A trip to Peru


Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS -

he has its around way wealth long into the since of world, mu­se­ums the found Inca where it mat­ters: but Peru cul­ture is still and rich na­ture. Its land­scapes morph from sandy ex­panses and pris­tine rain­for­est to cloud­bait­ing peaks and lush val­leys. It’s no won­der parts of its old em­pires still sur­vive here.

Now, tour op­er­a­tor Tu­can Travel is of­fer­ing you and a friend the chance to win a pri­vate trip tak­ing in the great­est hits of this coun­try.

Wel­come to the jun­gle

Be­gin your Pe­ru­vian ad­ven­ture in its cap­i­tal, Lima. Fine ar­chi­tec­ture and gas­tron­omy has put it on many trav­ellers’ South Amer­i­can bucket lists, but it has his­toric sur­prises, too. Hua­cas (ru­ins) sprin­kle the city, and one of its most vi­tal is Huaca Pu­cllana. Pre-dat­ing the Inca, it was built 1,500 years ago as the cen­tral tem­ple to a lost ur­ban com­plex.

Else­where, the palm-lined Plaza de Ar­mas has been the cap­i­tal’s heart since the city was founded by con­quis­ta­dor Fran­cisco Pizarro in 1535, while fine mu­se­ums boast pre-columbian pot­tery (Museo Larco) and pre-his­panic arte­facts (Na­tional Mu­seum of Ar­chae­ol­ogy).

How­ever, it’s not long be­fore the jun­gle comes call­ing. Hop on a plane and head to Tar­icaya Eco­log­i­cal Re­serve, an un­touched slice of lush Ama­zon rain­for­est. Wan­der past gi­ant kapok trees, trop­i­cal shrubs and palms, keep­ing a keen ear pricked for ruf­fles in the un­der­growth and glimpses of tufted ca­puchins, yel­low-spot­ted Ama­zon river tur­tles or spec­ta­cled caimans.

Re­turn along jun­gle board­walks un­der the cover of dark­ness to re­dis­cover the rain­for­est at night, or take a star-lit boat ride along­side river­banks to spy caiman and capy­baras. Your stay here will be green in more ways than one, with op­por­tu­ni­ties to see the good work that the re­serve’s re­search and res­cue

cen­tres have done in pre­serv­ing the lo­cal land­scape and wildlife.

Tread Inca foot­steps

The Inca Em­pire may have died out cen­turies ago, but its legacy lives on across Peru. Nowhere is this bet­ter demon­strated than in the na­tion’s an­cient cap­i­tal of Cusco. Here, ev­ery street is laced with crum­bling Inca door­ways and walls prop­ping up more mod­ern dwellings, while the city’s or­nate cathe­drals dove­tail with the tem­ples that still re­main. View­points, known as mi­radors, pop up across the city, of­fer­ing ur­ban panora­mas of Cusco’s sky­line and the An­des be­yond.

Speak­ing of epic moun­tains, Cusco serves as the gate­way to the Inca heart­lands, com­monly re­ferred to as the Sa­cred Val­ley. Here, colo­nial towns and hill­side vil­lages speckle the sur­round­ing land­scape, with the an­cient Inca citadels of Pisac, Ol­lan­tay­tambo and Chinchero serve as this wild re­gion’s head­lin­ing acts. Ol­lan­tay­tambo in par­tic­u­lar is an ex­am­ple of a sur­viv­ing Inca vil­lage, flanked by two spec­tac­u­lar ru­ins and veined with labyrinthine cob­ble­stone pas­sage­ways that still buzz with lo­cals to­day.

Val­ley dreams

Even though the Sa­cred Val­ley is ripe with Inca relics, trav­ellers still find them­selves yearn­ing for the blue-rib­bon ex­pe­ri­ence: the Inca Trail. Head out on a path that has fired trav­ellers’ imag­i­na­tions for gen­er­a­tions (and which only a few at a time can stroll), a pri­vate two-day trek that un­furls more and more of the Inca’s trea­sures the fur­ther you tread. Ru­ins pock the slopes, moun­tain­scapes, thun­der­ing Urubamba River and cloud forests, but keep your eyes peeled above you, too, for con­dors swoop­ing over­head.

While ev­ery wall and build­ing you pass is a pointer for your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion, noth­ing quite pre­pares you for your first glimpse of the mighty Machu Pic­chu, a hillperched ci­tadel per­fectly hemmed in by forested An­dean peaks. It is un­doubt­edly one of travel’s clas­sic sights, and more than lives up to its billing.

A trip to re­mem­ber

All that’s left is to wind your way back through the spec­tac­u­lar Sa­cred Val­ley aboard Peru­rail’s Vis­ta­dome train; its panoramic win­dowed car­riages whizzing past the very ru­ins, lush land­scapes and rugged wilds that you’ve ex­plored over the past few days.

As well as the guides and porters that will ac­com­pany you on the tour, you’ll have the ex­pert knowl­edge of Tu­can Travel’s tai­lor-made tour depart­ment to hand. Tu­can Travel have been op­er­at­ing tours in South Amer­ica for over 31 years and they are the ex­perts in small group and tai­lor-made ad­ven­tures. Their trips to Peru are fine ex­am­ples of this, un­cov­er­ing a unique cul­ture that is threaded through the coun­try’s wealth of land­scapes. They’ll en­sure that you are mir­ror­ing the foot­print of an Inca, en­rich­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery step of the way.

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