Inca Trail Hikes and Alternatives

The biggest reason to visit Peru is perhaps to complete the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – but there are plenty of other magnificent sights to see in this unique country, including the breathtaking and mysterious Nazca Lines.

Anyone who has an interest in history or the paranormal will love a visit to Nazca, in the heart of Perus arid landscape. It is located 400 km from the capital Lima, so there is only one reason to come to this area of the country and that is to see for yourself the fantastic, huge lines etched in the desert that can only really be appreciate from above.

What are they?

There are lots of mysteries and theories surroundings this site. The shapes cover more than 450 sq km and are thought to have been created between 500 BC and 500 AD. The figures which can be several kilometres long create images of (include) plants, animals and other pictures.

While some people believe their purpose was related to astronomy, others think there is a more supernatural reason behind their existence, especially as they are so large that their shapes can only really be seen from above such as in a spaceship.

How were they made?

As much as the reason behind their existence remains a mystery, so too does the explanation as to how they were completed so successfully and on such a large scale. However, it is widely believed that two different methods were used to create the geoglyphs, depending on the age of the shapes.

The oldest lines were crafted between 500 and 300 BC by piling stones on top of each other to create these images. After this between 200 BC and 500 AD the lines were made by removing a layer of gravel from the ground, which resulted in the shapes being a lighter colour than the surrounding desert.

When taking a look at the shapes, you might be interested to know that the animal figures birds, a monkey, a lizard and a killer whale, for instance were made in the older period using the original method. The shapes that were created more recently include straight lines across the landscape. Some of these create geometric images, such as triangles, while others are perfectly straight lines measuring several kilometres in length.

How to see them

If you were to walk beside the Nazca Lines, youd probably not really be able to notice the impression of the shapes in the land, with some only being as shallow as 10 cm deep. Whats more, they are so massive in size, you’d have to hike many kilometres before you walked around just one shape.

As a result of this, the best and easiest way to see the Nazca Lines is by light aircraft. There are many tour operators offering short flights over the shapes and, by hopping into one of these planes, you’ll be able to fly over the desert and appreciate the images in their full glory.

Soaring over figures such as the hummingbird and the giant which does in fact look a bit alien-like youll certainly agree the entire site is rather intriguing, and immensely mysterious. Whats more, the fact that weather conditions, human interference and natural disasters haven’t altered the shapes of the 900 geoglyphs for more than 2,000 years is rather spectacular in itself especially for the incredibly detailed images like the monkeys long, spiralling tail!

Visiting the Beauty of Machu Picchu

Enjoy travel and mystery? Why not combine the two by visiting Machu Picchu? As one of the most popular sites for tourists in Peru, this ancient Inca site offers breathtaking scenery, marvelous architecture and intriguing question marks.

Surrounded by high mountains and misty clouds, Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca site in Peru that lures visitors from all over the world with its exceptionally well preserved architecture and many unanswered mysteries. What was its purpose? What happened to its residents? How could such an extraordinary city be constructed so high up in the mountains? Though Machu Picchu presents more questions than answers, check out its fascinating features.

Believed by many to have been a totally self-sufficient city, Machu Picchu houses many unspoiled structures including temples, water fountains, baths, palaces and more than 150 residential houses. The site is also noted for its amazing stairway of 100 steps, all of which are constructed from one enormous rock of granite. The ruins also give evidence of farm terraces and an advanced irrigation system that supplied spring water to each of the houses.

Machu Picchu appears to have been constructed much like the Egyptian pyramids, by transporting enormous stone blocks up steep hills and over long distances. Many of these stones weigh approximately 50 tons.

One of Machu Picchus most intriguing elements is its Intihuatana stone. A ritual structure designed to coincide with the annual solstices and equinoxes like many others of its kind in South America, the Intihuatana stone shines significantly different. Because of its complete condition, the ceremonial stone provides confirmation to historians and researchers that Machu Picchu was never discovered by Spanish explorers since all other such edifices were usually defiled or destroyed by the Spanish.

Translated as hitching post of the sun, the Intihuatana stone presents another interesting feature. Situated in a precise location, the sun actually appears to be sitting on the stone during the spring and autumn equinoxes as if it was indeed hitched to it.

Theories about Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is believed to have been built around 1450 AD. Although the locals knew of its existence, the site was made world known in 1911 when Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, discovered it. After finding the remains of more than 100 human skeletons at the site, Bingham believed many of them were female and speculated that Machu Picchu might have been used as either a sort of harem or convent in which women were kept to serve the Inca leader.

Following the many years after Binghams discovery, many archaeologists and historians have theorized that Machu Picchu was initially constructed as a military fortress. Others believe it was used as a royal estate. It is also estimated that approximately 1,000 people resided in the ancient city and may have all died from small pox within a period of 100 years following its construction.

There are only two ways to reach Machu Picchu. One is by hiking, which can take days. The other way is to take the four hour train tour from Cusco. The train offers visitors food as well as stunning views of Perus amazing landscapes.

Travel to Sao Paulo on a Small Budget

Things to do in Sao Paulo when on a very tight budget may seem an unrealistic task; however, there are many exciting things to do, and many are free. Sao Paulo has many incredible features, which is why more people than ever before are exploring this exciting city. With a high level of cultural diversity, you will never find yourself bored whilst visiting Sao Paulo.

In the current climate, people are searching for ways to save money, and find things to do whilst on holiday that are cheap, or free. You will be amazed at how many different things there are to do, which will cost you very little or nothing. Taking the time to research what is available throughout the city, will ensure that your weekend is packed with exciting adventures.

Exploring the city is fascinating, and one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo when on a very tight budget. You can easily jump on and off the extensive metro system, and explore the diverse neighborhoods. Liberdale, which is home to the Nikkei, is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city. The architecture and decoration is fascinating to explore, and you will very quickly see the Japanese influence.

The Cathedral da Se is beautiful, and regardless of your religious beliefs it is well worth taking the time to admire this incredible building. The Neo-Gothic design is breathtaking, and you will find yourself simply stopping to stare. Over 8000 people can fit inside the cathedral, and during busy periods this number is put to the test.
However, you can visit the crypts underneath, which are far quieter.

If you want to experience a birds eye view of the city, there is no better place than the Edifício Altino Arantes. Climbing this building is one of things to do in Sao Paulo when on a very tight budget, and will provide you with a magnificent view. Standing at 161 meters tall, the building has 32 floors to climb before, you reach the observation area. It is free to enter the building; however, you will need a huge amount of patience as it can take some time to get to the top.

If you enjoy shopping on a budget, or simply to browse, you will enjoy the municipal market, which is open every day of the week, from 6am until early evening. Within the market, you will find a huge array of different produce. Local foods are on offer at incredible prices, and you can simply wander if you do not want to purchase. Many of the stalls will offer you tasters, which can be an enjoyable way to spend a day.

Located within the busy city is the Parque do Ibirapuera, which is the largest green space in Sao Paulo. This beautiful park is ideal to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets and markets and is the one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo when on a very tight budget. There are several landmarks throughout the park to explore, and the serpentine walkway will guide you on your journey.