Peru's Southern Coast
Peru is one of the most diverse and fascinating countries on the planet. Of the 117 life zones on earth, 84 can be found here. Because of this, Peru's flora and fauna is some of the most unusual on earth. Scientists are only beginning to grasp just how many species exist and how many are still likely to be discovered. Large areas of rainforest and mountains remain unexplored. It was only in the past few decades that research began on the canopy tops, the upper levels of the rainforest, which have opened up a whole new world of plant and wildlife. As far as history goes, there is more here than anywhere else in the Americas. Most have heard of the Incas and Machu Picchu, but there were many large civilizations here long before the Incas: the Chavín, Chimu, Moche, Wari, Nazca and Paracas. Each group left their mark on the country in some way and their achievements, artifacts, and architecture are more impressive in many ways than that of the Incas. Highlights of the Southern Coast: Wine and Pisco tasting - Sample the world's largest Pisco-producing region and some of the finest wine Peru has to offer. Islas Ballestas - See seals, frigate birds, and Humboldt penguins in the poor man's Galapagos. Santa Catalina Monastery - Walk through the secluded city within a city, one of Peru's most revered Catholic landmarks. Nazca Lines - Take a gut-wrenching flight in a five-seater plane for the best view of the Nazca lines. The Nazca Lines, 22 km/13 miles north of Nazca, were made by removing the darker sun-baked stones and piling them on either side of the line, exposing the lighter soil. Why the lines were made is still open to much debate, but scientists have a fairly good idea of who made them. The Paracas and Nazca peoples are believed to have created the lines between 900 BC to 600 AD. It is also believed that the Huari settlers from Ayacucho made some additions in the seventh century. There are literally hundreds of lines and geometric shapes that stretch for miles, but the animals such as a monkey, dog, spider, whale, and several birds, including a hummingbird with a wingspan of over 100 yards, are the most well-known. There are also images of a tree, hands, and what is thought by some to be an astronaut. Adventure - Trek Colca Canyon, climb El Misti, or raft in Cotahuasi. This guide includes full details on where to stay and eat in Southern Peru, plus what to see and do. Also included is an extensive introduction to Peru as a whole, with information about the history and culture of the country, the cuisine, the arts, the people, the flora & fauna, the parks & reserves, and the 20 top adventures.
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