There are two seasons at the Amazon River in Peru: high water season from December to May and low water season from June to November. Even though we went during the low water season, there was still some rain. The main difference in visiting during the different seasons is the ability to access the jungle trails that get flooded during the high water season. But having said that, you can get closer to the animals by boat and see the rainforest at its lushest during the high water season.
Moray, about 50km northeast of Cusco, is an ancient agricultural research center made of several enormous circular terraces. I thought this was one of the more interesting Inca sites I visited. The location and design of this place creates a temperature difference of 15 degrees Celsius between the lowest and highest terrace.
Machu Picchu in Peru has always been on my bucket list. Since the Inca had no written language, there is no record of why this complex was ever built. It may forever remain a mystery as to why such efforts were made to build a city that could only support a few thousand people especially when the Inca did not have metal or wheels some 500 years ago. As the Spanish Conquest progressed, it was widely believed that the indigenous people were continuously driven to higher altitudes (difficult for their enemies to acclimatize) or into the Amazon (also difficult for their enemies to navigate and adjust to the high humidity).
We based ourselves in Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire in southeastern Peru, in order to explore the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas as well as Machu Picchu. Cusco is at an elevation of around 3,400m. Flying directly in from Lima which is at sea level doesn’t allow for the body to slowly acclimatize.
Turkey is filled with unsung beach holiday towns along the Aegean coast. Largely undiscovered outside Turkey, Alacati is less touristy than Bodrum and is where many Turks like to spend their holidays. Its white stone houses, cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafes and shops, and beautiful beaches are perfect for an idyllic seaside break. It is only a 45-minute drive to the west of Izmir.
Ephesus was once one of the three largest cities of the Roman Asia Minor. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The iconic Library of Celcius and the open-air theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators are other highlights at Ephesus. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with multiple aqueducts of various sizes to supply different areas of the city.
Pamukkale, which translates to “Cotton Castle”, is a natural site in southwestern Turkey. The white terraces here are made of travertine, and not salt, which is a sedimentary rock deposited by water flowing from the hot springs. The water from the hot springs are supersaturated with calcium carbonate and when the carbon dioxide de-gasses from it, the white calcium carbonate is deposited as a soft jelly that eventually hardens into travertine. People have bathed in these pools for thousands of years.