Getting lost on holiday is not unusual, but finding a town or city that has been forgotten for generations certainly is. The remains of a lost city have recently been uncovered in La Mosquitia jungle in Honduras, and it has been ‘forgotten’ for so long that archaeologists haven’t even figured out who built it. The city is not yet open to visitors, but there are many others around the world that are on the tourist trail. If you’re intrigued by the idea of standing amidst true history, then here are five of the best.
Machu Picchu in Peru is often called the Lost City of the Incas and is South America’s biggest tourist attraction. It is believed that it was originally built as the estate for Inca emperor Pachacuti in around 1450. Today many holiday companies offer Machu Picchu tours, and many of the buildings around the site have been restored to improve the experience for visitors. You could visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a 12-night Virgin Holidays tour that takes in the best of Peru and Brazil.
If you want to visit somewhere a little less commercialised, how about taking a trip to the ‘Machu Picchu of north Peru’? The fortress at Kuelap, close to Chachapoyas, was built around 800 AD and stands on a spectacular 3,000-metre-high cliff. Archeologists were still finding human remains in the ruins up to just a few years ago. Return flights between London and Iquitos in Peru are available from Chilean airline Lan for less than £800 in May.
The city of Caracol may have been abandoned in 950 AD, but visitors are now increasingly wanting to visit Belize’s biggest Mayan archaeological site. The main temple is still the country’s tallest structure made by man, rising as it does 136 feet out of the jungle. Wonder at the sheer history on show as howler monkeys roar nearby. Expect to pay around £600 for return flights between London and Belize in April.
If you want a lost city that is still relatively tourist-free, visit Ingapirca, the most famous reminder of the Incas in Ecuador. You can fly to Cuenca from London with Lan for around £1,200 return this month.
Many people have seen the replicas based on Persepolis in Iran at the British Museum, but few will have experienced the real thing. Visit Shiraz and take a day trip to a site originally founded in 518 BC. You can fly from London to Shiraz with Gulf Air for just over £500 in May.
Photos by: Pablo Hidalgo – Fotos593