It isn't all Incas: Harry Musson uncovers the Andes' other historic spots In a nutshell Although a visit to Peru's iconic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu (below) and the surrounding sites in the Sacred Valley are close to the top of anyone's list when visi ng South America, there are myriad ancient civilisa ons whose heritage can be found in the Andes. Chile's Northern Al plano is home to fascina ng geoglyphs and cave pain ngs om pre-Conquest cultures, while the pre-Colombian ruins of Tiahuanaco in Bolivia (top right) are thought to have once been part of a spectacular imperial ci whose power in its me could have even rivalled the Inca Empire.What's new? Exci ng discoveries uncovering Peru's pre-Inca civilisa ons ANCIENT CIVILISATIONSFrom day-walks to tough treks, the Andes has a hike to suit everyone - Nick Giles offers his top tipsIn a nutshell Trekking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the spectacular Andes. ere are eks to suit every abili , om gentle day-walks to challenging 12-day hikes. e most famous is the Inca Trail to Machu THE ANDESstable, what was previously South America's best-kept secret is now opening more and more to visitors wan ng to enjoy its beau ful varie of landscapes. It has everything om rolling co ee planta ons and stunning Andean scenery to pre colonial villages and jungle- inged coastlines.Favourite experience For me, nowhere in South America boasts more spectacular and unusual scenery than the Bolivian Al plano. With a mixture of mul -coloured mountain lagoons, pink amingos, snow-capped volcanoes and the famous Uyuni Salt Flats, you can some mes feel as though you are on a di erent planet. ere are very few places you can drive over a vast sea of salt and a volcanic lava eld in one day. small-group eks in the area. Op ons range om ve to ten-day walks, depar ng on set dates; you can hike with like-minded people and bene t om experienced guides and porters.Favourite experience Having completed a varie of excep onal eks across South America, the most memorable has to be the Mountain Lodges Trek to Machu Picchu. Nowhere else have I been able to end a hard day's hike by returning to a lodge for a glass of wine in an outdoor Jacuzzi, gazing up at the mountainous backdrop. AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 41TREKKINGPicchu, but Peru o ers a varie of hikes, some visi ng lesser-known Inca sites.Further south, Patagonia o ers some of the world's most magni cent walking, whether it is eks to the base of the Chile's Torres del Paine towers or perhaps hiking deserted ails in Mount Fitzroy Na onal Park in Argen na.What's new? Treks around the Torres del Paine massif in southern Chile were once the preserve of backpackers, independent ekkers or those with deep pockets who could a ord a fully private ek. However, there are now a range of are being made all the me in the north of the coun y. With improving roads and hotels in the Chachapoyas region, the vast for ess of Kuelap o ers a fascina ng alterna ve to Machu Picchu. ink ve mes its size with around ten visitors per day and you have a decent assessment!Nearby is the world's third-highest waterfall, Gocta, as well as impressive tombs carved into the mountainside at Revash and over 200 mummies at Leymebamba museum. e northern ci es of Trujillo and Chiclayo serve as the base for a more in-depth explora on of the region. Close by is the migh adobe ci of Chan Chan and the Royal Tombs of Sipan, which has been lauded as one of the most important archaeological nds in all of the Americas.Favourite experience ere is nothing like the fusion of cultures and civilisa ons to be found in Peru's proud former Inca capital, Cuzco. e conquering Spanish were so impressed by the sumptuous Inca Temple of the Sun at Korikancha that they used its stone founda ons to underpin a baroque church. I love returning to the ci to explore the pre squares and handicra markets, and coming across a migh Inca wall where you least expect it.
THE ANDESRebecca Profit raises her glass to vineyard scenery, boutique wine-lodge stays and delicious long lunches In a nutshell Owing to rich soils fed by glacier melt and a temperate climate, the foothills of the Andes provide some of the best wine-growing condi ons in the world and are the perfect place to combine a ip of a life me with a quali pple or two.Mendoza in Argen na is known as the 'land of sunshine and wine'. Further north, Cafayate and nearby towns have an array of charming vineyards. In Chile, the Maipo, Colchagua and Casablanca Valleys o er some of the world's best pples.In both the Chilean and Argen nian wine regions, you can either take a day ip to a vineyard or, for an ex a eat, base yourself at one of the many beau ful wine lodges to spend a li le longer admiring the scenery and enjoying the produce too.What's new? A sparkling new addi on to the bou que wine lodge scene, Viña Vik in Chile's Millahue Valley is already winning accolades for its low-key luxury, enviable se ng amid rolling valleys and, of course, its wine. e lodge is only a two-hour drive south of Chile's capital, San ago, so is a great extension to even a short ip to the coun y.Favourite experience Mendoza o ers one of the most drama c landscapes: vines s etch into the distance anked by desert, while the foothills of the Andes rise to snow-capped peaks. e lodges in the area o en serve tas ng lunches, each course accompanied by a glass of wine, allowing me to soak up the wonderful views.Don't miss the mighty icebergs of Patagonia's vast ice-field saysRichard Wise In a nutshell Covering nearly 17,000 square kilome es, the southern Patagonian ice- eld is the world's third largest reserve of esh water and feeds some of the region's best-known glaciers. One of our favourites is the Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine, where an a ernoon's naviga on across the lake will take you past impossibly blue icebergs bobbing in the water. e 5km-long, 60m-high Perito Moreno (pictured below) is the most impressive and is visited om El Calafate. Step away om the main routes, though, and you can see some equally SECTION BY SECTIONimpressive examples without another soul in sight such as the Balmaceda, Amala and El Brujo glaciers (El Brujo pictured above); these can only be accessed on longer boat ips.What's new? Not en rely new but certainly not that well known is the Skorpios III, which you can board for three-night cruises om Puerto Natales up to the Amala and El Brujo glaciers. e boat sails through stunning ords to areas that only this vessel can access. erefore, you can get up-close to impressive glaciers with only a handful of other avellers.Favourite experience What be er way to experience spectacular Perito Moreno glacier than donning a pair of crampons and ekking its icy exterior? e ekking itself is surprisingly easy going. As you climb the glacial curves, each turn o ers a di erent view of the surrounding mountains and rich-red rock while the con as ng milky-white waters of the lake and ice-blue glacier make it a postcard des na on. A er a few hours of explora on, and having reached the glacier's highest point, the guides invite you to sit and enjoy the view while they pour you a whisky - just y asking for it without ice! GLACIERSnutshellGET STARTEDA ten day trip to Peru taking in Machu Picchu starts from £2,285pp. A ten day trip to Chile including Torres del Paine starts from £2,595pp. A twelve day trip to Argentina with time in Mendoza starts from £2,595pp. For more information on these or any other trips featured in this article please call our South America team on 01993 838 650.WINEBoard a cruise to get up-close to El Brujo glacier 42 | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | www.audley.co.uk/south-america