Fast Facts - There are many reasons people go on vacation in Peru. Its diverse environment includes a 2,414 km (1,500 mi.)
coastline, its imposing and ice-capped Andes Mountains rise more than
6,000 m (20,000 ft.) and the county's Amazon rainforest is rich with mystery and
adventure. Peru has an amazing history that far predates its 16th
century conquering by the Spanish. It is the fifth most populous country
in Latin America. Here are a few Fast Facts to help plan your trip.
|Trekking the Inca Trail - Few people hike the entire 33-40 km (20-25 miles) of the Inca Trail. Whether you’re one of the few to endure the long haul to reach Machu Picchu, the ultimate destination, or you combine a train and bus ride to get there then climb the short distance to the Sun Gate, looking down on ancient city is thrilling. The trail, originally laid by the Incas more than 600 years ago, snakes along the ledge high above alpine tundra rising to nearly 14,000 feet at Dead Woman’s Pass, twists through subtropical cloudforests and winds pass ancient ruins and ceremonial shrines.
|Arequipa, The White City - Arequipa is known as the white city because of the pearly white volcanic rock used to construct many of the city’s buildings. The city is located in southern Peru and is the center of commerce between southern Peru and Lima, the capital city. Arequipa’s elevation of about 2,350 m (just over 7,700 ft) makes it an ideal stopover for travelers from low elevations who want to acclimatize before beginning their trek of the Inca Trail. However, the Arequipa is not just a layover, there’s plenty to see and do in and around the city.
|Llachon Home Visit - Llachon, Peru is on the border of Lake Titicaca, one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. At 3,800 m (about 14,000 ft.) above sea level, my group of ten intrepid travelers overnighted in the home of locals as part of our multi-day Inca Trail acclimatization. While there, we assisted with whatever chore or event our host had for the day. That included washing the dinner dishes, planting potatoes, playing football (soccer) with local children, and attending an evening party thrown in our honor.
|Monasterio de Santa Catalina - Monasterio de Santa Catalina was conceived as an exclusive and fashionable order to satisfy the requirement for the second daughter of upper-class families to enter religious service. For nearly 400 years some of the wealthiest Spanish and European families competed to gain entry for their daughters. Once they were admitted, the young nuns lived the same life of excess and privilege they were accustomed to before entering the convent. With access to all possible comforts inside the cloistered walls of the convent, the nuns had no reason to go outside. A tour of the convent allows visitors to see some of their excesses.
|What is an Apacheta? - The word apacheta means “the source where the flow begins” and refers to either the spiritual flow or the flow of the mighty Amazon River, the source of sustenance for many Inca people. Apachetas are best known in Latin America and have been a part of the Inca culture since the beginning of civilization. However, the practice of building apachetas is also widespread among native peoples of southwestern and northern North America.