There’s a place on my travel wish list that has fascinated and intrigued me since I first discovered its existence. A place of ancient civilizations, mountain-top ruins and home to one of mankind’s greatest mysteries. A place where you’ll find snow-capped mountains, the world’s deepest canyons and a vibrant swathe of dense tropical rainforest. Where the people are welcoming, creative and colourful and a country whose capital is considered to be one of the best cuisine destinations in the world. Here are some of the reasons why Peru is calling me.
History – Machu Picchu and the Inca Civilizations
The blend of history and mystery of Machu Picchu, iconic ruins set high in the Andes, have long mesmerised me. I dream of gazing down on its remote beauty and connecting with the energy of the ancient Inca civilization that once lived here. Discovered a little over a century ago, the terraces, ramps and walls of the mysterious citadel are invisible from below. Set high in lush, green scenery with a backdrop of misty mountains Machu Picchu is just one reason Peru is my dream holiday destination.
Culture – The Peruvian People
Many Peruvian people have direct links to their Inca roots and it’d be fascinating to meet people from Peru, from a culture so different from my own and learn about their centuries-old customs and traditions. Markets are the perfect place for interacting with local people while buying souvenirs and trying out street food and I’d love to get to know the people of Peru whilst buying some of their handiwork. Some of the most well-known crafts in Peru are the colourful textiles. A visit to Pisac market to see first-hand how the Peruvian women weave the intricate, colourful patterns that make up the artisan fabrics so intrinsic to the character of the country would be a highlight.
Mystery – The Nazca Lines
The Nazca lines are outlines of animals, birds and lines of geometric shapes etched into the desert floor. The geoglyphs are so vast that they can only properly be seen from the air but the mystery is that the lines were created thousands of years ago – way before the invention of flight. Nobody really knows what the mysterious shapes represent but theories range from astronomical calendars, religious or fertility symbols or that they point to water sources. Who knows if we’ll ever discover what they mean but I’d love to see them for myself.
Cuisine – Ceviche and Pisco Sours
Lima is considered the culinary capital of South America. Dishes are created using local ingredients and traditions fused with diverse influences from the immigrant populations of Spain, Japan, China, Italy and West Africa. Food is spicy; think ceviche, a delicious dish of raw fish cured in citrus juices sometimes with an added coriander and chilli hit. I’d love to sample these Peruvian favourites in their native home and discover some of Peru’s street food too. I’ll probably give the local delicacy of guinea pig a miss – how could anyone eat those cute little guys?
The national drink is Pisco, a brandy, distilled from grapes and grown in the Ica region south of Lima. The Pisco Sour is a popular cocktail made from a combination of Pisco, lime juice, egg white and syrup.
Adventure and Wildlife – The Amazon Rainforest
Two-thirds of Peru’s entire land mass is covered by rainforest, much of it unspoiled and waiting to be explored, which I’d do by taking an Amazon River cruise. The country has some of the world’s most bio-diverse areas, including Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, a protected area of flooded forests. It’s home to some iconic Amazon species and I love to see wildlife in its natural habitat. I’d be on the lookout for pink river dolphins, giant otters, macaws and sloths. I’d want to learn how Peru protects its rainforests and why they’re such an essential part of our planet.
Finally, I’d like to meet one of these weird looking creatures to decide whether they’re really as goofy as they look…
Llama at Machu Picchu
So, these are just some of the reasons why Peru is my dream holiday destination and it’s my entry for the Travelex #dreamholiday competition. What’s your dream holiday for 2016?
Photo Credits below are all licensed and available for use under Creative Commons
Lake in Cordillera Blanca, Peru - Happy Go Lucky Bazarov Flickr
Machu Picchu - Bruce Tuten Flickr
The People of Peru - Alexander Schelmmeck Flickr Nazca Lines - Mr Mularella Flickr
Amazon Rainforest - Ivan Mlinaric Flickr
Llama at Machu Picchu - Creative Commons: Flickr: ewarwoowar