Until 2015, Mountain Vinicunca was only known to a handful of local Quechua communities in the Peruvian Sierra del Sur. Just a few years later, it has become one of the trendiest places to be featured on Instagram, and a top destination in the Cusco region, receiving hundreds of tourists per day, and rightly so. The multi-colored slopes of the former glacier look just as stunning in real life as in the glamourous photos and have justly earned it a new name: the Rainbow Mountain.
Majestic yet incredibly serene, the Sacred Valley of the Incas should be on the bucket list of every traveler visiting the Cusco region. Nestled between the awe-inspiring Andes peaks, this scenic valley boasts the largest number of historical Inca sites in Peru and breathtaking mountain landscapes. While Machu Picchu is, of course, the most famous and best-preserved landmark in the area, there are many other less-known but equally important ruins, which you can add to your traveling experience. The valley is also home to the native Quechua communities that still lead a traditional lifestyle. Meeting them can take you a few hundred years back in time when the world was so different.
There is no other lake so deeply steeped in myths and legends as the famed Lago Titicaca in South America. In many ways, this natural wonder is unique. If one needs to describe it, only the superlatives come to mind: the deepest lake located in the high mountains, the largest freshwater lake in South America, the highest navigable lake in the world, and, of course, the most mysterious lake on our planet.
Lying on the south-eastern shore of the legendary Titicaca Lake, Tiwanaku Archeological Site is the only living testimony to one of the most powerful empire states in pre-Columbian America. Today, little is known about the people who inhabited the area 1000 – 1500 years ago. A lot of what is known is surrounded by myths and fantasies. However, no matter how scarce and incomplete the remaining physical evidence is, it attests to the greatness of civilization that was advanced beyond its age.
Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, Tiwanaku has been a site of extensive excavations for more than 100 years. Even though the remaining ruins do not have the grandeur of Machu Picchu, visiting Tiwanaku on a one-day tour from La Paz is a must, particularly, if you are a history geek or, like me, fascinated with ancient indigenous cultures. There are a few things that will definitely keep you wondering about the secrets of this mysterious civilization.