Huanchaco and Trujillo are cities on the coast north of Lima. This area recently was full of fishing villages, but tourism and surfing is promoting development in the area. Many of the nearby archaeological sites are Moche and Chimu in origin, which were prominent Pre-Incan empires.
There is a town at the base of Machu Picchu called Aguas Calientes, named after its hot springs. Recently it has been renamed to Machupicchu Town due to marketing efforts. Its buildings are distinctly Peruvian and it has a small plaza and only a few main streets. The only ways to reach this town is either on foot or by train. There are about 2000 residents and the economy revolves around tourism. It was rainy with mild temperatures during our stay.
Cusco’s culture and architecture is influenced by Spanish and Incan culture. It was once the capital of the Incan empire, and there are many historic sites nearby. The population is over 300,000, but there are many tourists that visit.
Puno is on the shore of Lake Titicaca, over 12,000 feet above sea level. It has a population of about 100,000 people.
Arequipa is home to over 900,000 people, and has distinctly Spanish colonial architecture. It is warm and dry, and cool during the nights. The Misti volcano is a well known feature of the surrounding landscape, and several members of the class took the opportunity to hike up its side.
Nazca is a small town in a dry and hot desert that is famous for the nearby Nazca lines.
Lima is the largest city in Peru and is home to over 7 million people. It is often cloudy here, and it is in the style of a modern city with Spanish colonial influences. We were in a nice part of town known as Miraflores. It is warm and humid here on the coast.