The barren desert known as the Altiplano has indigenous Indians that still preserve their ancient tongue of Quechua (and Aymara), while shepherds with their traditionally colourful ponchos herd llamas, alpacas and vicunas across the open plains.
WHEN TO GO
The official dry season is from April to October, though the Amazon rainy season is March to May. For us the best time to visit is at the beginning and the end of the seasons as this is when you will find fewer travellers. In March and April the orchids along the Inca trail are in full bloom and the rivers are ideal for white water rafting. From the middle of September to October the altiplano is at its most majestic with dried out plains contrasting with the snow-capped Andean peaks that look over them.
Belmont House, 23 New Street, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2BP