Cradle to the vast Incan Empire, the largest in pre-Colombian America,
Peru's power and gold attracted the Spanish conquistadors who used it to
fund their own vast empire in the Americas. As a result, colonial gems
like magnificent Cusco were built on Incan foundations, making for a
fascinating hybrid culture. Peru is peppered with Incan sites, but none
so famous as the "lost city" of Machu Picchu, whose breathtaking image
seems to grace every brochure and travel book. Peru has been blessed
with natural gifts as well: a huge chunk of Amazon rainforest falls
within its bounds, and visitors can hike through jungle, trek in the
Andes, and surf the northern beaches all in the same week. Cap it off
with Lake Titicaca, one of the highest lakes in the world, and you've
only just begun to scratch the surface.
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