Archive for January 2009
The Post Bulletin paper from Rochester, Minnesota, recently published a travel article written by engineer April Horne who decided to travel to Peru with her eight-grade student son Garrison Komanieckiand.
The destinations within Peru included Machu Picchu, one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, and the Amazon River/Rainforest, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the voting for Natural Wonders of the World.
While at Lima (where the major international airport is located), they explored the city and said:
“We walked through beautiful cathedrals, including one with extensive catacomb structures, an engineering marvel that had survived numerous severe earthquakes. We also saw pre-Incan ruins dating back to about 600 A.D.”
While in the Amazon, she highlights:
“We learned how to shoot a blow gun and danced around a fire with the villagers. We were struck by the simple life of the villagers, with minimal possessions, open-air huts and a diet consisting of fish, bananas and the occasional sloth or monkey. We ended our rainforest stay with a “recovery” stop at Ceiba Tops, a luxury resort with hot and cold running water and a swimming pool.
And on her trip to Machu Picchu, she says:
Our guide told us about the different sections of the Lost City, pointing out agricultural areas and living quarters, temples, channels for drinking water and waste water. He showed us how structures were built to study the stars and movements of the sun. We finished with a hike up a portion of the Incan Trail to the Sun Gate.
Click here to read the full article.
In the northern department of Lambayeque, the newest display of Peruvian archeology just opened in a museum named “Huaca Rajada”, as Reuters reports. The museum showcases masks, ceramics and jewelry from the ancient Moche culture (prior to the Inca empire) which flourished on Peru’s coast from about 100 AD to 600 AD. Click here to watch a video with images on what you can find on your visit. And at the museum, there is an area where locals manufacture native-styled textiles for sale to visitors as souvenirs.
It is worth noting that the museum is located very close to the golden tomb of the Lord of Sipan — dubbed the “Tutankhamen of the Americas”.
These two sites – the new museum and the tomb – could be two great stops for your next trip to Peru if you are of the exploration, archaeology, or historian type. Once you get to the capital city Lima via its international airport, you can take a bus or fly to Lambayeque.
Here is a good site where you can get further information about where to go and what to do in Lambayeque.
And click here to watch a great video to learn who was the Lord of Sipan and why it is so important not only for Peruvian history, but also why it is treasured by historians from around the world.
As we expect news on the American Economic Stimulus Package in the next two weeks, Reuters writes about the status of the Peruvian’s stimulus package which will help Peru ride best the global economic recession with government estimates reaching up to 4-5% GDP growth in 2009.
The Reuters article reads:
Peru started the first part of spending under its economic stimulus package (…).
The first bit includes 4.5 billion soles ($1.42 billion) of price cuts and spending. It includes a 10 percent reduction in fuel prices, 3 billion soles in social spending, help for non-traditional exporters, and infrastructure projects.
The finance ministry said it also has been working to keep credit lines open and obtain loans from multilateral agencies.
Associated Press Reporter Gives Travel Advice for Baby Boomers; Peruvian Amazon His Spring 2009 Destination
There seems to be a Peru travel media boom lately…this time is the story of an Associated Press retired executive planning a trip to Peru following his retirement! If you are in that time where retirement is an option and looking to destress by taking an educational world tour, this article is a MUST!
Picked up by The Mercury News, Rick Spratling talks about his experience travelling with his wife under a non-profit organization’s travel program. Elderhostel was founded in 1975 on five college campuses in New Hampshire, based on the idea of inexpensive lodging and noncredit classes.
An excerpt of the article states:
By 1980, participation grew to 20,000 people in 50 states and Canada, and in 1981 Elderhostel offered its first international programs. Today Elderhostel says it attracts more than 160,000 participants annually to nearly 8,000 tour packages in more than 90 countries.
Elderhostel says the average cost of programs in the United States and Canada is a little over $100 per day, while international programs, not including airfare, average a bit over $200 per day. Elderhostel emphasizes a package price that covers meals, taxes, gratuities, lodging, lectures, excursions, activities and travel within a program, such as shuttles to various sites.
Participants provide their own transportation to domestic programs. For international programs, you can book the flights yourself or have Elderhostel do it.
Rates vary widely by destination and type of trip. My wife and I paid just under $10,000 to visit Israel. Our planned trip to Peru will cost around $11,600 for two. Both pricetags include roundtrip airfare from the United States.
Also on the high end is a 24-night study cruise of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and a nearby island called South Georgia for around $14,000 per person. This price covers expert lectures, experienced group leaders, field trips, lodging, most meals, gratuities, taxes, ship travel, air shuttles and round-trip air fare from the United States to Buenos Aires. The cost varies by departure city.
But Elderhostel also offers programs for less than $600. You can study “The Cajun Experience” in Louisiana for $547 per person, including meals, five nights of hotel lodging and expert-led sessions ranging from how to dance the Cajun waltz to the history of Acadian migration from Nova Scotia to south Louisiana. You provide your own transportation to and from the program site in Lafayette, La.
While Elderhostel makes no claim to five-star luxury, we gave good marks in Israel to our hotels, food, guides and expert lecturers.
Sounds like an interesting option for baby boomers looking to travel and explore!
To read the full article, click here.
It is always interesting to read how foreigners explore Peru and share their journey with the world. In a recent local Colorado newspaper “Summit Daily News” reporter Megan Wheat documents her trek to Machu Picchu. It was great to read how she summarizes her trip:
Our journey through Peru was simply put — an adventure. For me, Machu Picchu was the highlight, and provided education and exploration. In Peru, the culture is rich, the faces friendly, and the ruins and Incas who built them, wondrous.
To read about this reporter’s journey to Peru, and to get her great traveler’s tips, click here.
Everything is ready for the Latin American premiere of Danny Boyle’s film “Slumdog Millionaire” on February 19 in Peru — the first Latin American country showing it, as El Comercio reports.
“Slumdog millionaire” has already received several nominations and awards, including the Critic’s Choice Awards, the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the recognition it got from the public in the festivals of Austin, Chicago and Toronto.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you should! And if you are traveling to Peru by February 19, make sure you add it to your itinerary!
Now this is a post that’s very exciting to me and is close to my heart…my favorite Peruvian artist: Gian Marco.
Billboard Magazine en Español just published its list of best albums in 2008, and it is great to know that Gian Marco’s “Desde Adentro” album is listed # 5! He shares this ranking with renowned Latin American artists, including Julieta Venegas, Soda Stereo, Café Tacuba, Juana Molina, Bajofondo, Fonseca, The Pinker Tones, among others.
As El Comercio newspaper reports, Billboard highlights Gian Marco’s album is a unique production, and gives credit to the Peruvian singer and composer for great songs like ”Hoy”, “Hasta que vuelvas conmigo”, and “Me cansé de ti”.
For those who are not familiar with the artist, the song “Hoy” (click here to watch the video) was actually written by Gian Marco and inspired by Peru as a country. It was a winner of the Latin Grammy Awards in 2008. When you listen to its lyrics in Spanish it might sound like it is a couples love song, but it really is about the love he has for his country and longing to come back home. Towards the middle of this video, you can listen and watch traditional Peruvian music and dancers. The small guitar his musicians play is called the “Charango”, a native Peruvian instrument and the dance is called the “Huayno”, both go back for many generations since the times of the Incas. It is in fact one of my favorite songs, brings me emotionally and mentally back home…and perhaps even you’ve heard it being performed by Gloria Estefan (check out her version here). In her video, you will notice she tried keeping the Peruvian spirit on it, including the llama, the colorful bag at the beginning of the video, her belt, and of course taping it from Machu Picchu.
For those who want to see Gian Marco perform, he is currently in Mexico launching his first tour around the main cities, and is planning to perform on February 13 and 14 at the Centro Cultural Asia when he is back to Lima, Peru.
Peruvian Fruit Producers and Exporters to Attend Fruit Logistica 2009 Event on Feb 4-6 in Berlin, Germany
On February 4-6, the leading trade fair for the international fresh produce trade Fruit Logistica 2009 will take place in Berlin, Germany.
While going through the list of exhibitors, it was great to see so many Peruvian firms and associations participating, including the Peruvian associations of producers of Hass avocados, citrus lime, lemon, asparragus, mango, grapes, among many others.
Consorcio de Productores de Fruta (CPF, and translated the Consortium of Producers of Fruit) is one of the Peruvian companies exhibiting. In a press release, Eugenio Oliveira, CPF’s Commercial Manager, says:
“With our projected volume growth in coming years it will be very important in 2009 to continue the development of our business and establish our brand “Malki” in new international markets. We are looking to new markets in Russia and Asia and plan commercial trials to the Middle East. Increasing production, exchange rate volatility and global recession are all factors in leading us to look at new markets as part of our long term vision”.
To learn more about this event in Germany, click here.
Our Argentinean friend Seba seems to be having fun in Peru, and he wrote a comment to our post saying (translated from Spanish):
“Thanks for the post. Yesterday we went up to Machu Picchu, very nice. I will be arriving to Piura in the next days. The goal is to stay until February 2. Looking for the calmest beach in Peru, which one would that be? Accept all recommendations.”
Hi Seba – Glad you are having a wonderful time in Peru. In Piura, I would highly recommend you going to the District of Mancora where you can pick and choose among wonderful beaches and you can relax with a ceviche and a really cold Peruvian beer (ask for Cuzquena, another option is Cristal). Food is amazing, make sure you try one of those omellettes with shrimp (they are huge and delicious) for brunch. And don’t forget to ask for “cancha” as a little appetizer which is traditional — it is dry, toasted salted corn. It’s vicious! The good thing about Mancora is its size. It is small enough you can actually walk it all along, and then you can catch a bus (ask for buses or “combis”) that will take you to nearby beaches. In terms of stay, and since you are hitchhiking, the best option is to check out for small hotels nearby. Since it is peak season, might be tough to get into the big, fancy hotels. You might also want to ask for Inns or sometimes families rent rooms as a small business during peak season.
To help you navigate the beaches, it is helpful to use the km. you are along the Panamericana Sur (highway) as a reference. The District of Mancora is located at km. 1165. So here is a list of nearby beaches in Piura going southbound you might want to check out:
- Playa Mancora is on km 1165 — This is my beach pick. Check out the Punta Ballenas Inn (named ballenas as some years ago you could see whales in the shores). Great spot for relaxing and enjoying a fun nightlife. Along the main street in the Panamericana Norte you can check out traditional shops for arts and souvenirs, and rentals for surf boards if you are into it. You can also find information sites, including a bus stop. Bars at night can go all the way til early hours of the morning with reggae music, cold beers and Maracuya daiquiris.
- Playa Pocitas (also called Mancora chico) is on km. 1160 – many people claim it is the best beach in Peru, you can get there walking, taxi cab or moto-taxi from Mancora, Vichayito or Los Organos. It is a bit more calm than Mancora given it is farther from the city. The name “pocitas” was given due to its beach forming small natural swimming pool-type of beach spots once the sea level is low. You can find good quality hotels in the area, and families are often among its tourists.
- Vichayito is on km. 1155 in the District of Los Organos. This is a very calm beach, wonderful to relax. You can find a beach spa, and bungalows to stay at. Great spot for kite surfing or ocean diving.
- Los Organos is on km 1150. Punta Veleros is the best beach in this neighborhood. It is a great beach but most likely you will need to make reservations in advance for staying at one of the bungalows or hotels. Might be a bit tough given the peak season.
- Cabo Blanco is on km 1137 in the District of El Alto. This is the beach you liked to explore from where Ernest Hemingway got inspiration to write his book “El Viejo y el Mar” (“The Old Man and the Sea”). He liked fishing the Merlin Negro (big marlin). This beach holds world records on fishing, and is a great spot for surfers.
- Lobitos is on km 1100 in the District of Lobitos. This is a beach a bit far from the others, which explains why its weather and beaches are a bit colder. It is a windy city, and there aren’t as much tourist facilities as the other beaches. Perhaps you might want to check it out, but wouldnt recommend you spending the night here.
And if you have a bit more time, here is a list of beaches in the Department of Tumbes (north to Piura, close enough to the borders with Ecuador) you might want to check out:
- Punta Sal located in km 1187. It is 15-20 minutes driving from Mancora. A great beach spot with several hotels and restaurants for tourists. You might want to call in advance to make sure you have somewhere to stay given it is peak season.
- Zorritos in km 1241. This is a good beach spot for relaxing. Has various hotels and restaurants, and is close to the city of Tumbes (capital of the Department of Tumbes) and the frontier with Ecuador. If you go, you might want to check out Hervideros, a small site of natural thermal water pools. Zorritos has several bus agencies, pharmacies, mini markets, etc.
Since you were interested in Ernest Hemingway, here is a snapshot I found:
In the 1950s and 1960s, fishermen traveled to Cabo Blanco to hunt big marlin. Ernest Hemingway caught a 700 pound marlin while filming the motion picture based on his novel , The Old Man and the Sea. In 1953, Alfred Glassell Jr. caught the IGFA all tackle world record black marlin, weighing 1560 pounds.
Have fun, and keep us posted on your trip!
Got tips for our Argentinean friend on his trip to Piura? Feel free to share and post them here!
Ever wondered how you can support the native poor women from the Peruvian Amazon from the U.S.?
The New York Times wrote an article about how women from a remote Amazon village weave baskets as a way of living to export them to the US.
As the article states, their first international buyers are the San Diego Natural History Museum and San Diego Zoo, and they plan to sell to other museums and home décor purveyors like the Field Museum in Chicago and eventually Cost Plus.
What is unique about their weaving ability is that they use fibers from the branch of the chambira palm tree and turn them into anything they need — fishing nets, hammocks, purses, skirts and dental floss.
And here is what Nancy Stevens, manager of retail and wholesale operations for the San Diego Natural History Museum, states when talking about selling Peruvian handicrafts to retailers in the US:
“These baskets represent so much more than simply a basket. When I began to hear their story from a local project into a story of sustainability, where they’re being developed as a responsible use of the natural resources of this Amazon region — it just clicked so beautifully with the mission of this museum.”
To read the full article, click here.