The power of persuasion can fill up our travel bucket lists, crowding out possibilities for exploring equally extraordinary but not as well-known places. While Machu Picchu ranks high among must-sees, less heralded regions of Peru offer their own particular intrigues.
Vaya Adventures (http://www.vayaadventures.com), an expert in designing premier bespoke vacations in South America, acknowledges that Machu Picchu is justifiably the country’s largest tourist draw. But for scenery and culture seekers who want to go to the next level of exploration, the rest of Peru is a goldmine. Three examples are Choquequirao, Lake Titicaca, and Peru’s seldom-visited North.
“The Choquequirao archaeological site is a remote 15th century Incan citadel in southern Peru currently being reclaimed from the enveloping jungle. It is accessed via a two-day hike (starting from a village some five hours from Cusco) on a magnificent and entirely different Inca Trail. This is an alternative to the standard Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, affording breathtaking Andean scenery en route to another stunning hilltop sanctuary, but with one difference: zero crowds,” says Jim Lutz, Vaya Adventures’ founder and director.
“Then there is Lake Titicaca, which displays vibrant ancient cultures around the world’s highest navigable body of water (in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia). Here, visitors experience the many traditional cultures living around the lake as they have for centuries,” says Lutz. Varied options exist for exploring this area, from rustic homestays with local residents to active kayaking and hiking explorations to five-star amenities at Titilaca Lodge, a Relais & Chateaux.
Travelers accessing Lake Titicaca through Puno may want to schedule their visit during one of the two major events celebrated there annually. In February there’s the two-week Virgen de la Candelaria, one of the greatest religious folk festivals in South America. In early November (1st & 2nd) families to pay homage to their departed relatives during the Day of the Dead observance.
“Another place that is still off most people’s radar that is well worth considering is Peru’s Northern Coast and Andes region. This is one of the most exceptional and least explored areas of the country that offers spectacular ruins of several pre-Incan civilizations,” Lutz adds. These magnificent ancient kingdoms include the Royal Tombs of the Lord of Sipan, the massive ruins of the Kuelap Fortress, the unique site of Karajia with its striking funerary towers, and the colorful cliff-side mausoleums of Revash.
“Due to their remoteness and the comparative fame of Machu Picchu, these sites rarely see tourists. Visitors can experience the ruins with unparalleled privacy and tranquility. This route through the northern region of Peru also takes you over the eastern crest of the Andes Mountains into the upper Amazon Basin, allowing you to experience the varied vegetation and gorgeous scenery of the country, as well as see some of its charming colonial and Andean villages,” he says.
These regions of Peru can be explored year-round. Per person rates including lodging (double occupancy), meals, ground transportation, private guide services, and entrance fees starts at around $2,900 for 8 days. For more details please see http://www.vayaadventures.com/peru-beyond-machu-picchu/
For more information, trip planning, availability and reservations please visit: http://www.vayaadventures.com or call 800-342-1796.