Archive for ◊ febrero, 2011 ◊

Views 24 Feb Semana Santa (Eastern Week) in Cusco
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Every year during the week running up to Easter, the streets of Cusco are filled with vibrant and energetic religious processions.  In 2011, Semana Santa will run from Sunday 17th until Sunday 24th of April.

Celebrations begin on Sunday 17th, Palm Sunday or ‘Domingo de Ramos’.  Today families go to church with palms and ask for blessings.   Following this on Monday, Cusco adds its own unique twist to Easter festivities and dedicates celebrations to ‘El Señor de los Temblores’ or ‘The Lord of the Earthquakes’, the patron saint of Cusco.   Around 2pm there is a procession with a beautifully decorated statue of the Saint through the streets of the old city of Cusco.  In the evening the procession reaches the Plaza de Armas, where thousands of people flood into the square to watch as the Saint is taken to the Cathedral and blessed. 

Semana Santa (Eastern Week) in Cusco
Throughout the week you will find people selling traditional sweets and cakes of Easter in the streets, or especially in the main markets of the city. Take a look in San Pedro market, 5 minute walk from the Plaza, to see a huge selection of traditional Easter treats!

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Views 21 Feb The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (day 3 and 4)
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Day 3: Jungle – Playa – Santa Teresa

Today is the third day of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. This trek is known as the more alternative trek, another option for the famous Inca Trail. It is actually a very good alternative for people that want to do something different, or, for those who cannot get a spot on the Inca Trail. You will cross one of the most astonishing Andean landscapes and see the most beautiful panoramic views of mountain chains. Furthermore, you will pass through a big variety of habitats and environments, you will see snow peaked mountains and will be in the vicinity of the tropical rainforest.

On this third day, we walk along the river to a little village called La Playa. We visit the waterfalls of Pacche – there are 11 different waterfalls, each with a height of approximately 50 meters! We see lots of butterflies, banana trees, coffee plants, avocado trees, and so much more. We even spotted an eagle. It’s warm and as we descend it gets even hotter! The climate is warm in this area and a difference with other warm areas is that in this place the typical agricultural production consists of pomegranate trees.

The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu  (day 3 and 4)
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Views 17 Feb The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (Peru)
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The Salkantay trek is a great alternative to the classic Inca Trail, perfect for people looking to get off the beaten track and do something a bit different.  It is more challenging than the Inca Trail and also climbs higher, reaching 4,600m above sea level.  The trek that passes beneath the sacred snow-capped mountain of Salkantay. This mountain God (or Apu) was worshipped by the Incas and is still honoured by the local Quechua people.This is a unique opportunity to discover the wildlife and traditional way of life of the Andean peoples in more remote areas. The starting point is the old Inca town Cusco, at 3400 above sea level, in the Peruvian Andes. From here we go by bus to the warm citrus valley near Mollabamba where the trek starts.

Day 1: Mollepata – Soraypampa

We left Cusco at 6am; a Dos Manos representative welcomes us when picking us up at our hostel.  In Mollepata we stop for breakfast and meet the rest of our team.  We are 5 trekkers, plus the guide, the cook and the porters.  We begin the trek and there are some steep climbs but I don’t find it too hard.  we enjoy the lovely views of Nevado de Umantay and a part of Nevado de Salkantay.

The Salkantay Trail – an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (Peru)
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Views 02 Feb Dos Manos excursion to “Virgen De La Candelaria” in Puno
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In February the highland town of Puno, nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3,870 meters above sea level, becomes the Folk Capital of the Americas. The festival gathers more than 200 groups of musicians and dancers to celebrate the “Mamacha Candelaria”. For the first nine days, the “mayordomos” (those in charge of organizing the festivities), decorate the church and pay for Mass, banquets and fireworks displays. On the main day, February 2, the virgin is led through the city in a colorful procession comprising priests, altar boys, the faithful, Christians and pagans carefully maintaining the hierarchy. This is the moment when the troupes of musicians and dancers take the scene, performing and dancing throughout Puno.

Dos Manos excursion to Virgen De La Candelaria in Puno
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