Nestled high above the Urabamba Valley in Peru, nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, lies the ruins of a centuries old Incan city. The complex was built in the 15th century but remained unknown to the outside would until 1911. It is perhaps the most well known icon of this once great civilization, and has become an incredibly popular tourist destination.
Having escaped the destruction of early Spanish invaders and now with the protection of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an official Peruvian Historical Sanctuary, this culturally significant find is largely intact. To give visitors a more accurate idea of how it may have originally appeared, reconstruction and preservation has been done on some key buildings. To further limit wear, the number of visitors to the complex and the famous trail that leads to it, are limited.
The Temple of the Sun, The Inti Watana and The Room of the Three Windows are the primary structures of this complex. The city planners separated the other buildings based on whether they served urban, religious or agricultural needs. Everything is so well laid out to flow with the natural surroundings and get the most effective use of how the land flows, creating a stunningly seamless vista.
The second half of this combo package is an incredible wonder of nature that makes the spot where Brazil and Argentina touch, truly amazing. Perhaps one of South America's most breathtaking scenic pleasures, the contrast between crystalline water and lush green jungle is stunning. It takes more than 250 waterfalls of different widths and heights, working together to create this masterpiece.
To get an idea of just how massive this display is, the incredible Niagara waterfall configuration is shorter and less than half the width. Most of these cascades in the South American complex are located in Argentina, which means visitors viewing from the Brazilian perspective are treated to a stunning scenic array. Fantastic mists that give the jungle a haunting appearance are created as the falling water crashes into the waiting river.
There are several ways in which one may enjoy, and fully experience the wonder of this natural phenomena. Visitors may take one of five well paved paths that allow for some incredibly awesome views. Trains run routes with stops at key viewing points but the most impressive option is to join a specialized boating excursion, several of which will actually take passengers under the cascading curtains of water.
A vacation that includes visits to both the ruins of an ancient civilization and an incredibly majestic span of waterfalls is something one will not soon forget. The beauty of nature and the unique glimpse into the past are well worth the trip to South America. Travel needs and accommodations will be arranged and there will be ample opportunities to experience the unique styles that are the Peruvian, Argentine and Brazilian cultures.
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