Connect to Peru

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Posts Tagged ‘Travel

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

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

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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How Are Peruvians Welcoming 2009?

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playa1So how do Peruvians plan to celebrate the New Year’s? An article in RPP Noticias, the leading news radio and online site, states the options are either camping at a beach, at a friends’ or family’s place, or at a public venue for the long weekend that began yesterday for most.

For the New Year’s Eve, traditionally there are superstitions on receiving the New Year with a positive attitude and good luck, including wearing a yellow underwear (typically bought by someone else to bring more luck), eating 12 grapes at midnight, having yellow flowers, among many others. And regardless of where they will be, people plan ahead to stock up on alcohol and beers, bottled water, as well as canned food if you will be away from home.

According to the article, this is how the New Year’s Eve is looking like in Peru, particularly in the Coast region:

Campers along the beaches have already began to travel mostly by car to their preferred beach or to their friends’ or family’s beach house since the past days according to their vacation schedules. The main inter-department highway along the Coast called “Panamericana” (similar to the I-95 along the East Coast) is already busy with thousands of cars and SUVs with families or groups of friends going north or south from Lima, the capital city. Several police cars are along the highway to address any potential jams, and giving away brochures with safety and driving recommendations. To help the flow of drivers from Lima to the south of Peru, the highway has been opened today to be all southbound, and will change on January 4 when all drivers plan to come back to the city to start work on Monday.

Hundreds of people are also along the highway selling goods for those last-minute needs, including yellow flowers, balloons, bottled water, and other yellow goods to bring up good luck at midnight.

And for those who decide to stay at home or at a friends’ or family member’s place, a dinner similar to what they had for Christmas (a big meal similar to Americans’ Thanksgiving dinner) will be served tonight. The main course could be chicken, turkey, or pork, accompanied by paneton (an Italian-style sweet bread), salads, and several sides such as mashed potatoes and white rice. And to drink, there will be champagne or sparkling wine.

And once the clock hits midnight, fireworks all around the country will be heard. This replaces the typical “ball drop” Americans have.

Happy New Year to everyone, regardless of where in the world you will be!

Written by Catherine Castro

December 31, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Australian-British Travel Guru Tony Wheeler Names Peru “Hot Destination 2009”

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lonely-planetOne of the purposes of my blog is to allow for its readers to stay ahead of the curve on the popularity that Peru (both as a country and as a brand) is getting throughout the world. With restauranteur Todd English predicting Peruvian food to be “the next big thing” (read my post here), Bon Appetit magazine naming Peru’s capital city Lima as the “Gastronomic Capital of South America” (read my post here), and a dozen luxurious hotels including the world’s largest hotel chains to be built in 2009 and 2010 in Cuzco (read my post here)…now another travel tag adds to the mix — and all the way from Australia!

Australian newspaper The Age just wrote a story about world-renowned traveller guru Tony Wheeler, co-founder of the Lonely Planet guidebooks sold around the five continents (click here to view an interview done to Wheeler by Travel Channel). Among travelling tips and profiling the Australian traveller, Wheeler highlights his 2009 hot destinations…and yes, Peru is one of them!

Here is what the paper writes about Wheeler and his take on Peru:

The founder of Lonely Planet guide books, Tony Wheeler, predicts big growth in travel to South America, particularly Peru. He says Peru has “everything in one package”, from the “lost city” of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail to surf breaks, canyons and Lake Titicaca.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 29, 2008 at 11:32 pm

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