I returned to Peru in 2011.
With its spectacular location, Machu Picchu is the best-known archaeological site in South America. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.*
The national dance of Peru is the marinera, which has its roots in Peruvian colonial history.*
Other dances include the zamacueca and the vals peruano the later of which is danced by a couple.*
Traditional Peruvian music is a fusion of ingredients, and inter-continental mix of instruments and styles.*
Inhabited for thousands of years, Taquile Island, 35 kilometers east of Puno, is a tiny 7 square kilometer island with a population of around 2000 people.*
This immense ruin of both religious and military significance is the most impressive in the immediate area of Cuzco.*
Built around AD 1300 and covering 28 sq km, Chan Chan is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas, and the largest adobe city in the world.*
For mass produced woolen goods, textiles, pottery, jewelry and other craft souvenirs, head for the vast Centro Artesenal Cuzco.
Belen is a floating shanty town within Iquitos. It consists of scores of huts built on rafts, which rise and fall with the river.*
Performed to musica criolla, the dance is a flirtation between a man and a woman who circle each other in a rhythmic courtship.*
Zapateo (literally, foot-stomping) is a popular black Peruvian dance featuring foot-stomping.*
Pre-Columbian cultures contributed omnipresent bamboo flutes, the Spaniards brought stringed instruments like guitars and violins and the Africans gave it a backbone of fluid percussive rhythm.*
Just 5 kilometers east of Puno's harbour, the unique floating inlands of the Uros people are Lake Titicaca's top tourist attraction. The biggest of the floating islands contains several building, including and over abundance of souvenir shops. The buildings' walls are still made of totora, but some of the roofs are now tin.*
The small port of Puno is by far the most convenient departure pont tomake forays to Lake Titicaca's various islands or to surrounding archaeological sites. Few colonial buildings remain, but the streets are merrily claustrophobic and the markets filled with local women garbed in many-layered dresses and bowler hats.*
Huacas del Sol is the largest single pre-Columbian structure in Peru, although about a third of it has been washed away. The structure was built with an estimated 140 million adobe bricks, many of them marked with symbols representing the workers who made them.*
Intricately woven textiles have an extensive history among both Andean and coastal indigenous cultures.*
Seven thousand people live in Belen, and canoes float from hut to hut selling and trading jungle produce.*
The man uses a straw hat to make way for a woman while she coyly hides her face behind a white handkerchief.*
Ancash is a dance performed in Piscobamba (Ancash Region), on the occasion of the feast of the Virgin of Mercy, on the 25th, 26th and 27 September.*
Every Peruvian town has some celebratory day in which everyone pours into the streets to drink, dance, and eat -- and then drink some more.*
Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake with passenger boat services, and South America's largest lake - over 170km in length and 60km in breadth.*
I took the three day river trip from Santa Rosa to Iquitos.
Things change slowly here. So slowly that local fishermen are still using the very same narrow reed boats depicted on 2000-year-old Moche pottery. The fishermen paddle and surf these neatly crafted boats like seafaring cowboys, with their legs dangling on either side -- which explains the nickname given to these elegantly curving seeds, caballitos de tortora (little horses).*
Cusco is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city. Massive Inca-built walls line steep, narrow cobblestone streets and form the foundations of modern buildings. The plazas are thronged with Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas, and ancient treasures are carefully guarded inside colonial mansions and churches.*
*These captions are from Peru -- Lonely Planet's travel guide.