Destinations

When thinking of great holiday destinations, few countries can provide such a wide range of activities, sights and culture as Peru can. The country is made up out of large and extreme geographical regions such as the desert, the Andean Highland and the Amazon Rainforest, this together with a large and rich cultural history makes Peru a destination that offers you almost all types of holidays combined into one amazing country. When it comes to ancient cultures, Peru is a more than unique destination in South America. The most widely known are the Inca culture with there impressive number of sites and constructions they have left behind. The city of Cusco, Machu Picchu, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Choquequirao are all part of the impressive legacy left behind by this mighty civilization. But it was not only the Incas who roamed Peru in ancient times; Peru was one of the earliest inhabited areas of the Americas as can be deducted from the site of Caral, the oldest city found in the Americas and dating from about 2000BC.

The Norte Chico, the Moche, the Chachapoyas, the Nazca, all these cultures form part of Peru’s lively history and all have left behind impressive works and constructions. Travelling to Peru does not only mean history & archaeology, Peru provides you with some of the most challenging geographies for a whole range of activities. Hiking; as the country is literally cut in half by the mighty Andes Mountains, it is obvious that it provides some amazing hiking and mountaineering possibilities. Besides the very popular Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the alternatives such as the Lares and the Salkantay Trek, there is hiking to be done all over the country. Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, Puno and Lake Titicaca and of course Huaraz in the north provide some of the best mountain hiking possibilities in the world.

Having almost 60% of its territory covered with the Amazon Rainforest, Peru also is home to some of the most pristine areas of rainforest in South America. An added value to the great diversity of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest is the fact that the Peru rainforest is relatively accessible, even if only for a 3 day visit. The most pristine parts of the Peruvian Amazon are probably Manu and the Tambopata National Reserve. Both parks are located at about 1.5 hours flying from Cusco and is ideal for a 3 or 4 day jungle trip. Finally there is the coast; the Peruvian Coast is more than 2500Km long and is the most populated region of the country. This part of the country is easier to travel as it is flat and the Pan American Highway runs from the border of Ecuador to the border of Chile. It is also here that most of the larger cities are located. Ica, Lima, Chiclayo, Trujillo and Piura are some of the larger cities of Peru. Cities like Trujillo and Chiclayo provide you with great ancient ruins such as Chan Chan, meanwhile further north around Piura you can find the best beaches in Peru, Mancora being the mostly widely known.

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The city of Cusco (also known as Cuzco) is situated in a large valley with views of over 6500 meters high such as the snowcapped Ausangate Mountain soaring in the distance. In Quechua (the local language originating from the Incas and still spoken today) Cusco means “Navel of the World” and was built as the Inca capital from where the empire started spreading from the South and to the North. The original structure of the city was laid out in the form of a Puma with the fortress of Sacsayhuaman being the head of the puma. Sacsayhuaman was the fort and military camp from where Cusco was protected. It is made up out of massive walls lined in a zig-zag patron and used to have two large watchtowers on top of the structure. It took the Spanish several fierce battles to take Sacsayhuaman and hence conquer Cusco.

The city center of Cusco stretches out underneath Sacsayhuaman and has undergone several changes after the arrival of the Spanish. The Spanish destroyed many of the Inca constructions only to find that many of the Inca buildings were too massive to completely destroy. This is the reason why many of the colonial buildings in Cusco are built on top of Inca Foundations. Nowadays this gives the city a very unique characteristic and architectural style combining the Inca foundations with Spanish Colonial buildings, balconies and squares(plazas). The city center is spread out around the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) and is filled with small cobblestone streets and alleys. On one side of the Plaza you can find the Cathedral that was built on the remnants of the old Inca Palace. Behind the cathedral the city started rising up against the mountain side and here is where you can find one of the most beautiful barrios; San Blas. San Blas is the bohemian and artistic neighbourhood of Cusco and definitely worth walking through. Another main site to visit in Cusco is Qoricancha or the Temple of the Sun. This used to be the most important religious temple for the Inca and home to many important rituals such as the worshiping of the sun. It was this temple that made the Spanish go wild about Cusco as it was supposedly covered in gold and had large quantities of gold art inside. Nowadays the building is partially torn down and a monastery has been built on top of it. This makes the building one of the strangest examples of how the Spanish tried to incorporate the Inca structures into there own building style.

Just outside Cusco there are also several interesting Inca sites to be visited. Qenqo, a strange rock formation with amazing carvings, Puka Pukara, a fortress that was used to protect Cusco and Tambomachay a site dedicated to the rite of water. Apart from all these archeological and architectonic wonders, Cusco is also a nice city for travellers as it has a large selection of hotels for all budgets, great restaurants, booming nightlife and one of the most interesting shopping experiences in Peru (especially artisanal souvenirs). The Sacred Valley of the Incas is located at about one hours drive from Cusco. The drive takes you over beautiful highlands surrounded by snowcapped mountains until you start heading down into the Sacred Valley. As the Sacred Valley is located approximately 800 meters lower in altitude than Cusco, this is also an interesting place to acclimatize to the altitude. The lower altitude also provides you with a milder climate than Cusco.

The Sacred Valley runs from the city of Pisac to the city of Ollantaytambo at about 50Km apart. Both of these cities are seen as entrances to the Sacred Valley and hence are protected with impressive defensive fortresses from both sides. The site of Pisac is quite extensive and besides the religious aspect also boasts large Inca terracing and great views of the Sacred Valley. In Pisac you can see the Urubamba River (some parts are called the Vilcanote River) snaking its way through the Sacred Valley. It is this river that provided the Inca with a large part of irrigation for their crops. The river floods part of the valley yearly, leaving behind very fertile soil. The Valley is relatively wide and flat, providing a lot of agriculturally valuable land. From Pisac the main road in the Sacred Valley takes you through small villages, many constructed during the Inca era, to the North West you can find the small but beautiful village of Olllantaytambo. Besides the amazing site of Ollantaytambo and the original Inca lay out of the village, Ollantaytambo is also known for having the last train station on the route to taking a train to Machu Picchu. This gives people the chance to get to know the Sacred Valley, spend the night here and continue to Machu Picchu the next day.

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The Peru coastline stretches over 2500Km all the way from the South of Ecuador to the North of Chile. The coast is mainly made up out of dry desert or semi desert land but this did not stand in the way of the country’s largest cities who developed here. The region has been inhabited for thousands of years and proof has been found of some of the oldest South American civilizations that once roamed these lands. The main city found on the Peru coast for many people is of course Lima. Lima is a large and chaotic city but is the true economic and commercial heart of Peru. Almost 30% of Peruvians live in Lima making it a large metropolitan city with over 10 million inhabitants. This also means that Lima is a city that is essential for Peru and is a worthwhile visit. The city is home to great colonial architecture, some of the best museums in the country and close to some interesting archeological sites such as Caral and Pachacamac. In recent years Lima has more and more profiled itself as the new culinary capital of South America. Peruvian cuisine is gaining more and more international recognition and Lima is definitely the catalyst of this movement. Having great hotels, amazing restaurants and endless shopping possibilities, Lima is a city that cannot be missed during a vacation to Peru. To the south of Lima one can find several other interesting cities and sites to visit.

At about 4 hours’ drive from Lima one can find the city of Pisco. Besides being home to the famous Peruvian liquor Pisco, the city is also known as a starting point to visit the Ballestas Islands. These islands are located just off the coast and provide a home to countless marine animals and birds such as sea lions, dolphins and even whales. From here it is only a short ride to Ica. The city of Ica is known for its wineries and Pisco bodegas. Nevertheless the most interesting site to visit close to Ica would be Huacachina. Huacachina is a true natural oasis in the middle of the desert. Surrounded by large sand dunes, Huacachina looks like the oasis one would dream of when hearing the word oasis. At about 2 hours south of Ica one can find the city of Nazca. The city itself is not that interesting but the sites close by are fascinating especially the famous Nazca Lines. These drawings similiar to crop circles are found in the desert, some over 1000 meters large make for some of the most mysterious discoveries ever in Peru. They have been studied for years and several hypothesis have been elaborated but none can claim to have found the true reason and methodology used to makes these elaborated drawings of Monkeys, Condors, Alien like figures and other animals and geometric figures.

To the north of Lima you will enter what we will call the lesser known Peru but more than worthwhile a visit. Here one can find some of the oldest civilzations in Peru and their inheritance. Large historic sites such as Chan Chan, Caral and the Temples of the Sun and the Moon are all found in the north of Peru. The region also has some amazing colonial cities such as Trujillo, Chiclayo and of course Cajamarca, also an important Inca based city. Finally the north coast provides you with some of the best beaches in Peru; the most famous being Mancora. This region has great weather almost all year round and the waves provide for some amazing surfing.

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Machu Picchu, the enigmatic site of Machu Picchu is one of the largest tourist attractions in South America and is a marvel to see. The site, nicknamed the Lost City of the Incas is located at 100Km north east of Cusco and for many years was unknown to mankind. It was American adventurer Hiram Bingham who had the honor to expose Machu Picchu to the world in 1911. There are several accounts of people, even foreigners, having stumbled across this amazing site in earlier years, but it was Hiram Bingham who first saw the true magnitude of the site and who started with the clearing, excavating and mapping of the site. The site was probably built under the rule of Pachacutec, one of the great Inca Rulers responsible for many buildings and expansions of the Inca Empire. The intended purpose of building this site is still under discussion and as there are a large number of hypothesis, it may as well be that we will never know the true reason. Hypothesis goes from it being a summer palace for the Inca Royalty to a luxury prison for preferential Inca prisoners and every possibility in between. The site was probably abandoned when the Spanish arrived together with the retreat of the Inca further into the jungle. But just as the reasons for the construction of the site, the abandoning of the site is also a mystery. One thing is sure; the Spanish never reached the amazing site of Machu Picchu, making it an even more important find in the understanding of the Inca.

The site was constructed in the saddle of 2 mountains that border Machu Picchu from both sides. The mountain on the South side is called Machu Picchu Mountain (Old Peak) and the mountain on the North side is called Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain). The site itself is made up out of different sectors. The main sectors are the Agricultural sector and the Urban sector. The Agricultural sector has been divided into the Upper and Lower Sectors meanwhile the Urban Sector has been divided into different parts; The Popular District, the Sacred District and the district for the Priests and Nobility. It is in the Urban Sector where you can find the primary archaeological treasures: the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows. When visiting Machu Picchu, make sure that you have the chance to see the site from one of the higher points as this will give you a good impression of the sheer size of this site and provide you with great photo opportunities. As the number of people allowed climbing Huayna Picchu has been limited to 400 people daily in two early morning groups, it may be possible that you do not get the chance to climb Huayna Picchu. Nevertheless there is a great alternative with less people and even higher viewing points on the other side of the site; Machu Picchu Mountain. This mountain can be climbed when heading for the south side of Machu Picchu and takes about 2 hours. The climb is less steep than the Huayna Picchu one and the views from here on Machu Picchu are still as rewarding. In any case spending time on Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience and few sites in the world will provoke more awe than this amazing construction on an impossible place.

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Lake Titicaca, with its unusual name, Lake Titicaca is another of the many amazing and extreme travel destinations one can find in Peru. This lake located on the border between Peru and Bolivia is not only the biggest lake in South America (located at 3811 meters above sea level), it is also the highest navigable lake in the world. The lake is about 70km by 190Km and has its deepest point at about 300 meters under the surface. The lake has a special dark blue color and the contrast of the color of the water with the blue sky and snowcapped mountains is a true spectacle. There are 42 islands located on the lake of which the larger ones are inhabited. The most famous islands on the Peruvian side of the lake are Uros, Taquile and Amantani. The Uros Islands are artificial floating islands made out of flattened parches of reed in the lake built by the people living there. The history of the islands go back to the time of the Inca when a neighboring tribe were looking to find refuge from the Inca and ended up “exiled” on these islands. Housing and boats are also made out of the same reed giving the island a very exotic look for such a high altitude location. Even up to the present day there are families living on these islands.

The island of Taquile may as well be the most authentic island on the Peruvian side. The island has several Inca constructions and has quite some agriculture. The methods used here still date back centuries and people live on a different rhythm on these islands. Also the islanders are famous for their colorful clothing, dating back to the time of the Spanish Conquest. Puno is the largest city on the Peruvian side of the shores of Lake Titicaca. The city is located perched in between mountains and the lake. Being located close to the Bolivian border, Puno as most South American border cities has a bit of a Wild West feeling to it. The city itself has some nice plazas connected with a pedestrian shopping street, but apart from this the city center has not much to show for. Nevertheless with the altitude you may want to take it easy when travelling around Lake Titicaca. The one time of year when tourists actually go to Puno for Puno is in February for Carnival. Puno is proclaimed as the Peruvian Folkloric Capital and the main festival exposing this is this incredible yearly Carnival. Hundreds of local and international dancing groups come to the city to participate in a week-long festival of dances, parades, shows and competitions in and around Puno. The festival of course goes accompanied with sufficient beer, local food and parties making this a crazy week in this highland city. Around Puno there are other cities and sites to be visited as well.

At one hour drive from Puno, on the way to Juliaca where the only airport in the region is located, you can find the funerary towers of Sillustani. These are funerary towers built by a pre Inca civilization, some of their building techniques being copied by the Inca later on. From Puno it is also quite easy to travel to Bolivia. The biggest town on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca is Copacabana. From here you can visit some of the Bolivian Islands on the Lake and continue to La Paz about 2 hours from Copacabana.

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Arequipa, also known as the ”White City” is Peru’s second biggest city in terms of population but also in terms of economy. The city’s nickname stems from the extensive use of sillar, a white volcanic rock that is quite typical for the region, and used in the construction of the houses in the city center. The city center is laid out in a dam pattern with the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) as a central point. It is the main square that forms one of the most famous attractions of Arequipa as this is recognized as being one of the most beautiful squares in Peru. On one side you can see the proud cathedral with its two towers and on the other three sided colonial arches all typical for the time the square was built. From the terraces on the second floor of the plaza one can see the Misti Volcano towering behind the city. Another main attraction of the city is the Monastery de Santa Catalina. This monastery which takes up several blocks in the city center is one of the oldest in Peru and largest in South America. The monastery is still in use but can be visited. When it comes to museums, Arequipa does not have the same quantity as Lima, but does have one museum that stands out; Museu Santuarios Andinos. This museum has a single exhibition that is the Ice Princess of Ampato. Ampato is a snowcapped extinct volcano where a mummy was found of a young girl. The young girl was nicknamed Juanita and the original mummy can be seen in this museum. Besides all these places of interest, Arequipa is also a city with a very mild climate, amazing hospitable people and amazing food.

Located at about 200Km from Arequipa there is another record breaking destination; The Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. The canyon can be reached from Arequipa by 3 hour drive taking you through some amazing landscapes. Passing beside the Misti Volcano and travelling through the Salineras National Park, known for its population of wild Vicuñas, a smaller member of the llama family. After the park you will come to what may as well be the highest point on your trip; at 4900 meters above sea level you will pass by the Mirador de los Vulcanos, or the Volcano Viewing point. From this high point (you are now higher than the highest point in Europe) you can see several active and inactive volcanoes in the distance. From here you will start going down until you reach the town of Chivay. Chivay is the biggest village in the canyon and most hotels are located around here. There is also a very nice hot spring just 5Km out of Chivay. The sides of the canyon are made up out of old Inca terracing. Furthermore as the canyon is surrounded by snowcapped mountains, waterfalls and amazing views, there will be more than one moment when you will be amazed by the beauty of this region. If this would not be enough, the Colca Canyon is also home to the Condor. This majestic bird, the largest flying bird on the planet, lives in the Colca Canyon and the Cruz del Condor may be one of the best viewing points for these birds in the world. The Colca Canyon with is amazing landscapes, colorful inhabitants, choice of fauna and flora and proximity to Arequipa make this definitely one of the top destinations in Peru.

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Having more than 60% of the countries territory covered by the Amazon Rainforest, obviously this makes for another great destination in Peru. The Amazon Rainforest is only beaten in size by Brazil and even though Peru has its own share of problems, in general it can be said that the rainforest in Peru is under less pressure than in Brazil. The two main cities in Peru to visit the Amazon Rainforest are Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. Iquitos is located in the far north of the country and is recognized as the worlds’ largest city not reachable by land. The only two modes of transport reaching Iquitos are by boat or by plane. Iquitos is located on the Amazon River itself and an excursion into the jungle will start with a boat trip over this massive river. From here you will take a detour to a smaller river taking you to one of the lodges around. As the transport to the lodges may be quite long, jungle trips around Iquitos are best done for 5 days. The other destination for people wanting to experience the Amazon Rainforest is in the South of Peru. At about one hour flying from Cusco one can find the city of Puerto Maldonado. This city is the main starting point for trips to some of the most pristine parts of the Amazon Rainforest; the Manu and Tambopata National parks. Both parks are known for their abundant wildlife and the fact that the jungle from here is relatively easy to reach. Great lodges are located a couple of hours upstream on the Madre de Dios River and the region is full of great lagoons, clay-licks and jungle trails.

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Brazil, the name alone already makes many people think of white beaches, blue sea, green lush mountains and people dancing on the streets. Even though all of these are indeed true facts of Brazil, the country holds much more than this. Being the biggest country on the continent and as diverse as South America itself, obviously Brazil has a lot to offer. Some of the deepest and most pristine Amazon Rainforests in the world, a huge coastline filled with tropical beaches and islands, vibrating cities full of cultural day and nightlife, great museums, the mighty Iguazu Falls, the Pantanal Wetlands, etc… the list is endless. Having borders with almost all countries in South America (except Chile and Ecuador) the country holds some of the best of both worlds. The Brazilian people are known for their positive spirit and joy of life, something you will feel on almost any street corner. This is a country that is much more than just beaches; this country is one to discover and keep discovering.

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Rio de Janeiro, probably Brazil’s most emblematic city, home to many famous landmarks, such as Corcovado Hill with the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the new 7 wonders of the world. The city is home to over 11 million inhabitants spread out over upscale areas to some of the poorest areas on the continent. Besides the Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio is also home to some of the most famous beaches in the world. Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon Beaches rank among the top beaches in the world. Downtown Rio is also a sight not to be missed. Driving a tram in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, walking through the narrows streets of historic Rio and suddenly standing eye to eye with some of the biggest buildings in the country.

A list of what to see in Rio would not be complete without a visit to the Sambadrome, a huge drive-through stadium, centre to the yearly worldwide known Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. Or visit the San Sebastian Cathedral, a strange modern cathedral with a huge internal space. Finally Rio is home to some of the biggest football clubs in South America and hence one of the biggest stadiums in the world the Maracanã Stadium. Because of the wide scale of things to do, including the great weather all year round, fabulous beaches and friendly population, Rio is definitely a place to take your time for to get to know.

Also in the Rio province you can find other great and more relaxed beaches. Cities such as Buzios, Angra Dos Reis and Arraial Do Cabo are only located at two or three hours drive from Rio and are great retreats from the hectic big city life. Here you can also find great hotels and resorts to pass the last days of your holiday in complete luxury and tranquility.

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Salvador(Do Bahia), also known as Brazil’s capital of happiness due to the local populations easygoing and extrovert nature, Salvador is the first colonial city of Brazil. One of Brazil’s largest cities, this city has much to offer. Notable in Brazil for its cuisine, music and architecture, its metropolitan area is the wealthiest in Brazil's Northeast. Over 80% of the population of metropolitan region of Salvador has Black African ancestry making it the center of Afro-Brazilian culture, something that can be seen on every street corner, especially during the carnival time of year. The historical center of Salvador, frequently called the Pelourinho, is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture with historical monuments dating from the 17th through to the 19th century and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The city is divided into two sections; the Cidade Alta ("Upper Town" - rest of the city) and the Cidade Baixa ("Lower Town" - northwest region of the city), the former some 85m above the latter, with the city's cathedral and most administrative buildings standing on the higher ground. Another famous landmark, the elevator (the first installed in Brazil), known as Elevador Lacerda, has connected the two sections since 1873, having since undergone several upgrades. Around Salvador you can also find some of the best beaches in Brazil and in general these are more quiet than the ones in Southern Brazil.

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The Pantanal is located in South East Brazil and is a tropical wetland and the world's largest wetland of any kind. It lies mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul but extends into Mato Grosso as well as into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area of over 140,000 square kilometers. Various sub-regional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological, geological and ecological characteristics. The Pantanal ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 different subspecies of invertebrates. Among the rarest animals to inhabit the wetlands of the Pantanal are the Marsh Deer and the Giant River Otter. The Pantanal is also home to one of the largest and healthiest Jaguar populations on Earth. This area can be visited on multi day safaris that combine excursions to the different parts of the Pantanal and the animals living here. The Pantanal is probably one of the best places in South America to see wild life.

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The famous Iguassu Falls are located on the border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. After Argentina, Brazil has the second largest part of the falls within its territory. The main city from Brazil to visit the Falls is Foz do Iguacu. From here it is only a short drive to the Falls. The Brazilean side as well as the Argentinian side, provide some walkways to admire the Falls upclose. The actual border between these two countries runs throught the “Devils throath” the main flow from the Falls. The Falls are located in a national park that is protected and is part of the only Atlantic Rainforest on the planet. The Atlantic Rainforest is also worth a visit as it has abundant wildlife and due to other climate patterns than the Amazon Rainforest, it posseses a different fauna and flora than the latter one. Of course Foz de Iguacu holds some great hotels such as the Hotel Das Cataratas, located in the national park and operated by Orient Express.

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One of the world’s countries with the strangest shaped territory must be Chile. Located on the Eastern side of South America it is a country that is over 6000 kilometers long but on its broadest point the country is not even 400 kilometers. The country, because of its long stretched shape, is home to several different climate and eco zones. In the northern part of the country you can find the world’s driest desert, the Atacama Desert, bordering with Peru and Bolivia. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas and islands. This is the land that is called Patagonia and even more south one can find the rugged and beautiful land of Tierra del Fuego. The centre of the country enjoys a more Mediterranean climate and this is where the largest part of the population lives. It is here that Santiago de Chile, the country’s capital is located. This is the biggest city of the country and the economical centre.

Close to Santiago one can find two other interesting cities; Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. These cities are very popular during the summer as they are located on the seaside and have nice beaches. They are known as very bohemian cities that attract many people from Santiago in the weekends who want to escape from the busy city life. Both cities are very beautifully located, Viña del Mar with the best beaches and Valparaiso with beautiful artistic neighbourhoods. Besides these greats in Chile, of course most people are aware of the great wines and a day or multi day visit to one of these wineries is a very pleasant experience. The most famous wine valleys are located relatively close to Santiago, mainly the Cholchagua and Maipu Valley.

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Central Chile is the main populated region that lies in between the northern point of Patagonia and the southern point of the Atacama Desert. More or less in the centre of the country you can find Santiago de Chile, the capital and most populated city of the country. Located at about two hours from the Pacific Ocean where the Andes meet with the coastal plains, the city has quite a special feel to it. The whole year round the climate is quite mild but with the snowy mountains in the background you do have a ski resort feeling now and then. All government institutions can be found here and it contains the economic and financial heart of the country. The historic centre is not very big but quite beautiful.

Outside of Santiago, at a 2 hour drive you can get to Valparaiso located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Valparaiso is one of the favorite weekend and holiday retreats for the Santiaguinos. The city is located in a amphitheater like mountain filled with cozy neighborhoods made up out of brightly painted houses. The city holds some of the country’s best restaurants and has quite the bohemian feel to it. Located a few minutes drive from Valaparaiso you can find Viña del Mar. This all time favorite among the Chileans bathing places has an even more bohemian feel to it and you can see where that comes from. Many wealthy Chileans have a second house here and the city itself has quite a majestic air flowing around. The beaches here in the summer will be quite occupied, especially during the big international music festival taking place here every summer.

About two hours to the west of Santiago you can find another area that attracts many people, the Central Wine Valley. This is only one of the many wine regions in Chile but this is Chile's most productive and internationally known wine region, due in large part to its close proximately to the country's capital Santiago. Within the region there are four subregions: the Maipo Valley, the Rapel Valley, the Curicó Valley and the Maule Valley. It is located directly across the Andes' from Argentina's most well known wine region, the Mendoza Province. The Maipo Valley is the most widely cultivated and recognized valley and is known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The Rapel wine region in the Colchagua Province is also known for its Cabernet. Curicó has both red and white wine varieties planted but is most widely known for its Chardonnay. The Maule Valley still has large plantings of the local Pais but is gradually being planted with better red wine varieties. The whole region has several big and smaller wineries and some of them have a hotel or guesthouse on the premises where guests can stay. These places are a real treat with beautiful and tranquil environments. For the real wine lovers it is also possible to cross from here into the Mendoza province in Argentina to continue this trip through the famous wine areas in South America.

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The Atacama Desert is a plateau in South America, covering a 1,000 km strip of land on the Pacific coast of South America, west of the Andes Mountains. The Atacama Desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world. The Atacama occupies 105,000 km2 in northern Chile, composed mostly of salt basins (salares), sand and lava flows towards the Andes. The terrain differs a bit over the region from Mars and Moon Like Valleys to desert plains, colored lagoons and salt flats. Because of close volcanic activity there are also plenty of geysers active in the region.

The desert can be visited with a four or more day tour, spending the night in San Pedro de Atacama and having daily excursions to the different sites in the region. The landscape, the driest desert on the earth, together with the altitude and Andes Mountains & volcanoes luring in the back, this is truly a hallucinating destination.

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The Chilean part of Patagonia embraces the complete Eastern Part of Patagonia and includes the southern provinces and regions of Valdivia, Los Lagos Region and Greater Island of Chiloé, Puerto Montt and the Archaeological site of Monte Verde, and also the islands south to the regions of Aisén and Magallanes, including the west side of Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. Located on such an extreme location on the globe, this part of the world offers all the dramatic landscape one would expect from the world's ultimate land's end. Here the South American continent ends in a cacophony of islands, glaciers, icebergs and mountains. It is truly one of Mother Nature’s grand finales. 

Chilean Patagonia is itself composed of two sub-regions; the northern Aisen and to its south, Magallanes. Aisen is home to Parque National Laguna San Rafael, while Magellanes hosts the incomparable Parque National Torres del Paine. Isolated from the rest of Chile by fierce storms and impassable mountains, Magellanes can be reached only by air or overland from Argentina. The capital of the region of Magellanes is the city of Punta Arenas, which first became prosperous during the Californian gold rush. Here you will also find the only large airport in the area. At about 4 hours driving from Punta Arenas you can find Puerto Natales, the entrance town to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. The main sites of the park; Torres del Paine, the Cuernos del Paine, Mount Fritz Roy, the hypnotic waterfalls of Salto Chico and Salto Grande, the Grey, Pingo, del Frances and Dickson glaciers; the Pehoe, Nordenskjold, Sarmiento, Pingo and Dickson lakes; and the Verde and Azul lagoons. All of these can be visited during a stay in the park. In the park there are several lodges and luxury hotels that provide people with great views and excursions during the day and all the warmth and luxury of a 5* hotel in the evening. Of course it is also possible to do multi day hikes in the park visiting some or most of the above mentioned sites.

Being such a great destination, it is no wonder that the park can be quite busy in the high season, but if you would go in the low seasons, you can have days that you feel like you are all alone in the park. The most popular route to see the park is hiking the “W”, called after the route you would follow. This route takes about 5 unforgettable days of hiking and includes at least 3 nights of camping.

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Another one of most enigmatic destinations in South America, even though argued by some to be more Asian than South American is Easter Islands or Rapa Nui. This island is claimed to the most isolated inhabited island in the world, located over 3500 kilometers from the Chilean mainland. With a surface of just over 160 square kilometers the island is quite small. Geographically seen it belongs to the Polynesian Island group but was annexed to the territory of Chile in 1888. The Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called Moai created by the early Rapanui people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. The climate on the island is subtropical with most rain falling in the months of August and September. Temperatures nevertheless almost never drop below 20° Celcius. The history of Easter Island is rich and controversial. Its inhabitants have endured famines, epidemics, civil war, slave raids, colonialism and near deforestation; its population declined precipitously more than once. All this together make for a challenging and unforgettable holiday experience.

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Argentina, the country of Tango and football, meat and wine, Iguassu and Tierra del Fuego, Eva Peron and Lionel Messi (or Diego Maradona) – taste can differ. This large country in South America has so much to offer that time will never be on your side when travelling Argentina. Start of course with Buenos Aires the proud capital and home to over 10 million inhabitants. This is a city that makes itself feel, you’ll feel proud of this city when wandering through neighbourhoods such as Recoleta, San Telmo and Palermo and of course the popular area of Boca with its colorful houses and bustling energy.

Many of the famous Argentinian tourist attractions can be found in Buenos Aires. For instance see the famous Plaza de Mayo, where the mothers of the children and husbands who disappeared during the dictatorship of Videla in the 70’s are still protesting and demanding justice every day. This square is the heart of popular resistance in Buenos Aires and even the whole of Argentina. From here it is only a short walk to Avenida 9 de Julio, supposedly the broadest avenue in the world with 24 lanes besides each other.

Another thing one may want to do when in Buenos Aires is enjoy one of the famous football games here filled with passion and conviction. The biggest and best known classic in Argentina is of course between the two big Buenos Aires teams Boca Juniors and River Plate. In the evening one should of course enjoy a fabulous Tango show in one of the many venues, accompanied by a good steak and a nice bottle of Argentinean wine. This sensual dance with all its grace and passion will leave you flabbergasted.

Besides its capital, another of the famous Argentinan Tourist attractions are the mighty Iguassu Falls on the border with Brazil and Paraguay in the north of the country. These falls, a combination of hundreds of small falls, are a true spectacle of the sheer force of nature in its most pure form. You will feel and hear the falls from a long distance away and the mist of water created by this force of nature will get you wet from a good distance away. Located in a beautiful national park, covered in Atlantic Rainforest, this natural beauty will provide you with some of your best vacation pictures and an everlasting memory of something so impressive and powerful. The area is known for it hot and humid climate all year round and with some great hotels, make for an awesome vacation destination. From here it is also possible to cross into Brazil and from here head to Rio or the Pantanal in Southern Brazil.

In the north central area of this country you can find Mendoza and its beautiful countryside. This region is the largest wine producing area in Latin America and combines two great Argentina tourist attractions; the Maipu and the Lujan Valley. For the real wine lover a visit to this part of Argentina can be combined with a visit to Chile and the Chilean Wine Valleys. Besides these worldwide known wineries, Mendoza has a very nice city center and good restaurants. For some countryside and outdoor experiences the Mendoza and Salta regions are also great destinations. More to the South in the Argentinean Lake District one can find Bariloche. This area is great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and in the wintertime (June through September) some of the best skiing on the continent.

Further south starts the mythic Patagonian region where you can find El Calafate and the Perito Moreno, one of the biggest glaciers in South America and an awesome sight. Come close with a boat meanwhile you can see and hear huge chunks of ice falling into the lake. Even more South you can find Ushuaia, the self-proclaimed Southernmost city in the world (even though below Ushuaia you can find Isla Navarino, a Chilean Island with its capital Puerto Williams). As you can read Argentina has it all. This combined with good road and air transport possibilities, great food and very hospitable people; it is obvious that Argentina has what it takes to be a great vacation destination.

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The City of Greater Buenos Aires is home to over 13 million people and with this, one of the bigger urban centers in South America and the world. The city was founded by the Spanish as a trade port in the 17th and 18th century, the city started thriving as an important port between goods from South America to Spain and vice versa. The expansion of the city started in the nowadays named neighbourhood of San Telmo, the historic heart of Buenos Aires. In the modern history, Argentina became a very important immigration country receiving many people from all over the world, mainly Europe. Almost all of these people had to come through Buenos Aires and all left parts of their legacy in this city. That is why Buenos Aires to a lot of people feels very European like and claimed the nickname the Paris of South America. People and lifestyle in Buenos Aires also feel very European to some was it not for some of the typical Argentinean customs.

Tango, beef & wine, and football are all things that the average Porteño will take quite seriously. People in Buenos Aires are very friendly and genuinely interested in other countries and cultures. You will also find a very political motivated city with many people and groups moving the city at times standing up for their rights. The city is made up out of 48 “barrios” or districts. The most famous ones are;

San Telmo known for being the historic heart of the city and home to some beautiful 19th century architecture.

Recoleta The upmarket neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, full of parks, nice restaurants and great hotels. Here you can find a lot of cultural venues combined with some typical Parisian architecture and the famous Recoleta Cemetery.

Palermo a younger and hipper area where you can find some of the best restaurants, nightclubs and “boliches” in town.

Puerto Madero the old harbor with dockland buildings, now restyled into high-rise and loft apartments for the lucky few. This is Buenos Aires’s newest barrio.

La Boca an old time favorite, the old harbor area. Full of painted houses and with an atmosphere only to be found in this popular area. Also home to the Boca Junior Football Club, one of the biggest in the country.

As you can read Buenos Aires is definitely a city to spend several days without a boring moment. Culturally very close to Europe yet still very different. Great food, great people and lots and lots of culture, definitely a “must see” in South America.

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Located in the Misiones Province in northern Argentina the Iguazu Falls are considered one of the great natural wonders of the continent. Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguaçu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, this is where numerous islands along the 2.7 kilometre long edge divide the falls into about 275 separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 meters and 82 meters high. About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat. The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide and 700-meter-long. The border between Argentina and Brazil runs through the Devil's Throat. Two-thirds of the falls are within Argentine territory.

The tourist circuit on the Argentine side comprises three sections: the upper falls, the lower falls and the Devil's Throat. For all sections there are boardwalks foreseen to get closer to the falls. Be aware this will be a wet experience. On the Argentine side of the falls it is also possible to make a boat ride on the foot of the falls and experience the wetness and noise from very close by. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguaçu, Argentina, Ciudad del Este and Paraguay which have access to the Iguaçu River where the borders of all three countries can be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities. Being located so close to the border this is also an ideal place to pop over to Brazil and continue your trip in Brazil.

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Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. The city is a frequent stopover for climbers on their way to Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere) and for adventure travelers interested in mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, rafting and other sports. In the winter, skiers come to the city for its easy access to the Andes. Besides being a Mecca for outdoor activities, the region is maybe even more known for its wineries. Mendoza holds the largest wine producing area in South America and some of Argentina's most famous wines come from here. Argentina’s most highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. These Districts are located in the foothills of the Andes mountains between 2,800 and 5,000 feet elevation. The two main wine valleys here are the Maipu and the Lujan Valley. Most wines produced here are from the Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon grape followed by the Tempranillo and Chardonnay. As the area is known for its wineries and countryside, it is no wonder that the region in the last couple of years got developed for rural and culinary tourism. Many of the tours here can also be done on bike combining the good life of eating and drinking with some exercise during the day. For more outdoor tourism, Argentina’s Mecca is definetely Salta. The town of Salta is a laidback semi large city that invites one to hang around for a couple of days. The region is known as one of the upcoming places for tourism in Argentina and provides great one day or multiday hikes, biking and paragliding adventures. From here one can also cross into Bolivia.

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When talking about one of the most enigmatic areas in South America it is inevitable that Patagonia and even more Tierra del Fuego will obviously appear high on the list. This large piece of land, shared by Argentina and Chile is one of the lesser inhabited places on the continent with on average only 1.9 inhabitants per square kilometer. The region is divided into three parts; Eastern Patagonia, Western Patagonia and Tierra Del Fuego. The Eastern part is almost completely in Chile, the Western Part in Argentina and Tierra Del Fuego is shared by both countries. From East to West, Patagonia starts off with long plains or pampas that stretch for thousands of kilometers from North to South.

More towards the East and the border with Chile, these Patagonian plains start to rise to a large Cordillera located on the border with Chile. Located in this cordillera one can find Bariloche, the best known skiing resort in Argentina and maybe South America. This is a great outdoor country full of amazing landscapes, lakes and glaciers. More towards the south over this Cordillera you will find yourself in El Calafate, known for one of the biggest glaciers in South America, the Perito Moreno. This is an amazing spectacle to see as huge blocks of ice break off of the glacier and fall into the water. The sound of this glacier creaking is a sound that will impress you every time.

Even more to the South, crossing the Chilean border and back into Argentina you will end up in the worlds Southernmost region; Tierra Del Fuego. The one bigger city here, proclaimed to be the Southernmost city in the world sounds even more far away; Ushuaia. Here in Ushuaia you can glare at the Beagle Channel dividing Argentina with the Navarino Island, the last island before you reach cape Horn. Ushuaia is located beside a national park where in the wintertime one can do some skiing and in the summer do great one or multi-day hikes. Of course there are the boat excursions to some of the surrounding islands, only inhabited by sea lions and penguins and a must see. Ushuaia being an ex penal colony, does also have its history. You can visit the jail that was used in these times now housing a good museum about this part of the history of Tierra del Fuego. Also you can pass by the harbor, the last harbor for many ships before crossing Cape Horn, still one of the deadliest seas in the world. And also the last stop for many large icebreakers on their way to Antarctica to supply the several bases located there. You can even see some of the biggest cruise ships in the world passing by here as this is a famous cruise destination. Don’t forget get the official end of the world stamp in your passport at the local tourism office.

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Located in the heart of South America, Bolivia is a country of extremes largely still a hidden gem to the average traveller. Nowadays Bolivia is gradually open up to a more general crowd of adventure seekers and showcasing its many amazing destinations. Bolivia has always been a little bit the small brother of the South American countries, often being intimidated by its larger neighboring brothers such as Paraguay, Chile and Brazil. This large history of intimidation and violence with its neighboring countries resulted in that today Bolivia no longer has access to the ocean which they lost to Chile and overall lost about 25% of its original territory to its “larger brothers”. The main source for these struggles with its neighboring countries is the high quantity of minerals and other resources that can be found in the rich soils of Bolivia.

The Spanish were the first to understand this after having almost entirely scooped out the Potosi Mountain providing the whole of Spain with silver of the best quality in quantities never seen before. Nowadays the country, even though having suffered a violent history, is a very peaceful destination with one of the most original destinations on the continent. Edged on the verge of the Andean Highland Plateau and the deep Amazon Rainforest the country offers a very extreme geography that translates itself in strong local traditions and cultures. The country also boosts the highest number of indigenous population in South America making that the country has a specific energy that can only be found in Bolivia. The highest cities in the world, the largest Salt Flats on the planet, the largest wetlands on the continent, the highest navigable lake in the world and the world most dangerous road…the extremes don’t stop when describing Bolivia. Or to say in the words of a Bolivian friend; Bolivia is the country where the possible becomes impossible and the impossible perfectly possible…Get ready for adventure!

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Nuestra Señora de La Paz or simply La Paz is Bolivia’s proud capital and home to about a million paceñas (inhabitants of La Paz). La Paz is located in an abrupt valley and is the highest “administrative capital” in the world (Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia) with altitudes between 3100 and 4000 meters above sea level. Arriving to the city the first time, whether by plane or car, is an experience that is not easily forgotten. You will arrive firstly in El Alto, formerly the shanty towns of La Paz and nowadays the fastest growing city in South America, home to about 1 million people, and all of a sudden start descending in to the valley that makes La Paz. On the horizon you can see the snowcapped Illimani Mountain towering 6400 meters high and the Moon Valley. The city got founded in 1548 by the Spanish Conquistadores making it one of the major cities in the Viceroyalty of Peru – the nomination of Peru and Bolivia before their respective independence. Nowadays the city is one-of-its-kind, influenced by the altitude of its location and the diversity of its people. The city is the economic and political heavyweight in the country and this is felt by the chaotic constructions of high rise building home to multinationals in the lower part of La Paz and the hustle and bustle building of the neighborhoods against the valley perimeters.

The city apart from the awe-feeling most visitors get when arriving to this busy city has plenty to offer to visitors. In the main downtown area (el Casco Viejo) one can find some of the city’s most important squares such as the Murillo Square with prominent buildings that include the Presidential Palace, National Congress of Bolivia, and the Cathedral of La Paz. A couple of blocks down from Murillo Square one can find San Francisco Square with the beautiful San Francisco Church built in 1581. Around this area one can also find the best colonial parts of the city with some houses bringing you back to the glory of the age of the conquistadores. Another interesting part of the city is the “Witches Market” – El Mercado de brujas in Spanish. Here one can find all types of amulets and good luck charms that are typical to the highlands beliefs dating back to the time of the Incas. Nowadays Bolivia is a catholic country but with the strong indigenous culture of the country Catholicism has been weaved together with local beliefs providing the country with a very typical practice of religion. The witches market is probably one of the best examples of this as here you can find religious symbols laying besides llama fetuses and all types of herbs and potions for all kinds of illnesses, from bad luck to little success with the opposite sex. Finally there is also the Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna), a moonlike landscape just outside of the city with large strange rock formations created hundreds of years ago and supposedly by the conquistadores seen as ancient protectors of the city. Last but not least, La Paz also enjoys a large cultural and nightlife scene, providing performances and venues for every taste.

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Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world is shared with Peru which holds about 60% of the lake and Bolivia accounting for about 40% of the lake. The lake is about 190Km. Long and 80Km. The main city that can be found on the shores of the Bolivian side of the lake is called Copacabana (even though also having beaches not to be confused with Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro), an average sized city of about 7000 inhabitants mostly living from tourism, agriculture and fishery. The town of Copacabana besides its beautiful location on the shores of the lake is also known for its Basilica, home of the Virgin of Copacabana, worshipped all over the Andean Region. The town is quite sleepy and has a bit of a backpacker ambient making it even more laid back. It is here that one can also find some actual beaches on the shores of Lake Titicaca, not great for swimming as the water is quite cold but great to spend some time relaxing in the sun and watching the lake reflect the thin mountain air. For even more spectacular views one can take a boat from Copacabana to the Island of the Sun, the larger two islands that can be visited on the Bolivian side of the lake. The Sun Island is the larger of the two and has two settlements; Yumani and Cha'llapampa.

The island is about 10Km. long and 5Km. wide and can be crossed in a day’s walk. The highest point of the Island is just over 4000 meters above sea level meaning that the island has a difference in height of about 200 meters on the highest point above the water. The island has about 80 relatively small ruins from Inca and Tiwanaku times. The island is quite easy to walk as once can see the whole island from several points. About 6Km. from the Sun Island once can see the much smaller Island of the Moon. This island can also be visited but mostly with day tours as this island only has one small settlement of farmers. The Moon Island also has some ruins making clear the importance of these islands throughout the history of Lake Titicaca. According popular legend the first Inca was born as the son of the Island of the Sun and Moon – the main gods the Inca’s worshipped. This is not that surprising feeling the special energy and seeing the amazing views when stepping on these islands.

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Probably after Lake Titicaca, the Uyuni Salt Flats are Bolivia’s most popular destination. Located in the South of the country at the border with Chile and close to Argentina these are the largest salt flats in the world spanning more than 10.000 square kilometers, roughly the size of the Island of Jamaica. The salt flats are formed by prehistoric lakes that have dried up and that now have a compressed layer of salt that in the center can reach 10 meters deep. The area is known as the Bolivian Altiplano and the average altitude of the salt flats are around 3700 meters above sea level. As with most South American regions here they only have two seasons; a dry and a wet season. The dry season runs from April through November more or less and the other 4 months being the wet season. Temperatures in both seasons can be quite high throughout the day due to the altitude and strong sun but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop well under the freezing point.

In general the rainy season the days are also quite dry but quite some rain can fall in the night time. The main difference for visitors between both seasons is the fact that during the rainy season the famous mirror effect of the salt flats can be appreciated. Due to the rain that falls in this time of year, during the months December through March there is a permanent filter of about 5-10 cm. of water on the flats creating the largest mirror on the planet which can even be seen from space. Apart from the Salt Flats the entire area is designed to make you feel like on another planet. Most people visiting the salt flats will add a couple of days to their itinerary and also visit the different lakes and volcanoes that can be seen in the region. In the typical 4 day route (recommended) one will visit the following destinations;

Uyuni and the Salt Flats

  • The Uyuni Train Graveyard; this is an old yard just outside Uyuni with a lot of wrecked old steam locomotives.
  • Salt-Mining Area - an area where salt is dug from the plane into piles weighing a ton each, and left to dry in the sun before transport to a refinery then to your table.
  • The Salt Hotel of Luna Salada; one of the few hotels on the salt flats itself and completely constructed out of salt.
  • Isla de los Pescados, or Isla Incahuasi; two “islands” on the salt flats. In the wet season they truly look like islands surrounded by thousands of square kilometers of salt water. The islands are covered with large cacti some up to 12 meters that grow on the islands.

Parque Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa

  • Arbol de Piedra ; a stone tree that has been carved out of the gushing, sandy winds on the Bolivian Highlands.
  • Laguna Colorada - a lake coloured red by the algae that live in it. Also you will see lots of flamingos.
  • Solar de Manaña geyser basin (4850m) - a collection of bubbling sulfur pools and a geyser, normally visited just as the sun is rising.
  • Termas de Polques hot springs – for a quick dip in some rich natural thermal springs.
  • Laguna Verde ; a green colored lagoon by Arsenic, Lead, Copper and other heavy metals that can be found in the water and soil. In the background you can see the Volcano Lincacabur (5960m).
  • Laguna Celeste - A clear-blue lake coloured by magnesium and manganese.
  • Laguna Amarilla - A yellow sulphur lake.
  • San Cristobal - a town with a 350-year-old church containing a silver altar.
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Sucre and Potosi are the two colonial heavyweights of Bolivia. Both are located in the South of Bolivia about 3 hours’ drive from each other but with completely different conditions. Potosi being the smaller on of the two, is located at about 5-6 hours’ drive from Uyuni on an altitude of 4090 meters making it one of the 5 highest cities in the world and perhaps the largest high altitude city in the world. The city started as a colonial city in the year 1545 when the first silver was found here by the Spanish. A couple of years later it became clear that there was so much silver to be found here that the city (despite its harsh climate and high altitude) quickly grew to about 200.000 inhabitants making it one of the largest cities on the continent and competing with some of Europe’s finest cities when it comes to wealth. The main source of silver is the Mount Potosi (Cerro Rico – or Rich Mountain) with an altitude of 4824 meters above sea level located just behind the city. It was said at one point that there was no need for tunnels as the mountain itself was entirely made out of silver (it is calculated that the mountain almost lost 500 meters in height throughout the centuries because of the silver dug out of it – supposedly 60.000 Tons!).

Spain was the main destination of all silver that can be found till the day of today in almost all Spanish churches and cathedrals (till the day of today in Spain there is a popular expression; Vale un Potosi – it is worth a Potosi, referring to something of great wealth). With this mining boom the city developed an impressive colonial city center parts of which can still be seen today with some of the original colonial buildings still standing such as La Casa Nacional de Moneda, a very good museum nowadays. The area is still known for its mining that now is in hands of cooperatives that are run by the local population. Mines can also be visited during some days but due to the heat and dirt this is not for the fainthearted.
About 2-3 hours from Potosi one can find the white colonial city of Sucre. Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia and an important city when it comes to politics and maybe even more religion. Sucre is the home of the constitutional court as well as the Catholic Church in Bolivia. The city has about 300.000 inhabitants and is located on an altitude of 2800 meters giving it a very mild and relatively warm climate all year round. Being an important factor of Bolivian history the city center is filled with colonial buildings giving the city its particular Spanish ambience. The most important colonial structures to be found in this beautiful city are; The House of Freedom; The republic was founded in this building by Simón Bolívar, The National Library, The Metropolitan Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace.
 

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