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Huacachina: A Unique Oasis in the Middle of the Desert

Peru has many arqueological sites to visit and it has become in the last decades a great spot for culinary tours as well, but the country also offers some unique places where you can relax and have fun, such as Huacachina, a tiny town in central Peru. This is a unique oasis in the middle of Peruvian desert, located in the province of Ica. You can reach Huacachina with a 5-hour bus ride from Lima capital city to Ica and then a short 10-minute bus or taxi ride from Ica to Huacachina. The desert oasis is located south of Lima and is considered a paradisiac place with palms and a blue-green lagoon where you can engaged in multiple activities and also relax. This testify the variety of landscapes you can find in Peru. The town is very small, so you can just easily walk from a side to the other, with no traffic stress. It is a very relaxing place!

Huacachina developed around a little blue-green lagoon, whose water are considered very powerful to heel medical problems such as asma. Around the lagoon several resorts, low-budget hostels and restaurants have popped up since 15 years. Everything is sorrounded by huge sand dunes, ideal for sport activities, such as buggies and sand boarding.

Here a list of things you can do once in Huacachina:

Sand-Boarding tour: The huge sand dunes are the main attraction of the oasis, especially for people who love to engage in active holidays. You can just rent a board in the street of you have previous experience or you are a surf or snowboarding fan or you can take a tour with a professional instructor that will explain how to surf the dunes and you also have the possibility to choose the right sand board for you. It is very common to see tourists riding the sandboarding on their stomach or like a sled, since it is not very easy to do it on your feet. But we can ensure that it’s a lot of fun, especially if you go with your family or a group of friends.

Buggies: Another tour option is to rent four-wheel-drive dune buggies and go up and down the dunes with a professional driver. This tour is offered by the majority of hotels and hostels in Huacachina. We suggest you to take the afternoon tour, since the sun is not so strong as in the morning and the risk of sunburn is definitely lower. Also it is a great way to stop on the dunes and enjoy the beautiful sunset on the desert.

Winery Tour: As I said before Huacachina is only a short bus or taxi ride from Ica, a town very famous for its wineyards. So do not miss the opportunity to do a winery tour before heading back to Lima or visiting another Peru’s destination. In Ica you will find many wine “bodegas” that produce a sweet red wine and also the famous national Peruvian spirit: Pisco. There are traditional linerie that use old production methods and more industrial wineries in the area which use more modern machinery to process their wine and Pisco. During the tour you will learn about the production process and have the chance to taste several types of wine and Pisco varities. Among the most famous wine and Pisco “bodegas” that you can visit in Ica there are Tacama (https://www.tacama.com/), Vista Alegre (https://www.vistaalegre.com.pe/), Ocucaje (http://ocucaje.com) and El Catador (https://www.elcatador.pe/). Obviously you will also have the opportunity to buy wines and Piscos directly in the “bodega” if you want to do so.

Paddle in the lagoon: another activity you can do is to rent paddle boat and go around the little lagoon or swim in the lagoon, but take in account that the water is not particulary clean, so we actually suggest to avoid swimming in there.

Sunset on the desert: this activity is perfect if you love travel photography and you want to take amazing snapshots of the sun descending on the sand dunes. So just have a late afternoon walk and be prepared with your camara equipment to take amazing pic of the sunset.

Regional Museum of Ica: if you are into a more cultural kind of holiday you can visit the Regional Museum of Ica where you will find a collection of pre-hispanic pottery, mummies, textiles, wooden instruments and soft metals from the Paracas and Nazca civilizations.

Just Relax: almost every resort and hostel in Huacachina has private pools, so if you want to relax in the pool and enjoy the sunlight during the day, Huacachina is the perfect spot for you.

For more information on the best Peruvian destinations and the best travel tips just stay tuned!

Cusco Peru Peru Destinations Travel Tips What to do

The Best Active Holidays Routes in Peru

Peru is a perfect travel choice for those of you loving active holidays and looking for a grain of adventure in their trip. The country has some of the most attractive trekking routes in the world and it offers the most amazing and exciting activities in South America. From the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to the most off the beaten trekking paths in the central Peruvian highlands, such as Huaraz area, from the exciting zipline experience to the highest dining experience ever in Lima with “Dinner in the Sky”. Here a list of activities you should definitely consider if you are an adventurous trip lover.

  • Inca Trail: this is the classic trekking experience in Peru that trekking passionates cannot miss. It is quite prosaic saying that the route is amazing and you will enjoy beautiful view of the Sacred Valley with the Andes chain at the background and the magnificence of the Inca ruins all around. That’s an amazing experience that will take you directly to the Machu Picchu ciutadel. We suggest you to book well in advance your permit to do the Inca trail, since this is the most requested activity for Peru trip. We have already talked about the Inca trail and other hiking routes you could consider doing instead of the inca trail in this article (http://www.magicalcuzcotours.com/blog/3-spots-you-should-not-miss-if-you-love-hiking/), so have  a look at it!

  • Ausangate Trek: this is a one-day trek experience that will take you to the Rainbow Mountain, considered nowadays one of the most popular attractions in Peru. You can hike the route by yourself or you can rent a horse to make the experience a bit lighter. This is up to you and your physical state. Once you reach the famous rainbow moutnain you will enjoy an amazing and not-ordinary colourful landscape. Do not forget your camara!

  • Zip Line and Via Ferrata: This is an exciting activity that you can do in the Sacred Valley. There are several zip lines (they are seven interconnected ziplines), also ideal for people without any previous experience. Via Ferrata is a type of steel ladder and cable system that runs along the Sacred Valley mountains, it has installed a special security system that make it ideal for people with no climbing experience as well. This experience will be absolutely adrenaly pumping for you.

  • Rafting in the Urubamba River: This is another activity you can be engaged in the Sacred Valley. It is very fun to do as family activity or group activity with your friends for instance. You will raft the rapids of class 2 and 3 of the Urubamba river. During the activity you will have the chance to enjoy beautiful panoramic landscapes on the river shores and you will get to know Peruvian flora as well, enjoying flowers species and plants. There are several companies that will rent you all the necessary equipment for this rafting adventure and there will be a tour guide with you the all time, get ready for an exciting experience in Peru!

  • ATV Quad Bike tour in Maras and Moray: you will have the chance to visit Maras and Moray by quad bike, which can be authomatic or semi-authomatic; there is no need to have previous riding experience. During the tour you will have the chance to visit the archeological site of Moray, the Salt Mines and Moray village. This will be the adventure you will never forget!

  • Dinner in the Sky: if you are a food lover and you love to experience foreign food and combine it with adventure and action this is the right experience for you. You will have the chance to enjoy a delicious meal up in the air, up to 45 meters. It is a new experience, arrived in Peru thanks to the Belgium franchise “Dinner in Heaven”at the beginning of 2019, but already popular in more than 70 countries in the world. They have a capacity to serve 22 people and the structure is located nearby Lima, in Lurín. You will enjoy a main course, a dessert and wine. This is definitely a unique dining experience you cannot miss while in Peru.

These are only few of the best adventurous experiences you can live during your Peru trip! Stay tuned for more travel tips and active holidays recommendations.

Peru Destinations Travel Travel Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Peruvian Slang – Part 2

A couple of weeks ago we posted an article on Peruvian slang, but we have so many other words, sayings and slang expressions often used by Peruvians that we would like to share with you. Just to start from the real beginning the word “jerga” refers to these slang words.

We think about these articles as a guide for you while walking the streets of Lima, Cusco or any other destinations and trying to talk and comunicate with locals. These are words that you will easily heard throughout the country. We tried to select the most useful expressions a traveler could bump into while visiting Peru.

  • Jama/Jamear: This word is used to refer to “food”, also used as a verb “to go to eat”. So you will listen to the expression “vamos a jamear”, which literally means “let’s go eating”.

  • Chancha: This word literally refers to a female pig, but it is used by Peruvians to the act of splitting the bill between friends. So you might listen to the expression: “hacemos chancha” or “hacemos chanchita”, which means “let’s split the bill”. Remember this saying if you are invited out for dinner or a drink by locals.

  • Huevón: The word can be used among friends with the meaning of “dude”, “buddy”, “guy”, but be careful that sometimes can be a bit insulting, especially when used in third person.

  • Porfa: this is a shorten version of the expression “por favor”. It is extremely common to hear this word. Formality is a very important part of the Peruvian manner of speaking.
  • Roche: this word means “shame”, you will hear the expression ¡Qué roche! quite often, which means “What a shame!”. If a couple is arguing in the street for instance or if someone is totally drunk, you can use this expression.
  • Bamba: this means that something is fake, so if you are at the street market and your Peruvian friend says “Esto es bamba!” means that “the item is fake”, so do not buy it. Keep an ear open for this word when you are shopping at local street markets!
  • Jato: the word means “house”, so you will listen to “te veo en mi jato”, which literally means “I’ll see you at my house” or “estoy en mi jato”, which means “I’m at home”.

  • Grifo: the word litterally means tap, but in Peruvian slang means gas station. So, if you listen to the expression “Encuentras la tienda pasando el grifo”, means “You’ll find the store after the gas station”.

  • Huasca: the expression “Estás huasca” means “You’ re wasted”, so if you or someone else drink too much it is very common to say that.

 

  • ¡Ya fuiste!: if you listen to this saying is because you miss your shot, you miss an opportunity. If you are late for a tour for example, or for the bus you can listen a local saying ¡Ya fuiste!.

If you are traveling to Peru for a month or more or even if you are spending here just few days, learning a bit of local lingo will definitely help you out! If you are a person who loves getting in touch with locals is even better to have a sense of what these words mean and probably learning these words will open the door to new experiences during your stay in Peru.

 

 

Peru Peru Destinations Sin categoría Travel Tips What to do

The Best Dining Experiences in Lima For Travel Foodie

Lima has been considered one of the foodie capital since the second decade of the XXI century! The capital city offers many exciting culinary experiences and culinary stops that you cannot miss while in Peru, so as we always suggest a 2-day visit to Lima is something you should definitely include in your Peru’s itinerary. You can opt to spend a couple of days in Lima on your way to Cusco and Machu Picchu or on your way back, this is totally up to you. But if you stop in the capial city, be prepared to enjoy some of the best and most delicious food in the world and a very pleasant and relaxing time in this vibrant city. 

We tried to put together a list of culinary experiences you cannot miss, among our recommendations there are fine dining restaurants, huarique restaurants where you can taste traditional food and also a stop at the local market food stalls. So it is pretty much a mix of different experiences, ideal for every kind of traveller. 

  • Central Restaurant: this is a mandatory stop if yu are a real travel foodie. Central Restaurant by the popular Peruvian Chef Virgilio Martinez, has been awarded as the second best restaurant in Latin America during the 2018 Latin America’s Best Restaurants Awards sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and the sixth best restaurant in the 2018 World’s Best Restaurants List. The tasting menu they porpose is a combination of ancestral Peruvian ingredients from the coastal, mountain and rainforest regions of the country. The restaurant is located in the Barranco district, be aware that it is extremely difficult to find a table, so book and pay for the experience in advance. 

  • Maido Restaurant: this is also a fine dining experience you cannot miss while in Lima. The Restaurant has been considered the “Nikkei Temple”, it has been appointed the best restaurant in Latin America in the San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna List for two years in a row (2017 and 2018) and it is also in the 7th position in the World’s Best Restaurants List. The chef-owner, Mitsuharu Maido, is the “King of Nikkei”, a cuisine style which mixes Peruvian and Japanese basic tequniques. The result is an explosion of flavors, you will definitely enjoy this amazing flavors journey thorughout Peru and Japan. In this case as well, we suggest to book in advance your table. 

  • Isolina Tabern: The popular Peruvian chef José del Castillo has opened Isolina Tabern in the heart of the bohemian district of Barranco few years ago and the restaurant is already n. 13 in the 2018 Latin America’s Best Restaurant List. In this culinary spot you can enjoy dishes from the Peruvian culinary traditions, such as “asado de tiras”, “chicharrón”, “tallarines saltados”, “cau cau con sangrecita” among others. They mainly serve criollo dishes that represent Peruvian gastronomy at its best. If you are planning to go there for your Sunday lunch, be patient since the queue could be quite long.  

  • Kañete Restaurant: this is another culinary spot that we usually suggest to visitors. It is located in the Surquillo district, next to the famous Miraflores area. It is a “huarique” restaurant, which literally means a hidden/secret place, that no so many people are aware of. Here the Chef Israel Laura serves dishes from the Peruvian traditions and a great selection of seafood dishes as well. The well-known chef rescues recipes and ingredients from all over the country, making his menu a real reflection of Peruvian culture and traditions. 

  • Market Food Stalls: if you want to go local and on a budget, pay a visit to the market n. 1 located between Miraflores and Surquillo districts, next to the Ricardo Palma Metropolitano stop. Inside the market you can find some of the greatest food stalls in Lima, where you can have delicious seafood, start from a “leche de tigre” (literally tiger milk) and keep trying a delicious “ceviche” or “jalea de pescado”. You will definitely have an idea of how a real peruvian ceviche should taste. 

  • La Mar Cebicheria: For a fancier “ceviche experience” try this restaurant located in Av. La Mar in Miraflores district, placed N° 17 in the 2018 Latin America’s Best Restaurants List by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. It is one of the best places to have fresh seafood cooked in a sublime way using the highest culinary tecnhiques, thanks to the talented Chef Gustavo Montestruque. The result is amizing dishes, happy clients and full bellies! What else you can ask for? Do not miss the opportunity to try a classic “ceviche”, you will not regret it! Please keep in mind that this is a no-reservations spot, and highly popular, so be prepared to queue, it is quite crowded especially at the week-end.

  • Osso Restaurant: this is a real “meat emporio”, managed by the Peruvian chef Renzo Garibaldi. If you are a meat person you cannot miss a visit to this restaurant/butcher’s shop in the heart of La Molina District. Try their artisanal hamburgers, their carpaccio and the dried meat. This culinary spot is n. 25 in the 2018 Latin America’s Best Restaurant List.

  • Amaz Restaurant: this is the temple of the Amazonian kitchen by the famous Peruvian Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. The restaurant, placed at n. 48 in the Latin America’s Best restaurant List of 2018, serves dishes of the Peruvian Amazonian cuisine in the heart of the vibrant Miraflores district. Here you can find the popular “paiche” fish cooked in several ways, “juanes”, “chonta” salad sprinkled with Amazonian nuts, and other amazing flavors from the Peruvian rainforest. Also do not miss the special and delicious cocktails made of Amazon fruit.

  • Mercado 28: we have already talked about this gourmet market where you will find different food stalls here: http://www.magicalcuzcotours.com/blog/best-places-to-visit-in-lima/. This is the first gourmet market in Peru, located in Av. 28 de Julio in the heart of Miraflores district. Here you can enjoy several kind of food, from Amazon food to criollo food or delicious sandwiches and fast-food style burgers. There are also several coffee and desserts/ice cream options. The best part is that you will have the opportunità to try several kind of cuisines in one place. Do not miss a stop here for a frugal lunch or a fun dinner while visiting Lima.

  • Truck Park: The park is located in Surquillo district and it is a nice experience for people who love food trucks-style cuisine. Here you will find special sandwiches and burgers, salchipapas, tasty french fries made with Peruvian native potatoes and all kind of fast food dishes along with Peruvian beers station. Sometimes there are also shows scheduled in the patio of the park.

 These are actually just few culinary recommendations in Lima, there will be more to come in the future, so stay tuned! 

Peru Peru Destinations Sin categoría Travel Travel Tips

Best Places to Visit in Lima

When you plan you Peru trip, the first thing you have in mind is going to Machu Picchu, this is actually normal and we sometimes struggle with our travelers to let them understand that Peru has a lot more to offer. Many travelers seem not to be very happy to spend a couple of days in Lima, there is a misconception that the capital city is pretty ugly and caotic and that there is anything to do and visit. Nothing can be more wrong!

Peru’s capital city has many different sites worth a visit and many activities you can include in your travel plans. Here we tried to make a list of our favourite spots and activities you cannot miss while in Lima:

  • Market visit: go and check Lima’s local market, we usually suggest to go to the market located between Miraflores and Surquillo districts, which is called Mercado n. 1, where you can find many local fruits and veggie, as well as a great selection of fresh seafood, nuts and Andean grains. There, you can have breakfast in one of the food stalls located inside the market area or you can also have a traditional lunch, tasting a real Peruvian ceviche or a delicious “jalea” (fried seafood served with fried yuca, “salsa criolla” and mayo), among other traditional dishes.

  • Huaca Puccllana: this is an ancient pyramid made of clay and adobe located in the heart of the vibrant and turistic Miraflores District. It was considered a sacred place, an important administrative and ceremonial location, built by the Lima civilization in the fifth century. There is also a restaurant inside the archeological complex, where you can have a delicious meal enjoying a beautiful view of the Huaca

  • Inca Market: This market deserves a visit especially if you are planning to buy some suovenirs before heading back home. Here you will find traditional Peruvian fabrics, music instruments, bags, backpacks, jewellery and alpaca jerseys and scarfs. Do not forget to bargain with vendors and try to find the best deal you can. Remember that you can pay in cash or by ccard. It is a nice experience and you will definitely find Peruvian traditional handicrafts all in one place.

  • Larcomar: if you are looking for a more fancy shopping experience, do not miss Larcomar shopping mall, located in the Miraflores’ malecon, right on the Pacific Ocean cliffs. Here you will find stores of the best Peruvian and international brands. If you want to buy alpaca products, here you will find high quality scarfs, ponchos and jerseys. In the shopping mall there are also several restaurants that are worth a stop, such as Tanta, Popular de aquí y de allá, La Trattoria di Mambrino, among others. 

  • Mercado 28: this is an interesting culinary spot located in Miraflores district, where you can find different kind of food, from Peruvian fast food to foreigner cuisines, from criollo cuisine to Amazon food, from elegant patisseries to ice cream shops. You can find more on Mercado 28, the first gastronomic market in Peru, here: http://taste-of-peru.com/mercado-28-a-new-culinary-stop-in-the-heart-of-miraflores/

  • Barranco and Miraflores districts Malecon: if you love to spend time outdoor and to enjoy a beautiful sunset, these spots are the perfect places for you to relax after a morning cultural tour, a biking tour or a shopping tour, having a picnic for example or a delicious icecream in the Malecon can help you recharge and relax for the night. Do not miss the beautiful sunset on the Pacific Ocean, it is a remarkable experience.

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  • Plaza Mayor and San Francisco Church: if you are more into culture sites, you cannot miss a visit to Lima’s downtown where you will find the city’s cathedral, the government palace placed around Lima’s main square (Plaza Mayor), right behind the square you can also visit San Francisco Church with its monastery and catacombs. This is a cultural stop that you cannot miss while in the capital city.

  • Culinary spots: there are so many restaurants we can suggest in Lima, but we might need another article on this. Just few of them: Maido, Isolina Tabern, Central Restaurant, Astrid and Gaston, Kañete, La Mar among others. In the capital city you can basically find all kind of cuisines and different prices range restaurants. More on this to come on the blog!

So, when planning a trip to Peru, just try to spend a couple of days in Lima to enjoy the modern side of Peruvian culture and have the opportunity to try the best culinary spots in the country.

Peru Destinations Travel Tips What to do

The Ultimate Guide To Peruvian Slang

Planning a trip to Peru soon and want to feel merged into the local culture? Do you want to “sound” like a Peruvian while you are talking to people in the streets, in the shops or at the restaurant? Here some slang words and phrases you should definitely learn before embarking on your Peruvian adventure! 

We tried to create a usefule list for no-Spanish speaking travelers but also for people who can speak Spanish but obviously not the Peruvian way. Like any country of Latin America, also Peru has its own peculiar slang words and phrases that actually only Peruvians can understand. For instance if an Argentinian come to Peru for a leisure trip or for work, he/she will also encounter some problems with slang words and phrases Peruvians use.  

  • Cheverelet’s start with the most used slangword! This word is used to say that somenthing is cool, for example (“ese polo,te queda chevere” means “this tshirt looks good on you”) or that we are cool (“estamo chevere” means “we are ok”). You will listen to this word in the street, restaurants, basically everywhere.

 

  • Platain Spanish languange this word means silver, but in Peru it means moneyThis is also a word you will listen everywhere, since Peruvians never do anything if you do not pay them. “Plata” is what make the country goes round and people do things for you. So, the use could be something like: “Tienes plata?” which means “Have you got money?”, or “es mucha plata”, which means “that’s too expensive”. 

  • Bacán: this word also has a positive meaning like chevere, it is used to express a favorable opinion on somenthign or someone. “Está bacan” means “It’s cool”. 
  • Chela: you cannot have a great and fun trip if you do not know this word! Chela means beer, so you will listen to “¿Quieres una chela?” which means “Do you want a beer?” or “Vamos por unas chelas”, which means “”Let’s go for some beers”. Remeber: Peruvians never go out for only one beer or drink, they prefer to use the plural! 😀 Peruvians also use the verb “chelear”, which means “the act of drinking beer”. 

  • Pataliterally in Spanish this word means legbut in Peru it means close friend. So you will listen to: “El es mi pata” with means “He’s my pal”.  The word can be used with male or female.  

  • Luca: it could be definitely a name, but in Peru it means Sol, the local currency. So you will probably listen to two friends saying: “¿Tienes un luca? Or ¿Tienes cinco lucas”, which respectively mean “Do you have a Sol?” and “Do you have five Soles?”. This word comes from Spanish gipsy word for Soles. 

  • Chamba: this word means “job” and Peruvians also use the verb “chambear” wich means “to work”, so you will probably listen to expressions such as: “Estoy en chamba”, which menas “estoy trabajando” or “Tengo que chambear” which means “I have to work”. 

  • Tono: this word means party, so the expression “vamos a un tono” means “Let’s go to a party”. Peruvians also use the verb “tonear”. Another word Peruvians use for party is “juerga” and the verb “juerguear”. So the expression “Vamos de juerga”, which means “Let’s go to a party” is quite common as well. 

  • Al toque: it is a peculiar expression used by Peruvians to say “right away” or “straight away”. For instance the expression “Hazlo al toque!” means “Do it right away”. 
  • En un rato: this is also a very common expression you will listen to, but actually it is quite difficult to undestand what exactly “rato” means for Peruvians. It could be 10 minutes, half an hour, a hour, 3 hours, so sometimes could be hard. So the expression “Voy en un rato” means “ I wil be there soon”, but be aware you might wait more than an hour! Let’s be honest Peruvians are famous for not being on-time. 
  • Yapa: this word means something extra for free”. So if you are buying somenthing like fruit or veggie you ask for yapa, usually an extra lemon or tomato. 

After our survivor Peruvian slang course for beginners you will be able to undestand few words Peruvians often use. Stay tuned that will definitely post more slang words nd phrases soon! 

 

Cusco Nazca Peru Peru Destinations Titicaca Travel Travel Tips World travel

Top Places for Amazing Travel Photos in Peru

Are you that kind of traveller, eager to take stunning photos and have them to cherish everlasting memories of his/her trip or to share them in social media or travel blogs? Are you in a costant pursuit of incredible travel photos? This is the right blog article for you. We tried to select the most amazing places in Peru to take the best and the most suggestive travel shots ever!Credits: chrisactive.pl

We didn’t have a hard time selecting these places though, considering that Peru has many amazing views to offer and a wide variety of landscapes, we refer to high mountain picks, the highest lake in the world, paradisiac beaches, amazing trekking routes, beautiful lagoons, charming jungle bridges and even desert. So, if you are into travel photos, Peru is definitely a place you must note down on your travel list right now!

  • Lagoon 69 in Huaraz: This place is simply amazing! Here the celestial lagoon with its intense blue waters meets the clear sky, typical of the Peruvian “sierra”. The Lagoon 69 is located in the Huascarán National Park, in Huraz province, north-east of Lima. It is a 9-hour bus ride from the capital city; if you prefer, you can also fly to Huaraz from Lima. We believe that this is one of the most beautiful lagoon in the world and the trek to reach it is simply amazing, yuo will bump into amazing landscapes, and see beautiful flowers and plants while you walk along the path. You can find more information on this trek here: http://www.magicalcuzcotours.com/blog/huaraz-a-charming-destination-in-the-heart-of-peru/

  • Uros floating islands: this is an archipelago of the Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Here you will enjoy the blue waters of the lake, crossing the path with the clear sky, learn about Uros indigenous community, their lifestyle, and their activities, such as crafting, cooking, fishing, etc. This is a remarkable experience for travellers who have the chance to meet local people and jump on one of these amazing islands for a bit. The islands are made of “totora” reeds, which grow in the lake. The sun light is amazing on the Titicaca Lake and it will definitely help taking great shots of the lake itself and local people in their daily routine.

  • “La Catedral” in Paracas National Reserve: this is another amazing spot to get great travel pics, where you’ll find a geomorphological attraction in an arch shape, unfortunately partially destroyed during the earthquake which hit Peru in 2007. It is a place to stop and relax during your visit to Paracas National Reserve where you can enjoy all the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and its coast and the relaxing sound of the waves crashing on the shores. The high cliff is extremely fascinating and with the sunlight the color of the sky will reflect on the ocean creating an amazing effect.

  • Rainbow Mountain: this spot became extremely famous and known in the past 5 years, when travellers began to get interested in this amazing mountain, also know as 7-colors mountain. Today it is one of the most beaten path in Peru. The mountain, with its height of 5,200 above sea level, is completely covered by brilliant and colourful sands. This colourful effect comes from the minerals and the rocks which cover the surface of the mountain. Since the hike to reach the pick of the mountain is quite intense, especially if it rains, you can do it by renting horses if you prefer. However, once you get there your effort will be highly rewarded.

Credits: Atlantida.travel 

Credits: Travelholic 

Credits: blog.redbus.pe 

  • Amazon River: one of the most fashinating spot in Peru, where you will be merged into amazing wildlife and hear the sound of the nature. When you arrive to the Peruvian rainforest you have to get to the lodge you selected, and you usually have to take a rustic and traditional boat, called by locals “lancha”, for a river ride which could be short or long depending on the location of your accommodation. During the ride you will connect with the sound of the river and the amazing wildlife of the jungle, which will transfer you in a peaceful atmosphere. If you happen to arrive at your destination around sunset you are pretty lucky and can enjoy beautiful views of the river and the jungle’s flora. That’s the perfect time to get amazing shots.

Actually these are only few of the amazing places you can find in Peru, so grab your camera and best photo equipment, book your trip and come to Peru to get incredible travel photos.

Peru Destinations Travel Tips What to do

Paracas National Reserve and Ica at Glance

If you are in Lima for more than a couple of days and you want to have a trip nearby to escape Lima’s caos and traffic, one of the main destinations selected by visitors is Paracas National Reserve. This is one of the biggest protected desert natural reserve in South America. This sight is located in Ica region, that is why most of the visitors usually make the most of the day also visiting the town of Ica.

This article aims to give you a sample itinerary that you can do in one or two days, this is up to you and you should see how it can fit into the itinerary you planned. You can come back to Lima late at night on the same day or if you prefer you can spend the night in Ica.

Let’s start then! You have to take the bus to Paracas from Lima very early in the morning, around 4:00 am, just check the timetable of the bus company of your preference. I would suggest you to choose Cruz del Sur, which is a very reliable company and it is also considered one of the safest bus lines in the country. The buses are clean and very comfortable! You can actually take advantage of the comfy seats to have a nap during the 3-hour and half trip from Lima to Paracas. Believe this nap is worth it! Just try to rest before your excursion starts, this is going to be a long day.

Once in Paracas, your tour of the reserve will start from “El Chaco” pier, where you board your boat. So first of all you will have a nice and relaxing tour of the reserve by boat during which you could see the famous ”El Candelabro”, a large prehistoric petroglyph of unknown origin spanning over 150 meters high and 50 meters wide, which is considered a mysterious symbol. There are tons of theories on it, one of them states that perhapsthe symbols was used as guide for sailors many years ago. As we approach the islands, you will see the rock formations from every angle as well as the different species of animals and birds that habitat the island, like sea lions, Peruvian booby, cormorans, penguins and much more. There are more of 400 species of flora and fauna in the area, so if you are into nature and wild animals, this is the place to visit!

Once you finish this tour you will have to go back to Paracas bus station to start your bus trip to Ica. Once again I suggest you to go with Cruz el Sur. There’s nothing better to relax a bit after the boat ride during the 1 hour and half bus ride from Paracas to Ica. Before starting your Ica city tour I would advise you to grab some lunch, food and wine are delicious in Ica region, so you have plenty of choices. A very good spot to have lunch is the Las Dunas Hotel, just that you know. During the Ica city tour you will have the chance to visit downtown Ica and the places nearby, then I suggest to make a stop at the Regional Museum, where you can see archeological artifacts from prehistorical to colonial eras, as potteries, textils, mummies, among others. They are all objects from the ancient civilizations who occupied the area: Paracas, Nasca, Wari, Ica – Chincha and Inca.

After the visit to the city main spots you can also drop by one of the vineyards located in the area. Do not forget that Ica region is where the majority of Peruvian wines and Piscos are produced. You will have the chance to learn how the Peruvian national spirit, Pisco, is produced, learn about the different types of Pisco and of course you will be able to taste them, as well as the wine produced in the area. The virieties depends on the different kinds of grape used in the elaboration process.

At the end of the day you will visit The Huacachina Lagoon, also called “El Oasis de America”, there you will enjoy a beautiful view and a sunny landscapes, which are very hard to forget. Take a good camara, since during this long day you will have the opportunity to take some great shots. The oasis is surrounded by sand dunes, palms, huarango trees and beautiful houses. In the oasis you can choose to simply relax and enjoy the sun and the stunning landscape or if you are into active holidays you can try the dune buggies activity and the sandboarding. Before jumping on the buggy make sure that you are with a professional driver. You will basically go up and down the dunes with the buggy and it is a lot of fun. If you are traveling with kids, Huacachina is the place to go, they will enjoy themselves a lot there. You can also try sandboard, which is a very common activity in the area. It is like the snowboarding but it is done on the sand, so if you fall down, i twill be on the sand … how amazing!

At the end of this long day, you can just overnight in Huacachina and enjoy an additional half day there, which is highly reccommended, especially if you are traveling with kids, but if you prefer you can also take the night bus back to Lima. Another possibility is that you take the bus to Nazca, sleep there so that you can fly over the Nazca lines very early the next morning. These are options that I can suggest you if you are planning to spend 4-5 days in Lima, this is a great plan for a day or a two-day trip to escape Lima’s caos.

Cusco Peru Destinations Travel Tips

New Regulations For Visiting Machu Picchu

I often receive so many emails regarding the new rules to enter Machu Picchu citadel and the different types of entry tickets available; a big change has been made by the Peru’s Ministry of Culture throughout the Ministerial Resolution No. 070-2007-MC since April 2017. The new resolution entered into force in July 2017 and from that moment a bit of confusion arises from this change for Machu Picchu visitors. Here I try to summarize the main new rules for visitors and the entry tickets available in the clearest way possible.

Machu Picchu entry tickets

Before this new law, Machu Picchu received a maximum of 2,500 visitors per day, but in reality the number of visitors each day was much higher considering the different ticket combinations sold to tourists. To overcome this problem and to preserve the integrity of this charming archeological site, it was necessary to implement this new rules. So as of July 2017, there are two entrance times available for visiting Machu Picchu:

1. From 6:00 am to 12:00 pm
2. From 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm

So passengers need to take in account that they have four hours to visit the citadel from the moment of the entrance. For instance if you enter Machu Picchu at 10:00 am you can stay until 2:00 pm, no more than this. Also consider that for the second slot the entrance is allowed until 4:00 pm, after this time you cannot enter the site anymore and you basically loose your entry ticket. The maximum amount of people allowed during the first slot is 1,200 and during the second slot is 1300, for a total amount of 2,500 people per day.

What should you consider when choosing your entrance time to the citadel? Here some factors you should definitely take in account that can influence your decision:

  • Your train’s arrival time to Aguas Calientes.
  • The waiting time to get on the bus to Machu Picchu. Have in mind that you could stay in line for an average time of one hour-one hour and half depending on the season. During high season you most likely will wait 1 hour and half.
  • The bus ride to Machu Pichu, which lasts about half an hour.

As for the bus to the citadel, the first one leaves at 5:30 am, and there’s a bus every 30 minutes leaving from Aguas Calientes. If you want to see the dawn from the citadel, take in mind that people get to the bus stop at 3:00 am to take the 5:30 am bus, so you should be there very early to do your queue.

Another question I usually receive is: “Is it mandatory to visit Machu Picchu with a tour guide?” Yes, it is mandatory for Peruvians and foreigners. There’s also the possibility to get a two-day ticket to the citadel, in this case it is mandatory to visit the site with a guide only for the first day. The second day you can visit Machu Picchu on your own. A guide can be assigned to a group of macxmum 16 people, for instance if you are 20 people you have to opt for two different tour guides. Tous guides offer two different services:

1. Half-day tour, which includes 2 hours or 2 hours and half guided tour.
2. Full-day Tour, which includes 4 horus or 4 hours and half guided tour.

Huaynapicchu Entry Tickets

Also in ths case there are two time slots to visit Huaynapicchu:

1. From 7:00 am to 8:00 am: you are allow to climb the peak of Huaynapicchu, visit the “Gran Caverna”, most commonly known as the Temple of the Moon (Templo de la Luna in Spanish) and enjoy a visit to Machu Picchu citadel. The hike lasts approximately 3 hours, but if you are a pro hiker you can do it more quickly. If you want to visit the Temple of the Moon, consider an extra hour for your visit. Once you hike the Huaynapicchu you have 3 hours available to visit the citadel. This Huaynapicchu entry ticket will allow you to stay in the archeological site for 7 hours in total.

2. From 10:00 am to 11:00 am: this ticket does not allow you to visit the Temple of the Moon, but after the hike you can visit the citadel as well. This Huaynapicchu entry ticket will allow you to stay in the site for a total of 6 hours.

The maximum amount of people for each time entrance is 200, for a total amount of 400 people per day.

Machu Picchu Montaña Entry Tickets

Also in this case there are two time slots:

1. From 7:00 am to 8:00 am
2. From 9:00 am to 10:00 am

This hike is a bit longer than the Huaynapicchu one, you have a total of 5 hours available to finalize it. Just consider that to get there you need approximately 2 hours and then you should consider the same time to get at the bottom of the mountain. This way you have almost one hour to stay on the top of the mountain and enjoy the wonderful view. After this visit you have 3 hours to explore the Machu Picchu citadel, so in total you have 8 hours available. The maximum amount of people for each time entrance is of 400, for a total amount of 800 people per day.

Intipunku Entry Tickets

You can visit the Intipunku, also known as the Sun Gate (Puerta del Sol in Spanish), buying any of the above mentioned  entry tickets (Machu Picchu, Huaynapicchu, Machu Picchu Montaña). The hike lasts aproximately 2 hours-2 hours and half. If you buy the general Machu Picchu Entry Ticket consider that you will have only two hours to visit the citadel after the visit to the Intipunku since you can just stay on the site a total of 4 hours, as I mentioned before. We usually recommend to buy the Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Montaña Entry Ticket if you want to visit the Intipunku and after that you have about 3 hours to explore the citadel.

I hope that everything is clear now and that this information can help you choose your entry ticket option for visiting the Machu Picchu citadel and help you understand the new regulations.

Peru Destinations Travel Tips What to do

Six Basic Tips for Hiking Trips

Peru is this place to go on holidays if you love hiking and adventure. There are many different places to discover, some of them located at extremely high elevations. Those are the places where you can be affected by heavy headache, dizziness, hangover, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea. Altitude sickness, “soroche” as we call it here in Peru is very common for tourist visiting Cusco or Puno, since thoses destinations are respectively located at 3399 and 3827 meters above sea level. But don’t worry, here I give you some useful tips that will help you taking under control altitude sickness or completely avoid it while traveling here:

1. Try to drink “mate de coca” (coca tea) two or three times a day. This hot beverage, very common among Peruvians, tastes good and helps a lot with altitude sickness symptoms. It is made of selected dried coca leaves, which maintain 100% of the properties and vitamins. It especially helps with the shortness of breath and the fatigue.

2. It is necessary on the first days no to make heavy activities so you can enjoy the next days without any problems. So try to rest once you arrive in Cusco or Puno, this is truly the best advice and the most ignored to avoid altitude sickness. I know you guys want to go and have a walk around to discover the place once you arrive, but believe the best thing you can do is to rest for at least a couple of hours. Remember that your body is trying to get used to the least amount of oxygen.

3. Try to avoid heavy food, since your dizziness and nausea can get worse. Your stomach will not tolerate a big amount of food at least for the first couple of days. Also try to avoid fresh vegetables, fresh fruit with skin, fresh cheese and all the food sold on the streets for the first days. Consuming foods that provide energy to your body such as Andean grains (quinoa, kiwicha), fruits, jams, cereals, among others.

4. Drink a lot of liquid during your trip, because the height dehydrates, it is good to drink between 4 to 5 liters of water per day.

5. As for the clothes, it is essential to take with you same hats and glove for the cold, but also a raincoat because the weather can change very often, so it is better to be prepared. Also trekking sticks, preferably two in rainy months so that you can use them as support.

6. Bring sunblock, it helps you avoiding sunburns, that can also bring you headache and dizziness. Remember that the sun is very strong at high altitudes, so do not forget your suncream and good hat.