Many people have heard of the famous Inca Trail, most known for the famous ruins found at the end. Like a pot at the end of a rainbow, Machu Picchu is a sweeter discovery if you arrive through the Sun Gate in the same manner the Inca arrived at this famous mountain-top citadel. The Inca Trail was actually a part of an intricate road system that was so highly advanced it is considered the most advanced transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. There are two north-south roads that make up the base of the road system and there are many more branches that link up to it. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a part of this road system.
Inca roads spanned not only Peru but the entire Inca Empire at the height of its imperialism, traveling from Quito, Ecuador to Mendoza, Argentina. It is difficult to imagine the amount of work that must have gone into cutting these trails and maintaining them. They cut in and over the Andes Mountains, sometimes even reaching heights of over 16,000ft. The whole system was so big it actually provided access to over 1,200,000 square miles of Inca lands.
That small portion of this intricate road system known as the Inca Trail is every bit its reputation has made it out to be. Though it receives many hikers every year, the trail is extremely well maintained mostly because it is highly protected by environmental organizations. The number of people permitted on the trail on any given day is limited and it is closed in February for cleaning and repairing any parts that may need to be repaired.
The Inca Trail can be experienced in high class and luxury with a top quality tour. You will be able to hike into camp where gourmet meals will be stewing and ready to be served upon your arrival. Camp will be totally set up for you when you arrive. Don't miss out on this exciting Peru Vacation opportunity where you will hike an ancient path that is part of an ancient road system through the beautiful Andes Mountains.
Combine your Inca Trail trip with a visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley where guided tours can reveal the exciting stories behind these amazing ruins. In a Cusco city tour you will visit the beautiful Cathedral located in the Plaza de Armas, as well as Korikancha, the famous temple where originally gold lined the walls before it was stripped to give to the Spanish.
A tour of the Sacred Valley will visit Ollantaytambo, the impressive ruins of a military outpost and the colorful Pisac Market. Don't miss out on this exciting luxury travel opportunity.
When visiting this amazing country, a well-planned route will take you through all of the major cities in Peru so that you can see everything the country has to offer. Most international travelers fly in to Lima, the capital city and a vibrant melting pot of modern-day cultures, traditional arts, and colonial architecture. Lima, although certainly among the major cities in Peru, was once considered only an entry point for tourists traveling elsewhere in the country. Today, thousands of tourists flock to Lima to explore this great city, recognized for its beautiful white beaches and a unique mixture of new and old. Lima has some of the best museums as well as the best restaurants on the continent, not to mention an active nightlife lasting until dawn.
Cusco is one of the most popular tourist destinations among the major cities in Peru. Once the capital of the Incan Empire, it is the closest major city to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. The city of Cusco, which towers 11,150 feet above sea level, showcases a mix of Spanish colonial architecture and Incan ruins. Many tourists enjoy a city tour during the day and the many clubs and live music venues at night.
The next of the major cities in Peru is Arequipa, known as "The White City" for its buildings constructed of white volcanic rock. A beautiful valley destination, Arequipa is one of the major cities in Peru that is home to interesting churches, such as the Santa Calina Monastery. Many travelers visit Arequipa to explore Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons on the continent.
Iquitos is a tropical city and one of the only major cities located in the Amazon Rainforest Peru. This city has become a top travel destination, especially for those entering the Peruvian Amazon jungle. For a completely different atmosphere, visit Nazca, an oasis nestled into a green valley completely surrounded by tall mountains. The main attraction in Nazca is a flyover of odd lines etched into the plains centuries ago for mysterious reasons. Many travelers also visit Nazca over other major cities in Peru for its world-famous paragliding and sandboarding on Cerro Blanco, the most expansive sand dune on the globe.
Another of the major cities in Peru for those seeking adventure is Urubamba. The largest city in the famed Sacred Valley from the times of the Incan empire, Urubamba is known for snow-capped peaks and glaciers. Aside from the historic Incan ruins, Urubamba boasts some of the best whitewater rafting in the world with breathtaking scenery. Those looking for a more relaxed waterfront setting often head to Huanchaco, the surf and fishing hotspot in Peru. The city, which is full of beach houses, offers prime surfing and birdwatching locations.
For those looking to explore native cultures within the major cities of Peru, daily boat trips to the island city of Armantani will transport you to a peaceful and beautiful setting of stone carved temples. Armantani holds several fiestas each year and is known for traditional textiles and basketwork.
If you think Peru is all about the Incas and Machu Picchu, maybe you need to think again. Two thousand year ago a mysterious and little know civilization inhabited the north of Peru. In recent years archaeologists - with a little help from grave robbers - have uncovered some of the most wonderful pottery and jewellery ever to emerge from an ancient civilization.
So if you're thinking about a Peru vacation, how do you find out more about the fascinating and little-known Moche empire? Here's 4 places you can include on your Peru tour to become a Moche expert.
1. Larco Museum in Lima
Start in this beautiful museum tucked away in an unprepossessing district of Lima. The well-placed displays showcase the mixing pot of different cultures that have populated Peru over the centuries.
Make sure you see the incredible weaving of the Paracas culture and the Quipu of the Inca. There is Moche gold and history but the real stunner in this museum is the storeroom. Floor to ceiling shelves of Moche pottery: pumas, fish, condors, gods, warriors and images of all kinds integrated into pots; and, in a different section, a whole harem of erotic pottery.
Ads by Google
2. Huaca de la Luna
Now, armed with a little background and an appreciation for the pottery skills of the Moche, head up the coast to Trujillo. Just outside town are the Huacas de la Luna and Sol (temples of the moon and sun).
Huaca de la Luna is a pyramid shaped tomb that has been opened and then preserved rather than restored (like Machu Picchu). Local archaeological students act as guides to explain the wonderful, colorful friezes and what they can tell us about Moche society.
Maybe just as interesting is the constant work in progress with archaeologists beavering away daily to keep the colors intact and preserve the exposed murals from the elements. It is a rare experience to see such vibrant colors in a tomb that has sat in the desert for hundreds of years.
3. Tombs Near Chiclayo
Still heading north, the next stop is Chiclayo. The Moche were a bloodthirsty lot. Scenes on pots have shown us that they held ritual battles The vanquished had their blood drained to be given as an offering to the gods. The knife for the blood letting, the pot to hold it and the blood itself were all important emblems.
Like the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Moche believed that when we die we go to the afterlife. Important members of society were buried with all their riches, family and servants around. In Huaca Rajada there are reconstructions of the rich tombs of the Lord of Sipan and others, and the on site museum houses many of the artifacts found there.
4. Gold in Lambayeque
Aside from the pots and the blood, the thing the Moche are know for is their amazing metalwork skills. Peru's showcase museum is the Royal Tombs Museum in Lambayeque just outside Chiclayo, a place packed full of gold and silver pieces from the Moche.
Included are some bizarre plates used as a kind of enormous nose ring, very large earrings and some elaborate masks actually used as pendants.