Monday, April 11, 2011

Man-Made Wonders of the World

Some travelers find themselves wanting to see more than solely the most popular places to visit. They want something that steals their breath away and impresses fellow travel-lovers, and while places like Machu Piccu are clearly a must-see for explorers, there's more to view at international spots. These man-made world wonders are only explored by a small number of savvy travelers, and you could be one of them.

The Other Macchu Piccu: Choquequirao, Peru
These ruins date back to the 15th century, and they were only visited by 7,000 people last year. This area is the same size as Machu Piccu, but it was only visited by 1% of the people who visited its sister site. You'll have to be in good shape to visit Choquequirao, which is located 20 miles away from the drop-off point.

What the Experts Say: “You’ll pass arid country full of cacti and agave before the vegetation turns lush. Take a breather to spot the occasional condor, and exhale with the jagged, snow-capped Vilcabamba Range in the distance.”

Lodging Options for a South American Trip
Hotel Monasterio: Continuing the theme of “I can't believe how old this is,” stay in a former monastery built in 1592, which happens to be perfectly situated for those planning to visit Machu Piccu in addition to Choquequirao.

A Special Mayan Complex in Guatemala
This particular area seems to still hide wonders after all this time, and it's the home of five Preclassic Mayan cities called El Mirador, Nakbe, Xulnal, Tintal, and Wakna, which predate the famous Tikal by a minimum of 1,000 years. Even more amazing? A limestone frieze that dates back to 200 B.C. was discovered just recently.

What the Experts Stay: “The little-known Mirador Basin, hidden among 2,000 years of jungle growth in northern Guatemala, is called the Cradle of Maya Civilization — and for good reason. Among their astounding innovations are super-size temples and pyramids, including La Danta, the largest-known pyramid in the world measured by volume, and the remains of the world's first highway system.”

Where to Stay in Guatemala
Combine your trip to Guatemala with a stay in Belize and Mexico, choosing hotel like the Ka'ana Boutique Resort.

A Royal City in Iran: Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Since Iran is incredibly challenging to visit for Americans, it remains hidden “in plain sight,” which necessitates getting a guide and arranging a trip through an agency. This particular royal city features four breathtaking structures and exquisitely-decorated royal rooms that are guaranteed to impress history buffs and luxe lovers.

What the Experts Say: “Ali Qapu's grand covered balcony was where the shah and his guests would watch polo matches, horse races — even public executions. […] Even more impressive is its sixth floor Music Room, covered with ornately decorated stucco niches and cutouts in the shapes of pots and vessels that once reverberated the sounds of the ensembles who performed there.”

Where to Stay in Iran
Contact to find the best travel options to visit the Iran and the rest of the Middle East, including Syria and Jordan.

Cambodia's Oldest Temple
Angkor Wat is the star of Cambodian temples, but Sambor Prei Kuk features standing temples predating Angkor by as much as 600 years. The three-hour ride from Siem Reap means that fewer tourists visit the special spot—only 5,000 in total last year.

What the Experts Say: “If you do want to visit, the new Isanborei community tourism project provides local English-speaking guides who will take you around the temples on a tuk tuk. If you’re looking for a truly authentic experience, opt for one of their homestays — you can live with a family, learn how to cook traditional dishes, and even help harvest rice.”

Where to Stay in Cambodia
Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor: For over 75 years, this hotel has remained a popular destination for those planning on visiting the Angkor temples. Visit Angkor and Sambor Prei Kuk to compare.

We're sure that you'll get some special attention with these out-of-the-way sites under your belt, but it's not just about bragging rights with your friends. Exploring Cambodia, Iran, and Guatemala are priceless experiences, and these expert suggestions will have you knowing wondrous spots like a local.

No comments:

Post a Comment