Archive for Machu Picchu

Peruphernalia -your travel essentials to Peru

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Responsible Travel, Travel with tags , , , , on July 6, 2010 by Sustainability Guru
 

My personal compilation of useful information and guide before you travel to Peru…Travel tips and fast FAQs about Peru.

 
Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Hanging out with chismositas in Huascaran

Peru is often called the quintessential South American destination evoking images of Andean mountains, fabled lost cities, panpipe players, llamas and, of course, the ever-fashionable and functional poncho.

-Blue List, Lonely Planet

Coastal Peru's version of the Poncho

Coastal Peru’s version of the Poncho

If Peru didn’t exist, travel guide books would have to invent it. It’s a land of lost cities and ancient ruins, brooding Andean peaks, dense jungles, quaint cities, festivals con-celebrating Roman Catholic masses with mysterious Incan rites. It’s like a whole world in a snow dome.- from the Travel Book.

 

 
 
Peruvian Marinera dancers

Peruvian Marinera dancers

 
 
Rich with majestic natural beauty, gracious people, and the legacy of a great ancient civilization, Peru is a country that touches the soul.
 
 
 
Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

Mystical Machu Picchu Citadel at dusk

 
 

 

When planning to travel to Peru, in order to fully capture its magic and mystique, you need to understand what to expect. I have compiled important information for your visit to Peru and how to organize for your journey. Please read this as you get ready for what will be one of the most amazing trips of your life.

 
 

PERU Fast FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Acclimatization

Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the decreased availability of oxygen at high altitudes. Considering varying altitudes of destinations in Peru, travelers must try to go first to the lower ones before ascending to higher altitude cities. It is a slow process that could take place over a couple of days. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World's highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Lake Titicaca, Puno, World’s highest navigable lake at 3,810 meters above sea level

Altitude Sickness Prevention  

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS) or soroche is a pathological condition that is caused by acute exposure to low air pressure usually above 2,400 meters (approximately 8,000 feet). The main cause of altitude sickness is going too high too quickly. Before your travel to a high altitude destination, avoid eating too much, and on the arrival day itself, eat less also to avoid altitude sickness. If you stay at a high altitude, rest. Limit any walking or activity. You can explore the area, but take it easy, especially on the first day. Drink plenty of water and avoid taking alcoholic beverages.

 

Communication/ Telephone/ Internet

Peru is well connected with telephone landlines and cellular phones lines in most major cities, as well as the Internet with connections in most hotels, numerous internet booths (cabinas de internet) in cities and towns and WiFi available in major hotels.

   

Currency/Credit Cards/ Foreign Exchange

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) or Nuevos Soles (in plural). Peru is typical of many South American countries in that it effectively operates a dual currency system where the US$ American Dollar has purchasing power.  Both the US$ (Dollar) and the Peruvian Nuevo Sol are in circulation and although the government prefers people to use soles, most sizeable purchases are made in dollars.  The Nuevo Sol is perfectly stable so you don’t have to worry about inflation problems during your stay. 

  

In the provinces, credit card facilities may be limited only to major establishments. Travelers’ cheques are not common, so have cash (in Soles) on hand as foreign currency exchange is limited. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are mostly available only in the main cities. To check currency conversion, go to

http://www.xe.com/ucc/ 

Arts and crafts market, Yucay, Sacred Valley

Health/ Medical/Travelers Common Illness

To keep from getting gastrointestinal infections or avoiding travelers’ diarrhea, we recommend you take care when eating raw or exotic foods. Drink bottled or boiled water and do not eat food/beverages from street vendors/ hawkers. Doctors or medical assistance may be contacted through hotel reception.Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities and can contact health care insurance directly.

 
 
Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Cata de Pisco, Ica, Peru

Language

The official languages are Spanish (80% of the population), Quechua (Andean and highland regions), and Aymara (in the Puno high plateau). It is possible to communicate in English with tourist service workers such as tour guides, travel agency employees and 3 to 5-star hotels staff.

 

Luggage/Baggage Limit

Please know the baggage limit, number of pieces and weight allowed by the airline to your destination. Most domestic airlines have lesser baggage allowance (usually max. 10 kilos) than the international airlines (usually max. 20 kilos). In case of multiple destinations, it is advisable to travel light and bring only the essentials.

 

If you are going to Machu Picchu, please take note that Peru Rail has imposed luggage limitation on the train to Aguas Calientes. Peru Rail Luggage Transport is a maximum hand-carried allowance of only 5 kilos/11 lbs. and measuring not more than 62 inches/157 cm (height, length & width) per passenger. Your heavier and bigger baggage may be transported in another train at an extra cost (US$1.80/kilo, one way, maximum 10 kilos) or may be left for storage at Peru Rail’s Luggage Storage only in Ollantaytambo Train Station at US$5.00/day.

 

Security  

It is important that you take common sense precautions when visiting Peru, just like in any major destination in the world, such as taking extra care with your belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. The following are recommended as precautionary measures:

·       Get a copy of your passport, airplane tickets and credit cards. Leave all your travel documents (passport, tickets, hotel vouchers etc) in the hotel safety deposit box and take only photocopies with you.

·       Know the unsafe areas of the city/destination and avoid visiting them, especially at night. If you must exchange money, do so in banks, authorized money changers and exchange bureaus, or in your hotel. Avoid doing this in plain sight.It may not necessarily an immediate threat to you, but you should always be watching out for pick pockets and thieves especially in crowded places such as busy avenues, airports, markets and tourist sites.

·       Try to learn a few key phrases in Spanish before you go, if not to help yourself get by, then at least to make the locals think you can speak the language and thus make you a more conscientious traveler who is careful and prepared.

 

 
 
Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Lima, Peru Main Plaza

Travel Insurance

It is recommended to buy a travel insurance to provide you general coverage in case of emergency or medical expenses, trip cancellation/interruption, lost tickets, baggage or damage, etc. This way, for any unforeseen event or circumstances, you have an insurance to fall back on.

 

Vaccinations and/or Medications  

Yellow fever & malaria vaccination is required for traveling to jungle destinations and must be administered at least 10 days before your trip otherwise it will not be effective. It is recommended that you take the proper measures to protect yourself, specially from mosquito bites, in order to prevent infection from, among other diseases, yellow fever (vaccination) and malaria (repellant and medication). Consult your doctor before traveling.

 

Water

Potable water is limited in some areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and do not buy from street vendors or hawkers.

 

 
 
Lima's Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Lima’s Costa Verde, Pacific coast

Weather

The Peruvian Coast is hot and sunny (northern area) or very humid (raw or damp, in Lima).

At the Peruvian Andes, rainy season is between November and March. Temperatures drop dramatically at night, thus one should always prepare warm clothes or jackets. The Peruvian Jungle is hot, with a tropical climate, however certain times of the year, the jungle experiences “friaje” or cold front. It has daily temperatures averaging the 30°C and night temperatures could drop to cold 15°. For more accurate information, please advise check respective Peru destination weather forecast in: Peru’s local weather agency, http://www.senamhi.gob.pe and click on current forecast available in English. Otherwise, you may also check in: www.wunderground.com or www.intellicast.com

 

Take a PERU DREAM TRIP  by Inkaterra, Peru’s Eco Pioneer and Conservation Leader since 1975; 100% Carbon Neutral travel and stay, any day departure. For more information and travel assistance about our Green Travel Exchange, or contact SSTDI.

Advertisements

Machu Picchu – A royal Inca retreat

Posted in Cuisine & Dining, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

 

 Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is a magical place that fascinates through its vast archaeological remains, geological formations, unique flora and fauna, and spectacular cloud forest. The most remarkable part of the reserve is the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The Incas built this citadel at the end of the fourteenth century. As centuries passed, the fortress became totally overgrown by vegetation, and virtually disappeared from sight. Hiram Bingham, Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition, rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Recent research compiled by Yale University has revealed that the Machu Picchu Citadel was not, as Hiram Bingham believed, the traditional birthplace of the Inca people, nor was it the final stronghold of the Incas in their losing struggle against the Spanish. Instead, Machu Picchu, built by Pachacutec at the peak of the empire, was a favored retreat for the Inca nobility.

Machu Picchu Historical Reserve is situated above the town of Aguas Calientes at 2,450 meters (8,038 ft.) a.s.l. The site covers an area of 32,592 hectares (80,535 acres), located in a cloud forest between the Andes and the Amazon Basin, 112 km (70 miles) from the City of Cusco, in a green canyon on the Urubamba River.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is an 85-room boutique hotel built of stone,   adobe, stucco, and eucalyptus beams which creates a lovely Andean pueblo ambience constructed with indigenous materials, respecting environmental sensibilities, building on heritage with its regional themed architecture and design, decorated with local furniture and fixtures to promote native artifacts and crafts.

The hotel employs local people and conducts constant training in sustainable tourism. It uses clean technology and eco-friendly practices such as bio-degradable materials, handmade toiletries and amenities, the practice of re-cycling, proper waste disposal, water conservation and prohibits the use of aerosol sprays.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel offers an authentic Peruvian travel experience involving guests with the Peruvian cultural and natural values. All activities offered within the hotel offer guests with the wealth of nature, flora and fauna, environment protection, conservation and interactive cultural exchanges. Eco- activities within Inkaterra Machu Picchu offered free for guests include Orchids, Birding, Tea Plantation, Nature Trail and Spectacled Bear project.

“Although celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, David Blaine, Demi Moore and Heidi Klum have all checked in en route to Machu Picchu, the real celebrities at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel are the birds. The Cloud Forest garden is home to 33 types of hummingbirds, as well as rare species….”  – Rory Ross,  “Peruvian Splendour”, Independent Traveller

 The hotel grounds include more than 5 km. (3.12 miles) of ecological paths; several spots of observation and contemplation, with indigenous fauna, the world’s largest concentration of wild hummingbird species (18) , birds (180 species), and butterflies (111 species), amongst a diversity of natural wonder.  Stays at Inkaterra Machu Picchu are 100% carbon neutral as Inkaterra has been contributing actively to global carbon fixing with its reforestation programs in the cloud forest of Machu Picchu. In 2007, Inkaterra was the first Peruvian organization to participate in a Carbon Neutral Program with Sustainable Travel International and is considered a 100% Carbon Neutral hotel. Guests are offered the possibility to offset their carbon emissions on their trips to Peru and join the effort against global warming.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel through its NGO Inkaterra Association is managing Research, Conservation, Protection, Self-generating Resources Program and Community Development in Machu Picchu.  Projects conducted with local communities include reforestation, working with schools, students, volunteers, scientists and researchers. Conservation programs include monitoring & inventory of the local fauna and flora of the Machu Picchu Historical Reserve, the Spectacled (Andean) Bear Rescue Center and the hotel’s Orchid garden with 372 native species in its natural habitat –a world record according to American Orchid Society.

To support its projects, Inkaterra has published books about Flora, such as Orchids in Machu Picchu as well as Field Guides for Birds, Orchids and Butterflies.

“This may be the largest orchid collection in Peru that is open to the public. In all probability it is also the world’s largest orchid species collection set in a natural environment in a private facility.”  – American Orchid Society Magazine

Inkaterra – Sustainable Tourism and Conservation since 1975

Posted in Cultural Scenes, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Inkaterra, Luxury resorts, hotels, travel, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Travel with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2010 by Sustainability Guru

In 1975, a Peruvian company called Inkaterra opened a lodge for scientists who came to study Peru’s rainforest, long before eco-tourism was trendy. Inkaterra’s proud legacy of conservation, social responsibility and geo tourism has created an international model, recognized by the World Bank and the United Nations, by providing the sophisticated international traveler with a luxurious, gracious and authentic exposure coupled with social responsibility initiatives for over 30 years now.

Inkaterra through its NGO Inkaterra Foundation (Inka Terra Asociacion –ITA) carried out ecological endeavors at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, on the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru’s Southern Amazon rainforest and at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, in the Machu Picchu National Reserve in the Southern Andes. ITA was founded to conserve the environment, ecosystems, cultural and archaeological natural resources, Peru’s cultural identity and apply sustainable development.

Through ITA, Inkaterra’s ongoing programs include Research, such as sponsoring international scientists and local experts who conduct ecosystem studies, biodiversity, flora and fauna inventory and conservation status, etc.  This has resulted in the identification of 372 species and the discovery of 8 new species in the Machu Picchu cloud forest, as well as several publications and field guides.

Inkaterra Conservation Projects include the Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk at Reserva Amazonica, with constant monitoring of wildlife assessments and endangered eco systems, as well as the Rolin Island Fauna Rescue Center and the Butterfly House in Puerto Maldonado. Likewise, the Spectacled Bear Rescue Project in Machu Picchu provides vital support for protection of the endangered Andean bear species. Natural corridors and carbon fixing along the Madre de Dios River of the Southern Amazon rainforest and the Andean cloud forest in Machu Picchu are carried out in a total of 17,000 hectares of reforestation projects.

Environmental and eco best practices include evaluating surrounding landscapes, flora, fauna, water, air, sounds and solid waste. Infrastructure was constructed in keeping with the local nature in both Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica’s Ese-Eja styled cabañas and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Andean casitas. Quality assurance along with ecological safety measures are ensured with the proper use of water resources, water waste management, air quality maintenance through proper utilization of gas stoves, non usage of aerosols and ground keeping in general. All Inkaterra eco-excursions such as Bird watching, Orchid Trail, Nature Walks, among others, are led by highly trained, knowledgeable and conscientious expert eco guides-interpreters.

Cooperative projects with the local community includes the Gamitana Farm, a comprehensive model farmhouse for self-generating eco-agro business. It also operates Concepcion, a community house restored for volunteers, local and international researchers and a national volunteer and education program.

In April 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organization in conjunction with Sustainable Travel International (STI) by integrating renewable energy onsite, and then offsetting emissions from all of its accommodation and tour related activities, including fuel use and electricity generation.  Inkaterra acknowledges that all travel generates unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming.  Inkaterra actively educates their clients and guests to do so as well with the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions of their flights through STI’s carbon calculator (online at the Inkaterra website).

Best of all, Inkaterra’s accommodations in the Andes and the Amazon, offer a wonder experience for the conscientious traveler.  For more information visit www.inkaterra.com or use contact form to join our responsible travel programs to Peru.