Destination

Celebrating Peruvian Cuisine; the Mistura Festival Lima

In the last couple of years Lima has claimed the title of culinary capital of South America and this festival is the ideal location for visitors to find out for themselves the culinary wealth of this amazing country. As a fact, many visitors will immediately recognize the fondness of Peruvians when it comes to food. Often the first question when encountered with a Peruvian host is; “so what is typical food from your country”, after which a long explanation follows about their favorite Peruvian dishes and the regions where these are best found.

Tambopata

  • TambopataLocated at one hour flying or 10 hours bus from Cusco
  • A relatively easy reachable and very pristine part of the Amazon Rainforest
  • Great wildlife spotting
  • Excursions such as small hikes, canopy towers, evening walks and fishing trips
  • Bordering with the Manu Bio Reserve National Park

About one hour flying from Cusco you can get to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to enter the Southern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Puerto Maldonado is the last larger city on the road to Rio Branco in Brazil and is located on the crossing of the Rio Madre de Dios and the Tambopata River.

Tambopata


Puerto Maldonado is not a real big city and this makes that within 30 minutes on a boat you can already get out into the forest. There are several great lodges located in the Tambopata National Reserve and many of these have been ranked among the best in Peru. The park has its own local populations and many of these collaborate with the lodges in order to create the best ambience for the park and its visitors. There are several great walking trails in the park and most lodges have their own canopy tower to experience the jungle from above. You can also make excursions to the surrounding lakes, especially in the morning a great place to spot wildlife. Monkeys, crocodiles, jaguar, giant otter, giant anteater, giant armadillo and the capybara can all be found in this region. Together with the neighboring National Park Manu, the region can also count for about 1000 different bird species, more than can be found in the US and Canada combined. The rivers are also filled with life as you will notice during a piranha fishing excursion or in the nighttime when you can go and see crocodiles. Spending the night in one of the lodges is also an unforgettable experience, listening to the cacophony of sounds made by birds, frogs, toads and who know how many other animals is truly something amazing to fall asleep to. The fact that these lodges are located in the heart of the rainforest but still provide the necessary comfort, makes this a great family destination as well.
 


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Iquitos

  • IquitosPeru’s largest Jungle City, located on the shores of the Amazon River
  • The largest jungle city in the world not reachable overland
  • Impressive daily market called “Mercado de Belen”
  • About two hours flying from Lima
  • Important trade point for all communities in the surrounding jungle area

Iquitos is Peru largest jungle city and located in the far north east corner of Peru. The city is located at the Amazon River, making this also its most important way of transportation. Iquitos is the biggest jungle city in the world that can only be reached by air or boat, there are no roads leading to Iquitos. Iquitos is the main trading zone for all people living in this part of Peru and knows a large semi floating market called the Mercado de Belen. On this market it is possible to get about any jungle product you can imagine. The market is definitely worth the visit and a true experience for the eye, the ear and nose. Located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, at its most important river, the region also invites for jungle excursions.

Iquitos


There are several options; in Iquitos you can embark a luxurious Amazon Cruise ship to take you on a multiday adventure over the Amazon River. Another option would be to stay in some of the jungle lodges located at a couple of hours from Iquitos. Nevertheless if you may be looking to stay in lodges the Southern Peruvian Amazon Jungle such as Tambopata or Manu may be more adequate. As Iquitos is a larger city, it takes quite a while to get into the actual rainforest and with the large river you will have less chance on seeing wildlife from the boats. In the Southern Amazon Rainforest, the distances to get actually into a national park are smaller, the rivers are smaller and this all provides with better wildlife spotting opportunities. Nevertheless there are great jungle exploring possibilities around Iquitos but you will have to spare several days.

Iquitos is also a good point if you would like to cross overland into Brazil or Colombia. From Iquitos you can take a cargo boat for about 2 days taking you to Santa Rosa from where you can cross into Colombia and Brazil. Between Iquitos and Santa Rosa there are also speed boats available but this makes for a quick but crazy ride.
 


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Mancora

  • MancoraPeru’s most famous beach town
  • Famous for surfing and kitesurfing
  • Large beaches and good resorts
  • Located at 2 hours’ drive from the Ecuadorian border

Mancora is located in the far north of Peru at about 2 hours drive from the border with Ecuador. Mancora is Peru’s main beach destination. It is quite small city located on the Panamerican Highway with large beaches and great weather. The city can best be reached by flying to Tumbes at 2 hours north of Mancora. The weather is warm all year round and together with the waves and good resorts a great place to relax for a couple of days after a Peru vacation. The main activities are surfing and kite surfing, for both there are plenty of classes available. Nevertheless besides relaxing the region also has some other activities such as visiting the one Mangrove Swamp in Peru, having the only salt water caimans on the continent. Another activity that one can do here in the months of August – September – October is whale watching. In these months there is quite a large colony of whales to be found mating in in front of this part of the Peruvian Coast.

Mancora

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Trujillo

  • TrujilloBiggest city in North Peru
  • A region with lots of history as can be seen from the impressive ruins of Chan Chan
  • A colonial city center built by the Spanish
  • Close to Huanchaco, a fishing village known for its traditional way of fishing using Caballitos

Trujillo is the country’s third biggest city after Lima and Arequipa and the largest city in the north of the country. Located at about 8 hours’ drive north from Lima, this region has a large history that started thousands of years ago. The city itself was constructed mainly by the Spanish and this is to be seen in the strong colonial architectural influence you can see in the city. The Plaza de Armas is particularly nice.


At about 30 minutes from Trujillo you can also find Huanchaco, a small fishing village. The village is especially known for its fishermen “riding” their Caballitos, or small fishing boats made out of reed. Most people coming to Trujillo however come for seeing the ancient ruins left behind by the Norte Chico and Moche Cultures.

Trujillo


The best known is Chan Chan, the world’s largest adobe city ever built. The site comprises about 20 square kilometers made up out of large walling structures some decorated with interesting figures. Other interesting sites around Trujillo are the Temple of the Sun and the Moon. The main structures are two pyramids, the largest found in South America, at about 500 meters distance from each other. All these sights, together with the great food of the region, make this definitely an interesting 2 or 3 day extension to your visit to Machu Picchu and the South. As your Travel Representative for more information!!!
 


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Nazca

  • NazcaThe mysterious Nazca Lines can be found just outside Nazca and the best way to visit the Lines is by flying over them
  • Parts of the Nazca Lines can be seen from a watch tower besides the Panamerican Highway
  • More than 300 figures have been recorded
  • Another interesting site is the Chauchillas Cemetery, 30 minutes from Nazca

At about 2 hours south of Ica the city of Nazca is located. The city of Nazca is mainly known for the famous Nazca Lines. In the Nazca desert, the presence of over 300 figures and over 10,000 lines has been recorded, covering a huge area of 525 km. The Lines were probably designed by the Nazca People, but much more is not known about them. As the lines are so extensive and the drawing so correct and some quite complicated, the main question is how a people not having the ability to fly have made such large drawings. Most flights over the Nazca Lines leave from the Nazca airfield but it is also possible to fly from Ica or Pisco. Some of the lines and drawings can also partially be seen from a watch tower 10 minutes out of Nazca. Another interesting site around Nazca is the Chauchillas Cemetery. This ancient cemetery is made of open graves in the desert with the actual mummies till inside. The field is covered with bones and graves and is quite the horrific spectacle to see. Just outside Nazca there is also a small pre Inca ruin to be found and an impressive construction of channels made to irrigate the fields with water coming from the Andes.

Nazca

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Ica

  • IcaKnown for is Pisco, the Peruvian brandy which is produced here
  • Is located in a green valley in the desert
  • Huacachina, located at 10 minutes from Ica is a true natural oasis in middle of large sand dunes
  • Ica and Pisco, located at 40 minutes’ drive from Ica were both severely hit in the 2007 earthquake

At about 300Km south of Lima one can find the city of Ica. Ica is a relatively large city located in the desert that stretches for most of the Peruvian Coast and is mostly known for its large number of Bodegas producing Peruvian wine and even more Pisco. It is this city together with the smaller city of Pisco that produces most Pisco in South America and claim to be the birth ground of Pisco (a claim that the Chileans also make – having their own city of Pisco). Another reason to visit Ica is the natural Oasis of Huacachina, located just outside of Ica. This is a natural Oasis surrounded by large sand dunes that make you almost forget that you are in Peru and not in the Sahara. The weather is nice almost all year round and an afternoon buggy ride is like a true rollercoaster ride through endless views of sand dunes. Some of these sand dunes are the highest on the continent and provide great sand boarding opportunities as well.
 

Ica


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Ballestas Islands

  • Ballestas IslandsAbout 3 hours’ drive south of Lima
  • The National Park Paracas is located here as well as the neighboring Ballestas Islands
  • The visits are only done in the morning due to water conditions
  • The Ballestas Islands are home to about 150 species of birds and many other marine animals such as sea lions, penguins and even whales
  • In the Paracas National Park one can also see the “El Candelabro” a large geoglyph in the form of a 3 legged chandelier

At about 3 hours south of Lima at the coast you can find the city of Paracas. Paracas is not really worthwhile being a desert city, but people come here to visit the Paracas national park and the Ballestas Islands Reserve. Both are close to each other and often visited in one tour. The Ballestas Islands are the most interesting ones as they have a wide variety of wildlife and provide shelter for thousands of seabirds and hundreds of sea-lions. The islands are home to over 150 species of marine bird including the Humboldt penguin, cormorants, boobies and pelicans. Even condors have been known to visit. On the shores can be seen large numbers of sea-lions and with a bit of luck it is even possible to encounter dolphins and even whales. Most tours also pass by “El Candelabro” a large geoglyph in the form of a 3 legged chandelier. This massive drawing, even though a couple of hundred kilometers away, has been related to the geoglyphs in Nazca.
 

Ballestas Islands


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Puno

  • lakeHighest Navigable Lake in the world at 3811 meters above sea level
  • Largest lake in South America (Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is larger but semi open to the sea)
  • The lake is divided between Peru and Bolivia, Peru claiming the biggest part
  • The lake contains 42 Islands, Isla del Sol in Bolivia being the biggest
  • For many years now there have been rumors of an Inca Atlantis under the surface of Lake Titicaca but so far nothing conclusive has been found
  • Lake Titicaca has quite the extreme climate with soaring sun in the days and freezing temperatures at night

Lake Titicaca, this strange name is the name of another of the many amazing and extreme travel destinations one can find in Peru. This lake located on the border between Peru and Bolivia is not only the biggest lake in South America, located on 3811 meters above sea level, it is also the highest navigable lake in the world. The lake is about 70 on 190Km and has its deepest point at about 300 meters under the surface. The lake has a special dark blue color and the contrast of the color of the water with the blue sky and snowcapped mountains is a true spectacle. There are 42 islands located in the lake, the larger ones inhabited. The most famous islands on the Peruvian side of the lake are Uros, Taquile and Amantani. The Uros Islands are artificial floating islands made out of flattened parches of reed in the lake built by the people living there. The history of the islands goes back to the time of the Inca when a neighboring tribe has to find refuge from the Inca and ended up “exiled” on these islands. Housing and boats are also made out of the same reed giving the island a very exotic look for such a high altitude location. Even till the day of today there are families living on these islands. The island of Taquile may as well be the most authentic island on Peruvian side. The island has several Inca constructions and has quite some agriculture. The methods used here still date back centuries and people live on a different rhythm on these islands. Also the islanders are famous for their colorful clothing, dating back to the time of the Spanish Conquest.

lake


Puno is the largest city on Peruvian side located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The city is located perched in between on one side the mountains and on the other the lake. Being located close to the Bolivian border, Puno as most South American border cities has a bit of a Wild West feeling to it. The city itself has some nice plazas connected with a pedestrian shopping street, but apart from this the city center has not much to show for. Nevertheless with the altitude you may want to take it easy when travelling around Lake Titicaca. The one time of year when tourists actually go to Puno for Puno is in February. Puno is proclaimed as the Peruvian Folkloric Capital and the main festival exposing this is the incredible yearly Carnival. Hundreds of local and international dancing groups come to the city to participate in a week-long festival of dances, parades, shows and competitions in and around Puno. The festival of course goes accompanied with sufficient beer and parties making this a crazy week in this highland city.

lake


Around Puno there are other cities and sites to be visited as well. At one hour drive from Puno, on the way to Juliaca where the only airport in the region is located, you can find the funerary towers of Sillustani. These are funerary towers built by a pre Inca civilization, some of their building techniques being copied by the Inca later on. From Puno it is also quite easy to travel to Bolivia. The biggest town on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca is Copacabana. From here you can visit some of the Bolivian Islands on the Lake and continue to La Paz about 2 hours from Copacabana.


Lake Titicaca, its island, the culture & traditions and its location make this an almost mandatory extension of any trip to Machu Picchu. Feel free to ask our Travel Representatives to include a trip to this wonderful destination in your Peru vacation!!!
 


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Colca Canyon

  • Colca CanyonThe second deepest Canyon in the world with depths well over 3000 meters
  • The deepest canyon in the world is the Cotohuasi Canyon about 200Km north of the Colca Canyon
  • The Colca Cayon is more spectacular due to its Inca Terracing and snowcapped surroundings
  • The Colca Canyon is home to many Condors, which can relatively easy be spotted from the Cruz del Condor Viewing Point halfway the canyon.
  • The women in the Colca Canyon are known for their colorful dresses.

Located at about 200Km from Arequipa there is another record breaking destination; The Colca Canyon. The canyon can be reached from Arequipa by 3 hour drive taking you through some amazing landscapes. Passing besides the Misti Volcano and travelling through the Salineras National Park, known for its population of wild Vicuñas, a small member of the llama family. After the park you will come to what may as well be the highest point on your trip; at 4900 meters above sea level you will pass by the Mirador de los Vulcanos, or the Volcano Viewing point. From this high point (you are now higher than the highest point in Europe) you can see several active and inactive volcanoes in the distance. From here you will start going down until you reach the town of Chivay. Chivay is the biggest village in the canyon and most hotels are located around here. There is also a very nice hot spring just 5Km out of Chivay.

Colca Canyon


The Colca Cayon is the second deepest Canyon in the world, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. The deepest canyon in the world, the Cotohuasi Canyon, is actually also located in the Arequipa region at about 100Km north of the Colca Canyon. The Colca Canyon may be a couple of hundred meters less deep than the Cotohuasi Canyon, but the Colca Canyon is more impressive as the sides of the canyon are made up out of old Inca terracing all the way to the border of the canyon. Furthermore as the canyon is surrounded by snowcapped mountains, waterfalls and amazing views, there will be more than one moment when you will be surprised by the beauty of this region. If this would not be enough, the Colca Canyon is also home to the Condor. This majestic bird, the largest flying bird on the planet, lives in the Colca Canyon and the Cruz del Condor may as well be one of the best viewing points for these birds in the world. The Colca Canyon with is amazing landscapes, colorful inhabitants, choice of fauna and flora and proximity to Arequipa make this definitely one of the top destinations in Peru.


Do not hesitate to contact our travel Representatives if you would like to receive more information about the Colca Canyon or receive a personal quote for a trip to Peru.
 


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