Connect to Peru

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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Colorado Reporter Qualifies the Inca Heart as “Strong and Mysterious”

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bildeIt 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.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 26, 2009 at 11:05 pm

News from our Argentinean Friend Seba on his Trip to Peru, Headed to Piura

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hemingway

Ernest Hemingway in Cabo Blanco, Piura, Peru

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!

Written by Catherine Castro

January 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Forbes Magazine Ranks Peru Among “World’s Top 10 Culture Capitals”

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forbes1Forbes magazine ranked Peru among top 10 “World’s Culture Capitals”! 

In the travel section of its most recent issue, Forbes magazine states:

Known both for its textiles and folk art as well as ancient structures and biodiversity, the OECD says Peru classifies 93% of its tourists as cultural tourists. However, Peru is different from many other cultural meccas in that it targets young travelers who spend less per day, but tend to stay longer. Along with volunteer tourism, those with an International Student Identity Card receive discounts on everything from hostels to Inca Trail tours. […]

And according to the Peruvian government, the country’s tourism dollars reached $2.22 billion in 2008, an 11% increase from $2 billion in 2007.

“In a downturn like this, many young people will choose to travel at the end of their degree, rather than immediately embarking on a career,” says Richards. “They might be the most effective target [for cultural tourism].”

To read the full article, click here.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Discovering ‘Lost’ Kingdom of the Ancient Inca

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machu-picchuThis is the title of the travel article in today’s Miami Herald. It includes a pretty good summary on the most recent developments behind the stories on how the Machu Picchu citadel was “lost” and rediscovered.

The article states:

For decades, the story has been that Yale professor Hiram Bingham, in a feat that smacks of Indiana Jones, ”discovered” Machu Picchu and its treasure in 1911. In fact, according to Beto Rengifo Solano, one of Peru’s leading archaeological guides, Bingham was led to the site by a barefoot, young boy. When he got there, four families were living among these grandest of Incan ruins. Its greatest treasure had long since been plundered.

A recent article in The New York Times goes one step further, reporting the existence of property records that show repeated purchases and sale of lands including Machu Picchu before 1911, and suggesting the possibility that a German logger may have made off with the site’s best treasures. Other early visitors may well have included a British missionary and a German businessman.

Click here to read the full article. The debate about being lost and its discovery might take decades, but as the article states Machu Picchu “itself remains an endless enchantment.”

Written by Catherine Castro

January 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Argentinean Blogger Travels to Peru Inspired by “Connect to Peru” Blog Post

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playaA blog post woke me up in a gratifying way this morning as I read an Argentinean blogger named “Seba” was going on a two-week vacation as a hitchhiker to Peru, and particularly to the northern beaches in Piura after mentioning Hemingway finding inspiration for one of his books in Mancora from my post on “Great Beach Getaways in Piura: White Sands, Warm Water, and Sun”.

Here is a translated version of an excerpt of his post:

As it reads. This humble server is out on vacation. Leaving with Sun. Two weeks. Already got the yellow fever shot, backpacks ready, passports up to date and tickets in hand. Destination is Peru, first Cuzco and then the beaches in the north, definitely Mancora (I want to know that place since I learned that Hemingway got inspiration from that place to write “The Old Man and the Sea” (“El viejo y el mar”). [and then he links his blog to my post]

Seba – If you read this post, thanks for reading “Connect to Peru” all the way from Argentina! Enjoy your trip to my native Peru. I am sure you’ll run out of camera memory with all the wonderful things you can explore particularly when hitchhiking! Best of luck, and we’d definitely like to hear from you on how your adventure went two weeks from now! Buen viaje!

Written by Catherine Castro

January 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

Lima International Airport Inaugurates Phase II of Expansion

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peru_overviewOn your next visit to Peru as you arrive into Lima’s International Airport “Jorge Chavez” you might notice changes compared to your last visit. The infrastructure modernization program of the airport was inaugurated and will benefit its 10 million tourists estimated to arrive in the next few years, as El Comercio reports.

The Phase II expansion will bring the following benefits to tourists:

  • More immigration counters for quicker service particularly during peak hours
  • Expansion of the duty free
  • Improved luggage service

Never been to Peru? Here is a great video produced by the German TV network Deutsche Welle on the airport management group and improvements made to the Lima International Airport, including safety for tourists and efficiency of its operations. And here is another video with a glance around the airport.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 16, 2009 at 2:30 am

Afro-Peruvian Rhythms with Novalima Coming Up to New York in March 2009

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novalimaDiversity is a pretty good word to describe Peru — its culture, its history, its food. Among the diversity of cultures and races that still remain in Peru are the descendants of the immigration flow from the African continent several centuries ago. Afro-Peruvian music is perhaps one of the most treasured rhythms you might want to learn if you are exploring Peruvian native music.

New York Daily News writes an article about “Novalima”, a new fusion-type of band who will be releasing worldwide their new CD “Coba Coba” this month and will be performing in New York in March. Click here to watch a video on one of their hit songs “Machete”.

Just so you get a taste of what traditional Peruvian African music is all about (and who served as inspiration to Novalima), click here to listen to the authentic song behind “Machete” called “El Mayoral” performed by Eva Ayllon, one of the most widely known ambassadors to Afro-Peruvian  music.

And if you go to Peru, Chincha is a city in the department of Ica (south of the department of Lima) where you will be able to find the oldest generations of original Afro-Peruvian families. You can get to Chincha by driving the Panamericana Sur highway with some nice beaches along the road. One of the most known native family names is the Balleumbrosio’s, and you can click here and here to watch videos on this exotic dance you might be able to enjoy live on your trip!

Written by Catherine Castro

January 15, 2009 at 6:00 am

Ready to Fly? Paragliding in Lima, Peru

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tandem_paraglidingIf you are of the adventure type, paragliding might be something you’d like to try for your next visit to Lima.

It is done in the Miraflores/Larcomar area right next to the beach which is where most of the top hotels (e.g. Marriott) in Lima are located. So ask your hotel or travel agent for a paragliding company nearby.

Here is a fun video of what you’ll be able to enjoy. Are you ready?!?

Written by Catherine Castro

January 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

Surfin’ U.S.A.? Try Surfin’ Peru!

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surfOne of Peru’s most beautiful and fun beaches, San Bartolo, will be the venue wherethe best surfers in the world will be competing for the World Championship of Women and Men Professional Surfers 2009, as an article in RPP reports.

So if you are planning to be in Lima, Peru between January 23 thru February 1 and like surfing, you might want to consider a trip to San Bartolo which is just a few miles south of Lima (TIP: to drive from Lima to San Bartolo take the Carretera Panamericana Sur, drive until kilometer 50, and then make a right).

Among the 10 surfers representing Peru is Sofia Mulanovich, a multi-world champion surfer and the first South American to be inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame. Check out a video interview to Sofia here.

As of date, the teams from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico,  Puerto Rico, U.S. and Hawaii have confirmed their participation.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 13, 2009 at 2:43 am

Peru’s Skies Connecting to Cuba’s Starting March 23 via TACA

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tacaStarting March 23, TACA airlines has announced they will be serving direct flights between Lima, Peru and La Havana, Cuba, as an article in Living in Peru reports.

There will be 3 flights to and from both cities every week.

So perhaps a little stay in La Havana before heading to your final destination, or maybe making a stop in Peru coming from La Havana on your Latin American tour might be a good option to consider now!

Written by Catherine Castro

January 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

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