The Most Remarkable Highlights of Peru

This was where the famous Inca Empire once flourished which was established as early as the 15th century AD. This is why Peru enjoys hosting some of the most amazing monuments.

The Spanish forces took control of this region during the 16th century. After the independence of the country in 1821, it witnessed a state of disturbances until it reached the country we view today. We will be highlighting some of the most interesting destinations never to be missed by travelers who tour Peru.

The City of Lima

Lima is the capital of Peru, the largest city of the nation, and the cultural, industrial, and commercial hub. With a population of 9 million inhabitants, it is the fifth largest city in Southern America. Several travelers who spend their vacation in Peru enjoy a couple of days in Lima.

Nicknamed as the city of the kings, Lima was established in 1535. The city hosts a number of interesting monuments. This is in addition to its fine cuisine offering wonderful tasty traditional dishes. Lima is also famous for its exotic nightlife with many cultural events, exhibitions, and concerts held in the city. A visit to Lima is a must for any tourists who travel to Peru.

The Sacred Valley

Situated in the heart of the former Inca Empire, the Scared Valley is located near the city of Cuzco today. During the period of the Inca, the inhabitants of the valley dig many basins for the steaming of salt, to obtain fresh water through a rather primitive yet brilliant process. This was the main reason why travelers who tour Peru still view these large square shaped basins that were established thousands of years ago. The valley also hosts some of the ruins and antiquities left by the Inca Empire.

The City of Cusco

Cusco was once the most important centers of Peru. This was where the Inca Empire priests worshiped the sun and left many impressive monuments that amaze traveler coming from all over the world to spend a holiday in Peru.

The Spanish occupied the city in 1533 and Francisco Pizarro González, the famous Spanish army leader and conquer officially established the city in the middle of the 16th century. The Spanish was clever to found a new city on the ruins of the great buildings of the Inca Empire. Today the city welcomes hundreds of tourists who travel to Peru as it is considered among the most remarkable touristic destinations in the country.

The ancient town of Chan Chan

Built out of limestone, Chan Chan was the largest and most impressive towns of Latin America, before Columbus discovered the continent. The city is now full of tourists who enjoy their holidays in Peru for hosting a large number of quite remarkable monuments. Established in 850 AD, the Inca took control of town for more than 500 years and they added their contributions to the constructions of the city as well.

The city of Mancora

Located at the Northern shores of the country, Mancora is featured with some of the finest beaches and resorts situated over the Pacific Ocean. This is the reason why it grabs the attention of many travelers who tour Peru. The city is also famous for having a wonderful nightlife with many discos and nightclubs all over the city.

A New and Popular Travel Destination – The Middle East

Once called the Middle East, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel have become popular travel destinations. Visited by themselves or in combination, most travelers return satisfied and surprised by their travel experience. For many, they have been on a truly remarkable holiday with a difference. So why is this so? To best answer this, we need to know a little more about these countries and how to travel to and within them.

*How to get there

Most travelers come by air. The national capitals of Damascus, Amman, Beirut and Tel Aviv all have international airports that are serviced by a range of international and Middle Eastern carriers. Both bus and private car travel is possible between most of the countries. Generally these are via a number of single crossing points like Syria-Lebanon and Syria-Jordan (at Derá on the new highway that links the two countries). Land routes exist to bordering countries. Land travel into/from Israel is more restricted. The most common point of entry is via the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge from Jordan. Syria has a somewhat dated rail network. Some services only run weekly but those on the popular central routes operate several services each day.

*How to get around

Trains, buses and taxi’s form the centerpiece of Middle Eastern travel services. Car hire with a guide is provided by many local tourist operators. They generally are cost effective and worth considering. Use Google to find them and always ask for (and check) references. Most will require half of the booking fee wired to them before they will confirm the bookings. A number of international companies including the overland companies offer tours. Again check with Google. A number of universities offer summer archaeological digs. Many of these are fee based and no experience is required.

*When to go

The Middle East enjoys a Mediterranean climate but the summers are hot and the winters cold, especially in the north. March to May is the best time to visit. Those who want to soak up the sun will find the coastal areas mid summer comfortable as temperatures are often influenced by cooler coastal breezes. The area suffers from winter rainfall that can make sightseeing difficult and snow covers the mountains between Lebanon and Syria mid winter.

*The Countries

Syria – Syria is modern, easy to travel in and relatively safe. It’s affordable if you keep away from the more expensive five star international hotels. It has a myriad of charms with excellent food, breathtaking scenery, tons of places of historic interest and friendly people. English is generally spoken in most hotels and markets in the major centers. Damascus is the major attraction with its wonderful markets and historic mosques and palaces. The Umayyad Mosque and the nearby mausoleum of Saladin (one of the greatest heroes of Arab’s history), are a “must see”. Plan a couple of days to enjoy Damascus. Consider at staying in one of the renovated boutique hotels that have sprung up in the past ten years. Many of these are ancient palaces in the Old City and are well worth the little extra cost. Do take the time to drive out to Palmyra for the site of the city that built to rival Rome. Homs with its water wheels in on the road to Apamea. This has an avenue of two kilometers of granite columns. Both are worth visiting and are part of 20 or more major archaeological sites that can be visited by tourists. Wandering around ruins of forts, mosques, churches and palaces provides a wonderful insight into what life was like two thousand years ago. Looping back towards Damascus is the most famous of the Crusader castles, Krak des Chevaliers. It is remarkably intact and it will be enjoyed by castle enthusiasts.

Jordan – Jordan has a huge selection of fascinating history to offer the tourists. It is steeped in the history of the Old Testament. The ancient cities of Petra and Jerash date back to Roman times when they were great trading cities along the Silk Road. Jerash is the “Pompeii of the East” and needs a little background reading to fully appreciate the historic context of the site. Take your time to explore it; you are walking through centuries of history. Although Amman is the relatively modern capital of Jordan, you’ll find the satellite city of Salt with its narrow streets and quaint houses is worth the visit. Jordan has a fascinating history of craft, Bedouin weaving, embroidery, pottery and ceramics, jewellery and glassblowing. These crafts are still very much part of Jordanian life today. The Bedouin hospitality and wonderful local cuisine is legendary.

Driving south from Amman you’ll find the now spreading town of Petra. To walk down the half mile long suq, you will be surprised by the beauty of the pink stone Treasury at the entrance of the old city of Petra. It will take your breath away. Read about Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who discovered Petra in 1812, before you go. His is indeed an amazing story. South of Petra is the now modern port of Aqaba made famous by Lawrence of Arabia. West of here you’ll find Wadi Rum where the film of Lawrence’s war-time exploits was made. Here, an option is to stay with the Bedouins in their cloth covered black tents. They are remarkably comfortable. Take a camel ride out to the secret camp where Lawrence planned his desert campaigns. You might return a little saddle sore but you will have really “ridden” in the footsteps of history.

Lebanon – Lebanon is a relatively small country. The highlights are generally along the coast. Here is the colorful coastal town of Byblos and further north is the ancient Crusader city of Tripoli with it’s interesting souqs (markets), mosques and hammams (baths). Turning inland, you will pass through the picturesque villages of the Qadisha Valley, through the Cedars and on to historic Baalbeck which has magnificent Roman ruins said by some to be the best preserved in the world, The route continues through the vineyards at Bekaa and then Umayyad ruins of Aanjar. Nearby is the charming village of Deiral-Qamar and the Beiteddine palace with its wonderful gardens.

Israel – Don’t ignore Israel as a possible travel destination. Access difficulties can be overcome by careful planning or with the help of an experienced travel operator. It’s the Holy Land and steeped in history. Most visitors head for Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho but there lots of little know archaeological sites like the old Roman capital of Galilee called Tzipori. In Jerusalem, the old City of David, The Citadel and Church of the Holy Sepulcher with the nearby Wailing Wall, draws the most tourists. What is believed to be the oldest church in the world is in Bethlehem. A silver star marks the place where it is believed that Christ was born.

Some tourists choose to visit the Dead Sea. It is off Highway 90 west of Jerusalem. Personally, although unique, I think that it is overrated. Those with more time might consider visiting Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Further a field you’ll find Masada with its spectacular ruined fortress.

Take care in Israel photographing or showing interest in border and military installations or personnel. You’ll get used the very obvious security presence.

*Visas

All these countries have different visa requirements. Generally Israel does not require a visa for most western countries. Tourists are allowed a stay of up to 90 days. However, it is necessary to avoid getting your passport stamped upon entry or exit as this causes problems of entry into Lebanon and Syria. Ask the border officials to stamp your entry permit instead. Better still, put Israel last on your itinerary. Jordanian visas can be obtained upon arrival at the airport and at most border crossings. It is best to get Syrian visas in advance. USA, most EU, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand passport holders can get a visa to enter Lebanon at the border. Jordan allows entry/exit to Israel via the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge without a multi-entry visa.

*Recommendation

The countries of the Middle East are attractive and exciting travel destinations. The people that you’ll meet are friendly and if your leave politics aside, you’ll have a very enjoyable travel experience. Middle eastern cooking is a highlight and in all countries you’ll find an amazing array of low cost local restaurants. Try the local beers and wines and few of the specialized drinks like Arak (Lion’s milk) which is commonly served with mezze. Talk to your travel agent or check out travel sites on Google. You are guaranteed to have a holiday of lifetime.

Travel Cost Sinkhole

You won the contract, and it looks great… until you realize travel costs are going to eat you alive. It really hurts if you’re a small business, and it’s worse when times are hard and margins are thin.

So don’t let it happen to you. Make sure you and your client agree beforehand, formally, about such details as:

  • Will travel expenses be direct billed to the client, or must you submit them on invoices for later reimbursement by your client? Direct billing to the client is great for you. It nearly eliminates your financial risk on travel costs because you have hardly any travel cost to absorb for a billing cycle. Smart clients make it work to their benefit, too. I have seen a client do it to maximize their discounts as a high volume source of travel business.
  • What counts as travel time? Will it be billed only as actual time at a client site, or portal-to-portal? “Portal-to-portal” means billing begins when the worker departs to go to a client site and ends when the worker returns.
  • Is time spent traveling billable at the regular rate or a reduced rate? Is it subject to a daily ceiling?
  • Will you drive your own car, how will the cost of using your car be reimbursed? Or must you drive a rental car? In either case, is any special insurance required, and if so who pays for it?
  • Will you make your own travel arrangements, or does the client want you to use their favorite agency and discount programs?
  • Will air travel be first class, business class or coach? Does this apply to long international flights too? Does it apply to train travel? If your client demands that you use discount tickets, who picks up extra costs for any necessary changes that cause financial penalties?
  • Will lodging and meal expenses be on a reimbursement basis, or a per diem basis? Per diem is easier in terms of paperwork, but may not be feasible in some countries.
  • Who pays and arranges for special requirements such as visas, vaccinations, traveler’s medical kit, and insurance that is valid in a foreign country? One company sent a consultant and his family abroad for a six month assignment. He assumed his client was arranging visas. The client didn’t. His entire family found itself in Immigration Hell. Remarks: Health insurance is not the only kind to consider. For example, in some regions, kidnap insurance is recommended.
  • For foreign travel, must you hold reimbursement requests until a credit card bill arrives, or is a standard formula used to estimate reimbursement based on currency conversion from receipts? If the latter, which currency exchange rate table will be applied? Remarks: For a fixed price contract, either stipulate that the price is in the currency you prefer, or make provisions to cope with a rapid fall in the exchange rate for your currency. One of my clients recently paid another vendor about 28% extra for a fixed price job because this was missing from their contract.
  • Can the client terminate your contract while you are in the middle of travel to perform it? If so, who is responsible for your travel costs to return home? While abroad on business, my login accounts for that contract suddenly terminated. I belatedly realized nothing in my contract would make the client pay my way home if my contract was severed in mid-trip. Fortunately, a manager had only forgotten to file a routine renewal form.

Spell out the details up front to save your profit margin–and as a bonus, your relationship with the client will be smoother because you have done away with a potential source of friction.