Philantropy

PHILANTHROPY

Volunteering During Your Peru Adventure

Imagine growing up in an isolated Andean community where your parents speak a dying Quechua language and your schoolwork often comes second to the more practical tasks at hand, like farming and familial chores.

In 2012, Pacha Peru Explorers Founder Javier Paucar, stumbled upon just such a community in the Sacred Valley beyond Cusco. Recognizing both a need and an opportunity, he makes social projects to provide the children of this community with the chance to empower themselves through education.

Today, more than two-thirds of the community’s school-aged children visit the Andean Children’s Learning Center for after-school educational support and mentorship and a host of Pacha Perú travelers have experienced the joy of volunteering their time to support these students on their educational journeys, many of whom will be the first in their family to go on to high school and university.

Including an experience like volunteering at the Andean Children’s Learning Center is an opportunity to enrich and add meaning to your journey in Peru. It opens doors to cultural exchange and authentic connection with locals, while simultaneously broadening perspectives and fostering deeper understandings of the places you travel.

As with all Pacha Perú Explorers itineraries, we piece your Peru itinerary together based on your needs, time constraints, and unique preferences. Whether a volunteer experience in Peru is your sole focus for traveling or if it’s just one of many meaningful experiences you wish to have during your time in Peru, our Pacha Perú Explorers designers will put together a customized Peru itinerary to meet your every requirement.

For more information about Pacha Perú Explorers’s philanthropy projects, please visit pachaperufoundation.org

We invite you to learn more about our Andean initiatives. If you’re keen to get an even closer look at our projects, you can experience them first-hand and perhaps even participate in the activities – just let us know and we’ll work it into your itinerary. Visits to this community have proved particularly rewarding, with one client sharing the following thought: “After this experience, my children seemed to understand much more about community and sharing than before. My husband and I ended up wondering just who was helping whom.”

immersive-community-experiences

Community Experiences

computer-initiative-umasbamba

The Community Computer Initiative

Should you wish to include an environmental conservation or social support activity in your trip, just contact us.– We are always thrilled to find suitable projects, which is just another element of the Pacha Perú difference. 

Christmas in Peru: What to Expect and Where to Spend It

If your custom Peru vacation happens to fall during this festive time of year, you’re in for an exciting experience full of traditions, some familiar and others entirely new. In this blog post, Pacha Perú will fill you in on what to expect and provide you with a few suggestions on where best to spend the Christmas in Peru. Whether you’re finalizing details for your approaching Peru vacation or thinking ahead to next year, speak to your Pacha Perú Designer today about how you can incorporate some of these Christmas traditions into your personalized Peru tour package.

Peruvian Christmas Traditions

pacha-peru-blog-nativity-scene-nacimiento

The Nativity Scene that almost all Peruvians set up in their households

Whereas much of the world celebrates Christmas on Christmas Day, Peru celebrates on Christmas Eve, or La Noche Buena. It’s a day full of family gatherings, good food, and religious tradition. The festivities officially begin in the evening of the 24th when families attend the misa de gallo, a special Christmas mass that begins at 10pm. After mass everyone returns home for what will be a long night of celebrations with family and friends. At the stroke of midnight, Peruvians dig into a Christmas feast of turkey, chicken or pork, tamales, and applesauce with close friends and family while fireworks ignite across the skies. Adults toast with champagne and children sip on hot chocolate between bites of panetón, a sweet bread filled with raisins and candied fruits. Gifts are exchanged after dinner and then sleepy kids are put to bed while the adults dance the night away with friends and family. For this reason, Christmas day is usually quiet in Peru with many sleeping in and resting from an eventful night prior.

pacha-peru-blog-christmas-traditional-paneton

The delicious Paneton that you can find over the table of every family household

From locating panetón to sitting down for a Peruvian-style Christmas feast, talk to your Pacha Perú Designer for some ideas on how you can include some of these Peruvian Christmas traditions in your fast approaching or future custom Peru holiday.

Where to Spend Christmas in Peru

Cusco

pacha-peru-blog-christmas-peru-santurantikuy-cusco

The sort of items and artwork you can find in Cusco´s Santurantikuy Christmas Fair

For a taste of Andean Christmas tradition, head to Cusco. There, you’ll find a popular traditional Christmas market called Santuranticuy. Artisans from Cusco’s San Blas neighborhood and across Southern Peru gather in the Plaza de Armas to sell handcrafted Christmas art and figurines, as well as raw materials like moss, straw, and grass for nativity scenes. Stroll this magnificent spectacle with a sweet rum punch or hot chocolate in hand and take home a Christmas souvenir to represent your unforgettable Peru holiday.

Puno & Lake Titicaca

Along with Cusco, Puno is another great option for travelers looking to experience a truly traditional Peruvian Christmas. Known as the folklore capital of Peru, Puno is to be counted on for a full-on festival atmosphere. Expect all of the fanfare of one of their infamous festivals set to the stunning backdrop of Lake Titicaca. Go to mass in one of Puno’s quaint colonial churches as they reverberate with the sounds of the angelic Christmas choirs and sit down to an Andean-style Christmas feast where roasted guinea pig and alpaca are sure to be on the menu.

Lima

pacha-peru-blog-christmas-tree-main-square-lima

Christmas in Lima!

For a more modern Christmas with plenty of familiar décor, Lima is your best bet. The streets and city plazas will be decked out in Christmas cheer, even with the summer-like temperatures of Lima this time of year. Lima is a great Christmas destination if you’re on a family trip to Peru. There are plenty of fun activities for the whole family, including ice-skating at Iceland Park in the district of Jesus Maria.

Trujillo

pacha-peru-blog-christmas-holiday-activities

The surf is always up in Trujillo, even for Santa Claus!

If spending Christmas on the beach sounds more your style, then Trujillo is the perfect Peru destination for you. Located on the northern coast of Peru, Trujillo is home to beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture, a thriving culinary scene, and relaxing beach vibes. The Plaza de Armas is sure to be dressed for the season and the wide range of top-notch restaurants will provide you with a variety of Christmas dinner dining options. Spend Christmas Day on the beach soaking up the bountiful surf and sunshine.

Feliz Navidad!

pacha-peru-blog-christmas-family

From our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas!!!

As they say in Peru, “Feliz Navidad!” From the Pacha Peru family to yours, we wish you nothing but the merriest of Christmases. If yours just so happens to be with us here in Peru, we look forward to making it a custom Peru Christmas vacation to remember.

Did any of these Christmas destinations or traditions catch your eye? Your Pacha Perú Designer will be more than happy to work them into your personalized Peru holiday, be it this year or Christmases to come. Contact us to get started.

Photo Source: Serperuano.com

When You Only Have Time for One: Arequipa vs. Iquitos

So you’re finally doing it: you finally are on your way to having a custom Peru tour! You’ve have the vacation days, spoken to your boss, set aside the money and gone back and forth with your Kuoda travel designer about your tailor-made custom travel itinerary. You’re doing it! You’re planning your trip of a lifetime to Peru and you want to do it right.

You have a few things sorted out like knowing you want to go to Machu Picchu and see the sites in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, but you also know you don’t have the time to see every incredible destination Peru has to offer. You’re going to have to pick and decide where you go and what to do with all of those options. At Pacha Perú Explorers, we are very familiar with this vacation dilemma and have honed our skills in helping clients, like you, make just these sort of travel itinerary decisions. In this blog post, we’ll help you choose between two of Peru`s best destinations: The colonial gem of Arequipa or Peruvian Amazon capital of Iquitos.

The Rundown on Arequipa

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-misti

El Misti Volcano lays as a backdrop to Arequipa`s Historic City Center

Arequipa is a proudly regional, Spanish-influenced city whose loyalty to the Spanish Crown was well documented up through the 19th century. It’s known for its strong self-awareness and intellectual atmosphere; it’s the birthplace of the famous Peruvian author, Mario Vargas Llosa.  This unique city is known for its white sillar architecture, picking up the nickname “The White City.” Sillar is a light-colored volcanic rock that is found in walls and buildings throughout the city. With its moderately cool desert climate, Arequipa boasts approximately 300 days of sun per year!

Known for its spicy cuisine, Arequipa is the birthplace of many popular Peruvian dishes and has been instrumental in Peru’s recognition as having one of the best cuisines in the world. Some of the dishes you can enjoy here are rocoto relleno, spicy batter-dipped stuffed peppers, and chupe de camarones, a spicy shrimp soup. Our Pacha Perú Explorers designers will be sure to set you up with some of these must-have food experiences while in Arequipa.

Arequipa’s outstandingly beautiful Plaza de Armas and surrounding structures have earned it the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its 16th century architecture and art can be found in many places of interest throughout the city.

Points of Interest:

Monasterio de Santa Catalina:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-santa-catalina-monastery

Santa Catalina Monastery

Located within Arequipa´s historic city center, this is an actual walled village of 20,000 square meters that once housed cloistered nuns for 400 years and was not opened to the public until 1970. It is filled with elegant period furniture and paintings.

Andean Sanctuary Museum:

This museum is home to displays of ancient indigenous textiles, crafts, ceramics and other articles; Its most famous display is the well-preserved Juanita Mummy, a twelve-year-old girl who is thought to have been an Inca sacrifice.

Misti Volcano:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-chillon-valley

El Misti Volcano in Arequipa

Misti is one of three spectacular volcanic peaks overlooking the city and can be climbed in two or three days by the moderately experienced mountain-climber. Misti stands at 19,101 ft. above sea level and lies between mount Chachani  19,931 ft. and Pichu Pichu volcano 18,599 ft.

The Colca Canyon & Cotahuasi Canyon:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-iquitos-colca-canyon

Two of the deepest canyons in the world, these canyons offer some truly spectacular scenery and views, including pre-Incan architecture and terraces.  Visit the area at the right time and you’ll be sure to spot a few Andean Condors in flight!

The Chili River:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-adventure-activities-rafting

White Water-Rafting in Arequipa`s Chili River

Arequipa is one of Peru`s premier spots for whitewater rafting.  Located within just 7km of Arequipa`s historic city center, you will find the Chili River, an adventure`s paradise.  From water rapids ranging in classes of ll – lV, there is a suitable option for all ages and levels.

The Case for Iquitos

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos2

Iquitos, known as the capital of the Peruvian Amazon is a city of some 400,000+ people situated in Northeastern Peru and the entrance to the Peruvian Amazon. It is the largest city in the world that can only be reached by plane or boat. This vibrant, unique, and complex city is highly influenced by the native tribes and the lure of the jungle as well as the European culture that arrived with the rubber boom in the 19th century. Some of the architecture in the town center shows these roots; Alexandre Eiffel, famous for building the Eiffel Tower, constructed the Iron Building on the Plaza de Armas! Iquitos’ climate is hot, humid, and rainy between November and March, and sunny but still quite hot the rest of the year; you will SWEAT when you come to Iquitos. It’s common to cool off with several showers per day or even taking a dip in one of the nearby rivers if you are up for it!

As the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon, Iquitos is full of diverse and colorful influences: tribal crafts from the Shipibo, Bora Bora and other tribes, Amazon pop art paintings with intricate patterns, fantastic animals, and magical creatures, and a large influx of tourists who participate in Ayahuasca ceremonies in retreat centers in the jungle.

The cuisine of Iquitos is unique to the selva, or jungle regions of Peru and includes dishes like fresh river fish, such as paiche and doncella, juanes, a rice and chicken mixture stuffed and cooked inside the leaves of the bijao plant, and tacacho, mashed plantains fried in pork fat. In Iquitos you can also try suri, grilled wood larvae on a stick that you can find in the Belén Market, considered the largest traditional outdoor market in the Peruvian Amazon! Your private tour to Iquitos will most certainly include a visit to this famous and vibrant market.

Points of Interest:

Belén Market:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos

A huge outdoor market with wild jungle meats (some of which are illegal), exotic fruits and vegetables, an extensive herb section with all kinds of medicinal plants and jungle medicines, and food stands, including grilled fish, meats and suri, wood larvae considered a delicacy by some.

Quisticocha:

This is an ecological park with beaches and a large lake for sunning and swimming; there are also many animals housed in the zoological section of the park, including manatees and a pink river dolphin!

Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-butterflies-eyes

A short boat ride from the town of Nauta, this sanctuary includes a breeding room for exotic jungle butterflies, which you can see in their caterpillar and butterfly stages; there are also several species of monkeys, a jaguar, and an anteater on the premises.

The Malecón:

This riverfront walkway is the center of Iquitos’ bustling nightlife; Most of the tourist restaurants and many bars and nightclubs are located here and there is often street entertainment in the evenings, including demonstrations of Capoeira and musical performances.

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-pacaya-samiria

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve: One of Peru`s best parks for seeing exotic wildlife

Peru`s second biggest protected natural area is an ideal spot for nature tourism lovers. The reserve protects tropical rainforest ecosystems that contain great biodiversity for the Amazon Rainforest, a Natural Wonder of the World. The main purpose of the reserve is to preserve the flora and fauna resources, as well as a large human population that makes the most of the natural resources.

Luxury Amazon River Cruises:

pacha-peru-blog-arequipa-vs-iquitos-amazon-cruises

Embark on a Luxury Amazon Cruise: M/V Aria Luxury Cruise

A unique experience unlike any other. We highly recommend a luxury Amazon cruise if you choose to visit the area of Iquitos. You will take part in a personalized, luxurious, and comprehensive Amazon expedition while experiencing the exotic Amazon River and all the exotic animals that call this area home.

So, there you have it! For a taste of jungle heat, vibrant nature, and the exotic, visit Iquitos. However, if you are more interested in Spanish-influenced culture and art, volcanoes and the beauty of deep canyons, go for Arequipa. And of course, if you have enough time, definitely do both!

Reach out to one of our expert travel designers to begin planning your personalized trip to Peru. We’re here to help you navigate Peru’s many incredible destinations to create the perfect private Peru travel itinerary customized to fit you and your interests.

Should You Demolish Your House?

Home renovations, especially those involving plentiful of demolition can be a very dusty affair. This nasty dust can easily free flow through the air and into your house to form a thick film on your entire furniture, possessions and the floor. To save yourself from arising potential health issues and hassles of cleaning, try the followings tips.

Leer más “Should You Demolish Your House?”

From the Ground Up: Water Pumping System

Deciding and agreeing for a home renovation project is just the beginning of the journey that could take months to compete and can cause a lot of inconvenience and stress to you and your family. Following the below mentioned tips and preparation can greatly minimize the stress a great deal. Percent of total home value to get decent returns.

Leer más “From the Ground Up: Water Pumping System”