Tag-Archive for ◊ Peru ◊

Views 13 Dic Spend Christmas or New Year’s Day at Machu Picchu in Peru!
 |  Category: Events  | 8 Comments

Haven’t made any plans yet for Christmas? What about spending it high up in the Andean mountains during one of our unique treks in Peru!

The Inca’s of Peru didn’t believe the world is going to end on the 21st of December, and neither do we. However, this particular date could go into history as your first day of the Inca Trail. After four days of hardship and solidarity with new friends you will arrive at the sungate looking upon Machu Picchu; at the break of dawn on Christmas day.

After this incredible moment and accomplishment we will bring you back to Cusco in time for a traditional Peruvian Christmas dinner. You can be assured to look back upon a truly unique and mystical experience (and you don’t have to worry about your diet after 49 km’s of hiking in the Andes!).

Spend Christmas or New Year’s Day at Machu Picchu in Peru!
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Views 26 Sep Andean beliefs, a world of rituals and superstitions
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | 11 Comments

Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador have the highest percentages of self-identified indigenous people, most of whom live in the highlands. The Quechua and other linguistic groups, such as the Aymara, have coexisted with the mestizos majority (people of mixed European and indigenous descent) for many centuries.

Their cultures are strong, autonomous and resilient to change and have influenced their country’s identity (through traditional music, food, language and superstition) to its core.

For travelers, experiencing these highland cultures firsthand can be as simple as getting on a bus, hanging around a typical village or shopping at a bustling local market. Here you will find the usual fare such as colorful ponchos, alpaca sweaters, Machu Picchu paintings and other crafts but also a funny little man: the Ekeko.

Andean beliefs, a world of rituals and superstitions

This ceramic doll symbolizes the Andean comerciante and odds are they look exactly like how you imagined an indigenous person from South America; colorfully dressed carrying many bags, in the Ekeko’s case filled with grains of rice, corn, sweets, confetti and even miniature dollar bills (or euros). This Andean buddy embodies abundance, fortune and prosperity…and makes for the perfect souvenir!

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Views 05 Sep Get off the beaten track with these Cusco excursions!
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations  | 13 Comments

We all know that Cusco is famous for its Inca and colonial history as well as being the departure point for Machu Picchu excursions. Once you have seen these architectural wonders and want to hang around a little longer then we really suggest exploring some of the less visited regions around Cusco.

Here we provide you with 3 suggestions that are a guaranteed lust for the traveling soul and will get you right off the beaten tourism path:

Valle Del Sur
The first route is located in the South Valley of Cusco. This region is mostly known for the Inca settlement of Tipon, however a little further up the road you can find the archeological remains of a much older culture: the Wari. At about 30 km’s from Cusco, they build the Pikillaqta site, which in its aftermath consisted of more than 700 structures. Belonging to the archaeological park is the Huacarpay wetland which offers splendid views and an aura of tranquility (if you don’t mind the enormous variety of wildlife going about their business). It is possible to visit all these locations in a half a day, stopping by the lustrous ‘Sistine Chapel of America’ in the town of Andahuaylillas. However, we suggest continuing your day-out to the humble town of Lucre, a couple of minutes away from Huacarpay. Here you will be pleasantly surprised with an exquisite lunch prepared with duck and a fantastic pastry shop. The locale easily recognized by the hundreds of cow ornaments serves a delicious sauco cheesecake and lucuma pie.

Get off the beaten track with these Cusco excursions!
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Views 04 Abr An expat’s guide to Cusco, Peru: an interview with Richard Nisbet.
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

Cusco is often called the “Navel of the World”; at least it was to the Inca’s, who made it their capital from where the four regions of their empire stretched for 1000 of miles. Richard Nisbet, an expat, author and Cusco connoisseur also calls it his home. Ever since he first visited Cusco back in 1975 he has been in an ongoing love affair with this extraordinary city. Nowadays, he only returns to the United States to visit family and friends from time to time.

Recently he wrote a book, ‘Cusco Tales’, which narrates his life story and adventures in this magical city that never seems to stop surprising you. You can purchase his book online on Amazon.com or over the counter at Paddy’s Pub, Jack’s Café, the Santa Catalina bookshop or the South American Explorers’ Club, all located in Cusco.

An expat’s guide to Cusco, Peru: an interview with Richard Nisbet

I started the interview by asking Richard about his Cusco favorites, and he didn’t hesitate enthusiastically share his recommendations. His new favorite restaurant is Limo, with some outstanding if unusual Peruvian – Japanese fusion meals overlooking the main Plaza de Armas. His favorite bar is Paddy’s Pub (good chance you will find him there if you like to have a chat). As for pizzerias, his pick is Mayupata in the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, which is also his favorite nearby city escape. Another destination he likes is Tipon, home to an archeological site where the Inca’s worshipped the water abundant in this National Park.

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Views 21 Ene So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | One Comment

If you want to do the famous inca Trail in Peru, you need to know you have to book this between 2 – 4 month before arrival, according to the time of year. If you don’t, you are likely to discover that the Inca Trail Trek is completely sold out by the time you want to arrange the trek. Do NOT panic! Even though you cannot trek the Classic Inca Trail, there are still plenty of scenic and adventurous options for visiting Machu Picchu and doing some trekking. Here are the most popular alternatives to the Inca Trail Trek:

One option is to take the train to Machu Picchu! There are three different train services that run to Machu Picchu: the Backpacker Train, the Vistadome Train, and the Hiram Bingham Train. Each train service is priced differently to fit the budgets of different travelers. Train tours to Machu Picchu are usually one day tours, but can be combined with an extra night in Aguas Calientes if you want to spend more time visiting the ruins.

The Backpacker Train
This is the cheapest service but still a comfortable mode of travel to Machu Picchu.

The Vistadome Train
This is a faster and more comfortable way of getting to Machu Picchu. Each train carriage has enlarged side, front, and overhead windows providing panoramic views of the mountain terrain on all sides. This is also a more scenic way of getting to Machu Picchu.

So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?

The Hiram Bingham Train
This is a luxury train ride and is for those travelers who want to make the most out of their excursion to Machu Picchu.  Breakfast, snacks, cocktails, and a lovely dinner with live music are served onboard this exquisite train.  Enjoy an afternoon tea at the famous Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, located at the entrance to the ruins.  A professional guide will be with you during the whole trip, including the train journey. This is a luxurious, yet pricey way of getting to Machu Picchu.

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Views 19 Ene How to Book the Inca Trail in Peru: Our Five Step Stress-Free Guide
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The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks of Latin America and takes you in 4 breathtaking days to the amazing Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, in Peru.
Unfortunately many people who visit Peru miss the opportunity to do this trek, because the booking rules are a bit complicated.
Not anymore for you with our Five Step Stress-Free guide.

Step 1: Decide which Inca Trail Trek is right for you. The Classic Inca Trail Trek lasts 4 days and 3 nights and the Short Inca Trail Trek lasts 2 days and 1 night. It is also important to note that this trek involves a lot less trekking and camping. Which trek do you have time for and how much trekking do you really feel like doing? For more alternative options read our article So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?

How to Book the Inca Trail in Peru: Our Five Step Stress-Free Guide

Step 2: Check for availability. We recommend booking your Inca Trail Trek approximately three months in advance, especially for the high season (from June through August). This is also the dry season so the weather is nicer for trekking! The Inca Trail is closed during February for maintenance every year. You can only book the trek “ last minute” (this is about 6 weeks in advance), if you are booking for the very low season, which lasts from November through January. The Peruvian government limits the number of people, including trekkers, guides, porters, etc., that are allowed on the trail to 500 per day. To check the number of spaces available on any given day, visit the official Peruvian Ministry of Culture website: www.machupicchu.gob.pe or send an e-mail to us at info@dosmanosperu.com.  Inmportant: if the trail is sold out at one travel agency it is really sold out everywhere and there is no chance of booking with a different travel agency. Don’t waste your time contacting every travel agency in Cusco! It is also not possible to book your trek after another trekker has cancelled because individual passport numbers are used to book spaces on the trail.

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Views 17 Ene What the Heck is Huayna Picchu Anyways?

In Quechua, the local language of the Andean people, this name means Young Peak. The peak of Huayna Picchu, or Wayna Picchu, rises approximately 360 meters higher than that of Machu Picchu (Cusco, Peru), known as the lost city of the Incas, and takes approximately an hour to climb.

During the time of the Incas, there was a trail leading to the peak where there were temples and terraces. This is where the high priest and the virgins lived. This high priest would climb down Huayna Picchu every morning before sunrise in order to reach Machu Picchu in time to welcome the new day.

What the Heck is Huayna Picchu Anyways?

You can really feel the magic of the ancient Inca civilization that fills this space when you finally reach the top of Huayna Picchu and gaze down over the Machu Picchu ruins.

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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 20 Sep Insight into the Incas
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Peru is a country rich with fascinating history. Tales of the Incas continue to capture the imaginations of thousands, as hordes upon hordes of people travel from far and wide to explore the countless ruins of this ancient empire.

Peruvians are extremely proud of their ancestors, and you will undoubtedly learn a lot of intriguing information about Incan history during your time in Peru. Here are a few interesting facts to get you started…
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Views 03 Sep Top Tips for the Happy Travels in Peru (Part 1)
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | Leave a Comment

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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