Connect to Peru

Where Americans and Peruvians Living Abroad Connect to Peru

Posts Tagged ‘Travel

Cajamarca To Become Peru’s Carnival Capital in 2009

leave a comment »

cajamarcaCajamarca is one of the 24 departments of Peru located in the far north Highlands region (see my earlier post to get a map). In order to promote it as a tourist attraction all throughout the country and around the world, the local government will be registering Cajamarca to be known as “Peru’s Carnival Capital” to the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi).

As Andina reports,

One of the most important carnival celebrations is the Cajamarca Carnival, considered one of the country’s most famous festivals during February and March. During the carnival, locals from different parts of the region compete with other neighborhoods in a dance and music contest. Afterward, a parade is organized where all can enjoy the festive music and dances. This celebration lasts for one month with eight main days.

For those who have gone to the Brazilian Carnival, Cajamarca’s carnivals aren’t as big or crazy of a party. Very differently, they are traditionalist and a place where you can enjoy the colorful folkloric dresses and dances that have gone through several generations in history. And most likely, there will be great traditional dishes sold at stands and restaurants nearby.

It is a great target if you are planning to visit Peru between February and March 2009! And if you have several days of stay in Peru, you might want to enjoy a trip driving from Lima to Cajamarca which takes 12-13 hours, but worth making stops along the way to enjoy the local dishes and archaeological sites. And if you don’t have too much time, you can also catch a flight from Lima.

Here is a good video where you can get a glance of the drive from Lima to Cajamarca. You can also watch Cajamarca’s main square, archaeological sites, as well as the “Banos del Inca” which are the saunas used back at the time of the Inca empire as spiritual purifiers for the royalty.

And here is a good map of an illustration of Cajamarca’s tourism sites nearby.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

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

leave a comment »

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

How an Arkansas Man’s Life Changed After His Trip to the Peruvian Amazon

leave a comment »

Tremblay with an anaconda snake in the Amazon

Tremblay with an anaconda snake in the Amazon

I came across this interesting story on how a trip to Peru and other South American countries can change your life for the better. If you are of the adventure type, this is a must read.

After leaving his girlfriend behind, quiting his job, and stuck with non-refundable tickets and other travel expenses, Arkansas resident Marc Tremblay made the best of this travel which turned out to change his life to take the job of his dreams: become a canoe guide on the Mississippi River.

Perhaps you won’t change your job, or perhaps you will get to travel with your significant other. But the one thing that will remain similar to Marc’s story about yours is it will become an eye opening adventure.

To read Marc’s story published in the Reader Travelogue section of Commercial Appeal, click here.

Written by Catherine Castro

December 6, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Cameron Diaz in CW’s “4REAL Peru” on December 4

leave a comment »

cameron1If you have MTV Canada or CW on your cable, don’t miss Cameron Diaz’s series of 4REAL Peru on December 4 airing at 4 am, 6:30 am, 9 am or 11:30 am Eastern Time.

And if you don’t, no worries. Just click here to watch the series on demand.

Cameron and Sol Guy travel to the Andes mountains of Peru where Puma Singona, a young medicine man, is keeping his people’s ancient knowledge and wisdom alive.

It is a great way to get an idea of the cultural immersion experience you can have when you visit the Peruvian Andes. You see how women weave their textiles with techniques that go back centuries, the perfect line up of stones one on top of the other to build the street in Cuzco, how music serves as a natural healer, and even Bungee jumping!

Written by Catherine Castro

November 30, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Posted in News, Travel

Tagged with , , , , , ,

The Peruvian Potato: The Answer for Fighting Global Hunger and Poverty, Potato Museum To Open 2nd Half of 2009

with one comment

potatoIf you go to the supermarket here in the U.S. most likely you will find maybe three, four, ok…five types of potatoes. Did you know there are thousands of types of potatoes…and one country in the world holds all of them? Yep, all just in Peru! Check out this BBC story about this year’s Peruvian potato boom. Particularly as rice and wheat prices rise around the world, the Peruvian potato is a perfect alternative and even provides nutrition that other products can’t.

The potato originated in the Andean highlands and was first domesticated in the southeast of Peru about 7000-8000 years ago. Spanish explorers brought the potato plant from South America to Spain in the mid-16th century and then spread throughout other European countries.

And if you are planning to visit Peru next year, you might want to check out the Potato Museum which is currently under construction and is expected to open the second half of 2009 at the headquarters of the International Potato Center (Centro Internacional de la Papa – CIP) located in La Molina – that’s just 30-40 minutes away from the main tourist area in Lima, Peru. CIP maintains the largest collection of potatoes in the world, including almost 5000 varieties of about 100 wild species. The collection is maintained in trust under the auspices of the United Nations.

The United Nations named 2008 the “International Year of the Potato” naming the potato a staple food in the diet of the world’s population and calling the need to focus world attention on the role that the potato can play in providing food security and eradicating poverty in support of achieving internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

A whole array of events has taken place this year. In fact, today Sunday, November 30 in Argentina, ALAP 2008 will convene experts from all over the world (including the U.S., Holland, Canada, France, and other Latin American countries) to advance the use and commercialization of the potato around the world. CIP’s Peruvian representatives will be talking about potato biotechnology, genetics, among other topics. There are four more events happening in the UN-FAO’s agenda around the 2008 potato international campaign: a Potato Exhibition in Rome, Italy; the Global Potato Conference in New Delhi, India, a Potato Festival in Kemorovo in the Russian Federation, as well as the 7th World Potato Congress in Christchurch, New Zealand.

And if you are interested in getting into the details of what CIP has planned for 2009-2011, click here (and it’s in English).

For some interesting potato facts, click here, but here is a snapshot:

  • The potato is the most important root and tuber crop in the world.
  • The potato is the 3rd most important food crop in the world, after rice and wheat.
  • The potato yields more nutritious food more quickly on less land and in harsher climates than any other major crop.
  • Potatoes are rich in protein, calcium and vitamin C
  • Potatoes can be harvested in the tropics within 50 days of planting – a third of the time it takes in colder climates.
  • Potatoes contribute to health by providing calories and providing nutrients.

Here are some videos you might want to check out:

  • United Nations video (not CNN as the tag says) on the Peruvian potato, including images of the International Potato Center (the video is 4:30 minutes only, the rest is repeated)
  • United Nations video about the “International Year of the Potato”
  • Fun video on just some of the different types of potatoes
  • Fun ads “Este Pechito Come Papa” (This One Here Eats Potato) by the Peruvian Agricultural Ministry – part 1 and part 2

So now that you know at least the highlights of the Peruvian potato story, hope you stop by at the Potato Museum on your next trip to Peru, whenever you are at the store you can tell your friends where the world’s largest variety of potatoes is, and now you know how you can help the world in fighting poverty by just buying potato — and you will also help generate jobs in Peruvian agricultural families, and share the idea of helping poor countries around the world consume the potato and fight hunger and malnourishment.

Cheap Flights to Lima, Peru from Washington, DC (DCA)

leave a comment »

If you are planning to visit Peru in December for the holidays, check out Spirit Airlines’ website (www.spiritair.com) for great deals. It is not a Virgin-type of flight with high-class service and a glass of champagne, but it is pretty decent and at a great price!

For example if you are in Washington, DC, a flight from DCA (yes! perfect to avoid driving all the way to Dulles) to Lima, Peru (with a stop in Miami) in December is approx. $600 roundtrip including taxes, compared to $1,000 that American Airlines or even Spirit via Travelocity will charge you. And remember DCA is metro accessible (blue line).

Other airlines like Continental or Delta are either promoting or planning to promote flights (hopefully direct) to Lima, Peru. If you know about direct flights at great prices, let us know!

Written by Catherine Castro

November 30, 2008 at 1:57 am

Posted in Travel

Tagged with , , , , , , ,