Archive for the Category ◊ Tips & Testimonials ◊

Views 18 Ene What to do in Cusco before or after a visit to Machu Picchu (1)
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Although Machu Picchu is the main attraction of Cusco and probably, of Peru, there are so many other interesting historical and cultural sights to see! In this blog a short list of some other things to do in Cusco before or after your visit to Machu Picchu.

What to do in Cusco before or after a visit to Machu Picchu

The Cusco City Tour is a must for travelers with some time to spend in Cusco! This five hour tour starts in the center of Cusco at the impressive Colonial Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas that contains over 400 paintings from the Cusquenan School. After that the tour visits the Qoricancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun, which was a religious center for the Incas dedicated to the Sun. According to history, the walls of this temple were entirely covered with gold at one point. From here the tour travels by bus to visit the four ruins located less than 8 km from Cusco, including Sacsayhuamán, famous for its enormous carved rocks, Q´enqo, and Tambomachay.

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Views 16 Ene What to Pack for Your Inca Trail: Our Eleven Essential Items
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If you have booked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, chances are you have been preparing somehow for your trip to Peru.  Travel takes some preparation and we want you to be perfectly prepared for your Inca Trail trek!

Here are our eleven essential items to pack for the Inca Trail:

  1. Backpack: This might seem obvious, but it is so important to have a good backpack for this trek. You want something that is small, but big enough to fit everything you need. It should also be comfortable and fit your body correctly. If you do not have a backpack already there are plenty of shops selling them and other trekking gear right here in Cusco!
  2. Passport: You will need this to get into the ruins when you finally reach Machu Picchu. You also need to bring your International Student Identity Card (ISIC) if you have one for the student discount. Make sure to bring the originals of these documents because copies are not accepted and you DO NOT want to miss out on Machu Picchu after trekking all that way.
  3. Hiking Shoes and Clothes: You definitely want to pack some sturdy hiking shoes. We recommend boots. You also want a variety of clothes, but especially warm ones because it can get very cold camping in the mountains at night. We recommend packing a sweater, fleece, and jacket and extra socks are a must!  Always dress in layers because the weather is constantly changing.
  4. What to Pack for Your Inca Trail: Our Eleven Essential Items
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Views 30 Nov How to Prepare for Your Trip to Argentina!
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Once you’ve made the decision to travel to Argentina, it’s time to prepare for your trip! Unfortunately, there is often so much to do that it can be difficult knowing where to begin. We have conveniently broken it down into five easy steps to help you prepare the trip of your life!

1. Make sure your passport is up-to-date. You won’t be going anywhere if it isn’t, so double check. Citizens of the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa only need a passport to enter the country for stays under 3 months. As of 2009, there is an entry tax for individuals from the US, Canada, and Australia so please check beforehand what fees may apply to you.

2. Book your flight well in advance to get the best price possible. Research has shown that the cheapest times to book a flight are Tuesday through Thursday, and try to avoid flying on weekends. They tend to be more expensive. In addition, delete the cookies on your computer. Some travel sites save this information and increase the price each time you search for a specific route.

How to Prepare for Your Trip to Argentina!
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Views 14 Sep Top Tips for the Happy Travels in Peru (Part 2)
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Health Insurance:
Be well informed as to exactly what your health insurance covers for your trip here in Peru.
It is highly recommended that you choose a policy that covers emergency evacuation in case, for example, you react badly to the altitude and need to depart immediately.
Not all local travel agencies have good insurances, it is very important you have a good insurance from your home country.

Buses:
The Peruvian bus network covers almost every destination in the country, with some exceptions in cities in the Amazon Rainforest. The fares vary depending on the level of comfort you wish to have, and also how direct the route is. One of the best most reputable bus companies in Peru is “Cruz Del Sur”.

Top Tips for the Happy Travels in Peru
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Views 03 Sep Top Tips for the Happy Travels in Peru (Part 1)
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Peru is a wonderful country. There is something here for everyone, and there is no doubt that you will have the time of your life. However, it is always important to do your research before traveling somewhere new. You will be faced with an entirely different culture to what you are accustomed to, so it helps to be in ´the know´ before you arrive. Here follow a few top tips created for all those of you heading to Peru to help ensure that you have the very best time here possible.

What to bring:
Regardless of what time of year you travel to Peru, it is advised that you always have with you:

  • Sunscreen – the UV rays are very strong, particularly at altitude, and it is easy to burn
  • Warm clothes – nights can get very cold up in the mountains!
  • Hiking shoes – there is a lot of walking to be done in the Andes, so come prepared J
  • Hats – both for warmth and for protection from the sun

Top Tips for the Happy Travels in Peru

Currency:
The Peruvian national currency is Nuevo Sol (S/) and this is the most commonly used currency.
American Dollars are accepted in most restaurants, hotels and shops, at the current exchange rate. There are places to exchange most currencies, especially Dollars and Euros.
Some restaurants, hotels and shops accept credit cards like: VISA, Master Card and American Express. Travelers cheques are exchangeable too, although not as easily; just a few banks and hotels can change them so always check beforehand.

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Views 18 Jun Inca Trail to Machu Piccu Peru : Day 4
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The Inca Trail so far has been an incredible and wonderful experience (see other blog posts below).  On day 4, we woke up very early this morning!! After a quick breakfast and a quick stop at the washrooms, we were off on our last leg of the trek to Machu Picchu! During the hike up to the Intipunku archaeological site (also known as the Gateway of the Sun – Inti means “sun” in Quechua, the original Inca language) we were able to take a break and watch the sun rise over the mountains. The pinks, oranges and yellows were like nothing I’d seen before. Once we reached Intipunku, the weather was perfect to get tons of great photos of Machu Picchu from above. But our journey didn’t stop here: once we were done taking photos we began the last 30 minutes of the hike to Machu Picchu. The group decided we would like to see the Inca Bridge since we had opted out of climbing Huayna Picchu. The bridge was about a 10 minute walk through jungle-like landscapes on the very edge of the mountain. The bridge was built by the Incas and then later, one section destroyed to deter the conquistadors from following them. 

Inca Trail To Machu Piccu Peru  Day 4
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Views 14 Jun Inca Trail Peru Day 3
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Today – the third day of the 4 day Inca Trail to the lost ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru – was supposed to be an easier day than yesterday. We started out early again this morning. Today we got to see a few more Inca archaeological sites than the last two days. In the morning we saw the Runkurakay site which is just below the Runkurakay pass. It is thought that this site was used as a resting point for the Inca messengers. Puma explained to us how the Inca messengers, called chasquis, would run through the Andes Mountains, forming a type of relay to send messages from one community to another. The chasquis would chew coca leaves to help give them the energy to run up the huge peaks. Puma taught us how to properly chew coca leaves too but most of us couldn’t keep them in our mouths more than a few minutes. As we continued our hike, we were able to pass through a couple Inca tunnels which were really neat to see! After climbing the pass we came to the second main archaeological site, Phuyupatamarca which has a series of intricate ceremonial baths.

Inca Trail Peru Day 3
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Views 09 Jun Inca Trail Peru-Day 2
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Day 2 of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu started out with an early morning breakfast. Again, the food was delicious – fresh fruit, omelettes, toast, hot chocolate and porridge! After breakfast our guide introduced us to all the porters and we introduced ourselves to all of them and then got a great group photo. The porters are the men who carry all our food, tents and other provisions. As you hike the trail, you see them whiz past you to set up the next camp before your arrival. On the second day you have the option to hire an extra porter to carry your backpack since it is the toughest day. I definitely took advantage of this option!

Inca Trail Peru-Day 2
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Views 04 Jun Inca Trail to Machu Picchu-Day 1
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On the  first morning we left Cusco around 5am to start our 4 day trek through the Inca  trail to Machu Picchu with Dos Manos travel agency. After driving a few hours  through the beautiful landscape of the Sacred Valley we arrived at the entrance  of the Inca trail in Ollantaytambo. The Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu  is one of the world’s most famous treks. The 45km hike can be done in 3 or 4  days with a shorter 2 day option available for those looking for an easier  trek. Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu and the Inca trail between 1911  and 1915. Unlike other Inca roads used to transport goods and communicate  between cities, the Inca trail to Machu Picchu was more of a religious  pilgrimage that honoured Pachamama (mother earth) and the mountains. Over the  first 3 days we passed through 84 different eco-systems and saw some of the  most remarkable views! On day 4 we arrived at Machu Picchu and spend the day  walking around the ancient city with our guide.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu- Day 1
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Views 09 Feb Travel in Peru : volunteer Work in Pisco and Colca Canyon in Arequipa
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When I first came to South America I was consumed with thoughts of Argentina and Buenos Aires. Dubbed the Paris of the south, this city had captured my imagination in more ways than one. From the nightlife to the love of steak, I knew BA was a place that I wanted to live. Upon arrival I thus planned to stay in this city for at least six months before beginning any travels. And as expected, within days I had fallen in love with the Buenos Aires.

Thus when my housemate decided to take a trip up to Peru a month into our stay I was caught a little bit off guard. My initial reaction: why would anyone want to leave a place this great so soon? With time, however, the thought of accompanying her became more and more appealing: I knew, that if I wanted to I could always come back to Buenos Aires. It´s not as if I was moving out of BsAs but rather, I thought of it, as taking a very long vacation. A month after my friend first breached the subject, we were on the road headed to Pisco, Peru.

You might be thinking, why Pisco? (For those of you who are unfamiliar with South American geography: Pisco is a tiny city on the South West Coast of Peru; let´s just say it didn´t exactly make the cut for top ten places to visit in Peru, it claims two pages in SA’s Lonely Planet’s guide). Given our intents to volunteer, however, the lack of tourist attractions in Pisco was not exactly an issue . Indeed, our time was kept busy with the construction of houses for local families. Not only did this experience add some real substance to my travels in SA, but it was incredibly fun as well. If you have the time to do some volunteer work during your stay I highly recommend it.


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