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Peruvian pollo a la brasa recipe

Flickr: inyucho

Peruvian rotisserie chicken, sometimes called blackened chicken, is one of the most popular dishes in the country. The dish originated in Lima in the 1950s and is often eaten on Sundays with family and friends. When it was first created, it was only the very wealthy that ate pollo a la brasa, but the dish has now become cheap enough for the masses. The chicken is typically served with French fries, salad and a variety of mayonnaise-based and chilli sauces.

Serves: 4
Time: 8 hours

Ingredients

2 kilo chicken, cut into quarters
5 garlic cloves
100 ml soy sauce
2 tbs lime juice
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tps paprika
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbs oil
1 lime, quartered
Seasoning

French fries

Method

Put the soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, cumin, oregano, paprika, pepper and oil into a blend and wizz up into a paste.

Put the chicken into a large mixing bowl and cover in the marinade, rubbing well into every part. Place into the fridge and leave for at least 8 hours, taking it out every half an hour to baste and rub the marinade. If you have the time, 24 hours is even better.

Though this dish can be made in the oven (200°C for one hour), it tastes a lot better by barbecue. Light the barbecue and wait into the flames have disappeared and the coals are grey. Move the coals cover the edge of the barbecue so there is no direct heat on the meat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cover with the lid. Turn every five minutes or so and baste with the remaining marinade. The chicken should be down in around 45 minutes.

Serve in the centre of the table with French fries, a salad, spicy sauces and lime wedges.

Garnish with lime wedges.

LATAM begins new route between Lima and Mendoza

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As part of LATAM’s expansion plans and taking advantage of the newly-refurbished international airport in Mendoza, the airline has started a new direct route between Lima and Argentina’s wine country capital.

Since 2nd February, the airline has been running four direct flights per week between Lima and Mendoza running daily from Friday until Monday. The return journey from Mendoza to Lima runs daily from Thursday to Sunday.

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For those that wish to visit both Peru and Argentina, this cuts out a significant dog leg to Buenos Aires and onward to Mendoza creating a much more efficient route into the country. For those that want a quick stop in Argentina’s wine country before visiting Chile, there are also direct flights onward to Santiago.

Peru and Argentina are two of the most visited countries in Latin America. Between the countries, they have some of the continents highlights including the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Nazca, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Lima, Buenos Aires, the Valdes Peninsula, the Beagle Channel, Iguazu Falls and wine country. The service between Lima and Mendoza opens up a new route to explore both countries while reducing the number of flights and cost.

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Mendoza has a laid-back atmosphere unlike anywhere in Argentina. It’s also got some of the country’s best fine dining restaurants making a stay in the city well worth it. However, be sure to spend a couple of nights in the surrounding countryside, one of the world’s great wine making regions. The hot days and cool nights are the secret to the region’s wine making success. Many of the bodega’s have opened their doors as hotels and small luxury guesthouses. Spend afternoon’s cycling around the vineyards, stopping for tastings. If you visit at the right time, it’s possible to spend a day or two helping collect grapes during the harvest, giving you a deeper understanding on the wine making process.

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For the more adventurous, there are plenty of other activities near Mendoza. Trek up Aconcagua that towers up 6,959 metres above sea level, one of the highest peaks in the Americas. Or try white water rafting in the rivers that cut through the central valley.

In addition to Mendoza, there are other flight hubs now available. From Cordoba there are direct flights to Lima, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Panama and Madrid. From Ushuaia in the south, there are direct flights to Punta Arenas, a popular route for those looking to explore Patagonia in both Chile and Argentina. Since 12th September, LAN Ecuador has been operating a daily service Quito – Lima – Buenos Aires – Lima – Quito. There are also direct flights between Lima and Salta and the resumption of the Lima to Rosario service by LAN Peru.

Want to visit Peru and Argentina? Get in touch with our Latin American travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to discuss your travel plans or see our example tours here.

2017 Latin America travel bucket list

Thinking of travelling to Latin America in 2017? With such a huge area spanning two continents, we thought we’d put together a handy list of the most bucket list worthy things to do in Latin America. From hiking through the Andes to watching turtles on the beaches of Costa Rica, the area really does have something for everyone.

Wander through Tikal, Guatemala

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The ancient ruins of Tikal were built and occupied by the Maya civilization for over a thousand years and is one of the most impressive ruins in all of Latin America. The sprawling complex has over 3,000 structures, some of which are in remarkable good condition. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you wander through the ancient site surrounded by thick jungle and the sounds of howling monkeys and birds.

See penguins in the Antarctic

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One of the most bucket list worthy travel adventures on the planet. Take to one of the limited expedition vessels and head out to explore the white continent. There are plenty of penguin species to see including the cheeky chinstraps and gentoos, and the more impressive kings and emperors, the latter usually requires an adventurous helicopter flight to reach them. There is no where on earth as pristine as the Antarctic. While breathtaking is an overused word, there really is no other way to describe the landscapes of towering icebergs, glistening glaciers and majestic fjords.

Hang glide over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Most visit sun kissed Rio de Janeiro for the relaxed pace where the caipirinhas flow and the beach is always appealing. Inject a little adventure and see the city from a new perspective by taking a hang glide. Don’t worry, you won’t be doing it alone. Your guide will fly while you can take the time to take in the surroundings. Take off from the top of Tijuca National Park forest and glide around getting excellent views of the city, beaches and Christ the Redeemer before effortlessly landing on the beach below.

Hike the Salkantay, Peru

Flickr: vil.sandi

Flickr: vil.sandi

While the Inca Trail has become the most popular hiking route to reach Machu Picchu, visitors often forget that there are many other trails. The Salkantay Trek is much less hiked and arguably more scenic (it’s been voted one of the 25 best hikes in the world). It’s also challenging. Those who take on the trek will have to reach some of the highest parts of the Humantay Mountain crossing passes higher than 6,000 metres. But those who do are rewarded with some extraordinary views of snow-capped peaks.

See the wildlife in the Pantanal, Brazil

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The wildlife in the Pantanal rivals that of the Amazon. The difference is the wildlife in these vast wetlands are much easier to spot than the thick jungle. Visitors first drive down the famous Transpantaneira Road stopping to watch crossing caiman and nearby bird life. Once in the wetlands, visitors can stay at any one of the comfortable lodges and take daily excursions by foot, horseback, boat or 4×4 to see wildlife including giant otters, anacondas, caimans, monkeys, marsh deer, tapirs and many species of bird, herons and egrets to hawks and macaws. It’s even possible to see a jaguar from some of the deeper Pantanal lodges.

Scuba dive off Fernando do Noronha, Brazil

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While South American isn’t known for its marine life as say Asia or Australasia, there are still some excellent spots. Fernando do Noronha Islands lies off the coast of northern Brazil. Here the marine life is abundant and its possible to scuba dive or snorkel with colourful schools of fish, lobsters, manta rays, baby sharks and octopus.

Swim with whale sharks off Holbox Island, Mexico

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Our top pick for things to do in Latin America. Whale sharks visit the Holbox Island off Mexico for just a couple of months each year. These huge behemoths are the largest fish in the world and while it may seem scary to snorkel with huge sharks, they are harmless to humans. These gentle giants open their large mouths to filter krill and plankton from the oceans.

Watch hatching baby turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast are a nature-lovers’ paradise. Cut off from the rest of the country, a plane or boat is the only way to access the region. It’s one of the world’s best places to see green turtles as they come ashore at night to lay their eggs in the sand. Later in the year those young break out of their shells and make the brave journey along the beach to the sea.

Hike to the Lost City, Colombia

Flickr: Andrew Hyde

Flickr: Andrew Hyde

Machu Picchu is undoubtable the most recognizable of ruins in Latin America, but Colombia’s Lost City is just as impressive and with far fewer tourists. To reach the uncrowded ruins, one must take a 4 day hike through thick forest and climb 1,200 steps. Along the way sleep in hammocks in local villages. It’s not unusual to arrive at the Lost City and be the only ones there. Go before this Lost City doesn’t feel quite as lost.

Horse ride with Gauchos in Las Pampas, Argentina

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Whether you are a beginner or advanced rider, all are welcome to visit the Argentine grasslands of Las Pampas. Spend your days with the cowboys of South America, riding through the steppe, rounding cattle, listening to their folklore stories around campfires and sampling some hearty Argentine barbeques. There are plenty of luxurious homestays for those who want a little more comfort on their stay.

To start planning your ultimate bucket list tour of Latin America, speak to one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

10 classic things to do on your first time in Peru

Peru’s fascinating history, excellent cuisine, hiking opportunities and tourism infrastructure make it one of the best countries to visit on your first time in Latin America. But what should you do when you get there? Here are 10 classic things to do when you visit. All of them can be easily be fitted into a three week holiday.

Discover the capital

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While many people skip the capital, those who decide to stay find a cosmopolitan city full of world-class museums, buzzy eateries and excellent nightlife. Wander through the city admiring the striking architecture, people watching from the central plazas and popping into vibrant cafes. By night, the streets are filled with the sounds of Andean and Afro-Latin music. It makes for an excellent introduction to the country. We recommend you stay in the Miraflores (literally translates to ‘Look at the flowers’) district.

Watch condors in Colca Canyon

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An absolute must for wildlife enthusiasts and birders. Head down to Colca Canyon, an impressive canyon which is considerably deeper than the Grand Canyon in the US. If you arrive early, you can observe the huge Amazon condors as they glide on thermals above and below you. They circle overhead surprisingly near.

Fly over the Nazca Lines

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These ancient shapes and markings that have been etched into the desert by an ancient civilisation. The best way to see them is from a small plane. Journeys usually take around 45 minutes and circle the markings from above allowing a perfect aerial view. If you prefer not to fly, some can be seen from a platform, but unsurprisingly, the view is not as good.

Amble through Santa Catalina

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The colourful Santa Catalina convent in Arequipa was only opened to the public in the 1970s, revealing a community sealed away from the world for almost 400 years. It’s an excellent place to while away an afternoon. Nearby, you can also meet Juanita, the well-preserved Inca Ice-Maiden.

Canoe through the Amazon

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Most people think of Brazil when thinking of the Amazon. However, a large chunk of the rainforest sits within Peru. Pristine rainforest inhabited by howler monkeys, sloths, macaws and caiman await. Take a short flight to the steamy port town of Puerto Maldonado and board canoes to head down to one of the many rustic lodges. From here, it’s possible to take walks along the trails, canoe the rivers and scale the canopy towers in such of some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife.

Eat, eat, eat

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Peru has now be recognized as having some of the world’s finest cuisine. It is certainly the most varied within Latin America. When you are by the coast try ceviche, a wonderfully fresh and zingy dish of fresh white fish marinated in citrus juices and chilli. Unsurprisingly, the highlands produce more hearty fare. The brave can try cuy, roasted guinea pig, but there are plenty of other stews and roasted meats for the more squeamish.

Hike the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu

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Many visit Peru solely to hike the famous Inca Trail. Walk in the footsteps of the Incas along the trail that starts near Cuzco and finishes at Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The journey takes around 4 days and although challenging, is made possible by the porters who carry your larger things up the steep climb, make camp and cook food. Always ensure that the tour operator you book through has a porter policy and there has been some abuse in the past.

Ride the Andean Explorer train to Puno

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The best way to get from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca is via the Andean Explorer. The train is operated by Belmond (originally the Orient Express) so is luxurious. The ten-hour journey travels through high Andean countryside. During the journey, travellers can enjoy a three course meal and classic 1920s décor and Pullman carriages. There is also an observation carriage which is clad with glass giving the best possible views. Arrive in Puno, the nearest city to the lake.

Take a boat trip over Lake Titicaca

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Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It will literally take your breath away at over 2 miles above sea level. A hotel near the shores of the lake makes a good base from which to explore. Jump in a boat and head out to the unique floating reed islands of Uros. Here people live and work on what feels like a huge waterbed. The rock island of Taquile is a great place for hiking and is inhabited by a community very different from those on the mainland.

Explore Chan Chan in Trujillo

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If time permits, a visit to the archaeological ruins of Chan Chan are well worth the visit north. These ancient remains of the ancient capital of Chumus is vast, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. A unique insight into life 1,000 year ago.

To start planning your trip to Peru or any place in Latin America contact one of our travel experts on +(0) 207 407 1478 or email us here. Or take a look at our example Peru tours here.

Peruvian arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) recipe

Flickr: canelita0306

Flickr: canelita0306

While chicken and rice might sound boring, this Peruvian dish is anything but. A mouthwatering mix of rice, aji Amarillo paste, vegetables, coriander and golden fried chicken.

Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

4 large organic chicken thighs
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g aji amarillo paste
A handful of spinach leaves
A handful of coriander
200g white rice
50g frozen peas
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 pepper, finely chopped
1 small can of sweet corn
500mls chicken stock
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper
Method

Wash the spinach and coriander and blend together with some water to create a paste.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and fry in a little oil on a medium heat until golden brown. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, add the onion, garlic and aji paste and cook until the onions are soft. Add the blended coriander and spinach paste add the chicken thighs.

Once you have brought everything to the boil reduce the heat and continue to simmer.

Take another pan and add the chicken stock, rice, carrots and corn. Cook for around 30 minutes until the rice has soaked up all the stock, but isn’t overcooked. Towards the end add in the peas for the final few minutes.

When the rice is cooked, add in the chicken thighs and aji paste mix and stir together. Plate everything up and add a little sliced purple onion and coriander over the top. To add a little zing, squeeze over some lemon juice and a few finely chopped chillies.

To try this dish in Peru, call on of our experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here to start planning your trip.

9 beautiful exotic birds from Latin America

The thousands of species and sub-species of birds and the high concentration of endemics in Latin America makes it one of the best continents in the world for bird watching. Here are nine of the most spectacular:

Quetzal

Flickr: lgb06

Flickr: lgb06

These shy colourful birds are often considered one of the world’s most beautiful. Part of the trogon family of birds, they are several sub-species found throughout South and Central America. Those who are interested in birding will certainly have heard of the resplendent quetzal, found in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Guatemala (who even have the image of a quetzal on their flag). Other than the vibrant colours, the resplendent quetzal’s most prominent feature is their long tail plumes.

Lear’s macaw

Flickr: Joao Quental

Flickr: Joao Quental

Also known as the indigo macaw, this parrot is best known for its brightly colour plumage. Found through the Amazonian region of Brazil, the Lear’s macaw can reach up to 75 cms, almost a kilo in weight and can live up to 50 years.

Keel-billed toucan

This iconic bird will be the most familiar, even to those who take little interest in birding. While there are several species of toucan, the keel-billed toucan’s brightly coloured bill make it the most spectacular. Though the large bill may look cumbersome, it’s actually hollow and extremely light making it easy to collect their diet of fruit and eggs.  They are commonly found in Panama and Costa Rica.

Andean cock-of-the-rock

Found in the misty cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes, the bright orange coloured cock-of-the-rock display a very prominent fan-shaped crest. The males gather in groups to create noisy displays in the hope of attracting a female. One of the best spots to see the cock-of-the-rock is in Peru’s Manu region.

Andean condor

Watching the condors glide above and below you in the Colca Canyon is one of South America’s most amazing experiences. It’s an impressive size, with a wingspan of over 3.3 metres. This black new world vulture is a scavenger feeding on the carcasses of dead cattle or deer. Interestingly, the Andean condor is one of the world’s longest living birds reaching over 70 years.

Inca tern

The Inca tern is a seabird that lives along the Pacific coast of Latin America, primarily Peru and Chile, although it can occasionally be found in Ecuador. It’s most distinctive feature is the white moustache and red-orange coloured feet and beak. It’s one of the larger species of terns reaching around 40 cms.

Capped heron

The capped heron is found throughout the rivers, lakes and mangroves of Latin America from Bolivia to Suriname. This almost all-white heron features a black cap and blue facial features and bill. It mainly feeds on frogs, fish and insects which it captures using a slow walking technique.

Waved albatross

Also known as the Galapagos albatross, these large birds have a wingspan ranging from 2.2-2.5 metres. During mating season, usually May, the entire population of waved albatross descend upon Espanola Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Their unique courtship ritual evolves plenty of in bill-circling, sky-pointing, drunken swagger and bill-clapping. The rest of the time they spend along the coast of Peru and Ecuador and live to 45 years.

Curl-crested aracari

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Flickr: Heather Paul

One of the lesser-known toucan species, the curl-crested aracari can be found along the south-western section of the Amazon basin, the Tambopata National Reserve, the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park and the Cristalino State Park. It’s one of the most colourful of the smaller toucan species and one of only three to have red feathers on the nape and shoulders.

To begin organising your birding tour of Latin America, give one of our specialists a call on +44 (0) 207 407 1478, send us a message here.

The oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert

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Five minutes from the southern town of Ica and an hour form Pisco lies the Huacachina, a town tucked away in the rolling folds of the Peruvian desert and wrapped around a real life oasis. This lake between the dunes in the Peruvian desert is no mirage.

RELATED: 10 of the best national parks in Latin America

The oasis has an interesting folklore tale begin it. Legend says the lake was created by a young Peruvian maiden named Huacay China whose betrothed was killed in battle. The maiden ran to the spot where she last saw him and cried until a lake formed around her. When another solider tried to take her for his own, she fled in fear and her folds of her skirt created the waves of dunes. In fear she threw herself into water where she continues to live as a mermaid.

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Today, Huacachina has become a thriving tourism destination with an infrastructure of hotels, restaurants and bars more opening all the time. The large dunes and lake create an outdoor playground for activities including sand boarding, canoeing, kayaking and swimming.

Tourism has put pressure on the lake, with an increasing demand for the water. Conscientious efforts to artificially keep the lake’s levels higher has had a positive effect. The rich sulphuric content which comes from the underground minerals keep the lake at a gorgeous emerald hue and the surrounding palms and eucalyptuses only add to the oasis’ charm.

RELATED: We’ve used thirty years’ experience to create the perfect 2-week holiday in Peru

Huacachina oasis Peru

The main draw for tourists is the excellent dune buggy rides and sand-boarding opportunities. The buggies hold between six and sixteen people and are fortunately protected by a roll cage and experience driver who take great delight in terrifying tourists as they plunge down the high dunes.

Sand-boarding works in much the same way as snow-boarding. Don’t expect a plethora of ski lifts or chairs – you’ll have to take exhausting climbs in the hot Peruvian desert heat to enjoy this adventure sport. However, the thrill is well worth it. If you can’t snow-board, don’t worry at all, you can simply sit on the board and hurtle down instead.

RELATED: Discover tours of Peru

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If all this sounds just too much energy, drop a towel down at the edge of the hotel pool or oasis and take periodical dips in the cool waters. The area makes for a perfect base from which to explore the Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines and nearby Ica.

One of the most interesting parts of the day is when the sun sets over the rolling peaks, the desert comes alive with a sky of psychedelic colours that bounce off the lake.

Want to visit Huacachina and the oasis in the desert? Or thinking about a tour throughout Peru or Latin America? Call us on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 to speak with a specialist, send us a message here or take a look at our Peru tours.

Fascinating Inca ruins to visit nearby Cuzco

Most who visit Cuzco have the aim of wandering through the nearby ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, and for good reason. It’s arguably the most spectacular of all Inca ruins, teetering on a hilltop shrouded by mist. But did you know that there are plenty of impressive Inca sites surrounding Cuzco, many of which are lesser visited that Machu Picchu? Here are 7 of the best:

Sacsayhuaman

This awesome Inca site located on a hill just outside Cuzco is gigantic. When the Spanish first arrived they recorded it as a military base, but it was later used as a place of worship. The structure is made from huge blocks of rock, some reaching metres in length and the largest weighing 125 tons. Try visiting during the Inti Raymi festival.

Q’enka

Another Inca site located just outside the city. These ruins were once dedicated to animals and the main building is formed from a circular amphitheatre. An enormous stone block in the centre reaches almost 6 metres and resembles the image of a puma. Another underground passages are adorned with images of animals and figures.

Tipon

Tipon located just 15 miles from Cuzco was through to once be home to a great population of Incas. The archaeological site has a series of megalithic buildings and a large area of agricultural area made up of terraced that ascend down the mountainside.

Tambomachay

Flickr: Ang

Flickr: Ang

Known as Baños del Inca or Inca’s spa, Tambomachay was a place of great importance to the Incas. The spring provided much of the populations water supply and was housed in walled construction. The water cascades down a series of small waterfalls. Water from the spring was offered to Inti, the god of the sun.

Puca Pucara

Flickr: Alain Rueff

Flickr: Alain Rueff

Located near to Tambomachay on a hilltop, this Inca ruin was used as a military outpost and defensive site for the spring. The circular fort would have once housed a series of inner rooms, turrets, windows and platforms from which the surrounding countryside would be watched.

Moray

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Moray is an archaeological site located about 30 miles away from Cuzco on a high plateau. The sites unusual as it consists of circular terraces and a sophisticated irrigation system. Although it is not clear why they were created in such a way, most agree that it to create the correct growing conditions. The temperature difference within the depressions can be considerably different.

Maras

Another fascinating Inca site, usually visited in combination with Moray, is Maras, a town which is well-known for its terraced salt evaporation ponds. Salty spring water flows into an irrigation system which channels the water over terraced platforms which then dry and leave the salt. They are still in use today.

Want to walk in the footsteps of the Incas? Select Latin America has been creating bespoke holidays to the region for over 30 years. Take a look at our suggested tours of Peru or get in touch with us today to begin planning your Inca adventure.

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