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.”

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Community Experiences

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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. 

YACHAY TRAVEL BLOG

Whether traveling on your own or with family and friends, a trip with Pacha Peru will never come short of being 100% personalized. Here you’ll find useful tips, travel news and experiences to get the most out as you discover this region.

Dancing the Marinera in Trujillo: Peru’s Famous National Dance

At Pacha Peru Explorers, we often tout Peru`s northern beaches, especially cities like Trujillo to clients for its scenic coastline, excellent surf, and stunning archaeological wonders but there’s another local claim to fame worth mentioning: the Marinera, Peru’s National Dance. A major element that contributes to Trujillo`s famed status as Peru`s cultural capital.

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Trujillo, Peru´s Culture Capital

The Marinera is a romantic, graceful, and sensuous dance that enacts the courtship display of a young couple. It is one of Peru’s most popular dances and its epicenter is the northern coastal city of Trujillo. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at this enduring tradition. By its end, you’ll be reaching for your custom Peru travel itinerary wondering how you can squeeze in a trip to see the marvelous dance during your private Peru vacation.

Tip: The best times to view the Marinera in Trujillo are in January and October. Every January a huge national Marinera Concurso, or contest, is held and on October 7th Marinera Day is celebrated with dances and parades throughout the city.

The History of the Marinera Dance

The Marinera is said to have originated from the Zamacueca, which was a popular dance among African slaves brought to Peru in the 16th century. Through the centuries it has evolved with a blend of Spanish, Moorish, Andean, and Gypsy influences. Up until 1879 when Peru went to war with Chile, the Marinera was known as the “Chilean.” After, it was renamed the Marinera in honor of Peru’s navy.

How to do the Marinera Dance

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The dance itself is performed by a couple dressed in elegant clothing, the woman in a long skirt and the man in a straw hat and elegant jacket. Both carry white handkerchiefs as props, floating them tantalizingly just out of reach of one another. The steps of the dance often start slowly then build up to a mesmerizing and highly intricate speed. The couples never actually touch, creating an atmosphere of coquettishness, yearning, and sensuality until finally leading up to the romantic conquest.

The Instruments Used to Perform the Marinera

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The dancers are traditionally accompanied by a musical group composed of four guitarists and a cajón player (the cajón is a Peruvian boxlike drum). Bugles are a more recent addition to the ensemble. Finally, handclapping is added by both the accompanying singers and the spectators in the audience to complement the dance steps.

The Marinera Norteña

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Marinera with the Peruvian Paso Horse

There are three main varieties: the Marinera Norteña, from Trujillo, the Marinera Limeña, from Lima, and the Marinera Serrana, from the mountains. The two former variations are known for being light-hearted, playful and flirtatious, while the Serrana is considered more romantic and stately. The Marinera Norteña of Trujillo is sometimes performed with the man riding a Peruvian Paso horse, a breed trained for its fancy and elegant stepping. The man rides and directs the steps of the horse throughout his performance.

Visit Trujillo: The City of the Marinera Norteña and Eternal Spring

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Cultural & Historic Wonder Abound in Trujillo

Known as the City of Eternal Spring for its beautiful weather year-round, Trujillo is truly a great city to include on your tailor-made tour to Peru. Besides the lively Marinera scene (especially during the months of January and October) beautiful beach destinations like Huanchaco and archaeological sites like Chan Chan are nearby. Talk to your Kuoda Travel Designer today about including this spectacular Peru travel destination in your custom itinerary to Peru.

Peru’s Best Travel Experiences for 2017

Of course Machu Picchu is the draw for many who travel to Peru but why not extend your once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Peru with a visit to some of the country’s other equally enticing attractions, a few of which are especially ripe for 2017 travel. From hanging hotels in scenic valleys to culinary experiences at historic haciendas, allow Pacha Perú Explorers to fuel your 2017 travel plans with a few of our expertly selected best travel experiences recommendations. As always, let your Pacha Perú Explorers Designer know if you’d like to include any of these in your custom Peru itinerary.

1. Board the Belmond Andean Explorer Train

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Andean Explorer Train by Belmond

New this 2017, The Belmond Andean Explorer is scheduled to launch in May. Sister to the Belmond Hiram Bingham train, this luxury sleeper train experience through some of Peru’s most breathtaking settings will be the first of its kind in South America. Explore natural wonders like Lake Titicaca, the Colca Canyon and ancient kingdoms like Cusco City on the Belmond’s one-, two-, and three-day train journeys. Enjoy the scenic surroundings from the open-air Observation Car and rest from a day of exploring in your private en-suite luxury cabin. Meals are served in the elegant dining carriage and are skillfully prepared with fresh, local ingredients by the Belmond Hotel Monasterio’s knowledgeable chefs. Beyond the novelty of being South America’s first, a journey on the Belmond Andean Explorer Train is truly a one-of-a-kind way to experience the unforgettable sites of Peru’s southern highlands. This 2017, you have the opportunity to be one of the first to experience it.

2. Attend the Mistura Food Festival in Lima

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Mistura: Latin America`s Biggest & Most Important Food Festival

Mistura Photos Sources: Elcomercio.pe , Elcomercio.pe & Livinginperu.com

Latin America’s biggest annual food festival, Mistura is a feast for the senses and a food-lover’s dream. Featuring food from Peru’s top chefs, farmers, food trucks, and locals alike this prestigious gastronomic event takes place in Lima the second week of September from the 7th to the 17th. Started in 2008 by one of Peru’s most recognized chefs, Gaston Acurio, the goal of the event is to promote Peruvian cuisine by bringing together Peru’s best chefs and producers from all corners of the country. Every year larger and grander than the year prior, Mistura has raised many a young chef to stardom and opened doors for countless not-so-exposed restaurants. The event draws hundreds of thousands of international visitors and locals each year. This 2017, let that include you and participate in this tasty event. There is truly no better time or place to experience the world-renowned gastronomy of Peru than at Mistura.

3. Sleep in a Skylodge Suite Suspended over the Sacred Valley

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Skylodge Adventure Suites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Calling all adventure enthusiasts! Located 400 meters up a via ferrata, Natura Viva’s Skylodge is a trio of translucent pods attached to a cliff face near the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo in the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Incas. These 24 x 8 meter pods can only be reached by a 400-foot steel ladder or via an intrepid hike with zip lines. The best part? The blanket of stars above as you lay in your plush bed. It’s hard to imagine a more unique hotel experience. This is a seriously unbeatable bucket list item for your 2017 travel list and luxury tour to Peru.

4. Ride the Cable Car to Kuelap

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Kuelap Ancient Fortress & Peru`s First Cable Car System

Cable Car Photo Source: gestion.pe

Built by the Chachapoyas in the sixth century A.D., Kuelap is an ancient pre-Inca fortress in the Peru`s northern Amazon and one of the largest ancient stone monuments of the New World. Previously only accessible via a three- to four-day hike or a 2-hour bumpy ride on an unpaved road, Kuelap can now be reached via the new cable car system from the village of Tingo Nuevo, a 20-minute journey that was recently completed just this year. Along the way, take in the jaw-dropping views of the jungle-covered mountains below as you ascend to the impressive Kuelap ruins. A visit to Kuelap fits well into any northern Peru itinerary with destinations like Trujillo and Chiclayo easily within a day’s reach. Talk to your Pacha Perú Explorers Designer about adding Kuelap to your personalized Peru itinerary.

5. Step into the Traditions of Hacienda Life

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Hacienda Sarapampa: A Local Farm Estate Focusing on the Production of Corn Varieties

Hacienda Sarapampa is a ranch estate located in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas near Pisac offering travelers a unique and traditional hacienda experience. Learn about Giant White Corn, an important product of the local economy, and learn about the local traditions of the region with the estate owners.  Pass the rest of your afternoon enjoying some local customs and traditions including the marinera dance and the pachamanca meal. The itinerary through this ranch estate includes a lineup of unique and interesting experiences that take you inside the authentic culture and traditions of the Andes like nowhere else. Your Pacha Perú Explorers Designer has all of the details about this unique Sacred Valley travel experience.

6. Taste the Signature Flavors of Peru in Cusco

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A perfect combination of Cafe, Pisco & Chocolate in Cusco

Chocolate, coffee, and pisco. Was there ever a better trio? Launched recently in the heart of Cusco, these three local favorites (Museo del Café, Republica del Pisco, and the Choco Museo) have teamed up to share insight and samples of these signature Peruvian products. The half-day program includes sessions at each establishment, including workshops in chocolate-making and how to prepare a pisco sour. Taste your way through the day while gaining some behind-the-scenes insight into some of Peru’s proudest products. This is a must-do tour for anyone planning to make a stop in Cusco this 2017. Ask to have this program included in your customized Peru vacation.

There you have it, our hand-picked top 2017 Peru travel experiences. Do one or do them all. Whatever you decide, each of these experiences is sure to be unforgettable, offering to you a unique and unparalleled glimpse into Peruvian culture, tradition, and landscapes. 2017 is going to be a great year for planning that luxury tour to Peru. Get in touch with a Pacha Perú Explorers Designer to begin crafting yours.

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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But one needs to remember that the total cost incurred for remodeling by you must never exceed the value that your home value can support. Its advisable to limit it to anything between 6-10 percent of total home value to get decent returns. Create a list of priorities based on what sells in a kitchen and ensure to meet

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Five Things to Renovate When Purchasing Used Home

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:

Construction on Your Own – Where Do the Risks Lie?

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: