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Peru: All the World's Beauty in One Magnificent Country

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Andean peaks pierce the spectacular blue sky. Fertile valleys drape across a landscape dotted with simple farms roamed by llamas and overseen by graceful condors taking wing. A lush rainforest harbors riverside camps accessible only by boat. Arid desert sands hold secrets of the ancients. On a pristine lake, manmade islands made of reeds support entire communities. And the Pacific kisses the shores of cosmopolitan cities.

It's been said that all the natural beauty of the world is concentrated in Peru. So it's little wonder that the small country is welcoming more than 3 million travelers this year, and has been ranked one of the top places to live among expats. What's more, with Peru hosting the 2019 Pan-American Games, its capital city of Lima is being bolstered by a $20 billion infrastructure investment. But it's not only the nation's breathtaking vistas and its upcoming role in a major sporting event that draws so many visitors. It's also the Peruvians themselves, warm and welcoming people who love sharing their rich culture, long history, and astonishing archaeological sites.

There are so many reasons to visit Peru, but perhaps none so appealing as the reviews of travelers who have experienced its wonders firsthand. Among the readers of Travel + Leisure, Cuzco and Lima have been ranked among the Top 10 Cities in Latin America. And four regions visited by Gate 1—Cuzco, Lima, Arequipa and Urubamba—have been ranked the Top Destinations in South America as part of TripAdvisor's prestigious 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards.

It is truly a magnificent destination. And Gate 1 Travel's endlessly enthusiastic and professional Peruvian Tour Managers are thrilled to introduce you to their country—all at value you won't find anywhere else.

Ponder the Mysteries of Ancient Sites

In Northern Spain, 2 Centers of Historic ArchitectureAny discussion about Peru must begin with Machu Picchu. This miniature city straddling a saddleback mountain above the Sacred Valley is one of the world's great mysteries. Ever since Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911 on an expedition for Yale University, scholars have pondered its purpose without ever coming to a conclusion. But of course you don't need to be an archaeologist to appreciate its magnificence.

The ancient site is accessible only by foot or by train. Remarkably, the rail journey passes through as many ecological zones as you would experience on a trip from the North Pole to the equator. Upon arrival, you'll find 100 acres of meticulously built buildings, terraces, and stairways, all gloriously preserved. But the questions about what Machu Picchu was—a royal retreat or a spiritual sanctuary?—are often trumped by the larger question of how on earth it got here: How exactly did the mighty Inca Empire haul these colossal stones to this ridge?

We may never know. But it's a mystery that asserts itself everywhere in and around the Sacred Valley, also known as Urubamba, the seat of Inca power in the 15th and 16th centuries. The salt pans of Maras and the crop circles of Moray provide more insight into the agricultural tradition of this magnificent valley. Ollantaytambo is perhaps the region's best preserved Inca fortress, constructed of massive and brilliantly engineered stones. Here, you get a truly authentic glimpse of an Inca town, thanks to its original layout, irrigation system, and houses. Outside of Cuzco, the impressive sites of Saqsaywaman and Kenko seem built by gods, so large and intricately laid are the rocks that comprise their structures. And if you need more evidence of the engineering genius of the Inca, consider the Qhapaq Nan Roads, recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This vast network of roadways covers some 18,600 miles and once connected the farthest reaches of their empire, from Argentina to Bolivia, from Ecuador to Colombia.

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All prices are per person based on twin occupancy. Prices are valid as of October 23, 2014 and subject to change without notice. Book by November 6, 2014. Not valid on existing reservations.