Tag-Archive for ◊ Cusco ◊

Views 20 Jun Choquequirao… Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister (part II)
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The Choquequirao Trek is one of the most exciting alternatives to the Inca Trail. Getting well off the beaten track, trekkers journey toward the mystical allure of the ruins of Choquequirao.
Here follows the second instalment of our latest account of the unique adventure that is the Choquequirao Trek…

Day Three
Another early start and we headed off to the mysterious ruins of Choquequirao. After an hour and a half of walking we arrived at the “Cradle of Gold”.

Choquequirao - Cusco Peru
Although the early Spaniards were aware of its existence, Choquequirao was protected by its remoteness. Some speculate that the Incan Emperor Topa had it built as a personal spiritual retreat to rival his father Pachacuti’s magnificent estate at Machu Picchu.

Whoever built this place, it was undoubtedly an elite settlement, built for ceremonial purposes and occupied by Inca nobility.
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Views 15 Jun Choquequirao… Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister (part I)
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The Choquequirao Trek in the Cusco area in Peru is one of the most exciting alternatives to the famous Inca Trail to the old Inca town Machu Picchu. Getting well off the beaten track, trekkers journey toward the mystical allure of the ruins of Choquequirao.

Experiencing Incan history in all its authenticity, this spectacular yet challenging hike crosses the Canyon of the Apurimac River and takes you to Choquequirao´s incredibly located ruins – perched high on a ledge above one of the deepest canyons in the world.

Choquequirao - Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sister

If the opportunity to partake in this trek presents itself to you it would be a crime not to take it. A truly unforgettable experience.

Day One
After a very early awakening I left Cusco to travel to Cachora, the village from which we would begin our Choquequirao adventure. The bus journey was an experience in itself, careering around sharp curves at a pace that did not do my stomach any favours… an entertaining escapade

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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 10 Dic Christmas in Peru
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The rural context of the arrival of the infant Christ allowed early Peruvians to identify immediately with the festivity, highlighted by artisan creativity, a sense of aesthetics and the religious devotion of Andean settlers. Andean Christmas began taking on characteristics of its own by adding elements from each region. These elements stand out for the extreme care with which highlanders put together Nativity scenes in churches and homes, perform dances and plays, cook typical dishes and produce a wide range of handicrafts such as Nativity scenes in Huamanga stone, retablos featuring images related to Christmas and pottery or carved gourds called “mates burilados” decorated with Yuletide scenes. In most Andean communities, the festival continues until la Bajada de los Reyes (the arrival of the three wise men), January 6, when traditionally people exchange gifts.

Christmas in Peru
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Views 12 Nov Apurimac Rafting Expedition Cusco Peru
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Day 2.

We start this second day of our river rafting tour in Peru, at 6.30am, getting up and packing away our tent before breakfast.  For breakfast we get bread, porridge, fresh fruit, cereal and yoghurt – and I make an effort to eat as much as I can to give me strength for the day ahead!  We get going at around 8am, running a few ‘friendly’ level III rapids before meeting our first level IV.  I feel a little nervous about running it, but the guide explains exactly what to expect and how we will maneuvre the raft through and after that I feel excited.  We stop for lunch around 12.30, the guides serve a buffet on a beach by the river.  After this we all take an hour to relax in the sunshine before continuing.  In the afternoon we run a level V rapid.  Peru is such a beautiful country, I am so happy to be here!

Apurimac Rafting Expedition Cusco Peru
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Views 05 Nov Apurimac Rafting Expedition Cusco Peru
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This rafting trip is one of the best experiences on offer in Peru. It is 3 days of rafting on rapids between levels II to V on the River Apurimac near Cusco. The Apurimac is one of the top 10 rivers for white water in the world, and the section we run flows through a huge canyon offering spectacular scenery. Each night we camp by the side of the river on beaches, these places within the canyon can only be accessed by the river – there are no signs of people anywhere.  It is a true wilderness, a rare thing in the world today.

Day 1.
We meet to leave Cusco at 8.30am. The journey to the ‘put in’ is around 4 hours, first by road then by dirt track, and we stop in the town of Izcuchaca on the way to pick up supplies. On the way we will also get some amazing views of the deep valley the river flows through, and the surrounding mountains.

Apurimac Rafting Expedition Cusco Peru
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Views 22 Feb Trains to Machu Picchu running again
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“Last week it was confirmed that Peru Rail will be running the route from Km82 to Machu Picchu Pueblo as normal from April 1st. Work on the train tracks – which suffered serious damage due to heavy rain falls and mudslides during the last week of January this year – will be continuing throughout February and March in order to meet this deadline. However, once the line is open services will be running with a lower capacity than normal – we are expecting train services to transport just 1,000 passengers per day as opposed to the normal 2,500 daily passengers. This reduced capacity is likely to cause some problems due to the already large list of people who were unable to travel to Machu Picchu in February and March and as such have rescheduled their trips for April and May. It is important that clients understand that all services to Machu Picchu during April and May are likely to be very busy and/or fully booked. One solution will be to operate more car tours to Machu Picchu in order to take the pressure off the train services. Priority will be given to those passengers whose tour reservations are already confirmed.
Looking further ahead, we expect train services to be running as normal from Ollantaytambo by May and from Cusco itself by June.”


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Views 03 Feb Update on the situation in Cusco and Machu Picchu after heavy rain falls
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Prolonged periods of serious rain have led to severe flooding and landslides in the province of Cusco. Although much of the press has been focused on Machu Picchu, other low lying areas as the Sacred Valley area have also been affected. The city of Cusco is operating as normal – virtually no damage was suffered within the city. All flights to Cusco are operating and most road links too. Key damages in the surrounding areas include all road and rail links with Aguas Calientes, which left 2,000 tourists stranded in the town. All tourists have now been evacuated safely, but Machu Picchu remains accessible only by helicopter. Therefore all train excursions and treks to Machu Picchu are closed until further notice. The Inca Trail will not be open until 1st March at the earliest, and all other tours and treks will open once a transport link between Cusco and Aguas Calientes is established. Please not that all other tours – independent of Machu Picchu – are running as usual.

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Views 07 Jul Folcloric festival hight up in the andean mountains in July: Paucartambo
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DOS MANOS takes you to a unique folkloric festival, high up in the Andean Montains, in the small village of Paucartambo, in the south east of Peru.  Paucartambo means: flowered tavern.
During the month of July there are incredible sunrises in this area, well worth a visit.

But there is another reason to visit Paucartambo this month: on July 15th and 16th of July Paucartambo celebrates the festivities of La Virgen del Carmen, or  Mamacha Carmen. There is a great gathering which initiates this big festival on the plaza de Armas with music bands play and different choirs sing in Quechua. This way introducing beautiful choreographies which tell parts of Peru’s history.


Paucartambo
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