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Favorite Part of Peru: The Food

Favorite Part of Peru: The Food

We asked fellow travelers and SA Expedition team members to tell us about their favorite part of Peru. Today’s post comes from the talented food expert and blogger Morena who writes about Peruvian cuisine. “What is your favorite part of Peru?” When I was asked this question I thought I could come up with a million answers, and the truth is, I did.  So let me reformulate the question to "What is one of your favorite parts of Peru?" This way I won't feel bad to leave all the other beautiful and soulful places I have in mind out of my answer. Markets are definitely at the top of my favorite things about my colorful country. I have lived in many places, and wherever I go, one of the first things I do is explore the markets. For me, getting to know the local food is one of the best ways to learn about the culture, traditions... even politics of the place. There's certainly a special place in my heart for Peruvian markets, because of the magnificent diversity found in them. My favorite …
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12 Places to Go in South America

12 Places to Go in South America

It’s 12-12-12! Oh my! Sure, last year we had an 11/11/11 and the year before a 10/10/10—but next year you won’t be seeing a 13/13/13. So in honor of this quirk of the calendar, we’re listing our favorite 12 places to go in South America. Our regular readers already know the entire team at SA Luxury Expeditions has been to Machu Picchu, so we left that one off the list. Here are 12 other awesome South America destinations our team has visited and can recommend from firsthand experience. Get ready to add to your bucket list, because you’re going to want to see these places for yourself. In no particular order... 1. Patagonia, Glacier National Park Patagonia covers an area the size of Texas and is split between Chile and Argentina on the southern tip of South America. Full of fjords, glaciers, and pampas, it’s the ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts. On the Argentinean side is Glacier National Park, home to 47 glaciers including the Perito Moreno and Upsala glaciers. Our co-founder …
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Wednesday Wanderlust - Misty Corcovado

Wednesday Wanderlust - Misty Corcovado

Happy Wednesday Wanderlust! A perfect picture to prove you don’t need clear skies for magnificent views. Admire more photos of Rio de Janeiro on our Pinterest board, read more about the city in our blog posts, or visit Rio de Janeiro for yourself!
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Favorite Part of Peru Series

Favorite Part of Peru Series

As someone who currently calls Peru home, picking a part of Peru to hold up on a pedestal and call my favorite is difficult. I love that I can travel a few hours outside of Lima and visit the oldest civilization in the Americas—dating back to 3,000 years BC!—and that I can take off from the second largest desert city in the world (Lima) and land in largest tropical rainforest in the world (the Amazon) and still be in the same country. I love exploring known places, such as the Sacred Valley, and those off the beaten path, such as Canta. If I had to choose my favorite places in Peru, the Sacred Valley springs to mind. I had the most wonderful day hiking up to and around the Pisac ruins, even though I got caught in the rain; and was fascinated during a visit to Maras and Moray—one excursion I strongly believe requires a private guide to get the most out of the experience. The Amazon Rainforest is also firmly planted in my mind. I’ve yet to visit Iquitos (that’s a few months away!) but …
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Peru Podcast - Featuring SA Luxury Expeditions

Peru Podcast - Featuring SA Luxury Expeditions

Anyone who has met Nick Stanziano, a co-founder of SA Luxury Expeditions, knows he is a talker. So when we had the opportunity to share some Peru travel insights and information with the Amateur Traveler podcast, we knew just who to send. The Amateur Traveler is an award winning blog featuring a weekly hour-long travel podcast. During his interview, Nick discusses the history of Peru, must-see destinations, and shares insights into Peruvian culture. You can visit the Peru podcast page here, or listen to the embedded audio below: [audio:http://media.amateurtraveler.com/amtravmp3/349AmateurTraveler.mp3] Here’s a cheat sheet for topics throughout the conversation. For further information on specific topics, the links take you to our relevant blog articles. 3:00 – What brought Nick to Peru 4:30 – Early Human Civilizations in Peru ““Mesopotamia of the Americas” 6:50 – Inca Trail discussion 7:30 – Must see locations during a week in Peru; focus on Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley 1 …
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Tracing Peru's Human History Around Ayacucho

Tracing Peru's Human History Around Ayacucho

It’s easy to forget that people were in Peru long before the Incas. The Inca Empire expanded at such an astounding rate not because of increased population, but because it incorporated civilizations that were already there. Evidence of humans in Peru dates back to 12,000-8000 BC and evidence of civilization in Peru dates back to 3000 BC in Caral—which is also the oldest civilization center discovered in all the Americas. Though experts dispute the exact date of origin, one of the oldest sites in Peru is Pikimachay Cave. There is little to see in this cave, located outside of the highland city of Ayacucho, other than an impressive view of the expansive Peruvian interior. But it was here some of the earliest evidence of human civilization was discovered, including signs of agriculture. Pikimachay Cave is more a symbol of human evolution than an actual attraction in itself. Tours tend not to visit this site, and travelers must ask combi (small mini buse) drivers to drop them off on the …
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Popular South American Desserts

Popular South American Desserts

As our friends in the United States enjoy pumpkin pie and other Thanksgiving classics, we’re thankful for the abundance of diverse desserts served across South America. Here are some of our favorites: Peru Picarones – This popular street food looks like a doughnut but tastes similar to a funnel cake.  The dough is made from a combination of sweet potatoes and squash seasoned with spices such as anise and cinnamon. They’re fried and served with a drizzle of molasses syrup. Mazamorra morada – If you ever eat at a Peruvian menu (which serves a set meal including starter, main, and dessert), you’re sure to stumble across mazamorra morada. Made from Peruvian purple corn, the dish is served cold and has a gooey texture. Maracuya cheesecake – Maracuya, also called passion fruit, is a popular addition to Peruvian drinks and desserts. Maracuya cheesecake is common in Lima and Cuzco, and visitors are likely to enjoy the exotic taste on a familiar dessert. …
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Wednesday Wanderlust - Skiing in Santiago.

Wednesday Wanderlust - Skiing in Santiago.

Who wants to go skiing outside of Santiago? Just a few hours from Chile’s capital city, snow-covered slopes beckon athletic locals and visitors alike. This Wednesday Wanderlust photo is from La Parva, a popular Chilean ski town and resort. Ski season in Chile runs from June through October.
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Lonesome George: Maybe Not so Lonely?

Lonesome George: Maybe Not so Lonely?

Last June, when the beloved giant Galapagos tortoise known as Lonesome George died, the world mourned not only him, but also the loss of an entire subspecies. Lonesome George was commonly believed to be the last living member of the Pinta Island tortoise family, and his death became a symbol of shrinking biodiversity as the world lost yet another species to extinction. For decades, scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Station had tried to tempt Lonesome George into breeding with female tortoises of similar genetic makeup to create hybrid offspring, who would carry at least part of the Pinta genetic code. But all attempts were unsuccessful, and Lonesome George remained lonely. But now, a new study from researchers at Yale University shows that perhaps Lonesome George was never alone, but simply separated. Baby tortoise at the Charles Darwin Research Station, part of the Galapagos tortoise breeding program. After collecting DNA from more than 1,600 giant tortoises, researchers …
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Inca Trail Breakdown: Length and Day-by-Day Itinerary

Inca Trail Breakdown: Length and Day-by-Day Itinerary

How long is the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail is 25,000 miles long, spanning the entire Inca Empire—but don’t worry, you won’t be trekking that far. Although it’s a bit of a misnomer, when most people think of the “Inca Trail” they’re picturing the classic 4-day hike that starts in the Sacred Valley and enters Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate on the final day. This Inca Trail is 28 miles (45 km) start to finish. The distance isn’t difficult. It is the altitude that some trekkers have problems with, and the steep inclines and descents are the main challenge. However, even these obstacles can be overcome with personal determination, pre-trek acclimatization in Cuzco, and embracing the assistance of personal porters and hiking poles. The distance and itinerary of the classic 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are as follows: Day 1 – 6.8 miles After transportation from Cuzco, hikers breakfast in the tiny village of Piscacucho which contains the start of the Inca Trail at KM 82 The first …
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