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TRA 123 From Andes to Amazon Rainforest: A Cultural and Eco Trip to Peru

Course Description

Peru is widely known for its Andean Cordillera and the legacy of the Incas and their city of Machu Picchu, but its hidden jewel—the Peruvian rainforest—is often overlooked.

This three-week educational journey will take us on a discovery of the remarkable rainforest of Peru in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, located in the Amazon basin of southeastern Peru. Manu Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering over 1,8 million ha., and extending from the Puna of the highlands at 13,000 ft to the lowland tropical rainforest at 666 ft, has an international reputation for its incredible diversity of plants and wildlife. We will not only experience the fauna and flora of the forests of Manu but also its people—both native inhabitants and settlers.

Since the Incas could not live apart from the rainforest, to which they made several expeditions to enlarge and protect their realm and gain access to products from other ecological zones, we cannot travel to the rainforest without first visiting the highlands and the legacy of the Incas and that of the Spanish conquistadors. We will then visit Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, the Sacred Valley of the Incas with the impressive fortress of Ollantaytambo, and the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. A short visit to Lima will serve as an introduction to our journey.

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Accompanying Resource Person: Isabelle Alvarez

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