Peru is referred to as the “land of the Incas” and is one of South America’s most popular tourism destinations. It is a country which is blessed with an ancient and rich past and a vibrant present. Peru has it all - the beaches along the Pacific Coast, the mystical Nazca Lines, the amazing Colca Canyon, Amazon rainforests and thousands of archaeological sites. These sites are found all over the country, ranging from 10,000 year old camps of early hunters to the monumental stone walls of 16th century Inca Cuzco, and of course the most popular Machu Picchu. LIMA The capital of Peru was founded by the Conquistadores in 1535 to give them a base on the sea. Lima is situated on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, and 95% of the time is covered in a blanket of fog. Almost a third of Peruvians live in and around Lima making the city over-crowded, polluted and noisy. Most travellers stay in the more modern areas of San Isidro and Miraflores (8 km south of downtown). Miraflores is where you will find numerous restaurants, shopping centres and nightspots. The main attractions are the old Plaza de Armas, the Gold Museum, Museo Rafael Larco Herrera (ceramics collection), San Francisco (a Franciscan church and monastery famous for its catacombs), La Merced (an historic church) and a stroll around the city allows the traveller to take in the Spanish architecture. Cerro San Cristobal, a 409m high hill overlooking central Lima affords views of the city. NAZCA A small town 598m above sea level, about 450 kms south of Lima, Nazca is located along the Panamericana Highway which has become famous for its huge geometric designs drawn in the desert and visible only from the air. Some of the designs represent animals, such as a 180m long lizard, a 90m high monkey with an extravagantly curled tail and a condor with a 130m wingspan. The designs were made by removing sun-darkened stones from the desert surface to expose the lighter coloured stones below. The question still remains, who constructed the lines and why? Best way to see the Lines is to take a flight (small aircraft) ex Ica (4 hrs from Lima), or from Nazca (6½ hrs from Lima). Both Ica and Nazca have good accommodation options. 30 km away from Nazca is the Cemetery of Chauchilla, where you can see bones, skulls, mummies, pottery shards and fragments of clothing dating back to between 1000 and 1300 AD. Always popular with tourists. AREQUIPA A beautiful city at 2325m above sea level, Peru’s second largest city is surrounded by spectacular mountains, the most famous being El Misti (5822m) which rises behind Arequipa’s cathedral. Many of the buildings date back to colonial times, and are built from a very pearly white, very soft and attractive volcanic stone, “sillar”, which is why this city is nicknamed “the white city”. It has one of the most picturesque main plazas, with its impressive twin towered cathedral on one side, with cloistered walkways on the three remaining sides. The Monasterio de Santa Catalina, which is actually a convent, is not to be missed during your stay here. It covers an entire city block (20,000 sq m), was built in 1580, and opened to the public in 1970. Arequipa is surrounded by active volcanoes, thermal springs, high-altitude deserts and some of the world’s deepest canyons; the most famous is the Canon del Colca. COLCA CANYON Perhaps the deepest canyon in the world. If you are lucky you can view the huge Condor birds flying at almost an arms length away. The people living in this area are known for their traditional clothing, especially the women’s embroidered hats, waistcoats and skirts. Ask permission before taking a photo, as the women generally prefer photos not to be taken of them. CUZCO Cuzco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Massive Inca-built stone walls line most of Cuzco’s central streets and form the foundations of colonial and modern buildings. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city, and Avenida Sol is the main business street, off which you find streets that have changed little over the centuries. High points are the hundreds of canvases (paintings) at La Catedral; and La Compania, one of Cuzco’s most ornate churches with its baroque façade. The indigenous cultures with their traditions and dress are the highlights of the Cuzco area. Sun worship was the religion of the Incas and so the Sun Temple in Cuzco has the best stonework, plus there are also a number of other impressive structures of religious importance to see. This bustling city is at 3326m above sea level, so if arriving by air from Lima make sure to take it easy as altitude sickness can take its toll and can make the highlight of your stay not so enjoyable. Sacsayhuaman (2 kms from Cuzco) is a massive Incan fortress with impressive stonework, like the three-tiered zigzag walls of the main fortification. It takes an hour to walk to the ruins, and it is important that travellers have acclimatised, as though the climb is short, it is steep. Another option is to take a taxi to the top, and then it is only a 20-25 minute downhill walk to Plaza de Armas. The Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun: The Winter Solstice and the local harvests are the driving force behind the greatest, most majestic pre-Hispanic ceremony to render homage to the Sun. The central event is acted out on the esplanade below the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuamán. There, step by step, thousands of actors enact a long ceremony giving thanks to the sun god, Inti. The Inca ruler is borne on a royal litter from the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun to the Huacaypata, the city's main square, where he commands the local authorities to govern fairly. Then all the participants set out for Sacsayhuamán, where the ceremony calls for the sacrifice of two llamas, one black and one white. The llamas' entrails and fat are handed to a pair of high priests: the first, the Callpa Ricuy, examines the intestines to predict what sort of year lies ahead; while the second priest, the Wupariruj, makes his predictions based on the smoke that wafts up from the burning fat. The high priests' predictions are then interpreted by the Willac Umo, the lord high priest, who bears the news to the Inca. Finally, at sunset, the Inca orders all to withdraw from the site, and the entire city breaks out into festivities that will rage for several days. Next Inti Raymi - Saturday 24 June 2006. The Urubamba Valley (the Sacred Valley) is about 15 kms north of Cuzco and is a picturesque valley featuring Incan ruins, Indian markets and villages, plus outdoor activities such as river rafting. The main points of interest in the valley are the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The colourful markets of Pisac (32 kms from Cuzco), is the starting point for a visit to the Sacred Valley. There are two Pisacs – one is colonial and the other is an Inca fortress on a mountain spur about 600m above. Colonial Pisac is where the locals come down from the hills to sell their produce. The main market day is Sunday, with smaller markets on Tuesday and Thursday. The Sunday market attracts traditionally dressed locals from miles away and tourists from all over the world. The prices in Pisac are not any lower than in Cuzco. Ollantaytambo is massive Incan fortress located at the end of the Sacred Valley. The huge, steep terraces guarding the Inca fortress are spectacular and highly defensible. MACHU PICCHU The “Lost City of the Incas” was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and is now the greatest attraction not only of Peru, but of all South America. The situation is fantastic on a green saddle between two mountains in the southern Peruvian Andes. Over 1000 tourists visit the ruins each day in the high season (Jun-Sep). The journey by rail from Cuzco (daily departures) is wildly scenic all the way up the four switchback zig zags. The train rises above the city to the open mountain plateau at 13000ft then precipitously down to the sacred valley of the Incas at 9000ft, then further down to 7900ft to the “eyebrow of the jungle” in continuous deep spectacular vertical sided Andean gorges, as the line clings to the cascading Urubamba River on the approach to Aguas Calientes (gateway city to Machu Picchu). To reach Machu Picchu from the railway station (only 6 kms away), small buses climb the steep and twisting road around 22 hairpin bends. Travellers can walk around the ancient community of Machu Picchu through narrow passages into residences, climb stairways to the heights past temples of magnificent stonework and admire the monuments to sun worship, all in a 360 degree setting rich with some of the world’s most magnificent mountain scenery. A photographer’s paradise wherever you look. Another way of reaching Machu Picchu is to trek the Inca Trail. (see separate information) Adventure World have a 5 day “luxury train package” to Machu Picchu with Orient Express (Hiram Bingham rail service), staying at the Monasterio Cuzco and Sanctuary Lodge at Machu Picchu. THE INCA TRAIL One of the most famous treks in the world – the 43 km trail can be done in 3 days but it is recommended to take 4 to 5 days to enjoy the scenery and explore the less visited ruins along the way. Departures are normally from Cuzco or nearby. The trek can be quite strenuous in parts and one needs to be reasonably fit. Accommodation is in tents with camp meals. Organised tours include porters to carry the load (clients only carry a day pack) and a guide to point out the many interesting sights and ruins along the way. The weather can be extreme even in the warm dry season, May to September. The Inca Trail begins at Km 88, but most people begin the trek at the village of Chilca (or Km 82). Why is it called Km 82? Because the train track that passes through here is 82 kms from Cuzco. At Km 82 we recommend travellers buy a bamboo hiking pole (by the end of the Trek this would be your best investment, about NZ$5), plastic disposable ponchos and a chocolate fix. From Km 82 (2750m) to Machu Picchu (2400m) it is 43 kms of uneven paved trails which is hiked over 4 days. Porters carry 35 kg each, which includes clients’ back packs and all equipment, while the clients only carry daypacks with water, snacks and warm clothes. Inca Trail Permits In an effort to preserve and protect the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Peruvian governing bodies have taken drastic measures in the past two years to limit the amount of people hiking the Trail. As of March 2004, no more than 500 people (including support staff) per day are allowed on the Inca Trail and this number is strictly adhered to and very tightly controlled. Once this limit of 500 people is reached, the Trail is effectively closed off for the day and no further bookings can be made. Reservations are not held on the Trail and all permits to trek must be bought as far as possible in advance with complete and correct passport information, to which no modifications can be made. Any attempts at modifications result in a loss of the permit and any money paid. Inca Trail operators have strict booking policies, for example…… • Bookings made 65 days or more before the Inca Trail portion should proceed without any issue if the following pieces of information are received: Full name (exactly as it appears on the passport); Date of birth; Passport number; Nationality; Date of passport expiry. • Bookings between 64 and 31 days before the Inca Trail portion of any tour will be taken on a request basis. • No requests for the Inca Trail will be made for bookings 30 days or less before the Inca Trail portion of any trip. Travellers wishing to book within 30 days before departure will be offered alternative treks. The rules and regulations controlling the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are continually changing and it is important to check at time of booking. Recommend clients book early, at least 4-6 months in advance to avoid disappointment. Alternative Treks The Inca Trail is Peru’s most famous trek, but the country has hundreds of Inca trail treks that are just as picturesque, and a lot less crowded, like the “Choquequirao Trek”, part of an 8 day trip, this 4-day trek takes travellers to the lost Inca fortress of Choquequirao – “the other Machu Picchu”. Travellers follow the Apurimac Canyon, one of the world's deepest, while being awed by the shadows of snow-capped mountains and the local flora and fauna. After exploring the lost city, return to Cuzco. The 4 day Lares Trek takes travellers through the Sacred Valley, a stunning trip designed to avoid the crowds found on the traditional Inca Trail, with ample opportunities for viewing wildlife, meeting locals, and immersing yourself in ancient surroundings. An overnight in Agua Calientes allows for an early visit to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploring before returning to Cuzco. Extract from Sales Executive, Jamie Anderson’s Inca Trail experience on GAP Adventures Inca Empire trip. DAY 1: Km 82 (2750m) to Llulluchu Pampa (3500m) – approx 17kms Our guide said that the first 10 kilometres were ‘flat’, well Peruvian flat is obviously different than what I was expecting, because you would climb 100m or so and then go straight back down again to the river! There are a number of ruins to be seen along the trail. Wayllabamba (3000m) is where the majority of trekking companies overnight. But not GAP, we continued on a further 7 kilometres, it was 500m up and took between 2½ to 4 hours to reach our campsite at Llullucha Pampa (3500m). This was the hardest part of the entire trek, you would be walking very slowly and often stop every 15-20 metres to catch your breath, due to the altitude. I walked up hundreds of uneven stairs, praying that I would reach a level part so I could get my breath back, but nine times out of ten when I rounded those bends you would see hundreds of more steps winding up along the side of the mountain! Finally at 4.30 pm we arrived at our camp for the night, totally exhausted. It is very important to walk at your own pace, don’t try to keep up with the faster walkers, but try to walk with someone, as they give you that little incentive to keep on going. The porters cooked up a storm every night while on the Trail, starting with a vegetarian soup, followed by two choices for main course, dessert and a hot drink. But as soon as the sun went down it became extremely cold, and you begin to appreciate the warm clothes you packed. DAY 2: Llullucha Pampa Camp (3500m) to Sayacmarca Camp (3580m) – 11kms At 7.30 am we set out to walk around 2 kilometres going up in altitude by 700m or so metres to reach Warmiwanusca Pass (Dead Woman’s Pass) which is the highest point of the entire Inca Trail at 4215m. This took just under one hour to climb, and was slow going. Traditionally Day 2 has become to be known as the toughest part of the journey, but G.A.P Adventures prefer to spread the tough part over two days, to make it a little less tough on clients by walking further on Day 1. Reaching Dead Woman’s Pass, I realised that I had reached the highest point of the trip – I’d made it and it was all down hill from here. That was until our Guide pointed to the mountain on the other side and directed my eyes towards the trail that dropped straight down from where we were, down thousands of stairs into the valley below and then straight back up the mountain again!!! After lunch we reached the Runkuraqay Ruins (3800m) that overlook the valley, and looking back you can see where you had walked. Then it was time to conquer the second Pass, which was only 45 minutes away and at 4000m. Then it was all down hill to the ruins at Sayacmarca (3580m), and our campsite. DAY 3: Sayacmarca Camp (3580m) to Winaywayna Camp (2650m) – 11kms We were woken minutes before sunrise so we could see it over the snow capped mountains in the distance. It was quite magical as there was low cloud below us so made for some top images. Once the sun rose over the mountains, the heat made the clouds rise, engulfing us in the cloud. At 7.30 am we set off for our third and final Pass, which was just a ‘baby’ at 3700 metres. As we had walked further on Day 1, it meant that today we had only a half days walk ahead of us, and we could take it nice and easy. Our campsite tonight was the first place you could have a shower since leaving Ollantaytambo, and it had a small pub. Just before sunset we made our way down to the Winaywayna Ruins (5 minute walk), which many considered to be the best Inca ruins –just not as grand as Machu Picchu. We were the only people at the Ruins watching the sunset, a magical sight. DAY 4: Winaywayna Camp (2650m) to Machu Picchu (2400m) – 6kms An early 3.30 am wake up call, and a two hour walk in the dark (the torch came in very handy) to the Sun Gate which overlooks Machu Picchu. The final climb up to the Sun Gate involves climbing extremely steep steps and are more like climbing a ladder as you have to use your hands. After the sun rose and a bite to eat, we made our way down to the ruins of Machu Picchu and spent the morning exploring them before heading down to the town of Aguas Calientes. The rest of the day was spent at a local restaurant (our base) and from here we explored the town, soaked in the hot springs, before catching the late evening train back to Ollantaytambo, then our minibus to Cuzco. Here ended our Inca Trail experience. LAKE TITICACA & PUNO At 3820m above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake and can often be a very cold place; the lake is around 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno (3830m) is the gateway into Peru (ex Bolivia) and has a busy market where you can buy good quality thick alpaca jumpers at bargain prices, as the weather at this attitude can be extreme. Day trips are available on Lake Titicaca to the floating reed islands of Los Uros and Isla Taquile where the Uros Indians live. The reeds that grow abundantly in the shallow waters, are harvested and used to make anything from the islands, to model boats and canoe-shaped boats for fishing and transport. On the Bolivian part of the lake you will find two famous islands - Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), the legendary birthplace of the first Inca and Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon). The best place to access these islands is from Copacabana in Bolivia. For the Lake crossing to Bolivia, you travel from Puno to Copacabana (Bolivia) by bus, then board a catamaran which sails to the Isla de Sole for a quick tour, before continuing on to the port of Huatajata and on to La Paz by bus. The trip includes transfers, visits to churches, lunch and a guide. A longer overnight trip is also available, whereby travellers overnight on a catamaran. Adventure World can quote on a full day or overnight lake crossing option. AMAZON BASIN Half of Peru lies in the Amazon Basin and is home to approximately 1700 bird species. From Puerto Maldonado (gateway to the Amazon), travel up river to the Jungle Lodges for overnight stays. You can fish for piranha, look for caiman, iguana, monkey, anaconda, pink and grey dolphin plus there are jaguar, ocelot, manatee, anteater and more. However wildlife is very hard to see as they are in such confined spaces in the dense jungle. Amazon travel can include visits to native villages, jungle walks, seeing the huge Victoria Regia water lilies, and early morning bird watching from small boats. The weather is hot, humid and rainy just the way you would expect a rainforest to be. The Manu Reserve in the Amazon Basin is a refuge for unique species and the Cloud Forest is a unique ecosystem which receives high rainfall and hosts a large number of endemic species such as the Spectacled Bear and the Cock-of-the-Rock. Iquitos is Peru’s largest jungle city and is linked by air and the Rio Amazonas; founded in the 1750s, the rubber boom happened in the 1880s and today visitors can still see evidence of this opulence, in the mansions. Iquitos is used as a base to access the Amazon, for example the Explorama Lodges of Explorama, Explornapo and Ceiba Tops. Adventure World have a number of Amazon packages, like the 3 day Posada Amazonas, 5 day Tambopata Research Centre, and 4 day Untouched Manu Reserve. THE ANDES The most inspiring climbing area in South America is the Cordillera Blanca, with dozens of peaks exceeding 5000m. The town of Huaraz is the climbing, trekking and backpacking centre of Peru. High altitude climbing is best done during the dry season, with mid-June to mid July considered the best time. NORTHERN PERU – TRUJILLO AND CHICLAYO The coastal city of Trujillo still retains much of its colonial flavour today and five major archaeological sites are located nearby. Chan Chan (about 5km west of Trujillo) is the huge ruined capital of the Chimu Empire. Built around 1300 AD and covering around 28 sq kms, it is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the largest mud city in the world. The Temples of the Sun and the Moon (Huacas del Sol y de la Luna) are over 700 years older than Chan Chan (about 10 km south east of Trujillo), are roughly pyramidal in shape, and were built with an estimated 140 million adobe bricks. Chiclayo is north of Trujillo on the coast, and in 1987 a royal Moche tomb at Sipan about 30 km southeast of Chiclayo was discovered, and has been called the most important archaeological discovery in Peru in the last 50 years. Adventure World’s 4 day Northern Peru trip visits this lesser travelled but interesting area of Peru. FOOD Lunch (almuerzo) is usually the main meal of the day. Dinner is eaten late. Popular dishes are Lomo Saltado (beef stew) and Ceviche (marinated fish). A Peruvian delicacy is roast guinea pig. Pisco Sour is the national drink (made from white-grape brandy, egg white, lemon juice, sugar, syrup, crushed ice and bitters). ALTITUDE SICKNESS What Is It? Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is what can happen if you ascend to high altitudes too quickly. As you go higher there is less oxygen in the air, and so less oxygen in the blood. Your body immediately responds to this by: an increase in rate and depth of breathing, therefore you breathe harder and faster; an increase in pulse rate, so you feel your heart pounding; and you may experience swelling of hands and feet. Common symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, dizziness, nausea/vomiting, sleeping difficulties and swelling of hands and feet. Barley sugars and coco tea can help alleviate altitude sickness. We also recommend that you allow extra time in your itinerary to allow for acclimatization before attempting any strenuous activities (ie. Hiking the Inca Trail). Do not underestimate the effects of altitude sickness – it can affect any body or any age or fitness level. We recommend that travellers see their Travel Doctor about altitude sickness prior to departing New Zealand.
Capital: Lima Official Language: Spanish Religion: Catholic Population: Over 26 million people Visa: New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for a stay up to 30 days. Passports must be valid for at least six months after arrival date. See Travcour website www.travcour.co.nz Government: Republic Electricity: 220V, 60Hz except Arequipa which is on 50Hz. Plugs – flat, two pronged type. Currency: Nuevo sol (S/) divided into 100 centimos. Cash: US dollars can be easily exchanged. Credit Cards & ATM’s: Visa accepted everywhere, while MasterCard, Amex and Diner’s Club have limited use. ATM machines located in major towns. Tipping & Bargaining: Tipping is a way of life in Peru and if you are provided with a satisfactorily service you should leave a tip. Bargaining is expected in markets. Email & Internet Access: Internet access is widely available in Lima and Cuzco but less so in other parts of the country. There are many internet places called “Cabañas de Internet”. Recommend travellers set up a free internet based email service before leaving home, ie: hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc. Famous For: Pisco Sour, ponchos, pan pipes and Inca ruins. Good Buys: Alpaca sweaters, weavings, ceramics, paintings and silver jewellery.
May to September is the best time to travel to Peru, the days are cool (14-18ºC) and clear with low rainfall. However, as this is the most favourable time to visit, there will be a lot of other travellers about. January-April is Peru’s wettest time. The jungle is hot and humid with sporadic rains all year round.
per person, twin share
specific travel dates apply
11 nights accommodation, some meals, transfers and sightseeing. Excludes airfare Arequipa to Cuzco.
per person, twin share
specific travel dates apply
7 nights accommodation, some meals, transfers and sightseeing. Excludes airfare Lima/Cuzco.