Archive for the Category ◊ Must-see Travel Destinations ◊

Views 11 Jun How to prepare for your trip to Peru…mentally and physically!

Five Tips to Help You Prepare for your Trip to Peru ! By making a few easy preparations before departing for your journey to Peru, you can be assured a much more comfortable stay! The following tips have been (almost) life-savers for me… Buen Viaje!

  1. Book in advance!
    Of course not everything needs to be planned in advance…but if you want to see one or more of Peru’s most famous and sought-after sites, you NEED to book beforehand! The best example of this is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but also a train tour to Machu Picchu should be booked before arrival, at least in high season. You don’t want to come all the way here just to be disappointed….. The Inca Trail needs to be booked with a travel agency in Cusco 4 to 6 months in advance in high season ( 1-3 months in mid and low season). This, because there is a limit of 500 entries per day, and this includes staff! If you want to trek to Machu Picchu but don´t have 4 to 6 months to plan ahead, you can always check out an alternative treks to Machu Picchu such as the Salkantay, Lares Valley or the ever-popular Inca Jungle Trek!
  2. Salkantay Peru

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Views 30 May ¡Cómo sacar el máximo provecho de la ciudad de Buenos Aires! Top 5 actividades que debes hacer.

Buenos Aires es un lugar muy interesante,intrigante y maravilloso. Ideal para los amantes de la cultura y dar paseos por la ciudad, también para aprender español en Argentina en una de las más modernas, y profesionales Escuelas de español en Buenos Aires, para participar en las diferentes opciones de Trabajo Voluntario y trabajo comunitario en Buenos Aires, o simplemente solo para vivir alli un tiempo.

Buenos Aires ofrece un increíble número de oportunidades. Éstos son sólo algunos ejemplos de las actividades esenciales de la capital Argentina de Buenos Aires, cinco razones importantes para visitar Buenos Aires.

Por ser tan increíblemente verde

Bosques de Palermo, ArgentinaLos «Bosques de Palermo» es una zona verde de 25 hectáreas situada en el centro del barrio de Palermo, en el corazón de la gran ciudad de Buenos Aires. La zona es conocida por sus bosques, lagos y jardines de rosas y cada día los argentinos se apropian del lugar, a pie o en bicicleta. También es posible tomar un paseo en un bote de remos en uno de los tres lagos artificiales. En esta zona de Buenos Aires puedes encontrar el pacífico Jardín Japonés, el hermoso Jardín de Rosas de Palermo con su Patio Andaluz, el Jardín Zoológico de entretenimiento, y los relajantes Jardines Botánicos. Los Bosques de Palermo son un oasis urbano y son perfectos para escapar de las multitudes y las concurridas calles de la ciudad.

Por su fiebre artística: El Caminito

El Caminito (La Boca)Esta antigua vía de almacenamiento se ha convertido en uno de las calles ¡más famosas de Buenos Aires! Inspiró a Juan de Dios Filiberto en el año 1920, que compuso un tango llamado “el Caminito”. En la década de 1950, el teatro de la calle apareció, y en el 1970 la población con su lado artístico consiguió la autorización para mostrar su arte en la calle, entonces las casas se convirtieron de multicoliridas. Esta calle de 100 metros de largo se convirtió en un ¡símbolo de Buenos Aires y la calle peatonal se considera ahora un museo al aire libre! Podrás disfrutar de cantantes y bailarines de tango, adquirir obras de los artesanos, admirar pinturas, cerámicas y las representaciones de personajes de la historia argentina como Carlos Gardel y Maradona. ¡Este lugar sin lugar a dudas es único e irrepetible!

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Views 25 Abr Entre el cielo y la tierra: top 5 de las mejores rutas de montaña en el Norte de Argentina!
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations  | 7 Comments

El Norte de Argentina es una región muy montañosa con rutas de montaña absolutamente espectaculares llenas de adrenalina y vértigo. En estas laderas empinadas, llamadas cuestas, se te Desafía a tomar curvas cerradas, cambios de marcha frecuentes y a tener cuidado con el resto del tráfico al tocar la bocina en los ángulos peligroso y medir el paso de vehículos que se aproximan de frente. Si eso no es lo suficientemente emocionante, imagínate  admirando los maravillosos paisajes de la Argentina o los profundos barrancos y acantilados que en más de una ocasión te dejarán sin aliento.

Para prepararte para las esta expedición manejando por las altas montañas, Dos Manos Agencia de Viajes ha compilado una lista de las 5 mejores excursiones por las montañas en el norte de Argentina, con sus respectivas características.

  1. Cuesta del Portezuelo (Catamarca)
  2. Rodeado por un lado por la Sierra de Ancasti y por el otro por barrancos muy profundos, la Cuesta del Portezuelo ofrece increíbles vistas de la belleza natural del Valle Central de Catamarca. La mejor manera de llegar es tomar el desvío en la carretera nacional 38. En carreteras muy estrechas y zigzagueantes subirás  desde 700 msnm a la cumbre a 1.800 m., donde tendrás la oportunidad de ver cóndores dando vueltas alrededor. La espectacular ruta por si sola ofrece muchas  oportunidades para detenerse, además de mientras manejas podrás  disfrutar de los magníficos paisajes, que son especialmente hermosos en la época de floración.

    Between heaven and earth: top 5 mountain drives in Northern Argentina!

  3. Cuesta del Obispo (Salta)
  4. Para  llegar aquí se debe recorrer 57 km. desde Salta, sobre la Ruta Provincial 33. Un camino ancho que se encuentra permanentemente en conservación y sube la pendiente de Chicoana desde los  1270 msnm a su altitud máxima en la Piedra del Molino a 3.340 m., en el  Parque Nacional de Cardones. Metros antes de la cumbre hay un mirador donde se puede ver la ladera vertiginosa en todo su esplendor. Cuando las condiciones climáticas son favorables, se puede observar el Valle Encantado, con sus numerosos cerros multicolores, un lago situado entre prados de altura e incluso  pinturas rupestres. Al seguir adelante por un camino conocido como la Recta de Tin Tin, construida durante el periodo Inca, se llega a la pintoresca localidad de Cachi y eventualmente a Seclantás, lugar muy famoso por su producción artesanal de ponchos.

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Views 25 Abr Between heaven and earth: top 5 mountain drives in Northern Argentina!
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North Argentina is an extremely mountainous region featuring absolutely stunning mountain drives filled with adrenaline and vertigo. On these steep mountain slopes, called cuestas, you are challenged to take on sharp curves, frequent gear changing and minding the other traffic by honking at dead angles and measuring the passage for vehicles approaching head-on. If that is not exciting enough, just imagine marveling at the wonderful landscapes of Argentina and deep canyons and cliffs that on more than one occasion will take your breath away.

To prepare you for your high mountain drives, Dos Manos Travel Agency has compiled a list of the top 5 Mountain Tours in North Argentina, with their characteristics and whereabouts:   

  1. Cuesta del Portezuelo(Catamarca)
  2. Bordered on one side by the Sierra de Ancasti and the other by extremely deep ravines, the Cuesta del Portezuelo offers amazing sights of the natural beauty of the Central Valley of Cajamarca. The best way to get there is taking the turnoff on National Highway 38. On extremely narrow and zigzagging roads you will climb from 700 m.a.s.l. to the summit at 1800 m., where you have a good chance to see condors circling around you. The spectacular drive itself offers plenty of opportunities to stop besides the road to take in the magnificent scenery, which is especially beautiful in the flowering season. 

    Between heaven and earth: top 5 mountain drives in Northern Argentina!

  3. Cuesta del Obispo(Salta)
  4. The mountain drive is reached 57 km. from Salta, on the Provincial Route 33. A wide road that is under permanent conservation goes up the slope from Chicoana at 1270 m.a.s.l. to its maximum altitude at the Piedra del Molino (the Mill Stone) at 3340 m., in the National Park Cardones. Meters before the summit there is a viewpoint where you can see the dizzying hillside in its entire glory. When weather conditions are favorable you can observe the Valle Encantado (the Enchanted Valley) with its many multicolored hills, a lake situated between high meadows and there are even cave paintings. When you keep going on a road known as the Recta Tin Tin, made during the Inca period, you arrive at the picturesque town of Cachi and eventually to Seclantás, very famous for its artisanal production of ponchos.

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Views 31 Ene Tour en el Lago Titicaca & Puno

Después de haber volado a Cusco desde Lima, yo sabía que me había perdido un poco de la ruta tradicional de los viajeros en el sur de Perú. Un lugar que realmente quería visitar y se me cruzó por la mente hacerlo más de un fin de semana es el lago Titicaca. Por suerte, con la ayuda de la agencia Dos Manos pude resolver esto, ellos lo arreglaron todo mientras yo seguía con mis clases de español en Cusco, las cuales fueron fantásticas.

Este viaje incluye 2 autobuses nocturnos, que a mi parecer fueron bastante cómodos, gracias a los asientos cama que reservaron para mí. Salí a las 10 pm un viernes por la noche, después de haber cenado y tuve un par de bocadillos para el viaje. Un poco soñoliento llegué alrededor de las 5 am a Puno, desde donde todas las excursiones al lago Titicaca operan. Las personas que me recogieron me dieron a elegir elegir entre desayunar en el terminal de autobuses o dirigirnos a una oficina cercana a descansar un poco más.

About Puno & Lake Titicaca Tour
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Views 31 Ene About Puno & Lake Titicaca Tour
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Having flown to Cusco from Lima, I knew that I had missed out a bit of the traditional travellers trail in southern Peru. One place I really wanted to visit over a weekend was Lake Titicaca. Luckily, Dos Manos were able to sort this out around my Spanish classes in Cusco, which was fantastic.

This trip involves 2 overnight buses, which although put me off slightly, was actually extremely comfortable, thanks to the cama seats that were booked for me. I set off at 10pm on a Friday evening, having eaten and got a few snacks for the journey. Rather sleepy, I arrived around 5am in Puno, from where all the trips to Lake Titicaca operate. I was met, and given a choice between breakfasting in the bus terminal or heading to a nearby office to rest some more.

About Puno & Lake Titicaca Tour
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Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 1 + 2
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Hiking the Inca Trail had always been a huge ambition of mine.  Directly after arriving at the Amauta Spanish school in Cusco I met a group of students that were booking for later that same week, through their in-house travel Agency Dos Manos Peru! Admittedly I was quite relieved that there was still space; I guess the trail doesn’t get so booked up in the wet season.

The staff of Dos Manos made the whole booking process very easy for us and was very professional in accommodating special requests and dietary needs of one of my fellow hikers. Our guide, Simón, gave us a briefing two days before we left, allowing us time to buy last minute necessities. He described the trail, what our plans were, what would happen each morning before walking and the type of food we could expect. I received a great feeling of confidence and excitement and really lived up to the moment of the first day:

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1
We were picked up very early that fateful Friday from the Amauta Spanish School, and travelled to Ollantaytambo, a town 75km from Cusco for a snack breakfast. This is often a compulsory stop due to the need to pick up porters. Since we were a relatively small group this was a quick affair and we were quickly on the road again, heading for Km 82 where the trek would really start!

After a lengthy entrance process (where our passports were cross-checked with our tickets for name/number discrepancies) and a bridge crossing, we were off! The first morning passed pleasingly and the walk itself was not challenging; quite flat before a slight incline to lunch.

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Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 3 + 4
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After having hiked for two long days (see here my travel story) we were already half way on our trek to Machu Picchu.

Day 3
By the traditional route, day 3 is the longest day and it also has the most optional detours to see different ruins. So instead of staying in Wiñay Wayna, the traditional end-point of the third day, we decided to take some of these detours and enjoyed these greatly preserved ruins at regular intervals during the day, breaking up the 1000m descent into the cloud forest. On the other hand we got into Machu Picchu a bit later on Day 4, since we had further to walk.

Dejà-vu struck first thing in the morning, as we had to climb out of the valley in which we had spent the night. The 400m climb that you could see from day 2’s descent kicked off a long day. The group got to the top without a problem, but from there it was still a long haul to lunch on the top of the third and final pass; you could almost hear a chorus of stomachs rumbling as we came through the mist and arrived at lunch.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Lunch also marked the end of any significant uphill walking on the Inca Trail, which was a nice feeling! With careful baby steps we came down to the campsite for a relatively early finish, and that night, somehow, we played football with Simón, Lino and the porters. This was a really nice way of showing our appreciation for their astonishing support on our journey. After the game we had a small presentation ceremony where we gave each person a token of our thanks.

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Views 09 Ene Sights and ruins along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail is without a doubt one of the most famed and challenging treks in Peru and known worldwide for its cultural content and natural beauty. Every year thousands of tourists flock to Cusco to embark on a four day trek to Machu Picchu, along a truly exceptional mountain trail, made hundreds of years ago by the Inca civilization. Besides the ancient trail itself surrounded by unique flora and fauna, trekkers will pass a range of magnificent archeological Inca ruins all with their own characteristics: 

Qorihuayrachina
The classic Inca Trail starts at Km88 at the location of the Qoriwayrachina, which was only discovered recently in 2001. The name is Quechua for ‘where the wind was used to refine gold’, and the site beholds many fascinating monuments and altars made out of stone.

Llactapata
Located at 2840m. above sea level, the next interesting site you can visit is thought to have been used primarily as an agricultural plantation. Llactapata, which is a combination of two Quechua words, ‘llacta’ meaning town and ‘pata’ meaning height.

Inca Trail
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Views 09 Ene The ins and outs of Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu Pueblo
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Set around 400m. below the historic site of Machu Picchu, the town of Aguas Calientes is the unavoidable stop-off point for all visitors. Those who do a one day excursion to Machu Picchu from Cusco won’t have much time there, but anyone staying overnight in order to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu before sunrise the next morning, and/or hike up the Huayna Picchu mountain will have some spare time in the town (recently renamed Machu Picchu Pueblo, just to confuse everyone).

We won’t even attempt to beat about the bush; Aguas Calientes is a tourist trap. Most guidebooks slate the place and whilst we won’t go that far, it is a town irrefutably based upon the fact that lots of rich western tourists will pass through.

In the evening, bars play European or American football and blast out loud music. Touts or ‘sharks’ posted outside restaurants will practically beg you to enter, and market stalls typically are more expensive than Cusco and certainly the Sacred Valley. Despite all the above, we believe that there is something about Aguas Calientes that all the guidebooks have missed.

Aguas Calientes

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