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Quipu: Ancient Writing System Used By The Incas

Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 11:29 am by Andrew Kolasinski

Quipu Strings

The motorcycle taxi driver had my number immediately. Every time I stepped out of my hotel in Mancora, there he was offering me a ride. It took longer for me to figure out what he was doing with the colorful cords tied to the handlebars of his machine. He knotted one cord whenever I paid him. Another cord seemed to be unraveling each time. It was a form of double…
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A Gecko for Good Luck

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 10:59 am by Andrew Kolasinski

Common House Gecko

While pouring a coffee for my Costa Rican friend, Oscar, I strain to identify a rhythmic croaking noise coming from somewhere inside my hotel room.  It sounds like a tiny ratchet wrench. “Gecko,” says Oscar, helpfully.  “It is good luck.  If there is no gecko, ask for a different room.” He explains that a Gecko-free house may be a sign of overzealous insecticide application – possibly toxic.  Aside from that,…
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Visiting Montevideo from Buenos Aires

Posted on Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 at 2:28 pm by Andreas Ambarchian

Artigas Statue, Montevideo

With Buenos Aires directly to the west, the city of Montevideo can seem rather insignificant. However, the capital of Uruguay, on the coast of the River Plate, is an enjoyable destination in its own right, with a relaxed culture, interesting architecture and pleasant beaches. Visiting Separated only by the River Plate estuary, which drifts into the borders of Uruguay and Argentina, reaching Montevideo from Buenos Aires is straightforward. A regular…
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The Great Peruvian Menu

Posted on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 at 2:57 pm by Andreas Ambarchian

Ceviche

Reflecting the diverse range of terrains and cultures in the country, the cuisine of Peru is rich with variety. The South American nation offers an ambrosial assortment of esculents originating from its various regions. The capital Lima serves as a melting pot for all this food, home to a healthy spread of restaurants serving a range of regional specialties. The Coast The Peruvian coast measures some 1,910 miles in length,…
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Valparaiso: The Jewel of the Pacific

Posted on Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 at 1:12 pm by Andreas Ambarchian

Valparaiso, Chile

Opening up for international business in 1818 following the independence of Chile from Spain, Valparaiso, on the west coast of Central Chile, was one of the most significant port cities in South America for almost a century. In 1914, the inception of the Panama Canal changed this. The new trade route intersected Latin America via the Caribbean Sea, spelling the end of Valparaiso’s role as a transoceanic layover. However, its…
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JetBlue’s New Daily Nonstop Flights to Lima, Peru Set to Begin

Posted on Thursday, November 21st, 2013 at 3:06 pm by Alan R. Cohen

Church of La Recoleta, Lima, Peru

Back in April of this year, JetBlue Airways announced new daily nonstop flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, and those flights are set to begin today. The FLL-LIM flight departs at 5:40 PM and arrives at 11:30 PM. The LIM-FLL departs at 12:30 AM and arrives at 6:19 AM (all times local). The flights will be operated on the company’s Airbus…
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Ecuador Beyond The Galapagos: Mainland Destinations Worth The Trip

Posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by Melissa Ruttanai

Waterfall, Banos de Santa Agua, Ecuador

Equal in size to Colorado, Ecuador is a country that packs a punch. Comprised of four regions, Ecuador offers everything from high rise hotels to remote jungle cabanas. Originally, I had planned on a mere three weeks in this beautiful country; however, I found myself crossing the border to Peru with just 48 hours to go on my 90 day tourist stamp. Though many people come to this country for…
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Five Must-Pack Items For A Galapagos Islands Vacation

Posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at 10:11 am by Alan R. Cohen

Galapagos Sea Lion, San Cristobal Island

In a special place within the Pacific Ocean, sea lions dive off black rock promontories. Giant turtles mate in open waters and mother whales skim the surface with their young calves in tow. The Galapagos Islands teem with wildlife. They sing with bird calls and explode with technicolor sunsets. Many visitors plan and save for years before they can finally make their way to the famous archipelago where Charles Darwin…
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Peru Travel: Tips for Doing a Homestay on Lake Titicaca

Posted on Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at 12:29 pm by Alan R. Cohen

Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru

An increasingly popular way of visiting Peru’s Lake Titicaca is skipping the lakeside city of Puno, and instead staying with a local family on the island of Amantani.  For some people, a Lake Titicaca homestay sounds like a dream cultural experience; being able to stay with a real family and learn more about their culture and what daily life is like on the Lake.  To others — at least at…
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Isabela Island: A Must-Visit On Any Galapagos Island Vacation

Posted on Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at 11:01 am by Alan R. Cohen

Sierra Negra Volcano, Isabela Island

The Galapagos Islands is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations.  With a diversity of plant and wildlife, each island has something unique to offer. Travelers looking for the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation will find it all in one place on Isabela Island. Covering an area of more than 4,600 square kilometers (1,776 square miles), Isabela Island is by far the largest island in the archipelago and…
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