Let's Go To...Peru!
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
It was a great week. Was yours? What they say about letting the toxic (you know: the ones who are just not your) people go...just do it. It opens up room for the right people to come into your life. And by 'life' I mean your space, business, awareness. It's not necessarily easy, but if this is a thing you need to do, it might be the time to do it. Just sharing a little lesson I learned this week.
Do you remember my last episode of "Let's Go To..."? It was Tahiti, if you missed it, or forgot, or didn't read it. Today's is...well, the cat is already out of the bag, so let's dive in.
When most people think of Peru, likely what comes to mind is an image of the soaring Andes Mountains, the fertile Sacred Valley and the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu. ESPECIALLY the ruins at Machu Picchu. But there is so much more to Peru. You probably never considered that a romantic beach getaway or river cruise adventure was possible in Peru, did you? Or that the culture and cuisine are worthy of exploration - so much so that Peru is considered the gastronomic hub of South America, and is home to three of the world's top restaurants, thanks to the melding of European, African and Asian cuisines with the Incan. I was surprised to learn that ceviche was invented in Peru!
Peru is about twice the size of Texas and is a land of breathtaking contrasts: metropolitan Lima, lush rain forests, monolithic and vast mountain ranges, relaxing beaches and sand dunes - there is something for every traveler. Peru's huge biodiversity, cultural diversity and relative isolation made it a cradle of civilization, though it is hardly the first place we think of for that - usually Egypt, Mesopotamia and Ethiopia, right? Well, right here close to home, is one such noteworthy cradle.
Traveling to and throughout Peru isn't for the unadventurous traveler; a travel consultant's recommendations and connections are a must because the regulations surrounding Machu Picchu visitation can complicate the logistics, so I suggest you seek advice navigating those challenges. Your travel consultant can also direct you to under-explored ruins, the perfect beach paradise, and unique Peruvian experiences just for you. Another reason to have professional help arranging your trip - being prepared for the extreme altitude, knowing the luggage handling procedures and restrictions you'll face on the air, rail and bus trips you'll take on your Machu Picchu adventure, what to pack, permits, the requirement for a guide, regulations, eco-rules, and more. Yes, more.
Am I trying to discourage you from visiting Peru? Definitely not. In fact, the opposite. Go! It's diverse, and beautiful and under-visited. What should you do/see besides the famed ruins? DO: eco-tourism activities galore, birding, surfing (kite, wind, board), full-immersion experiences in the Amazon rainforest, visit intimate Andean villages, beaches, hike the Inca Trail, wine-tasting, spa treatments, chocolate making, fine dining. SEE: the Nasca lines, Cusco (the English spelling of both words uses 'z'), volcanoes, the Andes, the Painted Mountaints, Lima, Lake Sandoval, howler monkeys, giant river otters, pre-Inca textiles and art, archeological sites, waterfalls, blue morpho butterflies, colorful and rare flora and fauna.
Check out the slideshow
Comfort need not be sacrificed during your authentic nature adventure. There are eco-luxury hotels by Inkaterra, inspired by traditional architecture and built with native materials harmonious with the environment: established in the heart of the forest, nestled in the cobblestoned streets of Cusco and surrounded by the majestic mountains. In other words, right there. These pioneering hotels are members of Relais & Chateau, Virtuoso, and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, and are fully equipped with spas, wine cellars, gardens, private dining, attentive staff, special events, and thankfully, a relatively small complement of guests in casitas, cabanas, suites or rooms. Here's one. Conservation initiatives include a canopy-height walkway; the Spectacled Bear Rescue Center; the world's largest native orchid collection (372 species in their native habitat), and an international birding competition that puts Peru as the top destination for bird watching. If conservation is near and dear to your heart, I am happy to meet with you to discuss this hotel group's role in documenting hundreds of bird, butterfly, plant, amphibian and mammal species on their grounds. What a wonderful Garden of Eden is Peru!
The best time to go? That depends on what you want to do. Peru is a year-round destination and there is truly no bad time to go. There are differences among each region throughout the year, for example, the weather on the coast is not the same as in the Andes or the Amazon. There are two seasons - wet and dry - the wet season is from November to April, and the dry or low-water season is from May to October which is the warmer season in the Amazon.
Whether you wish a solo itinerary, or an increasingly popular multi-generational one, there is a Peru adventure that waits for you. The top-rated providers I use have active promotions available. Inkaterra's Insider Itineraries are "woven from destinations and excursions that fit into a perfect bundle: an array of itinerary choices, the flexibility of independent travel". How tempting is that? Shamelessly, I must insist: call me.
'til next week...