and came and went from the airport without a problem.
This town's name derives from the Quechua word p'isaqa pisaq, meaning partridge, very abundant bird in this area. The new town was built on the very edge of the Urubamba River, and while its ruins are located on the cliffs of the surrounding heights that test the lungs of anyone ve climbs up to them, located more than 3,000 meters in altitude. You must visit Pisaq on its market days, which are Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Sunday, the Pisac craft market is quite touristy, and the other two days are pretty local. You can buy carpets, rugs, ceramics and musical instruments. It is one of my favourite places in Peru. I recommend going before it gets too touristy.
It seems that around here it rains a lot. In my case it was drizzling and fog that made it hard to see the ruins from the top, having to wait for it to appear. The wait was worth it. As colleagues have said the rise and fall is half durum. It took us 2.5 hours to go up. At the top we found a person ve taught as we ate coca leaves. He got 6 sheets in one hand, put the mixture together, a sheet pulled to earth as respect for Mother Earth, wrapped them and put them between the gum and cheek. Coca Lahoja is not eaten, it is chewed and then spit, its benefits are that it replenishes the energy, calms hunger and can help you sleep. Then we tried it. Going down made us tired. I´ll leave you with some pictures.
A walk in Lima is obligatory, as it runs along the sea from the Love Park in the district of Miraflores to Barranco. Street vendors, joggers, couples, families, small manicured parks and the sea is what you can find.
The "Cathedral Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption" was built between 1560 and 1664. Its outstanding reddish color was from the Spanish using it for building stones of Sacsayhuaman, the Inca fortress located on top of the city. Inside the Cathedral, the works of the "Cuzco School" are very interesting, as Christian art from Spain was adapted by local artists Inca traditions (for example, is very interesting to see the Last Supper with cuy as a main course).
The fascinating history of the Convent of Santa Catalina could have been written by Garcia Marquez or another great Latin American writer. Dark, secret, full of mysteries, the [poi = 107016] Arequipa [/ poi] Nunnery keeps in its heart the memory of women belonging to royal families or very wealthy families who lived life as saints or - in some cases - courtesans. The monastery looks like a fortress, is a beautiful maze of courtyards and alleys with small houses-come-cells, some of them equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and chapels. The Convent of about 20,000 sq ms, is painted blue, ochre and white, and is furnished with period furniture and objects. Some of the spaces leave you speechless. Behind the walls, the nuns lived in great luxury surrounded by a retinue of slaves and servants.
The paradigm of Lima's bohemian and cultural life, Barranco also holds many qualities of daily life that appeal to every traveler who comes to see and appreciate it. Markets, houses, bars, beaches, musicians, restaurants, art galleries, street vendors, or shops. Popular culture and official culture come together in a endless gallery that's always living with an open soul.
The San Pedro market is opposite the train station of San Pedro and is huge. They sell what you'd imagine (mainly food) and it also has a sort of food court where you can eat very cheap typical food. I think that if you are in Cusco it is a must because you can learn a lot about the culinary culture.
The Colca Canyon is a beautiful valley near the village of Chivay, in southern Peru. To go, you have to take a guided tour with a car, privately or as part of a group. The canyon is more than 3,000 feet deep, the deepest in the world, and is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. With the tour, you can see the canyon from the top and the condors flying through the neck of the canyon and the mountains. The nearest village is Chivay, a nice stop after a day walking through the canyon. It has a few small hotels, which is ideal because it's 4 hour drive from Arequipa, and almost all travelers will need to spend a night. We were there on New Year's Eve, and people were setting off fireworks, singing, and dancing until the early hours of the morning. We celebrated with them, it was very nice to participate in the local festivities. We then continued up the canyon, admiring the amazing terraces and man's domination over nature.
Being in the highest navigable lake in the world, and visiting the Uros Islands, a set of floating islands made of totora reeds, was an unforgettable and unmissable experience. The inhabitants speak Aymara and Quechua, so I learned some words in these ancient languages during the trip. I highly recommend this trip to learn about communities living by an ancient tradition and, unfortunately, they are beginning to lose it.