Laguna Quilotoa, Ecuador.

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At an elevation of around 3,800 to 3,900 meters (12,467 to 12,795 feet), Ecuador’s Laguna Quilotoa is tucked within mostly undeveloped countryside, home to many indigenous peoples.
The tiny town of Quilotoa sits nearby to the lake’s southwest, but you won’t find any ATMs, no trains or travel service offices here.
You’ve mostly got to figure it out as you go.
That might involve some crowded buses or hitchhiking with locals, or wandering down unmarked roads.
To get to and around Quilotoa, you’ve got to travel lightly and on your toes.
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The hike along the rim of the crater is about 7.5 km (4.7 miles), offering four or five hours of views down into the deep lake.
The word “quilotoa” comes from the local Quechua language, a group native to the central Andes region.
Some of trails are suffering from erosion, especially those leading to the area at the base of the crater, where you can wander or even camp.
But since the lake is only accessible by local buses and winding mountain roads, it remains less frequented than some of the region’s other spots.
Source: Laguna Quilotoa – Ecuador | Atlas Obscura

The Gocta Waterfall, Peru.

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In 2005, German economist Stefan Ziemendorff, who was working on a wastewater project in Peru, took a break from his work to go for a hike in Peru’s Utcabamba valley in search of one of the region’s abundant pre-Incan ruins.
When he crossed into a blind ravine, he spied something unexpected: a towering, two-tiered waterfall in the distance that hadn’t appeared on any map.
The following March, after he had returned to the site with measuring equipment, Ziemendorff held a press conference to declare to the public that he had discovered the third-tallest waterfall in the world.
The two tiers combined, the water plummets 2,531 feet, the height of well over two Eiffel Towers.
Of course, Ziemendorff’s “discovery” wasn’t actually a discovery at all.

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The residents of Cocachimba had known about the waterfall since the 1950s. Their town was located practically right beneath it.
They knew it as “Gocta,” after the sound made by howler monkeys in the region.
But they had mostly avoided the towering waterfall due to superstitions surrounding it.
The natural wonder simply blended into the background of their daily life.
Read on via Gocta Waterfall – Cocachimba, Peru | Atlas Obscura

El Ateneo Grand Bookstore.

el-ateneo_jpgHoused in a magnificent early 20th century theater, El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is one of the biggest bookstores in South America, and thanks to the vision of architects Peró and Torres Armengol, it is now one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
The building originally housed the theater Teatro Grand Splendid in the 1920s that held popular shows, including performances by the famous tango singers Carlos Gardel and Ignacio Corsini.
Later, it was converted into a movie theater and showed the first sound films presented in Argentina. Grand Splendid was once again briefly converted back into a theater. and then back to a movie house.
After the last screening in 1991, poor economic condition forced the theater to be closed down. It was slated for demolition until the Ilhsa Group, owner of the El Ateneo publishing house, stepped in.
They bought the building in 2000 and subsequently renovated and converted it into a book and music shop. It quickly gained recognition as one of the world’s most majestic bookstores.

Read on via El Ateneo Grand Splendid: A Beautiful Bookstore in a Former Theater | Amusing Planet.

“Paper Birds”.

Diana Beltran Herrera is a Colombian designer and illustrator who creates realistic, vibrantly colored paper birds. Diana Beltran Herrera hand-makes the paper birds by building up layers to form the base structure, then glues on delicate feathers that are curled and splayed once attached. Wire legs are added and feathers are painted to make the models as realistic as possible. Each model takes from 5 days to 2 weeks to complete depending on size and complexity.
Diana Herrera holds a BA in industrial design from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia. She gained her first work experience in Finland under the Faroese-Danish artist Hanni Bjartalid.
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See more of Diana’s work via Paper Birds by Diana Beltran Herrera | Amusing Planet.

Fireworks at the Copacabana.

Photos: The week in 26 photos
See more fabulous images via The week in 26 photos

The Last Handwoven Bridge.

bridgeContributor: Dylan (Admin)
Known as keshwa chaca, this is the only remaining example of the Incan handwoven bridges once common in the Incan road system.
Made of woven grass, the bridge spans 118 feet and hangs 220 feet above the canyon’s rushing river.
The Incan women braided small, thin ropes, which were then braided again by the men into large support cables, much like a modern steel suspension bridge.
Handwoven bridges lasted as long as 500 years and were held in very high regard by the Inca.
The punishment for tampering with such a bridge was death.
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Over time, however, the bridges decayed, or were removed, leaving this single testament to Incan engineering.
This previously sagging bridge was repaired in 2003, christened with a traditional Incan ceremonial bridge blessing, and is now in extremely good condition.
It’s the perfect location for anyone wishing to indulge in a long-harbored Indiana Jones fantasy.
via The Last Handwoven Bridge | Atlas Obscura.