Peru: Mythology, Mountains and Mystery
Give yourself some time to visit even a small fraction of Peru.Not just because the country is so large and diverse geographically, but because each region, and each attraction warrants some time to appreciate it fully. There are obvious highlights, Machu Picchu being perhaps the most famous, but there are natural treasures, too, like the Ballestas islands, which are like a ‘mini Galapagos’, teeming with tens of thousands of birds, sea lions and even penguins. Or travel to high altitudes like Lake Titicaca, where you can meet the people of Taquile Island, famous for their finely woven textiles, and where the men do all the knitting of their signature caps. Or step onto the amazing floating Uros islands on the same lake, made from bundles of reeds bound together and layered on top of each other to create a spongy platform on which their residents construct their family huts. Peru is a country for shoppers, where there is a wealth of artisan products that tempt the eye, from fine Alpaca wool garments and incredible woven hangings, rugs and blankets, to ceramics that are as diverse as the regions where they are created, to intricately carved gourds that visually tell the mythology of Pachamama, the goddess revered by the Andean ancestors. Whatever you may choose to bring back from Peru, or whatever brought you to Peru in the first place, you can be sure something else will bring you back.
TIP:Criss-crossing Peru can mean dramatic changes in altitude, which can take a toll on visitors who typically live much closer to sea level. Try to structure your trip so that you aren’t doing the most strenuous activities (like hiking up to Machu Picchu) without first having some time to acclimatize. You can also consult your doctor about getting a prescription for pills which can help you avoid headaches until your body adjusts.
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The Inca were one crazy-ass people. Genius-crazy, but crazy nonetheless. Which is why I desperately wanted to walk in their footsteps to catch my first glimpse of their cloud city of Machu Picchu. The only problem with this plan was the fact that the Inca Trail isn't...