Situated on the western side of South America, Peru has a diversity and that is paralleled by very few countries. The Peruvian often use superlatives to describe the features of their country, for example Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 3856 meters (12,725 ft) above sea level or the awesome Cordillera Blanca, which is about 180 km (112 miles) long and 20 km (12 miles) wide. In this fairly small area, there are more than 50 peaks of 5700 meters (18,696 ft) or higher. In contrast, North America has only three mountains in excess of 5700 meters. Only in Asia can you find mountain ranges higher that the Andes. The Amazon river, the world’s mightiest, originates in Peru and its namesake rainforest makes up much of the country. Another wonder of Peru is the Colca’s canyon, the globe’s deepest and twice as deep as the Grand canyon of the United States. As if these were not enough, Caral, located north of Lima, has the privilege of being the oldest city of the Western hemisphere. There are museums to visit, lakes to ogle, waves to surf, labyrinthine cities to explore. And a example of this are the Machu Picchu ruins which are truly a wonder of the world.
Lima, located on the central western coast, is a large, noisy, polluted city shrouded in a misty coastal fog for much of the year. This is the second major gateway into the South American continent as most European Carriers have flights to Lima from their hubs in Europe. Lima is the main gateway to Perú and is a major city bustling with living history and movement. It is an ethnic melting pot, featuring pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern elements. The metropolis is also surrounded by every aspect of Nature: the sea, islands, mountains, desert and plant life. Its various quarters feature a city of more than 8 millions souls with an active nightlife and well-endowed cultural scene, as well as plentiful public transport and non-stop activities. The old city center harbors churches and mansions brimming with colonial and religious art, including superb architectural examples like The Casa Aliaga or Palacio Torre Tagle mansions. Colonial Lima also features many fine churches and convents such as Santo Domingo, San Agustín, San Francisco and La Merced.
Almost 2 hours by flight from Lima, the high –flying Andean city of Cuzco is the uneasy bearer of many grand titles. It was one the foremost city of the Inca Empire, and is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americans as well as the Continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. While Cuzco has rapidly developed infrastructure to at least partly cope with the influx of tourism over the last few decades, its historical past retains a powerful grip on the present. Massive Inca-built lined, steep, narrow cobblestone streets form the foundations of modern buildings. Situated at a height of approx 11000 feet with Oxygen levels at a low Cuzco is a must stop before one visits Machu Picchu. The Vistadome trains that takes you to Machu Picchu from Cuzco is a very scenic journey and a big attraction in itself before you reach the historic Inca town.
If you were to sit down to make a list of the top tourist destinations in all world, you would undoubtedly have to include Machu Pichhu. The journey of a lifetime, a dream travel destination and one of the top archaeological sites on the planet, Machu Picchu was probably built around year 1450 AD, and it only thrived for approximately 100 years. It is located at the subtropical zone and 113 kilometers from Cusco by railroad. At a height of 2,350 meters above sea level, Machu Picchu has an annual average temperature of 11 degree Celsius. As you enter the site of the Machu Picchu ruins, you might choose to take the path to the left that heads uphill. Here, the Caretaker’s Hut and the Funerary Rock vie for competition with the amazing overhead views of the complex. The surrounding area was dedicated to agriculture. And as such, it is aptly named the Agriculture Centre. If you are armed with a map of Machu Picchu you will notice that not far along this route lies the Temple of the Sun. Surely you will find it easy to pick out among ruins, as its rounded walls make it a very distinctive landmark, these rounded walls best exhibit the masonry skills that the Incas developed.
The Nazca Lines are giant sketches drawn in the desert of western Peru by ancient peoples. The drawings were created on such a large scale and as such these shapes can be readily seen only from the air, leading to a variety of the theories about their purpose. They are also most often said to have been made by aliens. Only to be seem from a plane or a helicopter this is an expensive day trip or even an overnight trip from Lima.
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