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Saturday, 03 November 2018 22:41

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017 16:43

Exploring Peru

Visiting Peru 

Exploring Peru
Lima, Pachacamac, Caral, Cusco, Maras and Moray, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Departures:
May 21th - 2018,
June 4th -  2018
September 24th - 2018

Prices per person in USD: US$ 2995.00
based on double occupancy
Single supplement: $400.00

Hotels:
Lima: Hotel Carmel - http://hotelcarmel.com.pe/ingles/index.php
Cusco: Hotel Los Portales - http://www.losportaleshoteles.com.pe/en/hotel/cusco/
Machu Picchu: Hotel Inka Town - http://www.inkatownhotel.com/portada/

ITINERARY

Day 1:  Arrive Lima.
N.B.:  Most international flights arrive in Lima late evening (22:00-23:00). As a result, activities begin the following morning.
The Hotel Carmel is two blocks from the Parque Kennedy in Miraflores.  It is a convenient and safe location that allows you to walk to restaurants, the Indian Market, and even Larcomar, a large mall built into the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, 13 blocks away.

Day 2: 9:00 a.m.-- Meet and greet at hotel. PowerPoint Lecture on Pre-Inca Peru.  Depart 11:00 for city tour. (Breakfast and lunch included)
ANCESTRAL LIMA: We start our tour with a visit to the Larco Museum to see the largest and most impressive pre-Columbian art collection in the world. Located in an 18th century vice-royal mansion, its new galleries display the best and most complete collection of gold and silver of Peru together with its famous collection of Moche ceramic art. The best way to enjoy Lima and its history.  Lunch in the museum café.
Next, we will step back 17 centuries and visit the “HuacaPucllana” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century C.E. and considered a “sacred village” by the Lima Culture and later the Incas. 1-hour guided tour in English. Free about 4 p.m.
Dinner at hotel or near-by restaurant.
Evening visit to Dancing Waters: Guided excursion to the “Magical Water Circuit” the largest water fountain compound in the world, certified by Guinness World Records. Here you will enjoy a wonderful display of water, light, music and images presented at Reserve Park, one of Lima’s most beautiful urban áreas.

Lima

 

Day 3: Lima:  City tour (Breakfast and lunch included) 
COLONIAL LIMA: The Viceroyalty of Perú was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima was its capital. We visit the Historical Center of Lima, where you will see more than fifty monuments and colonial buildings, such as the Paseo de la República, Plaza San Martín, the Plaza de Armas, the Government Palace (and see the changing of the guard at 12:00), the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace among others. We will visit the monumental San Francisco Convent, which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. The highlight will be a visit to the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs.
We will visit the MUSEUM OF THE BANCO CENTRAL DE RESERVA*, where we will admire the “Treasures of Perú” Collection, a fine selection of objects made of gold, ceramics and textiles from different pre-Columbian cultures.

CONTEMPORARY LIMA: We will visit traditional residential areas of Lima, such as El Olivar of San Isidro, Miraflores, and Larcomar.
Evening and dinner on your own.  There are several restaurants within eight blocks of our hotel.

Day 4:  Caral. Depart 08:00. (Breakfast and lunch included; evening free)
We will discover the oldest city and one of the oldest civilizations In the Americas. The 5,000 years of antiquity of Caral, one of the fives cradles of civilization on a par with the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. Our tour includes a mid-afternoon traditional lunch in the seaside city of Huacho. Return to Lima about 6:00 p.m. Evening free.

Day 5: Pachacamac; Barranco and Miraflores walking tour (Breakfast and lunch included)
We will begin our day with a guided tour of the splendid Citadel of Pachacamac, the Sanctuary of the God Pachacamac, Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac and the Acllahuasi or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun. A unique archaeological and mystical experience.
The next stop is the traditional and bohemian district of Barranco where we will have lunch. 
After lunch, you will have a choice in Miraflores: the Parque Kennedy, the sea-front Larcomar mall, which is built into the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, strolling along the boardwalk, and/or a visit to the Indian Market, another small archaeological site, the Huaca Huallamarca, or the National Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology.
Late afternoon or early evening TBA: PowerPoint Lecture on the Incas

Pachacamac

 

Day 6: Fly to Cusco. Rest. Tour Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay. (Breakfast included)
You will be picked up at your hotel and transfered to the airport for your flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will transfer to the hotel and have the morning at leisure to acclimatize to the altitude. The hotel is across the street from Koricancha, the Great Temple of the Inca, and just three blocks from the Plaza de Armas and Cathedral. Lunch on your own.
At 2:00 pm you will be taken on a city tour and visit local archaeological sites, the Cathedral, Koricancha (the main Inca temple), Sacsayhuaman and surroundings, returning late afternoon (5:30 pm) to your hotel. Evening free, dinner on your own.

Day 7: Sacred Valley + Moray, Maras (Breakfast and lunch included)
After breakfast, you will depart at 8:45am for the Sacred Valley of the Incas where life has remained almost unchanged for 500 years. You will visit the village and Inca site of Pisac and the Indian market, enjoy the beautiful handicrafts on sale, and wonder at the many ethnic tribal costumes worn by the local people, not just for tourists, but as part of their heritage.
Moray. This was the Incas’ agricultural experiment station. Built into a natural valley, your guide will take you down into these ruins and explain their function. It is said that the ancient agricultural terraces of circular and concentric shape, each one a unique micro-climate were used as a seed-testing area for the principal crops of the empire: maize and potatoes.
From Moray, you will proceed to Maras, also called Salinas de Maras. These salt-mines have been used since Tahuantinsuyo, the Inca Empire. During the Vice-Regency it was the largest salt producer in the southern highlands.
Our last stop will be Chinchero where we will visit a women’s weaving cooperative, watch them demonstrate how they prepare the dyes, dye the alpaca wool, and weave tapestries, shawls, scarves, toques, gloves, and purses.  
Return to the hotel in Cusco around 6:30pm. Evening free. 
 
Please note: If you are traveling with a large suitcase and a trolley or backpack, you will be able to leave your suitcase in a secure storeroom at the hotel in Cusco while we go to Machu Picchu. This is important because all luggage is hand-carried from the train station in Aguas Calientes to your hotel.  The hotel will send a porter with a cart so you don’t have to carry your luggage but you should travel as light as possible to Machu Picchu.

mapi

 

Day 8: MACHU PICCHU 2 days, 1 night by train (Breakfast and lunch included)
Early morning, 5:30 am and after breakfast, we drive to the train station for our journey to Machu Picchu on Vistadome Train (4 hours) at 9:40 am you will arrive in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Village) from where you will go by bus to the archaeological site (20 minutes); Once there where you will have a guided tour with an English-speaking professional guide followed by time to wander around on your own. You can stay in the area or relax in the hot springs near Aguas Calientes (entrance to hot springs not included). Overnight in your hotel.

Day 9: MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO (Breakfast included)
Morning at leisure to explore Aguas Calientes your own, or you can return to Machu Picchu for sunrise, when the full magnificence of the site reveals itself in all its majesty. You will have the option to hike up to Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shaped peak that overlooks Machu Picchu. (Entrance fee, bus fee, and fee for climbing Huayna Picchu are $120. additional). Return to Cusco where you will arrive around 7:30pm.

Day 10: CUSCO morning free — (Breakfast included)
After breakfast visit San Pedro market. Fly to Lima in the afternoon.  Rest of day free.  May depart for home this night or spend the night in Lima. If you depart this night, an adjustment will be made for one less hotel night and one breakfast.

Day 11: LIMA - fly home.  (Breakfast included) Day free.
Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the airport.

Includes:  3-star hotel room based on double occupancy; return airfare, Lima-Cusco; all airport transfers in Lima and Cusco; all breakfasts, most lunches; all entrance fees (except for 2nd day at Machu Picchu); return train to Aguas Calientes; return bus to Machu Picchu (except 2nd day at Machu Picchu); English-speaking guides; modern, air-conditioned buses.

Not included: International airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, extra expenses for flight cancellations, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls, reconfirmation of international flights and items of personal nature.

 

tommie montgomeryTour conductor: Tommie Sue Montgomery
Tommie Sue has visited Lima numerous times, Cusco three times, and Machu Picchu twice. She will accompany you on all excursions, share general information with you, and be available for questions.
Local, licenced, bilingual tour guides on every excursion.

"Peruvian Tours"  has arranged tours for Tommie Sue and her husband David Abrahams to Cusco and Machu Picchu; Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Puno and Lake Titicaca; flight over the Nazca Lines and a tour of the Paracas Peninsula; tours of Trujillo and its archaeological sites; and, several tours of Lima and various archaeological sites.

 

 

 

SALKANTAY TO MACHU PICCHU TREK 5 DAYS / 4 NIGTHS
5 days 4 nights

Price per person US$ 686
Back Packer train


ITINERARY:


Salkantay to machu Picchu - Inca TrailDay 01 CUSCO, MOLLEPATA, SORAYPAMPA
We will leave Cusco at 04:30 by bus, and drive to Mollepata. By approximately 2 hours and a half hours drive. After breakfast we will start the ascent on foot towards Cruzpata (3100 masl) along a slight climb where we will appreciate various plants, native birds, the Apurimac river canyon (which is one of the deepest in Peru), and a communitarian irrigation canal. In Cruzpata we will have our lunch, we will depart at around 1:30 pm in the direction of Soraypampa along a climbing trail with many level variations and along which we will see little groups of houses, flora, small wild birds and spectacular views of the Humantay snow peak (5902 masl). After approximately 4 hours of walking, we will arrive at our campsite in Soraypampa (3900 masl). From here we can appreciate the majestic Apu Salkantay (6271 masl).(lunch an dinner included)

Day 02 SORAYPAMPA, CHALLAY
After an early breakfast we start trekking from Soraypampa approx 6:30 am we continue our hiking the Peruvian highland. From this point we can appreciate the spectacular views of the Mountain Salkantay, a stunning snow capped mountain (6,264 m) the second highest peak in Cusco’s region, and also the mountains Humantay and Huayanay, white river, small lakes and moraines. At our lunch spot after a five-hour walk, pass dowhill to lunch in Huayracmachay, and then a further 2-3 hours downhill walk to Camp at Chaullay 2,920 m. (breakfast, lunch an dinner included). 20 Km. approximately.

Day 03 CHAULLAY, WINAYPOCO, LA PLAYA

Wake up with a lovely mountain scenery and a good morning tea. We will start the trek 07:00 AM. 3 hours easy, where we will be introduced to a high Jungle niche called “Ceja de Selva”, we will see different kind of plants, fruits, flowers, birds ect. here banana trees coffee and others can be observed, take amazing pictures, at the end of the day we will see passion fruit fields.
On the way you will have a pleasant experience meeting the local families living and inhabited in this area.
The hike will last approximately 9 hours; the campsite is located at the community named “La Playa “(2400 masl) where you will settle for the night.(breakfast, lunch an dinner included). Walking distance approximately 15 Km.


Day 04 LA PLAYA, AGUAS ACALIENTES (MACHU PICCHU TOWN)
After of our delicious breakfast we are going to walk for approximately around 8:30 a.m we begin our trek, we follow this rising trail, from which we will see plantations of coffee, banana, passion fruit and a lovely view of the Santa Teresa Valley. We follow along the riverside of Vilcanota River until arrive to the Oroya (canopy bridge). From Sahuayaco you will get a first glimpse of Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu mountains. From the central of Hidro Electric we are about  to take the train to reach final point of the day Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu where after the dinner you going to stay overnight in a hostel or optional in a hotel.  (breakfast, lunch an dinner included). Walking distance aproximately 10 Km.

Day 05 AGUAS CALIENTES (MACHU PICCHU TOWN), MACHU PICCHU (See more about Machu Picchu)
We are going up to the Archaeological site of Machupicchu and we will explore the city and enjoy the ancient place in the tranquil morning hours, where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here (Aguas Calientes or MachuPicchu town) we take the train back to Ollantaytambo (from 18:45 to 20:15 hrs) and then connect with the transfer back to the city of Cusco (from 20:25 to 22:30 hrs). (breakfast included).

INCLUDE:
Transfer from your hotel to the bus station (bus from Cusco to Mollepata).
English speaking professional guide Cook and cooking equipment
Horsemen and horses (to carry camping gear, food, cooking equipment, etc) for days 1 to 3.
Accommodation for our guides, cook, porters and horsemen
Meals (4B, 4L, 4D + wake up tea)
Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Expedition Service).
Transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
3 night camping along the route (2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent).
1 night hostel in Aguas Calientes.
Entrance ticket to Salkantay Park and Machu Picchu.
First Aid Kit and Oxigen


NOT INCLUDES:
Sleeping bags.
Lunch and dinner on the last day after the guided tour of Machu Picchu, you have some free time to go on exploring Machu Picchu, have lunch either in Machu Picchu or in Aguas Calientes, etc.
Train from Hidroelectrica to Machu Picchu town (tourist usually hike this part).
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and viceversa (tourists usually hike this part).
Entrance to the Huayna Picchu Mountain.

We Recommend Bringing:
Sleeping bag
Lantern light-handed, Repellent Sunscreen, Toilet paper, Plastic bags (to protect cameras and littering), Water purifying tablets, Rain Jacket, 4 t-shirts long walking trousers, Shorts Several pairs of socks, Underwear, Rain coat, Slippers or sandals to rest your feet at camp, A cap or hat, Personal medication

What you should wear to start this tour:
Short sleeve t-shirt.
Long sleeve t-shirt
Warm jacket.
Long pants (better if it can get shorter)
Thick socks.
A good pair of mountaineer shoes
A light Backpack or bag with camera, documents, water bottle, etc.
Money in small denomination (soles).

 

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015 01:38

Easter Island Information (Chile)

Easter Island Information

Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.

Polynesian people settled on Easter Island in the first millennium CE, and created a thriving culture, as evidenced by the moai and other artifacts. However, human activity, the introduction of the Polynesian rat and overpopulation led to gradual deforestation and extinction of natural resources, which caused the demise of the Rapa Nui civilization. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. Diseases carried by European sailors and Peruvian slave raiding of the 1860s further reduced the Rapa Nui population, down to 111 in 1877.

Easter Island Information

Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents) is Pitcairn Island 2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away, the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea on island Mangareva 2,606 km (1,619 mi) away, and the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away.

Easter Island is a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888. Administratively, it belongs to the Valparaíso Region and more specifically, is the only commune of the Province Isla de Pascua. According to the 2012 census, it has about 5,800 residents, of which some 60% are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui.

Easter Island is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands. Its closest inhabited neighbor is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 km (1,289 mi) to the west, with fewer than 100 inhabitants. The nearest continental point lies in central Chile near Concepción, at 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi).

Easter Island Information

The island is about 24.6 km (15.3 mi) long by 12.3 km (7.6 mi) at its widest point; its overall shape is triangular. It has an area of 163.6 square kilometres (63.2 sq mi), and a maximum altitude of 507 meters (1,663 ft). There are three Rano (freshwater crater lakes), at Rano Kau, Rano Raraku and Rano Aroi, near the summit of Terevaka, but no permanent streams or rivers.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 20:54

Galapagos Islands Information (Ecuador)

Galapagos Islands - Map

The Galapagos Archipelago is located on both sides of the equatorial line approximately 970 km (600 miles) west from continental Ecuador. Local time is -6 GMT. It is formed by thirteen greater islands, six smaller islands, 42 islets and several rocks, which cover a total area of 7,850 km². The largest island is Isabela, with a total area of 4,590 km² which presents the highest point of the archipelago, volcano Wolf, 1,690 meters. 97% of the total area of the isles belongs to the Galapagos National Park, the rest belongs to inhabited and developed areas like the island of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana, in addition to Baltra an island occupied by the Ecuadorian Armed forces. The Galapagos Archipelago is also a province of Ecuador, whose capital is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on the island of San Cristobal. Puerto Ayora, on the island of Santa Cruz, is the city with the highest tourist activity. The islands total population including floating population is around 16,109 inhabitants.

Options for flying into the Galapagos are limited to two islands; San Cristobal and Baltra. Private aircraft must use Baltra as it is the airport equipped with overnight plane accommodations. Seymour Airport on Baltra was recently renovated (2012–2013) to accommodate larger planes.

Until 1969 the only way to visit was on a private or chartered vessel. There was no regular air service until Forrest Nelson's Hotel Galapagos began the first organized tours in April 1969. Soon other travel companies brought in tour ships and yachts,[26] and local fishermen began converting their wooden boats for rudimentary cruising with guests. These vessels were the main source of overnight accommodations in the Galapagos. Today there are about 85 yachts and ships equipped for overnight guests. In 2006 the Baltra military governed island, was opened up to limited overnight camping. Baltra also requires permits by the military government for overnight stays on the beach. Other inhabited islands also allow camping on the beaches designated as "recreational" use to the locals. All of these camping permits are limited to number of people and nights, with most nights not to exceed 3.

Land based hotels are opening on the inhabited islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela. By 2012, more than half the visitors to Galapagos made their tours using day boats and these small hotels. Restaurants, easy access and economy make this an attractive travel option. The cruise tours are still the best way to see all the complex environment and wildlife of the islands.

There are only 116 visitor sites in the Galapagos: 54 land sites and 62 scuba-diving or snorkeling sites. Small groups are allowed to visit in 2–4 hour shifts only, to limit impact on the area. All groups are accompanied by licensed guides.

Galapagos Islands - galapagos-tortoise

Main islands
The 18 main islands (with a land area larger than 1 km2) of the archipelago (with their English names) shown alphabetically:

Baltra (South Seymour) Island – Also known as South Seymour, Baltra is a small flat island located near the centre of the Galápagos. It was created by geological uplift. The island is very arid, and vegetation consists of salt bushes, prickly pear cacti and palo santo trees.
Until 1986, Baltra (Seymour) Airport was the only airport serving the Galápagos. Now, there are two airports which receive flights from the continent; the other is located on San Cristóbal Island. Private planes flying to Galápagos must fly to Baltra, as it is the only airport with facilities for planes overnight. On arriving in Baltra, all visitors are immediately transported by bus to one of two docks. The first dock is located in a small bay, where the boats cruising Galápagos await passengers. The second is a ferry dock, which connects Baltra to the island of Santa Cruz.
During the 1940s, scientists decided to move 70 of Baltra's land iguanas to the neighboring North Seymour Island as part of an experiment. This move proved unexpectedly useful when the native iguanas became extinct on Baltra as a result of the island's military occupation in World War II. During the 1980s, iguanas from North Seymour were brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station as part of a breeding and repopulation project, and in the 1990s, land iguanas were reintroduced to Baltra. As of 1997, scientists counted 97 iguanas living on Baltra; 13 of which had hatched on the islands.

Bartolomé (Bartholomew) Island – Bartolomé Island is a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island in the Galápagos Islands group. it is one of the "younger" islands in the Galápagos archipelago. This island, and neighbouring Sulivan Bay on Santiago (James) island, are named after lifelong friend of Charles Darwin, Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, who was a lieutenant aboard HMS Beagle.[8] Today Sulivan Bay is often misspelled Sullivan Bay. This island is one of the few that are home to the Galapagos penguin which is the only wild penguin species to live on the equator. The green turtle is another animal that resides on the island.

Darwin (Culpepper) Island – This island is named after Charles Darwin. It has an area of 1.1 km2 (0.4 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 168 m (551 ft). Here fur seals, frigates, marine iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, whales, marine turtles, and red-footed and Nazca boobies can be seen.

Galapagos Islands - Iguanas

Española (Hood) Island – Its name was given in honor of Spain. It also is known as Hood, after Viscount Samuel Hood. It has an area of 60 km2 (23 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 206 m (676 ft).
Española is the oldest island at around 3.5 million years, and the southernmost in the group. Due to its remote location, Española has a large number of endemic species. It has its own species of lava lizard, mockingbird, and tortoise. Española's marine iguanas exhibit a distinctive red coloration change between the breeding season. Española is the only place where the waved albatross nests. Some of the birds have attempted to breed on Genovesa (Tower) Island, but unsuccessfully. Española's steep cliffs serve as the perfect runways for these birds, which take off for their ocean feeding grounds near the mainland of Ecuador and Peru.
Española has two visitor sites. Gardner Bay is a swimming and snorkelling site, and offers a great beach. Punta Suarez has migrant, resident, and endemic wildlife, including brightly colored marine iguanas, Española lava lizards, hood mockingbirds, swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, Galápagos hawks, three species of Darwin's finches, and the waved albatross.

Fernandina (Narborough) Island
– The name was given in honor of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, who sponsored the voyage of Columbus. Fernandina has an area of 642 km2 (248 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 1,494 m (4,902 ft). This is the youngest and westernmost island. On 13 May 2005, a new, very eruptive process began on this island, when an ash and water vapor cloud rose to a height of 7 km (23,000 ft) and lava flows descended the slopes of the volcano on the way to the sea. Punta Espinosa is a narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather, largely on black lava rocks. The famous flightless cormorants inhabit this island, as do Galápagos penguins, pelicans, Galápagos sea lions and Galápagos fur seals. Different types of lava flows can be compared, and the mangrove forests can be observed.

Galapagos islands - Focas

Floreana (Charles or Santa María) Island – It was named after Juan José Flores, the first President of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago. It is also called Santa Maria, after one of the caravels of Columbus. It has an area of 173 km2 (67 sq mi) and a maximum elevation of 640 m (2,100 ft). It is one of the islands with the most interesting human history, and one of the earliest to be inhabited. Flamingos and green sea turtles nest (December to May) on this island. The patapegada or Galápagos petrel, a sea bird which spends most of its life away from land, is found here. At Post Office Bay, since the 19th century whalers kept a wooden barrel that served as post office so that mail could be picked up and delivered to their destinations, mainly Europe and the United States, by ships on their way home. At the "Devil's Crown", an underwater volcanic cone and coral formations are found.

Genovesa (Tower) Island – The name is derived from Genoa, Italy. It has an area of 14 km2 (5.4 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 76 m (249 ft). This island is formed by the remaining edge of a large caldera that is submerged. Its nickname of "the bird island" is clearly justified. At Darwin Bay, frigatebirds and swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal species of gull in the world, can be seen. Red-footed boobies, noddy terns, lava gulls, tropic birds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin finches are also in sight. Prince Philip's Steps is a bird-watching plateau with Nazca and red-footed boobies. There is a large Palo Santo forest.

Isabela (Albemarle) Island (Ecuador) – This island was named in honor of Queen Isabela. With an area of 4,640 km2 (1,792 sq mi), it is the largest island of the Galápagos. Its highest point is Volcán Wolf, with an altitude of 1,707 m (5,600 ft). The island's seahorse shape is the product of the merging of six large volcanoes into a single land mass. On this island, Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs abound. At the skirts and calderas of the volcanoes of Isabela, land iguanas and Galápagos tortoises can be observed, as well as Darwin finches, Galápagos hawks, Galápagos doves and very interesting lowland vegetation. The third-largest human settlement of the archipelago, Puerto Villamil, is located at the southeastern tip of the island. It is the only island to have the equator run across it. It is also the only place in the world where a penguin can be in its natural habitat in the Northern Hemisphere.

Marchena (Bindloe) Island: Named after Fray Antonio Marchena, it has an area of 130 km2 (50 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 343 m (1,125 ft). Galápagos hawks and sea lions inhabit this island, and it is home to the Marchena lava lizard, an endemic animal.

North Seymour Island – Its name was given after an English nobleman, Lord Hugh Seymour. It has an area of 1.9 km2 (0.7 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 28 m (92 ft). This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It hosts one of the largest populations of frigate birds. It was formed from geological uplift.

Pinzón (Duncan) Island – Named after the Pinzón brothers, captains of the Pinta and Niña caravels, it has an area of 18 km2 (7 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 458 m (1,503 ft).

Pinta (Abingdon) Island – Named after the Pinta caravel, it has an area of 60 km2 (23 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 777 m (2,549 ft). Sea lions, Galápagos hawks, giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and dolphins can be seen here. Pinta Island was home to the last remaining Pinta tortoise, called Lonesome George. He was moved from Pinta Island to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, where scientists were attempting to breed from him. However, Lonesome George died in June 2012 without producing any offspring.

Galapagos Islands - Galapagos Blue footed boobies

Rábida (Jervis) Island – It bears the name of the convent of Rábida, where Columbus left his son during his voyage to the Americas. It has an area of 4.9 km2 (1.9 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 367 m (1,204 ft). The high amount of iron contained in the lava at Rábida gives it a distinctive red colour. White-cheeked pintail ducks live in a saltwater lagoon close to the beach, where brown pelicans and boobies have built their nests. Until recently, flamingos were also found in the lagoon, but they have since moved on to other islands, likely due to a lack of food on Rábida. Nine species of finches have been reported in this island.

San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island – It bears the name of the patron saint of seafarers, "St. Christopher". Its English name was given after William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. It has an area of 558 km2 (215 sq mi) and its highest point rises to 730 m (2395 ft). This is the first island in the Galapagos Archipelago Charles Darwin visited during his voyage on the Beagle. This islands hosts frigate birds, sea lions, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, tropicbirds, marine iguanas, dolphins and swallow-tailed gulls. Its vegetation includes Calandrinia galapagos, Lecocarpus darwinii, and trees such as Lignum vitae. The largest freshwater lake in the archipelago, Laguna El Junco, is located in the highlands of San Cristóbal. The capital of the province of Galápagos, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, lies at the southern tip of the island.

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island (Galápagos) – Given the name of the Holy Cross in Spanish, its English name derives from the British vessel HMS Indefatigable. It has an area of 986 km2 (381 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 864 m (2834 ft). Santa Cruz hosts the largest human population in the archipelago, the town of Puerto Ayora. The Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galápagos National Park Service are located here. The GNPS and CDRS operate a tortoise breeding centre here, where young tortoises are hatched, reared, and prepared to be reintroduced to their natural habitat. The Highlands of Santa Cruz offer exuberant flora, and are famous for the lava tunnels. Large tortoise populations are found here. Black Turtle Cove is a site surrounded by mangroves, which sea turtles, rays and small sharks sometimes use as a mating area. Cerro Dragón, known for its flamingo lagoon, is also located here, and along the trail one may see land iguanas foraging.

Santa Fe (Barrington) Island – Named after a city in Spain, it has an area of 24 km2 (9 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 259 m (850 ft). Santa Fe hosts a forest of Opuntia cactus, which are the largest of the archipelago, and Palo Santo. Weathered cliffs provide a haven for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds and shear-waters petrels. Santa Fe species of land iguanas are often seen, as well as lava lizards.

galapagos Islands map

Santiago (San Salvador, James) Island (Galápagos) – Its name is equivalent to Saint James in English; it is also known as San Salvador, after the first island discovered by Columbus in the Caribbean Sea. This island has an area of 585 km2 (226 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 907 m (2976 ft). Marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins and sharks are found here. Pigs and goats, which were introduced by humans to the islands and have caused great harm to the endemic species, have been eradicated (pigs by 2002; goats by the end of 2006). Darwin finches and Galápagos hawks are usually seen, as well as a colony of fur seals. At Sulivan Bay, a recent (around 100 years ago) pahoehoe lava flow can be observed.

Wolf (Wenman) Island – This island was named after the German geologist Theodor Wolf. It has an area of 1.3 km2 (0.5 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 253 m (830 ft). Here, fur seals, frigatebirds, Nazca and red-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sharks, whales, dolphins and swallow-tailed gulls can be seen. The most famous resident is the vampire finch, which feeds partly on blood pecked from other birds, and is only found on this island.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 20:03

F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?
Visas are not necessary for citizens from most countries in the Americas and Western Europe. Citizens of Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile do not need either a passport or a visa to enter certain regions of Peru. Check with the Peruvian consulate in your country for further information.
Visitors entering Peru for tourism are granted a 90-day stay, which can be extended by the Immigration Office.
Travelers must bear a valid passport or safe-conduct pass issued by Peruvian immigration authorities.

Is it safe to travel around Peru?
Of course, we would say yes, but with an eye on the reality. Visitors will probably have seen on the news, read on websites or in the newspapers about terrorism, crime and political and economic instability in Peru in recent years. But we also know that several years ago Peru managed to put down terrorism, and today the country is at peace. The country is now working hard to build a stable democracy.
All travelers have to do is to take the same normal precautions as when traveling to any tourist destination

In the cities:
Take the normal precautions to guard against purse snatchers.
Carry a copy of identification documents. Keep originals and your valuables in the safety deposit box of your hotel.
Carry valuables discreetly. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Keep an eye on your bags and luggage.
Do not exchange money out in the street.

Tourism by Road:
Always carry your driver's license, a copy of your passport and if the vehicle is rented, the rental contract. International drivers' licenses are valid in Peru for a year, while a license from country of origin is valid for 30 days.
If a traffic policeman signals you to stop, do so. He must be wearing a proper uniform and his ID (his last name must appear on a badge over his chest). Police may not enter your vehicle.
Bear in mind that neither your documents nor your vehicle may be taken, and under no circumstance give money.
In case of an accident or a crash, call a traffic policeman. If the vehicle is rented, also call a representative of the insurance company at the car rental company. Wait at the site. Keep windows closed and doors locked.

Prohibitions:
It is terminally prohibited to photograph airports, military bases, areas near electricity pylons and police stations.

What is the climate like year-round?
Peru is a vast country split from north to south by the Andes, and is covered by the Amazon jungle to the east. Temperatures can vary from one city to another, depending on the time of year.
It almost never rains on the Peruvian coast, and in general, there are two marked seasons: hot and cold. The hot season runs from around mid-November to end-March. The cold weather generally lasts from late April to mid-November, with high humidity.
In the highlands and the jungle, unlike the coast, the rain season is the warmest time of year, lasting from mid-November to end-March. Temperatures are cooler from April to mid-November.

City
Altitude mosl
Max Temp
Min Temp
Arequipa
2335
24º C
5º C
Chiclayo
29
33º C
17º C
Cusco
3395
17º C
(-)2º C
Huaraz
3091
18º C
9º C
Ica
406
30º C
8º C
Iquitos
104
36º C
17º C
Lima
133
25º C
13º C
Piura
29
35º C
16º C
Pto. Maldonado
183
34º C
21º C
Puno
3827
19º C
2º C
Trujillo
34
30º C
16º C
Tumbes
6
38º C
19º C

When is the best time to visit Peru?
Lima is temperate all year so other destinations often are the determining factor. The Amazon is hot and humid all year, with the heaviest rains December through April. Cuzco, at 11,600 feet altitude, and Machu Picchu (at only 8,000 feet) are generally cool to cooler, depending on cloud cover, winds and seasons: on a cloudless day in July, the coldest month, shirt sleeves may well suffice but on a cloudy windy day in January, a light jacket might be needed.

Is de Language a problem?

Yes, but no communication problems. Everybody loves to practice the little English they know. But do not expect everyone to speak English fluently. Use body language! In larger cities, everybody knows someone who speaks a bit of English, at least. In the more remote areas, Spanish is best. French, with a bit of patience, is often understood.
Hotels usually carry at least one TV-channel is English (CNN). Many cable channels broadcast their programs (like American sitcoms) in English with Spanish subtitles. Just learn the two magic words:
Please! Por favor! (easy, isn´t it!)
and
Thank you! Gracias!
No thank you - no gracias
it gets you a lot of friendly smiles.

What about altitude?
When you arrive in Cusco, or when hiking the Inca trail, the altitude can be felt in the form of a mild headache or, more rarely, altitude sickness. When arriving in Cusco, take time to rest, and walk more slowly. Eat plenty of carbohydrates, and avoid heavy meals, drinking and smoking. Coca tea, offered in most hotels and restaurants, helps combat mild altitude sickness.
After a few hours you should be accustomed to the altitude.

Will my credit cards, ATM card, and traveler's checks work in Peru?
The most widely accepted credit card in Peru is Visa. Mastercard is also popular, but American Express and Diner's Club are not that widely accepted.
I find ATMs the best way to get money. Most of them work on the Plus system, although you can find ATMs that accept Star, Cirrus and Interlink. The downside of credit and debit cards is that stores, hotels and restaurants will sometimes add an 8% commission to the final bill. Your best bet is to take money from the ATM and pay for your purchases in cash. Traveler's checks are usually good to take as "insurance", but they are often difficult to change and the exchange rate is not as favorable as if you used cash.


INCA TRAIL FAQ

I heard rumours that they were closing the Inca Trail. Is it true?
The Inca Trail will be closed during the month of February each year. The last group will depart on 31 January and the next group will start on 01 March. The closure is to allow conservation projects to take place, give an opportunity for camping facilities to be improved and to allow the vegetation to grow back. February is also the height of the wet season so you shouldn't miss too much. The shorter 2-day trek will remain open since this trek follows a different route. The ruins of Machu Picchu will remain open as normal as will the train services between Cusco and Machu Picchu.
During February some tour companies are offering an alternative 4 day trek.
This trek starts at km82 but instead of climbing the valley to Wayllabamba the alternative route follows the Urubamba River until km104 where it climbs up to Wiñay Wayna and then on to Machu Picchu. (ie two days walking along the Urubamba river before joining the shorter 2-day trek). This trek is fairly picturesque but does not include visits to the Inca ruins at Runkurakay, Sayacmarka or Phuyupatamarca. Ask the tour operator to clearly describe the trek itinerary.

Can I trek the Inca Trail alone without a travel operator?
No. As from 1st January 2001 trekking independently has been prohibited. The regulation, however, was not enforced until early 2002. Trekkers now have to trek using the services of a licensed tour operator or directly employ the services of a professional guide (about US$50 per day plus expenses).
Walking on your own is now an expensive option. However, if you can get a few friends together then the cost per person drops quickly. If you employ a guide directly you can't have more than 7 persons in your group and the guide must be officially qualified. Trekkers using the services of just a guide are not allowed to employ other services such as porters or cooks so you'll have to carry all your equipment and cook for yourselves. The entrance tickets for the trail MUST be bought in Cusco well in advance. They cannot be purchased at the start of the trail.

Should I make a reservation for the trek in advance or wait until arriving in Cusco?

Because the numbers of persons permitted on the trek has been dramatically reduced it is advisable to make a reservation at least 7 to 8 weeks in advance. This is particularly important if you are planning on arriving in Cusco during the peak season (June-September). However during the quiet months of December, January and March it should be possible to just turn up in Cusco 5 or 6 days before you want to do the trek and make a reservation

When is the best time to go?
The dry season from April to October is probably the most comfortable period as far as the weather is concerned. Even during these months you can still get a little rain. Ideally the month of May is perfect since there is little rain but the vegetation is still rich and lush. June, July and August are the 3 busy months and the numbers of trekkers has been limited so book in advance. Although the weather is sunny during these months the temperature at night can drop considerably, falling to below freezing so be prepared.
The months of November and December can still be very enjoyable with fewer trekkers. Expect at least one day of rain during this period. January and March can be wet - very wet at times. However most of the rain falls late in the afternoon and at night so ensuring you have a good waterproof tent is all important. These months also correspond to Summer in Peru so the sun can be very strong and the nights generally mild. The government has stated that the 4 day trek (at least from km82 or km88 until Wiñay Wayna) will be closed for the entire duration of February.

What about theft?

Many guide books make out the Inca Trail to be a haven for thieves and bandits with tents being slashed in the night and trekkers robbed at gun point. I'm glad to say that these are exaggerations and theft is now quite uncommon on the trail provided that you take basic precautions. Don't take any valuables with you that you don't need for the trek. Leave jewelers, large sums of money in your hotel safe (However you need to take your passport on the trek). Take plenty of plastic bags to wrap smelly socks, boots, underwear and wet clothes in. Don't leave them outside your tent at night or they may not be there in the morning. Carry your valuables in a money belt or neck pouch and keep items such as cameras with you at all times especially at meal times.

What do we do for drinking water?
You'll come across a small stream or mountain spring every 1½ hours along the trail where you can fill up your water bottle. Take a bottle of at least 1½ liter capacity per person.
Although the water is clear always use sterilizing tablets and follow the instructions. The sterilizing tablets 'MicroPur' can be bought in most pharmacies in Cusco (the further away from the plaza the cheaper they are).
With these tablets you have to wait 40 minutes before drinking.
If traveling in an organized group boiled water should be available at meal times. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cusco, bought at km82 and km88, just before Wayllabamba and at Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu. If you are employing the services of a porter you can afford to take the extra weight of a few bottles of water.

What are the toilets like along the trail?
Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to go the toilet between campsites then defecate well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, or cover your aces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way. There are hot shower facilities are Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they are usually pretty unclean.

Do I need to be fit to do the Inca Trail?
Yes you do. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy ... it isn't. The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day you climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning. Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work for many. However all this suffering can make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable. In general if you take regular exercise and spend a few days in Cusco acclimatizing to the altitude you shouldn't have to suffer too much.

We've heard a lot about exploitation of the porters. How can we avoid it?
See our page about Porters welfare

How much should I tip?
Deciding how much to tip the porters, the cook and guide is always a difficult moment at the end of the trek. Some nationalities such as the North Americans are accustomed to tipping while others (name no names) will only find the extra money if the service has been absolutely exceptional.
Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then try to ensure that each porter takes home an extra US$6, the cook US$10, the guide US$20 and the assistant guide about US$15. A typical group of 14 persons with 12 porters (12 x 6 = $72), 1 cook ($10), 1 guide ($25) and 1 assistant $15) would receive a total of $122, which works out at a tip of about $9 per person. If you have employed a personal porter then you will have to pay his tip yourself.

Remember the above figures are just a guide line. If the food that the cook served up was inedible and you couldn't understand what the guide was talking about then don't tip them. They'll soon get the message and hopefully improve their services. Don't, however, take you dissatisfaction out on the porters who were probably working hard throughout the trek.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 19:39

Peru Travel Tips

Security - Peru
- Take normal precautions against pickpockets
- Carry a copy of identification documents. Keep originals and your valuables in the safety   deposit box of your hotel and make sure to list down what you deposit and verify the   responsibility assumed by the establishment.
- Carry valuables discreetly. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Keep an eye on your bags   and luggage.
- Do not carry suitcases, bags or sac packs on your back.
- Do not exchange money out in the street.
- Do not walk around late at night through areas with poor lighting or without a companion

Telephone - Peru
- International and long distance national calls can be made from public pay phones.   Country and city codes are normally shown in the telephone booths.
- To make an international call, dial: 00 + country code + city code + telephone number.
- To call from one city to the next, dial: 0 + city code + telephone number.
- Public phones take coins as well as cards, which are sold in stands and supermarkets.   Make sure you are buying the card corresponding to the telephone company of the phone   you want to use. No collect calls can be made from pay phones.
- To obtain telephone information, dial 103 (service is in Spanish)

Internet - Peru
- The main cities in the country do have public Internet booths.
- The average cost per hour is US$ 1,3.

Health Matters - Peru
- Only drink bottled or previously boiled water.
- Be careful with raw vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid eating from street vendors.
- Rest on the first day of your arrival to the Highlands, and consume light meals to prevent   altitude illness (soroche). Drinking "coca tea" is recommended.
- If you travel to the Highlands or to the Jungle, make sure to carry insect repellent and a   raincoat.
- To obtain medical services, contact the staff of your hotel or travel agent.
- If you wish to take travelers' insurance, contact your favorite travel agency.

Banks - Peru
Banking hours in Peru are normally from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, most banks open for the public half day on Saturdays. In the streets of the main cities there are teller machines installed by the different banks.

Money Exchange - Peru
EIt is recommended that money should be exchanged in hotels, banks and authorized money exchange offices (Service hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., approximately). The exchange rate against the US Dollar is variable. Inquire before changing your money. For exchanging other currencies inquiry at money exchange offices

Nightlife - Peru
Most of the cities of Peru have a wide variety of night life entertainment. Information about places of interest can be obtained where you are staying. If you wish to enjoy typical Peruvian music, you can visit the so-called "peñas".

In Lima, the most popular discotheques, pubs and night clubs are in the Districts of Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco. In other cities they are normally found in city centers (main square and vicinity).

Food and Beverage - Peru
Peruvian cuisine offers a great variety of dishes typical of the Coast, the Highlands and the Jungle. Always first ask about their ingredients, since some dishes can contain hot pepper or be highly spiced. You will also find establishments where international food is prepared.
As far as drinks are concerned, try the very Peruvian Pisco (grape brandy) in any of its various recipes, as well as "chicha morada" (purple corn juice) "chicha de jora" (fermented red or yellow corn juice)and agüaje juice, made from a tropical Jungle fruit

Sunday, 18 January 2015 18:15

Salt Flat Uyuni Information (Bolivia)

Salt Flat Uyuni, Bolivia

Salt Flat Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). It is located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia and is at an elevation of 3,656 masl (11,995 ft) 

The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. It contains 50 to 70% of the world's lithium reserves, which is in the process of being extracted. 

Salt Flat Uyuni, Bolivia

Salt Flat Uyuni is part of the Altiplano of Bolivia in South America. The Altiplano is a high plateau, which was formed during uplift of the Andes mountains. The plateau includes fresh and saltwater lakes as well as salt flats and is surrounded by mountains with no drainage outlets.

The geological history of the Salar is associated with a sequential transformation between several vast lakes. Some 30,000 to 42,000 years ago. 

Salt Flat Uyuni, Bolivia

The area has a relatively stable average temperature with a peak at 21 °C (70 °F) in November to January and a low of 13 °C (55 °F) in June. The nights are cold all through the year, with temperatures between −9 and 5 °C (16 and 41 °F). The relative humidity is rather low and constant throughout the year at 30 to 45%. The rainfall is also low at 1 to 3 millimeters (0.039 to 0.118 in) per month between April and November, but it may increase up to 70 millimeters (2.8 in) in January. However, except for January, even in the rainy season the number of rainy days is fewer than 5 per month.

CUSCO, MACHU PICCHU, LA PAZ, SALT FLAT UYUNI, RED AND GREEN LAGOON, SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, EASTER ISLAND 16 DAYS 15 NIGHTS
Machu Picchu, Salt Flat Uyuni, San Pedro de Atacama, Easter Island

Prices per person in USD:
Tourist Class Hotel 3stars US$ 6548
based on double occupancy

First Class Hotel 4stars US$ 7420 
based on double occupancy

Thursday, 15 January 2015 16:12

Machu Picchu and Salt Flat Uyuni - Bolivia

CUSCO - MACHU PICCHU - SALT FLAT UYUNI 10 days / 09 nightsMachu Picchu - Salt Flat Uyuni

Prices per person in USD:
Tourist Class Hotel 3stars US$ 3842
based on double occupancy

First Class Hotel 4stars US$ 4514 
based on double occupancy

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