Peru is bursting with the ruins of old civilizations. Machu Picchu, which is now one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is shrouded in mystery and legend, drawing curious travellers from across the globe. Sun-worshipping Incas, who emerged in the 15th century and formed the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, built some of the most famous ancient ruins you’ll see today. Beyond Machu Picchu, from the Sacred Valley to Lima, and Arequipa to Lake Titicaca, Peru’s ancient people have left behind fascinating archaeological sites with clues to civilizations past – all to be discovered on a Peru vacation.
Spanish conquistador and adventurer, Francisco Pizarro, served most of his life as a low level official before conquering the wealthy empire of the Incas and bestowing Spain with its riches. One of the most profound events in the opening of the New World, Pizarro and his 200 men marched south to Machu Picchu, and the repercussions of this action are still felt today.
A few mysterious questions remain, and these questions intrigue historians from the world over. For example, how did a simple army of 37 horsemen and 106 foot soldiers conquer a mighty empire that stretched over 2,500 miles from modern-day Ecuador to Chile? What happened between the discovery of the Inca Empire in 1526 and the final, ruthless extermination of the Inca rulers in 1572? Various theories abound, creating an almost endless source of fascination for the history-oriented traveller.
Beyond Machu Picchu
Though embarking on a Machu Picchu hike or tour is the pinnacle of any Peru vacation, the historic Inca capital of Cusco, located in the foothills of the Andes, contains fascinating ruins of the Inca Empire, mixed with Spanish colonial architecture. Outside Lima, the Nazca Lines are huge ancient geoglyphs which were designed into the Peruvian desert over 1500 years ago. Varying in size, the largest stretches over 350 metres. Human figures, geometric shapes, and various animals of Peru are traced, including monkeys, spiders, hummingbirds, and fish. The Lines are best viewed from the air, and many Lima tours include memorable plane rides over these mysterious and breathtaking ruins.
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, and is also considered the highest navigable lake in the world at 3,812 metres above sea level. The lake is famous for its tribal communities which exist on many of the tiny floating islands, on both the Peruvian and Bolivian sides of the lake. Visiting these traditional villages gives a timeless glimpse into Peru’s age-old civilizations.
Looking to learn more about Peru’s rich history? Our tours are carefully designed to intrigue history buffs and non-history buffs alike!