Peru: The Incas, and All That

Pisac’s market offers an extensive array of choices for the shopper. All photos by Nadine Godwin.

CUSCO, Peru — I visited Peru, backpacker style, in the 1970s when I had friends based there in the Peace Corps. I returned in late 2011 with a small press group for an update on some of Peru’s touristic high spots. In the intervening 30-plus years, the South American country suffered from a deadly Maoist insurgency that cost thousands of lives while scaring tourists away from a fascinating destination. The insurgency’s leader was captured in 1992, and his movement fizzled soon after. Tourists and business travelers have since returned in significant numbers. From my standpoint (as the perpetual tourist!), Peru was much as I remembered it despite significant changes that, as far as I could tell, were mostly for the better. [Read more…]

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Lima and Arequipa: Gifts from the Conquistadors

Peru’s Presidential Palace, located on the Plaza Mayor in the heart of Lima’s historic district.

LIMA, Peru — Peru’s two largest cities, Lima, the capital, and Arequipa, were essentially creations of the Spanish conquistadors. Their historic city centers date from the 16th century and appear on UNESCO’s list of historic sites.

I visited both during a recent press trip. It had been more than 30 years since I had seen either so it was about time I revisited and updated old memories. The refresher course was admittedly quick, but enlightening. [Read more…]

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