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Travel to Peru & Bolivia – best places to visit

1) Machu Picchu- Peru

One of the most beautiful wonders in the world. It is situated about 120km from Cusco on the altitude of 2400m above the sea level. Machu Picchu was an ancient city of Incas. Built in the 15th century. Till now it is not exactly known which purposes had this city but it is said that for the holidays it was a rest place for the lord of Incas. It was also a ceremonial and agricultural centre. It was destroyed about 1537. A very interesting question is how these people built this city on a top of the mountain with these huge stones that they were using. Fortunately Spanish conquistadors didn’t  discover the city. It was Hiram Bingham who discover it in 1911.

Machu Picchu ancient city is surrounded by two sacred mountains Huayna Picchu (the one you can see at the photo below partly in the fog) and the second one is from the other side called Machu Picchu mountain. If you want to climb Huayna Picchu you have to book the tickets in advance (even one year before). However, Machu Picchu mountain you do not have to book.

Today we have many options to choose while getting to Machu Picchu. I will write about some of them.

Camino Inca (Inca Trail): you can choose either 2 or 4 days to do this trekking. It’s a very authentic way to get to Machu Picchu, however you have to be careful about the dates. You are supposed to book this trekking very early as only 400 people per day can enter this trek. Sometimes you have to reserve your entrance ticket about 8 months before going to Peru. It all depends in which months you want to come.

Salkantay Trek (4 or 5 days): it is the best alternative for Inca Trail. But still it is a very touristic trek. During this trekking you will admire spectacular views on Salkantay mountain (6271m), you will pass same nice lagoons and you will change the environment very quickly. From the high mountains (4620m) you will go down to the jungle (2400m) so the climate will definitely change.

A classic way: you take a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes

An adventure way: you can do it on moto!It will take you about 2 days to get to Aguas Calientes

Inca Jungle: you will do biking and hiking to get to Machu Picchu (4 days/3 nights)

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2) Titicaca Lake- Peru & Bolivia

Titicaca Lake is situated on the border between Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest- placed, navigated lake in the world, having the altitude of 3812 m. Why this lake is so famous and everybody who visits South America wants to see it? This lake has about 41 islands and many of those islands have amazing histories about Inca civilization. They say that this unique civilization actually has started on one of those islands…

On the Peruvian side, you can visit Taquile, Amantani and Uros Islands or very authentic part of Titicaca Lake which is Llachon Peninsula (Capachica & Llachon). You can spend a night in one of these islands, you can try local food (trout from Titicaca) and you can admire the local culture which still exists on these islands, especially on the Llachon peninsula.

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On the Bolivian side you can visit the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol). Why Isla del Sol is so relevant for Bolivian and Peruvian people? The legends say that first Incas were born on this island: Manco Capac and his sister. What’s more, they believe that the Sun was born here and that’s why this island is called Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun). From this island you can admire spectacular views on the mountain range called Cordillera Royal.

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3) Trekking AUSANGATE

Why this trek is so amazing? During this trek you probably won’t see any tourists. Thus, you will meet more indigenous people on the road, beautiful Peruvian women with their traditional clothes and shepherds going from one place to another with their animals.

What I also love during such treks is that, on the road you can buy most beautiful ethnic things done by local women. These women wait for the clients, dressed in their daily clothes, which for me gives enormous authenticity of the place, and they sell amazing bracelets, covers for the tables…everything done hand-made and you can’t find it in the different places. They are just unique.

Moreover, one of the most amazing thing during this trek is the possibility to have a bath in natural hot springs! Best thing to do after a few nice hours of hiking is having a bath in hot springs! You can do this trekking from 2- 6 days and you can add an expedition to see a rainbow mountain! You can check it in our programs on the website. During this trek you will hike as high as 5200m above the sea level.

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4) Paracas

Paracas is a small village situated on the southern coast of Peru. Tourists usually visit Peru to see the famous Ballestas Islands which are full of sea animals. Moreover, Ballestas Islands are called as well ‘Small Galapagos’ as you can see seagulls, pelicans, cormorans, pinguins, dolphins and lazy seals.

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5) La Paz

In spanish ‘la paz’ means peace but this capital undoubtedly is not a peaceful one. On the contrary, this city moves in all directions, is full of oppositions and never stops moving. It is situated on the altitude between 3500-4000m above sea level which makes it the world’s highest capital. While walking through this capital you all the time go up and down, up and down and so on. The city is the steepest city ever.  After walking up 10 minutes you have to stop for a little break cause the altitude makes you feel tired so fast, especially when you are not enough acclimatized.

La Paz was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1548, the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace).  The city was created in European style with full of cathedrals, churches, government buildings and plazas. Nowadays its population reaches around 1 million people.

La Paz is the capital with most amazing views I’ve ever seen.

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6) Arequipa

Arequipa is called the white city because of its white buildings made of volcanic rocks. Arequipa is very comfortable to live in, as its altitude is only 2500m, not like Cusco 3400m! Everyday we have a beautiful weather in Arequipa, it’s SUNNY everyday that what makes this city so magical…and PLAZA DE ARMAS, I think one of the most unique I’ve seen in the South America. Did I convince you to come to this white city? I guess so!

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7) Cusco

Situated on 3400m above the sea level, Cusco is not a cosy place to leave. During the day, it’s very hot (if it’s not raining), but as soon as the Sun goes down it’s getting very, very cold…and houses do not have heating. The weather is uncertain in Cusco, depends on the seasons…not like in Arequipa where everyday is sunny 😉 But, Cusco is a wonderful colonial city. Its colonial buildings around plaza de armas are making this city most beautiful in all Peru. Also, the proximity of all remainings of Incas are making Cusco the most relevant spot for all the tourists around the world. Cusco is a quite small city in comparison with Lima and Arequipa and that’s what I like. You can walk everywhere. And, I would forget (!), from Cusco you get into the fabulous Machu Picchu archaeological site. Just 6 hours from Cusco you are in the jungle of Machu Picchu- the ancient site of Incas.

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8) Colca Canyon

You can visit this canyon simply by trekking or by a touristic bus or some other ways like quads, horses or bikes. What is very important for me (Polish people) is that this canyon was discovered by Polish explorers in 1981!  Exploring Colca by doing the trekking is the most exciting form! Why? You go to the bottom of the canyon, the place called OASIS which welcomes you with a cold swimming pool after hiking. But the other day you have to wake up very early and climb up 1100m…a great challenge!

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9) SALAR DE UYUNI

 

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