LaPaz, Bolivia and Cuzco/Machu Picchu, Peru. A nine-day excursion to one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America will open the door to pre-Conquest cultures of the Incas and the Pre-Incan peoples before them. Located near the shores of Lake Titicaca, Tiahuanacu dates back to the time of Abraham in the Bible. LaPaz's largely Aymara population stands in contrast with many of South America's more European-influenced capital cities. Cuzco was the Inca capital city of an empire stretching down the spine of the Andes from modern-day Ecuador to northern Chile. The ruins of Machu Picchu remained hidden from European sight until the early twentieth century when a fabled "Lost City" was discovered by American archeologist Hiram Bingham. The Andean cultures of the Quechuas and Aymaras will be discovered and considered as to their enduring influence upon South American customs and cultures. Cuzco/Machu Picchu, Peru.
Sucre/Potosi, Bolivia. A tour of Sucre and Potosi, Bolivia will be the primary opportunity to understand colonial South America under Spanish control, stretching from the year 1530 to 1825, almost 300 years of European Spanish domination. Sucre was the pre-independence capital of what was then called Upper Peru, and existed because of its proximity to the fabulously wealthy silver mines of nearby Potosi, whose mines continue to produce a trickle of mineral wealth. At their highest point of production, the mines of Potosi bankrolled the wealth of the entire Spanish Empire. In 1650, while Boston, Massachusetts was a meager little town, Potosi was the largest city of the western hemisphere, boasting its own university and rivaling the major cities of Europe in size and economic activity. Potosi.
Buenos Aires/Iguazu Falls, Argentina. While Bolivia and Peru boast the greatest of the pre-Conquest empires and population centers of South America, modern South America includes large metropolitan areas dominated by European cultures and customs. Buenos Aires provides a sample of this "other South America" that includes large European immigrant populations with both advanced commerce and "rings of poverty" typical of many large South American cities. Iguazu Falls, located in the tropical far north of Argentina on the Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil borders is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Iguazu Falls.
Other excursions. Students will have some opportunity on their own to explore the diversity of other Bolivian cities, lowland villages, jungle, mountains and rivers of the nation, although study time, class attendance, and service practicums will take priority.