Peru

December 10, 2009

Off to Lima!

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Spend an extra day in LimaIE Creative Services Editor Emily Harley spent Thanksgiving on our Amazon River tour! Now she shares thoughts on this unique small-ship adventure aboard La Amatista.

Let me first start by saying, you absolutely MUST fly in to Lima a day early to give yourself time to recover from late flights and to have a day to absorb the parks, architecture and food (yum!). And all of that can be done within a few blocks of the Swissôtel!

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IE Creative Services Editor Emily Harley spent Thanksgiving on our Amazon Voyage! Now she shares thoughts on this unique small-ship adventure aboard La Amatista.

In the days since I returned from our Amazon cruise, everyone has asked the same question, "What was the best part?"

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Guests on last week's Amazon River tour spotted six primate species: brown capuchins, red howlers, monk sakis, night monkeys, squirrel monkeys and even pygmy marmosets!

The pygmy marmoset (pictured right) is the smallest monkey and – unlike other monkeys – have claws.

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Researchers and archaeologists from the French Institute of Andean Studies and the University of Cambridge have determined that deforestation allowed floods to wipe out the Nazca culture, famous for their huge line drawings on the plateaus of the Ica Valley. Barren today, the Ica Valley was once an oasis, but environmental depredation and population growth led to the culture's downfall. The key to this once fertile valley was a tree called the huarango, which can live for more than 1,000 years and has roots as deep as 180 feet.

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A team of archaeologists has discovered 12 graves and pre-Columbian earthen enclosures at the archaeological site of Qata Ccasapata Llacta in Cusco. Seven of the graves have been perfectly preserved, while others have been looted.

The site is thought to have been a village for those serving the Inca elite or as a place of worship. However, the Qata Ccasapata Llacta - a Quechua phrase meaning "Village at the summit where it is cold" - dates back to the Killke culture in 12th century A.D.

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Guests on our September 18 Amazon river tour have already spotted some rarities this week during their daily excursions, including a Hawk Eagle and River Otters! Everyone at the home office hope the lucky folks aboard La Amatista have more extraordinary sightings.

Giant River Otter Facts: This South American River Otter is the world's largest - up to six feet long - and only lives in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata river systems. 

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Researchers from the Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of California, Berkeley have recently described three new species of high-elevation frogs from Peru. These new frog species we found in the cloud forests north of the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, Manu National Park and the upper Marcapata valley.

Unlike most other amphibian species, these three species have no tadpoles; the eggs hatch into froglets.

Read the Complete Story 

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Caral is the newest addition to Peru’s collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Found on the northern coast, south of Trujillo, the 5,000 year-old archaeological marvel sits on a dry desert terrace overlooking the green Supe River valley.

Dating to 2900 B.C., Caral is the oldest city in the Americas. The center of an area featuring large, truncated pyramids, archaeologists believe around 3,000 people lived in Caral.

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