While in no particular order, the following pages pay tribute to the 10 personal favorite destinations, and particularly the people in them, that have left a lasting and warm impression on Mr. Harper, summoning him to return again and again.
Few countries can rival the cultural and scenic riches of Peru. Home to numerous pre-Columbian civilizations, it was, of course, the center of the great Incan empire, which in the late 15th century stretched from Ecuador to northern Argentina.
Exploring the Peruvian Amazon, with its endless tributaries and dense rain forest, was virtually impossible until the launching of the M/V Aqua in 2007. The Aqua accommodates 24 and is the first luxury expedition ship to ply these waters.
Many hotels in Peru greet arriving guests with a cold, refreshing pisco sour.
With its diverse geography, Peru produces an unusually rich variety of foods. Peruvian cooking blends native culinary traditions with those of Spain. And there is a heavy Asian influence as well, thanks to the large number of immigrants.
Much as they did almost 4,000 years ago, Peruvian weavers still blend the fine fibers of llamas and alpacas with rich natural dyes to create a dazzling array of vibrant geometric designs.
Since its debut in 1995, our favorite place to stay in Cusco has been the 126-room Hotel Monasterio, located a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. Originally a Spanish seminary dating to 1592, it contains the ornate Chapel of San Antonio Abad.
Peru is a wonderful country, but Lima is one of the world’s less appealing cities. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, it was once the richest metropolis in Latin America. Today, it is generally chaotic and sprawling.