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Posts Tagged ‘machu picchu

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

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

Peruvian Artist Gian Marco’s Album Listed Top 5 by Billboard Magazine en Español

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gian_marcoNow 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.

Written by Catherine Castro

January 25, 2009 at 9:45 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

Boston: Two Traditional Peruvian Restaurants Just Across the Street From Each Other

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polloWhile in Boston, one of my last stops wondering around the city to search for Peruvian restaurants was at Machu Picchu restaurant. Located in Sommerville, MA, close by to the Cambridge neighborhood and accessible via bus (look for # 86 bus route), the restaurant ended up being a great option if you are looking for authentic Peruvian food. As soon as you arrive you are welcomed with toasted corn (Peruvians call it “cancha“) which is originally from the Andes region in Peru. Here is an overview of my experience.

As a good Peruvian, the dinner kicked-off with a Pisco Sour — wouldn’t recommend it at this restaurant. You could actually feel you were drinking alcohol versus tasting the mix of its ingredients.

For an appetizer, I enjoyed a Causa de Pollo which is a mashed potato-type of cake filled with layers of onions and chicken. It was good, but tried better ones. As an entree I liked the Aji de Gallina, a traditional entree with boiled potatoes, shredded chicken on a creamy sauce made with the Peruvian yellow aji (chili). For dessert I had the Combinado, a two-in-one serving consisting of Arroz con Leche (similar to a rice pudding) and Mazamorra Morada, a purple corn-based compote with pieces of fruit.

To get a glance of Machu Picchu restaurant’s menu, click here.

Although the restaurant is not at a fancy, downtown-ish location as Taranta (a great green-certified location to enjoy Italian food with a wonderful Peruvian kick) or Orinoco (for the best pisco sour I had in Boston), it is a good option to enjoy traditional Peruvian dishes if you are driving or don’t mind walking in the suburbs of Boston.

And the latest about this Machu Picchu restaurant…the spin-off of its Peruvian rottiserie chicken right across the street! This just-opened restaurant is named “Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill”. The menu looked pretty interesting, and the chicken looks pretty good and authentic. This type of chicken is perhaps Peru’s second flagship dish after the Ceviche. What is unique about this restaurant was the Quinoa side, as well as Peruvian-style beef kabobs we call “anticuchos”. Quinoa is originally from the Andes mountains of South America, with Peru at the center of the Inca Empire, and is a great source of protein that many generations have enjoyed. So if you are hungry, perhaps you might want to save some room after your meal at Machu Picchu to get some rottiserie chicken, or better yet anticuchos as an appetizer.

To get a glance of Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill restaurant’s menu, click here

TIP: And if you are a big beer fan, you might want to try the local Peruvian beers available at both restaurants, including Cuzquena (my favorite) and Cristal.

Machu Picchu Restaurant is located at 307 Somerville Avenue, Somerville,  Massachusetts 02143.

Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill is located at 25 Union SQ, Sommerville, Massachusetts 02143.

(PS – Although it doesn’t matter if you have in mind enjoying a great Peruvian meal, the one thing I was “nervous” about was the many typos the menu and marketing materials had. Sorry, must be the PR girl in me! Hahaha.)

Written by Catherine Castro

January 3, 2009 at 9:49 pm

A Dozen Luxury Hotels, Including a 7-Star Hotel, will Open in Cuzco in 2009/2010

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hilton1marriott1In 2008, more than a million tourists from around the world visited Cuzco, the department where Machu Picchu is located. To address the increasing demand expected in the coming years, a total of 12 luxury hotels are planned to open in 2009-2010, some of them by the world’s largest hotel chains, as El Comercio reports.

Here’s the timeline, so make sure you take note of them as you plan your next visit to Cuzco!

Q1 2009

  • Urubamba Luxury Collection will be opened in the area of Valle Sagrado by the Peruvian chain Libertador Perú
  • Río Sagrado, a boutique hotel by a Peruvian investment group
  • Marriott will open a hotel that looks to surpass 5 stars
  • San Agustin, a local Peruvian chain of hotels, will open a 3-star hotel in Urubamba, and a 4-star hotel in Cuzco.

Q2 2009 and beyond

  • Acqua Hotel Resort Spa, a local chain of boutique hotels, will open between May and June 2009. It will consist of the renovation of a colonial mansion from the 17th century. A second 5-star location will also be opened in Urubamba.
  • Hilton Hotels Corp. will start building a 5-star hotel in mid-2009 to be located just 4 blocks away from Cuzco’s Main Square.
  • Aranwa Sacred Valley will build a 5-star hotel in the area of Valle Sagrado and another one in the city of Cuzco which is expected to be inaugurated in 2010.
  • The American company Revolutions Perú will build the first 7-star resort in Peru
  • Casa Andina plans to open its second luxury hotel by 2010.

Click here for a related story from today’s Washington Business Journal covering Maryland-headquartered firm Marriott and Hilton.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 29, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Machu Picchu Continued Capturing Presidents and Celebrities’ Attention in 2008, including The Simpsons and South Park

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mpicchu1Throughout 2008, Machu Picchu and the neighboring city of Cusco has welcomed several celebrities, royalty personalities, and sports stars, as El Comercio reports, including:

  • Alicia Keys: received the 2008 year in Cusco and then visited the archaeological site. Click here to watch her appearance in the Letterman show talking about her visit.
  • Jenna Bush: visited Cusco and Machu Picchu on January, and also stopped by the Andean communities in Paucartambo, nearby Cusco, as part of her Unicef agenda in favor of local poor children. Click here to watch a raw Associated Press video of her visit.
  • Marguerite of Borbon, Infant of Spain: visited Cusco in April and enjoyed a show with Peruvian folkloric and flamenco music before heading by train to Machu Picchu. Despite her blindness since birth, she very much enjoyed it from the windows of the train.
  • Canadian singer and composer Bryan Adams arrived to Cusco following his concert in Lima in a private plane, and then headed to Machu Picchu in a helicopter.
  • Several Presidents from around the world and political personalities visited Machu Picchu around the Latin American, Caribbean and European Union (ALC-UE) Summit and the Asian Pacific (APEC) Forum between May and November, including the Foreign Affairs and External Affairs Commissioner of the European Commission Benita Ferrero-Waldner; the President of the same organization José Manuel Barroso; the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk, the President of Guatemala Álvaro Colom; the Chancellor of Slovakia Jan Kubis; the Chancellor of Hungary Kinga Goncz;  and the wife of the Executive Chair of the region of Hong Kong Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei.
  • The goalie and captain of the Spanish soccer team Iker Casillas visited Machu Picchu in July accompanied with a group of children that the sports star supports through an NGO. Together with the former Spanish soccer star Emilio Butragueño, they visited Patabamba to visit children in that community.

And if you are a fan of The Simpsons and South Park, you might recall they “visited” Macchu Pichu in an episode where all the members of the Simpsons family end up at the archaeological site following one of Bart’s adventures, and the characters of South Park visit as they fight against an attack of “giant guinea pigs”.

Click here to watch a YouTube video with The Simpsons episode, and click here to watch the South Park episode.

In 2007, actresses Olivia Newton John and Cameron Diaz (click here to check out her visit while taping for the 4REAL show from my earlier post), the multimillionaire Bill Gates (click here for a video of him attending the Inti Raymi, the most important ancient ceremony praising the Sun), the Princess of England Beatrice, and the actors Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson.

It has certainly been quite a busy city in 2008!