PERU

Nearly twice the size of the state of Texas, Peru is best known for its deservedly-famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, which I visited by bike, zip line, and raft this fall. Any country this size offers far more than one tourist site and Peru certainly doesn't disappoint.

 Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

 The leader of one of 90 reed islands of the Uros people in Lake Titicaca

The leader of one of 90 reed islands of the Uros people in Lake Titicaca

 The desert oasis of Lake Huacachina

The desert oasis of Lake Huacachina

Lesser-known and infrequently visited ruins like Choquequirao, offer visitors an opportunity to enjoy 15th century Inca architecture without the crowds. Cusco, where many of the main treks begin, also offers day trips to salt flats, rainbow-colored mountains, and former Inca agriculture labs. Check out my Top 5 Things to do in Cusco. Deserts in central Peru offer sand boarding and sand surfing around one of the only true desert oases in the world, Lake Huacachina. The cities of Iquitos (in the north) and Puerto Maldonado (in the south) offer excursions into the Amazon jungle to view monkeys, macaws, parrots, sea otters, and caimans (similar to alligators) close up. The capital city of Lima has grown into the world's gastronomy capital, boasting several of the world's top restaurants. In addition to phenomenal food and culinary tours, the city offers fine museums, bike tours, and spectacular ocean views while serving as a base for day trips to nearby cultural and archeological sites. And for an experience like no other, head near to the city of Puno on Lake Titicaca, where the Uros people live on floating reed islands and build their homes, boats, beds, and furniture out of reeds.

I had such a spectacular time in Peru during a month-long visit in September, 2017, that I am planning a group trip there in May 2018. Contact me for more details!

 Cusco

Cusco

 Learning about traditional textile dying and weaving

Learning about traditional textile dying and weaving

 Maras salt flats

Maras salt flats

 Monkeys eat right out of your hand in Puerto Maldonado

Monkeys eat right out of your hand in Puerto Maldonado

 Viewing the daily morning macaw's feast through binoculars

Viewing the daily morning macaw's feast through binoculars

 Parade through Cusco

Parade through Cusco