PERU

Machu Picchu Discovery (Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes)

Pisac, Peru - December, 2013: Locals in a market in the city of Pisac, in the Sacredy Valley.

Journey back to the time of the Inca with a visit to the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu. High in the Andes, you’ll feel the indisputable energy of Machu Picchu’s stone temples, tombs, homes, ceremonial baths and plazas. Spiritual seekers often come here to perform rituals, and visitors from around the globe come to experience this uniquely sacred place.

Evidence of ancient civilizations and the once glorious Incan Empire remains in the archaeological sites throughout Peru. Other remarkable sites include Ollantaytambo, Moray and the ruins at Pisac in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

The majestic Andean sierra is defined by tall peaks, high plateaus and deep gorges and valleys. Several of the world’s highest peaks are found in this region, as well as Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake with fascinating sites such as Taquille and the Uros floating islands.

The mysterious Nazca lines in the deserts of southern Peru are shallow designs made in the ground by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650. Many depict animals like fish, llamas, monkeys and birds that are best viewed by air.

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Moray Inca's ruins, in Peru

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CHILE

Few places on Earth offer more mystery than Easter Island, a remote group of volcanic islands, home to over 600 stone Moai. The statues’ function, method of creation and means of transportation continue to puzzle scientists today. An Easter Island tour presents the possibility of magic, a sparse yet striking landscape and a glimpse into the lives of the few thousand people who inhabit the island today.

The Atacama Desert covers more than 600 miles of Chile’s northern landscape and is one of the driest place on earth, yet it bursts into blossom every few years after heavy rains. The spectacular scenery of the region includes towering volcanos, otherworldly salt flats in the Valley of the Moon and the pre-Colombian ruins of San Pedro de Atacama.

Patagonia tours offer the chance to visit the far south of South America, an untouched and uninhabited environment. You’ll be awed by the abundant wildlife in these stark plains. The breathtaking peaks in Torres del Paine National Park, some of the most striking and rugged in the world, are a photographer’s dream. The area’s natural wonders make tours to Patagonia popular among trekkers, climbers and adventurers from around the globe.

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Guanaco crossing the river in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile

COSTA RICA

Dirt road leading to the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.

Dirt road leading to the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations in Latin America for good reason. You can hike through a rainforest, unwind in a hot springs spa, see volcanoes, whitewater raft, or just relax on a beautiful beach – all in the same country! Costa Rica is also home to more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity: over 800 species of birds, more than 200 species of mammals, and thousands of butterfly species.

Rising 5,436 feet into the air, Arenal Volcano stands over one of the loveliest and most lush areas of Costa Rica, and provides a gorgeous backdrop to Arenal’s tranquil resorts. Arenal Volcano is active – rising steam and red lava give it an other-worldly glow. The Tabacon Hot Springs, created by the volcanic activity, are not to be missed.

Poás Volcano is a powerful symbol of the geothermal forces that formed Costa Rica. When the mist and clouds part you’ll see the sulfuric, bubbling, green rain fed lake at the bottom, surrounded by smoke and steam rising from fumaroles. Poás is active, but don’t expect to see a full fledged eruption or even any lava flow here, the most recent period of eruptive activity ended in 1954. The volcano provides an excellent if extreme example of the effects of acid rain. Around the caldera, and for several miles downwind, the vegetation is stunted brown and black by the tainted moisture that precipitates from the omnipresent clouds near the peak.

Trails that lead through cloud forest stunted and twisted, not only by volcanic emissions but the rigors of the cold windy high altitude habitat. Lake Botos fills the extinct crater at the end of one trail, and is home to many cloud forest birds including hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers, toucanets, Costa Rica’s national bird the clay-colored robin, and the area’s most famous avian resident, the resplendent quetzal.

Guanacaste‘s hot, dry climate makes the region a popular escape for those suffering cold winter months in the northern latitudes. Its white-sand coast is often regarded as one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful, and the beaches offer many accommodations. Visitors to the region can take surf lessons and enjoy an active nightlife.

So we invite you to hike the volcanos, explore refreshing waterfalls and hot springs, or enjoy a day of relaxation and reading on white sand beaches…Costa Rica has it all!

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Guanacaste landscape from the secondary road 145, Costa Rica

Guanacaste landscape from the secondary road 145, Costa Rica

CUBA

Urban scene in a well known street in Havana

Our imaginations run wild with Caribbean rhythms and passion, vistas filled with breathtaking terrains and colonial architecture, and the mystery of an island few Americans have been able to visit in over 50 years. There is no limit to the depth of the history and culture of Cuba, which is why artists and writers such as Ernest Hemingway were once drawn there.
Unique People to People cultural journeys allow American travelers to experience this elusive island in the most authentic way possible. By engaging with the people of Cuba, meeting them face to face, Americans may gain a better understanding of our neighbors that live only 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

Custom Itineraries may include the following highlights:

  • Visit Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana, where Ernest Hemingway wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
  • Take in the authentic music of the famous Cuban ensemble, the Buena Vista Social Club at Café Taberna, representing the musical spirit of the original 1940s Havana club by the same name
  • Experience the cultural and economic landscape in the Valley of Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage Site layered with green tobacco plantations and studded by limestone caves
  • Witness the lasting impression of Cuba’s colorful history on it’s architecture and 16th century structures in Trinidad
  • Enjoy a performance by the Cienfuegos Choir and the French influenced palaces and mansions in this enchanting colonial city
  • Experience the eclectic assortment of architectural influences in soulful Santiago de Cuba, from the imposing San Pedro de la Roca Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), to the exquisite colonial homes in the historic quarter
  • Explore Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and most important biosphere reserve in the Caribbean basin.
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HAVANA-SEPTEMBER 13:Cuban people in a street leading to the Capitol September 13,2012 in Havana.With 2.4 million inhabitants and 3.7 in its urban area,Havana is the largest city in the Caribbean

View of Hotel Nacional among green palm trees in Havana. Cuba