Peru
The Route

PERU

Peru is a country in western South America.  It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes Mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 29.5 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians.  The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages.  This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

I will enter Peru twice.  The first time will be when I get off the boat at the end of my Amazon River trip.  I will then do a quick short ride north to Ecuador.  After leaving Ecuador I will enter Peru a second time and ride south along the coast.  I will ride to Lima and continue south along most of the country.  I eventually start riding east to reach Cuzco.  In Cuzco I will visit the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.  From Machu Picchu I will ride south to Lake Titicaca.  At Lake Titicaca I will enter Bolivia at La Paz. 

Nazca Lines - An archaeological site you simply could not invent if you tried.  The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.  They were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.  The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 km between the towns of Nazca and Palpa or about 400 km south of Lima.  (A geoglyph is a large design produced on the ground and typically formed by rock or similarly durable elements of the geography, such as stones, stone fragments, gravel, or earth.)

The lines are shallow designs made in the ground by removing the ubiquitous reddish pebbles and uncovering the whitish ground beneath.  No one knows how the ancient Nazca pulled this off, but they have mapped out 800 geoglyphs.  Hundreds are simple lines or geometric shapes; more than seventy designs of animals such as birds, fish, llamas, jaguar, monkey, or human figures.  These geoglyphs are suspected to be at least 2000 years old and they cannot be seen from the ground.

Machu Picchu - Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 meters above sea level.  Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco Region of Peru and is 80 km northwest of the city of Cusco.  Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472).  Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.