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Peru

It is said that Peru holds the most fabulous Amazon vacations. Iquitos is the key launch for Amazon luxury boat cruises. While passing through, take note of Iquitos’ Swiss-and-Spanish co-mixed facades of mansions built during the early 1900s’ rubber trade boom, and tour the one-of-its-kind iron prefabricated house built by Gustave Eiffel, the architect of the Eiffel Tower. Leaving Iquitos, the river cruises will reach the beautiful Pacaya Samiria National Reserve teeming with manatees, pink dolphins, colorful macaws, poison dart frogs, three-toed sloths and the rainforest monkeys. Other jewels of the Peruvian Ecosystem can be explored at the gigantic cliffs and rocky bluffs of Paracas National Reserve filled with flamingos, black ostrich, Inca terns and other wonderful birdwatching opportunities. Paracas is indeed a breathtaking setting for diving, fishing, surfing and photography.

Be sure to visit the city of Arequipa, nicknamed the “White City” built from white stone quarried from surrounding majestic volcanoes. Arequipa is filled with beautiful bridges like Puente Bolognesi, picturesque streets, and bustling marketplaces selling fine Alpaca wool and Peruvian textiles. The graceful and solemn Monasterio de Santa Catalina with its orange grove, plaza courtyards and lovely colonnade cloisters are Arequipa’s crowning landmark. The Monesterio represents the Mudèjar style – a combination of Moorish brickwork, wood carving, and plaster inlaid with ornamental metals and elaborate tilework.

Time Travel devotes an entire article to Lima, Peru, toasting it as a celebratory experience of colorful festivals, fabulous fountains and gardens, the best of Peruvian cuisine, and the best of boutique shops. Time Travel also highlights the historical Aliaga House, a luxurious example of Spanish conquistador architecture and furnishings; the ornate neo-colonial Government Palace, and the Larco Museum – a former mansion housing a vast collection of 3000-year-old archaeological artifacts.

Peru’s citadel of Chan Chan is comparative to the “Ancient Cairo of South America” with its sand-like adobe smoothness. City walls 50-60 feet high are intricately carved with geometric patterns and fanciful depictions of waves, fish, sea otters and other marine mammals and birds. There are 10 Royal compounds at Chan Chan filled with royal burial mounds, adobe friezes, labyrinth rooms, pyramidal mausoleums, and ceremonial courtyards likewise adorned with these marvelous engravings. Finally, the most famous highlight of Peru is Machu Picchu, a huge citadel set above tiers of Andean terraced terrain. The Torreón Temple of the Sun is a massive tower observatory. The Room of the Three Windows overlooks a mountain view symbolizing the past (Uku-Pacha), the heaven (Hanan-Pacha) and the present (Kay-Pacha). The Intihuatana ritual stones form the Incan sun calendar, and Machu Picchu’s master technique of ashlar forms towering walls of perfectly conjoined stonework. Machu Picchu is also famous for its Temple of the Moon – underground caves magnificently carved for the ceremonial preparations of mummies – and for the Sun Gate constructed to herald the sun rising over the mountains. Less famous but equally impressive are the Kuelap and Sacsayhuaman ruins. Kualep contains a circular maze of 400 buildings and you can also find within this Incan province, sarcophagus clay mummy statues and mausoleum tombs embedded into forested mountainsides. Sacsayhuaman’s huge citadel holds zig-zagging fortress walls symbolizing lightning. The stonework are rounded trapezoids and pentagonal shapes fitted into cobbled jigsaw-like patterns. Tourists love to clamber up and “sit enthroned” on the sunken portions of Sacsayhuaman’s ruins. And so can you! Discover for yourself the fascinating heritage and wonders of Peru!

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