4 Places Around The World To Find Incredible Ancient Ruins

Seeing a slice of history is one of the greatest things about travelling. Going to a country with a rich heritage and visiting some of the relics of those long forgotten era’s is an amazing experience. If you’ve got a keen interest in history, you should visit some of these incredible ruins around the globe.

Roman Forum

The Romans are one of the most interesting civilizations in history and there are some incredible surviving monuments from the period. The Colosseum is the most famous of the Roman ruins, attracting hordes of tourists every year. It’s worth seeing, of course, but you shouldn’t miss out on the Roman Forum. This was the heart of the Roman Empire where decisions that would shape the world were made. The place was used for so many different aspects of public and political life in the empire so if you’re interested in the history of the country, it’s an absolute must see. The ruins themselves are well preserved and you can get some great guided tours where you’ll learn about each of the buildings and their purpose.

Machu Picchu

In the early 1900’s, archaeologists discovered the lost city of the Incas, otherwise known as Machu Picchu. It is one of the few remaining places that were left untouched when the Spanish arrived in South America. You can easily spend a day exploring this impressive monument and if you really want to get in touch with the ancient Inca civilization, you should walk the Inca Trail. It’s a great hiking trail that takes you through dense jungle and mountainside landscapes before eventually leading up to the sun gate, with Machu Picchu at the end.

Pyramids Of Giza

The Pyramids are probably the most famous ruins in the entire world and if you haven’t been there before, you need to add them to your bucket list. Head over to the desert south of Cairo and you’ll find these impressive monuments to the pharaohs. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the last surviving wonder of the ancient world so get out there and see it before it’s too late. As well as the great pyramid, you’ll be able to see the Sphinx and a whole host of smaller pyramids as well. You can get inside some of the pyramids but the access is limited at certain times so it’s best to check whether you’ll be able to get in before you plan your trip.

Sphinx of Giza, the biggest sphinx in Egypt

Sphinx of Giza, the biggest sphinx in Egypt

The Acropolis

The Greeks have been credited with creating modern civilization as we know it so everybody should get out there and see where it all started at some point in their lives. At the heart of the Greek empire is the Acropolis in Athens. It’s a great collection of incredible monuments built by the ancient Greeks. The Parthenon is the most famous but you’ll also be able to see the Temple of Athena Nike, the Propylaea, and the Erechtheion.

Acropolis

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If you’re interested in history, you should plan your next trip around some of these incredible ancient ruins.

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South America: 5 Must-Visit Places

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In many ways, Asia has overtaken South America as the favorite backpacker destination, but you would be crazy to overlook this continent full of towering peaks, ancient civilizations and dense jungles. Added to all this, you have bustling cities and awe-inspiring landscapes aplenty. The hospitality and kindness of the people are legendary, so now is the perfect time to go and see the place for yourself. If you don’t really know where to begin, here’s a brief overview of just five of the must-visit places that this continent has to offer.

Angel Falls, Venezuela  

Though Niagara Falls may still hold the plaudits as the most famous waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela is nearly 1,000 meters high and is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. However, deep in Canaima National Park with no accessible roads to get here, it is a remote natural wonder that feels like it is shut off from the rest of the world. You can even take a flight to witness it from above.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

If you start to Google ‘most incredible natural wonders in South America, Salar de Uyuni will come up again and again. The world’s largest salt flat is incredibly over 10,000 square kilometers. Staying in the Hotel De Sal Luna Salada gives you great access to the area. There is a sense of being in another world when you are in this area which features smoking volcanoes, colorful lagoons, and grand deserts.

Machu Picchu, Perú

The ancient abandoned city of Machu Picchu in Peru was built in the 15th century and is one of the most iconic attractions in the world. Situated high in the Andes mountains, you can enjoy panoramic views around the area. Thousands of people flock here every year to complete a multi-day hike to finally reach the site. One way of attempting to escape the crowds is by arriving in the early morning to watch the sunrise over the peaks.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Of all the cities in South America, Rio de Janeiro is probably the one that captures the imagination of the most people. For one thing, it has the beautiful sandy beaches and crazy party atmosphere which many people love. The best views of the city come from the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue which is certainly worth visiting. The city also has the world’s largest urban forest, so hiking up into the mountains is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

An entirely different city to Rio, Cartagena de Indias features well-preserved colonial architecture that will make you feel like you have stepped back in time. The city has a very clear energy to it, and you could easily spend a few days strolling around the colorful streets.

This guide gives you a brief overview of just what a special and diverse place South America is, so hopefully, you have been inspired to take a trip yourself.  

Chinchero, Maras Salineras, and Moray in Peru

CHINCHERO, MARAS SALINERAS, and MORAY: This was our first day-trip in Peru after spending a night in Lima and landing in Cusco the following morning. These small villages are not so touristy but has magnificent Incan sites. While the highlight of Chinchero is its colorful outdoor market, Maras Salineras is an awe-struck site of thousands of years of salt fields, and Moray Terrace displays the innovative and scientific minds of the Incans.

Moray Terrace surrounded by Andes, in Peru

Moray Terrace surrounded by Andes, in Peru

The cab drive/tour guide was reserved before we reached Cusco airport. It was relaxing but once we were near Moray and Maras, I felt the altitude sickness little bit with dizziness and light-headed feeling. My girls and I fell asleep during our drive from Maras Salineras to Moray because we were feeling really dizzy.

Also, if you are going to be in Peru for few days and are planning to visit multiple Inca sites, it’s cheaper to buy the Boleto Turistico pass for 130 Sols for adult and 70 Sols for kids, which gives you free access to many ancient sites for 10 days.

Scenic drive to Ollantaytambo at the end of the day

TIME of TRAVEL: We visited Peru end of August, 2017. It was winter there and very pleasant for us. We did carry sweaters for all of us since it can get a bit windy in the mountains and chilly at night.

OUR HOTEL: We really didn’t stay in any of these places, since it was just a day-trip on our way from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Please check my upcoming post on Ollantaytambo to see our hotel. Tourists don’t usually stay in these places and I’m sure there aren’t many options here either. Ollantaytambo is within an hour drive and has lots of choices for lodging.

EATING and SHOPPING: We had lunch in the open market of Chinchero before visiting Santa Cataline Monastery on the hill. The food in Chinchero market were all street foods and women were cooking right there…openly. Food was very cheap with a nice big portion. We had fried trout with rice and potatoes. I also ordered a stuffed bell pepper with vegetables (deep fried). Don’t expect nice sitting arrangements and cleanliness, but it’s an experience we loved. We were just happy to actually get a table with 4 plastic chairs and sat down with few other locals and tourists.

Fried trout with rice, boiled potato, and veges in Chinchero market, Peru

Fried trout with rice, boiled potato, and veges in Chinchero market, Peru

Chinchero is a good place for buying small trinkets and hand craft items. You can find jewelries, home decors, wall hangings, shawls and sweaters, potteries, stuffed llamas, and lots of local goodies here. But do bargain, especially if you are buying multiple items from one vendor. When you are in Maras Salineras, buy few packages of natural salt from the mine at the entrance.

Vendors at Chinchero open market with their crafts

Vendors at Chinchero open market with their crafts

PLACES WE’VE VISITED: As I mentioned before, we were picked up from the Cusco airport in the morning by a previously appointed tour guide and went off to explore ancient and present Peru with all the luggage and backups. We reached our hotel in Ollantaytambo in the evening after visiting the below sites. It was not packed or tiring at all. We took it slow and enjoyed every bit of these country-sides and majestic Peruvian Andes.

Just one thing to remember is that, some people may get mild to severe altitude sickness in these areas. So, it’s better to drink some chlorophyll or coca tea right from the beginning of your trip. We got ours from the Vitamin World and coca leaves can be found in all the hotels or departmental stores near Cusco. I even saw free coca leaves in the airport also. It’ll help a lot, better to be feeling good than drowsy in your trip.

  1. CUSCO TEXTILE: It’s called Figueroa Alpaca Textile. As we entered the complex, we were greeted by llamas, baby alpaca, and guinea pigs. There was a small shaded area with all the materials to demonstrate how alpaca wool get processed into making different items. A lady in traditional Peruvian clothes walked in and introduced herself with her broken English. As she started to demonstrate the process, another lady walked in with 4 cups of mint tea in beautiful blue and white clay-made tea cups (which inspired me to buy those tea cup from Chinchero market). One thing that was really remarkable is that they use all natural product starting from cleaning the alpaca wool (juice from a plant) to dying them in different colors (all natural colors), to weaving them into different products.
A weaver working with alpaca wool at Figueroa Alpaca Textile in Peru

A weaver working with alpaca wool at Figueroa Alpaca Textile in Peru

After the demo, we were taken to a lady who was knitting a shawl from the alpaca wool. I was just eager to get to their store and explore some goodies. We ended up buying ponchos, shawls, sweaters, table clothes, and few small things for really good price. Items made with baby alpaca are very soft (softer than lamb wool) but can be expensive depending on location and complexity of the design.

An alpaca in Figueroa Alpaca Textile, Peru

An alpaca in Figueroa Alpaca Textile, Peru

  1. CHINCHERO: Chinchero is situated on higher ground than Cusco at almost 12,500 feet elevation. The Inca ruins here consist of nested terraces rising up to a plateau which can be viewed from the Santa Cataline Monastery. This is a church that was built in the early 1600s. We didn’t go inside and not sure if it’s even an active church or a museum. The site is included in Boleto Turistico pass.
Santa Cataline Monastery in Chinchero, Peru

Santa Cataline Monastery in Chinchero, Peru

Before climbing the hilly path to the monastery, we stopped at the open market area which is a heaven for souvenir hunters. Prices are not necessarily cheap here, but most of these items are hand crafted by the surrounding villagers. You can find potteries, shawls, table clothes, and other decors. I bought two traditional tea cups (without handles) for 20 USD both…not that cheap.

A lady in Chinchero market selling street food

A lady in Chinchero market selling street food

  1. MARAS SALINERAS: About an hour drive from narrow mountainous roads of Chinchero was the Salineras. This is a natural terraced salt mine in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We could see the salt terraces from far as we were passing thru the mountains. Once you are at the gate, you have to walk for few minutes to get to the site, which I couldn’t do because my exhausted girls fell asleep in the car. You have to see the nestled salt pans in the canyon to understand how the salt from water at the Salineras spring has been transformed into salt crystals for thousands of years.
Driving to thru Andes towards MARAS SALINERAS in Peru

Driving to thru Andes towards MARAS SALINERAS in Peru

Salineras can be done in less than an hour.  Enjoy the high mountains and the drive to get here, it looks dangerous being so high up on the mountains and driving by the edge. But breathe in and trust your cab driver/tour guide and enjoy the peaks, cliffs, valleys, and fresh air.

Salt pans of MARAS SALINERAS in Peru

  1. MORAY TERRACE: Moray is very close to the town of Maras and sits in the Sacred Valley of the Incas about 3500 meters above sea-level. This was more like an experimental site for different types of produces for the Incans. Other than this archeological site of Moray, enjoy the surrounding giant Andes Mountains and small farms.
MORAY TERRACE in Peru, sits in the Sacred Valley of the Incas about 3500 meters above sea-level

MORAY TERRACE in Peru, sits in the Sacred Valley of the Incas about 3500 meters above sea-level

We stayed in Moray Terrace about half an hour. We didn’t go down to the terraces, but there are stairs for that. The site is included in Boleto Turistico.

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