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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure

Engineer and Son from Rochester, Minnesota Explore the Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu

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limaThe 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.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 30, 2009 at 9:15 am

Associated Press Reporter Gives Travel Advice for Baby Boomers; Peruvian Amazon His Spring 2009 Destination

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elderhostelThere 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.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 27, 2009 at 12:09 am

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

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

Great Beach Getaways in Piura: White Sands, Warm Water, and Sun

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playaAs Peru kicks off the Summer season, lots of places start promoting tourism-related packages, including hotels, beaches, archeaological site tours, etc. In today’s major newspaper El Comercio, an article features the department of Piura, located in the north Coast of Peru.

Below is a list of the most popular beaches, from North to South:

  • Mancora is the most visited beach among domestic and international tourists of the young type, including surfers and adventurers, which explains hotel price ranges from $5 to $ 15 per night. Hotel Las Arenas is one of the most known in the area.
  • Las Pocitas and Vichayito are two great beaches to go to for a more sophisticated tourist or if traveling with the family. Hotel prices range from $20 to $100 per night and is highly recommended to make reservations with months in advance, particularly during peak season which is around New Year’s, July 28 (Peru’s Independence Day), and Holy Week (a Catholic holiday around late March/early April).
  • Punta Veleros, located in the district of Los Organos,  is starting to become increasingly popular. Its beach is good if you like surfing. If you are looking for a relaxing trip this might be the right beach for you. And the area has 5 small hotels and houses you can rent in advance.
  • Cabo Blanco is a beach largely preferred by surfers due to its big waves, as well as those who like to fish. This was the beach that inspired the American writer Ernest Hemingway for his novel “El Viejo y el Mar” (The Old Man and the Sea). The beach has a few small hotels. The best way to access this beach is if you have a car given its limited access via public transportation.
  • Lobitos is another beach for surfers with small hotels made out of wood (similar to cabins). The best way to access this beach is driving. If you don’t have a car, there is public transportation leaving from Talara but the wait could be up to an hour.

There are more beaches going further South, including Yacila, Cangrejos, Colan, Sechura, San Pedro, San Pablo, Matacaballo, Playa Blanca, Loberas, Reventazón, and Chulliyache. However, these beaches are not much tourist-friendly given its lack of access, hotels, and other basic tourism needs. But if you are the adventurer type and have a car via a friend who is local, you might want to go and explore these areas if you’d like but make sure you leave early and come back early before it gets dark for safety on the highways.

Personally, my favorite beaches area Mancora and Las Pocitas where I used to hang out with friends during my Summer vacation in Peru. And regardless of what beach you stay at, the seafood of that area is fantastic, perhaps one of the best available in the country. Make sure to order a ceviche with a cold beer – the best feeling ever! A shrimp omellette for lunch is really good as well.

Click here for a great trip planner in English made available by Peru’s tourism entity PromPeru, including the local cuisine, places to stay, local map, transportation, etc.

TIP: The quickest way to travel from Lima to Piura is by taking a flight. Recommended airlines include LAN and TACA. Once you get to Piura, the recommended way of traveling to your hotel and commuting is either walking or by taking local buses instead of driving. Ask your hotel to get the best routes and bus companies to where you want to go. I wouldn’t recommend renting a car if you are a tourist without any native Peruvian friends traveling with you. Some local routes might not have clear signs/labels, it creates a hussle to ensure you get a safe place to park it at nights, and hussles of filling up the tank when the closest gas station is several miles away from the beach.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Peru’s Weather Diversity Treasure: Where Should I Go? What Should I Do?

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mancora1Besides Peru’s cuisine, one of the questions I often get from foreigners is where to go on their next visit to Peru. And the answer has much to do with the weather. My first reaction is “my question to you is, what do you like to do?”

Peru’s topography and weather is one of the richest in the world. In just one country, you can find the eight different types of weather (ordered from coast to the jungle): Costa (also called Chala), Yunga, Quechua, Suni, Puna (also called Jalca), Janca (also called Cordillera), Selva Alta (also called Rupa Rupa), Selva Baja (also called Omagua). Thus you can easily accomodate your favorite thing to do with recommended destinations for your next trip.

Surfing, parachuting, tennis, golf and fishing in the Costa (the capital city Lima or Piura, for example); hiking, rock climbing or kayaking in the Yunga; snowboarding in the Quechua; mountain climbing or skiing in the Suni and Puna, trekking in the Janca (includes the highest mountains and sites like Macchu Pichu); hunting or canoeing in the Selva Alta (this is the East side of the mountain skirts), and also canoeing, hunting, trekking, or site seeing in the Selva Baja (includes the Amazon jungle).

Although Macchu Pichu has become largely known following its designation as a New Wonder of the World, it is certainly not the only place to go if you want to make the best out of your trip to Peru. In fact, there are many places where you can go for cheaper rates than Cuzco (the department where Macchu Pichu is located). For instance (and these places are just a few hours on plane from the Lima International Airport):

  • Piura has amazing seafood and wonderful beaches – try Mancora, my fave!
  • Arequipa has very nice views and great food
  • Ayacucho is close to Cuzco (Macchu Pichu) with beautiful churches — if you are religious or a Catholic, this is a must.
  • Ica is the capital of the famous pisco where you can go to the town under the same name.
  • Ucayali has beautiful conservation areas for the adventurer
  • And many more!

In future posts, I will talk in depth on each of these departments for you to learn more about them, or if you rather stay in one more department and get the best out of it.

In the meantime, check out this site I found that has great photos on a mountain climbing and biking adventure in Peru by folks from Gettysburg, PA.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 10, 2008 at 3:19 pm