Peru – The Land Of Hidden Treasures
Whether you’re an adrenaline addict, enthusiastic explorer or nature-lover, you ought to have Peru on your wanderlust-bucketlist. Home to some of the richest bio-diversity on the planet, this Latin-American country offers an astounding array of plants, exotic animals and jaw dropping scenery.
If you’re chasing the sun or looking to witness some of the most breathtaking views imaginable, join an early morning trekking tour to Colca Canyon in Arequipa, where you can catch the sunrise turning the distant white peaks every shade of pink in the spectrum. This is unique stuff!
Machu Picchu is world famous with good reason. The Inca city is, without doubt, the most awe-inspiring sight. You’ll have seen thousands of images of the site, but nothing compares to reaching the top, breathing in the fresh Peruvian air, and taking in the raw beauty of this ancient, breathtaking scene.
The citadel is connected with various archaeological sites through the Qhapaq Ñan network (known as the great Inca Road). Varying in degrees of difficulty, you can choose from six routes currently available for hiking the Inca Trail, one of the most sought-after trekking experiences in South America.
Canoeing, mountain biking, horse-riding, trekking and whitewater rafting are just a selection of adrenaline-pumping activities you can experience in the breathtaking Sacred Valley of Urubamba in Cusco.
If you’re a brave adventure-sports-lover, grab a sand-board and glide down some of Peru’s desert dunes… yes, you can surf on sand! Ica is home to the world’s highest sand dune, “Cerro Blanco” (2078m above sea level)… leave this one to the pros. For an enthusiastic beginner, Sarapampa (in Lima) and Camaná (in Arequipa) are two great spots to start your sand-surfing adventures.
If waves are more your style, then the 1000km of crowd-free coastline provides plenty of choice. Be sure to surf in Pico Alto, Lima, which boasts some of the biggest waves in the whole of South America… not for the faint hearted. If your adrenaline levels need yet another boost, Peru also boasts two of the best rivers in South America for white water rafting, and for a bird’s eye view of Peru, pick the ever-popular paragliding.
After all that, you’ll be needing a sit down!
Lima is the only South American capital with access to the sea. You can start or end the day with a walk or bike ride on the Miraflores boardwalk- the gentle breeze combined with a beautiful landscape makes this the perfect place to enjoy an amazing sunset whilst looking over the pacific ocean.
The capital city achieves the perfect harmony between tradition and contemporary architecture. Touring its streets is to admire its churches, archaeological sites and houses with balconies that coexist with modern buildings housing art, fashion, music, culture, cuisine and endless nights of adventure. In every district and corner of the city, new and stimulating artistic movements are constantly taking shape. Lima shares its secrets with visitors bold enough to discover, explore and experience the city.
Without a doubt, Lima should be visited with a fork in hand. Recognized for being the Gastronomic Capital of America, its streets offer exquisite dishes for all budgets. In addition to hosting the most important food fair in Latin America, Mistura, which brings together all the regional cuisines of Peru, Lima´s culinary variety delights locals and visitors alike. It is also home to three of the fifty best restaurants in the world: Central, Astrid and Gastón and Maido.
Lima is prepared to please everyone. If you like a thrill, you can go paragliding in Raimondi Park, located on the Miraflores boardwalk, where the authorized instructors will give you an incredible ride over the sea. If you prefer something more traditional, you can choose to visit its historical center, which is characterized by its beautiful architecture and is declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Make sure you take a tour of the Plaza Mayor and enter the Cathedral, which is home to historical treasures including the Baltasar Noguera choir stalls, several side altars and the remains of Francisco Pizarro.
After embracing all of the cultural activities and adrenaline-fueled experiences that Peru has to offer, you’ll be needing some lunch!
To get the full culinary experience you should visit northern Peru, the Highlands and the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Traditional cuisine never tasted better.
The northern coast prides itself on freshly caught fish and other delicious seafood, as well as Sudado fish stew and locally raised Cabrito kid goat, all cooked to perfection.
Andean cuisine consists of stews, soups, meats, and exquisite desserts made from corn, milk and fruits. These highly nutritional Andean ingredients are fused together in a traditional earthen pot over a wood fire to create the most delicious, hearty dishes. Chicha corn beer was the traditional beverage of the ancient inhabitants of the Andes, and the tradition still lives on today.
In Arequipa the local restaurants, also known as picanterías, are the modern expression of an ancestral custom. These traditional restaurants still cook over a wood fire; a natural source of heat that intensifies the aromas of the food’s seasonings. A symbolic dish from Arequipa is the rocoto pepper stuffed with pieces of meat, cheese, eggs and olives and blanketed with a generous slab of melted cheese.
The alluring Amazonian cuisine conjures up all kinds of exotic treats: ‘must-eats’ include grilled cuts of Majaz (an agouti) with plantain, along with a host of tropical juices from the Cocona fruit (otherwise labelled the “jungle jewel”).
Taste just one of these Peruvian delights and you will discover why Peru was voted the World’s leading Culinary Destination at the World Travel Awards, 2016 (for the fifth consecutive time!)
Moche Route, A Walk Through Time
Situated on the northern coast of Peru, where year-round sunshine is the order of the day, lies the magnificent Moche Route, the historical cradle of the ancient Moche civilisation (100 – 900 A.D). These people existed long before the Incas were on the map and archaeological excavations have revealed tremendous tombs, packed with gold and treasures, belonging to the Lord of Sipán (an ancient governor). These ground-breaking discoveries have aided a deeper understanding of the great Moche civilization, which is deemed one of most creative and successful cultures of the pre-Hispanic world, proven by the fascinating mural paintings that can be found in the the El Brujo Archaeological Complex.
Many of the sites are recent discoveries (identified a mere 30 years ago), meaning visits to areas currently under excavation are still possible. The site still gives off an air of Indiana Jones excitement, as archaeologists continue to uncover new artifacts and learn more about this intriguing historical period. The “Huaca Del Sol”, a gigantic ancient Moche temple (consisting of over 130 million bricks), is fascinating and should not be missed. The nationally-renowned Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum is another fantastic place to learn more about the intriguing Moche culture. You can also buy local crafts and authentic food at the site.
After a day of stepping back in time, reward yourself with a delicious cebiche dish in one of the nearby traditional eateries by the beach. Relaxing in South America, overlooking the Pacific Ocean… go on, you deserve it.
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