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Monthly Archives: February 2011
What are the Must-Sees of Peru Besides Machu Picchu? Lake Titicaca.
Add color to your Machu Picchu holiday by spending a few days in this beautiful area on top of the world. Lake Titikaka with its ancient traditions, stunning scenery and wild festivals, is an excellent choice for any cultural Peru vacation.
What Is Lake Titicaca?
Lake Titikaka is generally regarded as the highest navigable lake in the world ; meaning you can travel by boat on it. At 170km long and 3, 800 meters (12, 500 ft)high, magnificent Lake Titcicaca is sure to take your breath away.
Where is Lake Titicaca in relation to Machu Picchu?
Lake Titikaka straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru. The city of Puno is the jump off point for visits to the islands of Lake Titicaca. From Cusco and Machu Picchu you can travel in Orient Express style across the high plains on the Andean Explorer train. The journey takes 10 hours by train or 8 by bus. Flights between Puno and Lima take 95mins and between Cusco and Puno take 55min. This makes it a great destination to combine with a trip to Machu Picchu.
Why Visit Lake Titikaka on Your Peru Vacation?
Huge open skies surrounded by high plains and the sierras of the Andes all around. There is an otherworldliness around Lake Titicaca ; it is no surprise, then, that for the Incas, this lake was the birthplace of civilization.
Places to Visit on Lake Titicaca
Uros Floating Islands
A whole community of islands hand-made from reeds; and a people who still live on them. The islands are made of layers and layers of reeds placed on top of each other creating an odd, springy floor. The people of the Uros islands are Aymara, a tribe that was traditionally dominant in the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. They have homes , a school, boats and everything you would expect in a regular community. It’s just that they live on manmade islands!
On this really unique little island you’ll see men sitting around knitting their hats; the hat’s colours indicating the man’s status. The island has been given UNESCO status because of the high quality textiles produced here. Taquile Island’s 1, 700 people still organize their society in a collective way and have somehow managed to preserve their Quechua culture including the traditional dress. No dogs, no cars, just big skies and Inca terraces.
The least visited of the main Lake Titicaca islands, Amantani is a small, quiet and very beautiful island. There are various stone temples and wonderful views of Lake Titicaca from the two peaks on the island.
Puno is known as the folklore capital of Peru, partly for its riotous festivals. The biggest of these is the Candelaria Festival held in the first week of February. On these days Puno fills with brightly colored costumes of the dancers displaying the 300 dances of the area – in a seemingly endless series of swirls and whoops.
What Not to Miss Around Lake Titicaca: Yavari
Yavaris is a beautifully restored passenger boat moored just outside Puno. In 1862 the Yavari was sent from England and finally arrived at Lake Titikaka 8 years later after a dramatic journey by mule across the Andes.
Other sites around Lake Titikaka
Silustani and Cutimbo: Pre Inca Funeral Towers on a dramatic windswept plain.
Bolivia! Copacabana and the Islands of the Sun and the Moon are just a short drive over the border.
First Class Tip Top IV
March 11th – March 14th. 4 Days, 3 Nights $1319 incl flights.
Contact for more info
Last MInute Galapgos Voyager. First Class Cruise.
Space for one male only (shared cabin) at special discount rate.
7 days, 6 nights: $1260 March 12th – March 19th OR March 19th – March 26th
Contact for more info
This iconic trek to Machu Picchu is often misunderstood and confused with other alternative treks around Cusco. Here we outline the basics on the Inca Trail and why it’s so special.
What is the Inca Trail?
The fact is there isn’t just one Inca Trail. The Incas built a massive system of trails all across their empire for transporting goods, soldiers and sending messages. Quapaq Ňan, or Great Inca Road, was the principal highway and it ran for a staggering 6,000km from Colombia, through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and down into Chile. It is possible to follow the whole trail though only 25% is still visible. Just ask Laurent Granier and Megan Soon who walked the whole Inca Road in a mere 18months!
What’s the Classic Inca Trail?
The best preserved part of the massive network of Inca Trails is the 43 km section running from the Sacred Valley to the Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru. The normal time for walking along the Inca Trail section is the much more manageable 4 days, though the 5 day Inca Trail is highly recommended.
Why do the Inca Trail?
This fabulous trail through the Andes is an iconic trek. The Inca Trail is consistently voted as one of the top 5 treks in the world alongside the likes of treks in Nepal and the Alps. The Inca Trail offers an unbeatable combination of varied scenery, history and local Peru culture; not forgetting the spectacular finish as you descend to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. The route is littered with birds, orchids, Inca ruins and spectacular views with a great variety of scenery each day. A really great all round trek.
What is it like on the Inca Trail?
You walk through a variety of landscapes including traditional farming communities, cloud forest and high Andean paramo with beautiful views of snow capped mountain ranges; so each day gives you completely different scenery and experience.
The trail is sometimes on Inca-built stone pathways or even a few steep stone steps, at other times it is a regular, clear trail.
There are opportunities for seeing grazing llamas, humming birds and plenty of orchids and, if you are lucky, the elusive spectacled bear.
On each day there are impressive Inca ruins to explore (time permitting)
For the regular 4 day Inca Trail, the toughest day is the second taking you over the highest pass (appropriately named Dead Woman’s Pass) at over 4, 000 m.
Look into the 5 Day Inca Trail for a more relaxed pace and more opportunities for exploring on the way.
It is a challenging trek but with full support from experienced guides and porters, anyone who is reasonably fit can achieve.
Is the Inca Trail overcrowded?
The Inca trail became a victim of its own success in the ´90s and suffered environmental damage. To address this, the government imposed many regulations including a limit on the number of people that can be on the trail at any one time. Anybody wishing to do the Inca trail must do so as part of an organized group and must have a permit to enter the trail. As the numbers of permits are strictly limited, places fill up fast so you need to book your spot in advance. To get away from the crowds you could take the 5 Day Inca Trail.
What is an Alternative Inca Trail?
Peru has some of the best trekking on the world. There are plenty of alternative treks you can do BUT there is only ONE Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and this is the only trek that will take you directly to Machu Picchu. Other alternatives such as Lares, Salkantay, the Weavers Way and the Inca Jungle Trail are all good treks – but they end up at the train station, not at Machu Picchu.
Photography of Cusco
Cusco: Timeless City, an exhibition of historic and modern photos of the Peruvian city and Inca capital, will be presented through the month of February at the Pumapungo Museum by the Ministry of Culture. The exhibition includes Martin Chambi´s snapshot collelction as well as photos by Horacio Ortega, Filberto Cabrera, Crisanto Cabrera, José González and Pablo Veramendi. Martin Chambi was a prolific Cusco native whose photos magically capture the life of local people.
Pumapungo Museum at Banco Central, Calle Larga at Huayna Capac
New Cuban art gallery
Cuba native Noydán Conde announces the opening of Conde Galeria de Arte in Todo Santos, featuring work of Cuban and Cueancano artists. The gallery is at 4 – 32 Calle Larga at Alfoso Jerves. Current work features Havana portraits and street scenes as well as images of Cuenca. In addition to works by Conde, the gallery displays work by fellow Cuban and Cuenca resident Lanner Diaz. Most of the works exhibited are for sale. Gallery hours are weekdays, 08h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 17h00.