Machu Picchu was consider a holy city built with spiritual purposes in mind. Perhaps a pilgrammage site. Machu Picchu was built earthquake proof, even though between two fault lines, between 1400 AD to 1500 AD during the time of Pachacuti, the 9th Inca ruler . It was eventually abandoned after holding out during the first few years of the Spanish Conqusitadors.
The short Inca trail is the way to get a taste of the trail and all it's majesty of viewpoints, flora, fauna and effort yet save time to get to Machu Picchu. You'll see the Chachabamba and Winay Huayna stepped ruins, and pass through Inti Punku, the Sun Gate on the way to that final magificant viewpoint of the ancient Incan Machu Picchu city.
Saqsaywaman was consider a fortress on a hill with about a 1000 warriors overlooking the city of Cusco. Spelled in various phonetic ways the name from the Quechua language in one translation means royal falcon or hawk and another as "place were the hawk is satiated'. From above it's supposed to be in the shape of a puma. Possibly built in the early 15th century.
The city of Cusco was once an ancient Inca city. Cituated at a high altitude of 3400m (11250ft) just east of the Andes. Upon arrival you can feel the thinness of the air and draw heavier breaths. The Spanish Conquistadors took over the city around 1535. Looking around you'll see buildings built upon the stone remnants of the Incan empire. There are many Inca ruins within the city limits to see.
Huacachina is a unique village in Peru built around a small natural lagoon. An oasis in the Atacama desert surrounded by tall sand dunes that dwarf the village. Though there are a little over 100 people who permanently reside there this oasis has become a main stop for thousands of tourists and backpackers each year. The main attraction is the thrilling dune buggy and sandboarding activity offered. Feel the thrill of rollercoaster like drops over 30 meter tall sand dunes. Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets and the local restaurants around the palm-lined lagoon.
As our Cessna plane lifts off the Nazca airport runway and banks hard to the right my thoughts are about the geoglyphs I’ll see. I’ve seen these in pictures and documentaries but now I get to see them personally. What are the Nazca lines? Why and how were they made? By or for aliens, for the Gods, for some reason yet to be discovered? Looking down at the ground I realize the actual complexity of these criss-crossing lines and the vastness of the area they cover.
A small cluster of islands called the Ballestas lie off the Peruvian coast near the town of Paracas. Often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos” or even the “poor man’s Galapagos” because of the low cost and ease to visit. A sanctuary rich with wildlife, there are over half a million birds making this their home. You’ll also pass by the Paracas Candelabra, a prehistoric geoglyph etched into sandy sloped hill. No one knows it’s true meaning or purpose. Then onto Paracas National reserve where vast golden desert meets blue ocean water.
The Selena Miraflores hostel offered a walking tour to the historic center of Lima listed in UNESCO World Heritage with it’s most important monuments. Admiring the architectural styles and colonial balconies we learn about the most important streets in Peru. Hopping from plaza to plaza we also learn where bars were used to lead the revolution on the society and the declaration of independence of Peru from Spain in 1821.
With courtesy of the Selina Miraflores hostel I had a nice 3+hr bike ride around Miraflores and Barranco area of Lima. The weather was perfect at 69 degF and clear blue skies. The cost at the hostel was $8 USD starting at 11:00am. Our guide was Luis and we had introductions for everyone in the group. There was a couple from Tel Aviv and one girl from Queens NY. After getting fitted for our bikes (I got a nice bike with gears) our first stop was at Kennedy Park nearby. Kennedy Park is named after John F Kennedy.
Miraflores is a rather upscale district of Lima. Cosmoplitan, chic and safe to walk. It's south of downtown Lima and safe to walk. I went for a walk using the straightest path to the coast which led me to the Larcomar mall which I couldn’t resist checking out. It’ right along the cliffs where a long pedestrian and bike path runs up/down the coast. The cliffs run high and for miles.