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Monthly Archives: December 2015

3 Tips for Making the Trip to Machu Picchu

3 Tips for Making the Trip to Machu Picchu

Of the many reasons people visit Peru, Machu Picchu is certainly the most famous. The greatest of the ruins left behind after the fall of the Incan civilization, the ancient temple can be found at the end of the Inca Trail, a winding path through the mountains. The trip is hardly easy, but it’s certainly a rewarding one. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your visit to Machu Picchu, however, there are some steps you should take before hand.

Start Acclimating Before You Leave

Peru is often divided into three geographical regions – the costa (the dry, arid flatlands near the country’s western coastline on the Pacific ocean), the selva (the jungle area to the east where the Amazonian rainforest crosses the Brazilian border), and the sierra, the highlands of the Andes and the surrounding mountains. Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are located squarely in the sierra section of the country, which means that it is located at a very high altitude that most visitors won’t be accustomed to.

At elevations as high as Machu Picchu’s, the air is noticeably thinner, making it harder for the body to get the necessary amount of oxygen. The change in atmosphere can come as quite a shock if you’re not prepared for it, and the combination of low oxygen levels and the physical exertion of climbing the mountain leaves more than a few tourists gasping for breath and too exhausted to finish the trip (this happens often enough that locals have nicknamed a section of the Inca Trail “The Gringo Killer”). If you’re planning on making the trip to Machu Picchu, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself by getting acclimated. If there are areas around you with higher elevations, take a few day trips to see how the change affects you. Even if you don’t have any mountains near you, it’s still a good idea to do some physical preparation – running, walking, or jogging are all a great way to build up physical strength.

Bring Comfortable Hiking Clothes

The Inca Trail is a trip that involves a lot of hiking up and down mountains, often on narrow paths and rough, ancient stone stairs. To successfully make the days-long trip, you’ll need to bring the right clothing. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need a pair of light but sturdy hiking boots, ones that are strong enough to handle the trip but comfortable enough to wear for several days straight. Next, you’ll also want to bring a jacket or windbreaker that offers a fair amount of protection from the elements, but that isn’t too bulky that it will get in the way or make hiking uncomfortable. Lastly, bring a wool cap – even during the summer months, the peaks around Machu Picchu can be quite chilly.

Hang on to Your Itinerary

If you’re like most visitors to Machu Picchu, you’ve booked your trip as part of a tour package through a travel agency. There are many travel organizations that offer trips to Machu Picchu, and each of them offer different packages with their own sets of included features. When you reach the mountain to begin the trip, however, the travelling groups will often be made up of a combination of different travel agencies’ customers. That means that even though you’re all in the same travelling party, many of you will have paid for travel packages with different features. For example, some tour packages will include paid meals at different stops along the trail, while others won’t – if you want to make sure you get everything you paid for, bring your itinerary and a list of everything you paid for with you on the trip.

Need to book your trip to Machu Picchu? Contact Best Peru Tours for great deals on Peru tour packages today. Residents of US and Canada call 866-788-5647.

4 Alcoholic Drinks from Peru You Need to Try

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One of the greatest pleasures of travelling the world is discovering new food and drink that you can’t get at home. Just like its unique and delicious cuisine, Peru has a whole host of adult beverages that are popular with the natives, but will make a surprising change of pace for most tourists looking to try something new. If you’re planning on visiting Peru, don’t leave the country without trying one or two of these great Peruvian drinks.

Pisco Sour

Pisco is a popular alcoholic drink in Peru and Chile, made by distilling grape wine into a high-proof brandy. If Kentucky is bourbon country, then Lima is the spiritual home of pisco. Like most hard alcohols, pisco can be drank straight, or made into a mixed drink. The most popular mixed drink of this kind is pisco sour, which includes egg whites, ice, bitters, and lemon juice. Pisco sour is considered by many to be the national drink of Peru, and no trip to the country is complete without drinking at least one.

Inca Wasi

The best way to describe Inca Wasi would be to call it the Peruvian run and coke. It’s a mixed drink that combines pisco with Inca Kola, a popular soda that’s enjoyed all over Peru but is barely found in the northern hemisphere. The full recipe also calls for sweet wine, bitters, a slice of lemon, and a bit of chuchuhuasi, an extract from the tree of the same name that is used to cure back pain. All of this is mixed together in a glass with ice, and is a perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day. Just be sure to drink moderately – Inca Wasi can have a strong kick if you’re not careful.

Chicha

Chicha is a drink with a long history in Peru. It was originally made by the Incas and used during rituals; archeological research has found evidence that mills in Machu Picchu were able to produce large quantities, indicating that it was probably widely enjoyed when that city was still flourishing. Today, traditional Peruvian chicha is only made in a few places, making it a rare treat that’s not to be passed up. Traditionally, chicha was made from yucca, maize, or manioc root, though the modern, more widespread version is made from purple corn.

Cusqueña

Those tourists who love to drink high end American beer at home should be sure to try a glass of Cusqueña. Beer is easy to find in Peru, and has the same range of quality that you can find in the U.S. Other popular types of beer are Cristal, popular at sporting events and parties, and Pilsen, which pairs well with Peruvian seafood. But if you want to enjoy a high quality craft beer worthy of being held up against the best brews in the world, Cusqueña is the way to go.

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Ready to relax after a long day exploring with one of these tasty adult beverages? Book your tickets to Peru through Best Peru Tours today and save with our great tour packages. Give us a call at 866-788-5647.

 

Cusco and Lima Chosen as Two of the Best Vacation Destinations

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Travelers looking to see the world have an almost endless selection of exotic and exciting destinations to choose from when picking their next vacation spot. For most people, there are more places to visit than there are chances to travel. How should one go about deciding which international travel spots are the ones most worth visiting? One of the best ways to learn which vacation destinations are the best is to listen to what other travelers have to say about the places they’ve visited. And according to this year’s Traveler’s Choice Destinations awards from TripAdvisor, Peru was placed on the list not once, but twice. Cusco was one of the 25 cities selected for the main list, while Lima earned a place on the list of top 10 destinations on the rise.

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Cusco – Gateway to Machu Picchu

Cusco has long been a favorite destination for travelers who know South America. The city is the former capital of the Inca Empire, and it serves as the gateway to many of the great sites associated with the Incan people, such as the Sacred Valley, the Inca Trail, and the world famous Machu Picchu. When travelers recommend visiting Cusco, they are in essence recommending a tour through the history of one of the Western hemisphere’s greatest ancient civilizations, whose architecture and culture can still be seen reflected in the area to this day.

Lima – A City on the Rise

Cusco may be the capital of ancient Peru, but Lima is the modern country’s thriving heart. The capital and largest city in the country, Lima was founded by the famous Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Today, Lima is the third largest city in the western hemisphere; nearly a third of the country’s population lives in the city and surrounding metropolitan areas. Lima has served as the center of Peruvian government since the 16th century, when it was the home of the governors and administrators who managed the territory in the name of the Spanish Empire. Because of its long history as an important city in the area, Lima has some of the oldest modern buildings in the western hemisphere, including the oldest university in either North or South America, the National University of San Marcos.

Many Reasons to Visit

Together, Cusco and Peru represent the whole of Peru’s history, ancient and modern. They also demonstrate the full range of reasons there are to visit Peru, from its current thriving culture to its ancient landmarks and traditions, the two of which make up its unique identity. There’s a reason travelers from around the world recognize Peru as one of the best places to visit in the entire world – whether you’re looking to explore ancient history or enjoy a bustling modern city, you’ll find a unique and rewarding experience in Peru.

Best Peru Tours offers discount prices on great tour packages to Peru. Learn more by contacting us today at 866-788-5647.

3 Unique Activities You Can Only Do in Peru

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Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines may be the most famous of Peru’s unique locations, but they are hardly the only ones. If you’re looking for a Peruvian adventure that’s a little bit different than just another visit to the Inca ruins, here are 3 lesser known locations in Peru that still have plenty to offer to enterprising tourists and world travelers.

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Sand boarding at Huacachina

Peru is a popular destination for surfers from around the world, but it’s also home to another boarding activity that’s a bit more unique. Despite being located in the middle of a desert, the Peruvian town of Huacachina is still a popular destination for tourists. Why do so many people travel to the heart of an arid desert for their vacations, you ask? It’s because Huacachina’s dunes are perfect for sand boarding and riding dune buggies. Huacachina has a long history as a popular vacation spot, stretching back to the days when wealthy Peruvians would travel to the town to take a dip in its oasis lagoon, which was believed to have medicinal properties.

The oasis around which the town is built even has its own creation legend: once upon a time, a princess was bathing in the desert. When an overzealous suitor snuck up on her, she was so started that she ran off, leaving her bath water behind. The legend continues to say that the princess still lives in the lagoon as a mermaid, occasionally peaking her head out of the water. While the chances that you’ll see a mermaid at Huacachina are low, you can still enjoy a relaxing swim in the lagoon after a long day adventuring in the dunes with fellow sand boarders and dune buggyers.

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Wildlife Tours at the Ballesta Islands

Aside from the Amazon rain forest, there’s no better place to see the unique wildlife of Peru than the Ballesta Islands. Located off the Pacific coast near the town of Paracas, the islands are often called the Galapagos of Peru. Like those other famous South American islands, the Ballestas Islands are home to many rare and exotic animals. Birds such as the Peruvian booby and the Inca tern call the island home, as do an assortment of turtles, dolphins, and other aquatic life. Best of all, the Ballesta Islands are only a 2 hour boat ride away from shore.

Hiking the Cordillera Blanca

Machu Picchu isn’t the only awesome mountain destination in Peru. The Cordillera Blanca is the highest range of the Peruvian Andes and includes Huascarán, the tallest mountain in the country and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. Excluding of the Inca Trail, the Cordillera is easily the best place in Peru for those who enjoy hiking the mountains and exploring the tallest reaches. If you’re less interested in ancient ruins than you are in conquering a snow-capped peak, the Cordillera Blanca is well worth the visit.

Don’t wait to book your trip to Peru – contact Best Peru Tours today to get great deals on international travel. We can be reached toll-free at 866-788-5647 from the U.S. or Canada.

3 Reasons Why Soccer Fans Should Visit Peru

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Soccer has a reputation for being underappreciated in the U.S., but the numbers show that this trend is finally changing. According to recent surveys, soccer is the most popular sport among American youth, and more young kids are playing in soccer leagues than ever before. On top of that, more Americans watched the 2015 Women’s World Cup than watched either the NBA Final or the Stanley Cup.1 While the American MLS league still doesn’t draw the big numbers that the NFL, NBA, or MLB do (though it is growing in popularity), the States are home to a growing group of diehard soccer fans, many of whom watch European and South American football with a dedication that rivals that of local fans.

 

If you’re one of those soccer diehards mentioned above, then you probably dream of getting to see soccer played in a country where the general population loves it as much as you do. While it may not b a soccer powerhouse on the same level as its neighbors Brazil and Argentina, there are still plenty of reasons why soccer fans from all over the world should make time in their schedules to visit Peru.

Peru Has a Long Football History

Peru has been playing soccer since the 1800s, when the sport was imported to the country by British sailors and immigrants. As early as 1845, the influential sports group the Salon de Comercio was promoting the spread of fútbol alongside fellow British imports cricket and Rugby. In 1912, the country hosted its first league competition, featuring teams that still dominate the Peruvian leagues to this day, Alianza Lima and the Universitario de Deportes. By 1927, the country had its own official national team (known popularly as Los Incas or La Blanquirroja, after the red and white color scheme of their uniforms), which played in the first ever World Cup in 1930 and the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Since that time, soccer in Peru has only expanded, with teams competing locally and internationally.

Some of the Best Players Ever Come From Peru

Ask Americans which sports team is the best, and they’re likely to mention the US Olympic Dream Team, the 1995 Chicago Bulls, and the 1927 New York Yankees. But the Peruvian national soccer team of the 1970s (known as The Golden Generation) probably deserves a spot on the list as well. After a decline in the 60s, La Blanquirollo came roaring back with a team of young stars, whose careers climaxed with their victory at the 1975 Copa America. The new team stunned the world at the 1970 World Cup with shocking victories over Argentina, Bulgaria, Germany, and Morocco, before losing to Brazil 4-2 in what is still widely considered to be one of the greatest World Cup matches ever played. The Golden Generation even had its own version of Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth: Teófilo Cubillas, who the International Federation of Football History and Statistics has ranked as the 48th greatest soccer player of the 20th century. To this day Cubillas still holds the record for most goals scored of any Peruvian player.

There’s Soccer Almost Every Month of the Year

Unlike the NFL or the MLB, which only play for six months out of the year, you can find a professional soccer game being played in Peru anywhere between February and December. The Peruvian Primera División, the top division of Peruvian soccer clubs, has 16 teams, each of whom play 30 games throughout the year. Peru even boasts one of the great sports rivalries: Alianza Lima vs. Universitario de Deportes. The rivalry began at the 1928 at the El Clásico Peruano, a league derby where match between the two teams that turned violent. El Clásico is still held every year, and when the two teams face off it is guaranteed to be a dramatic and memorable match.

Ready to experience South America soccer, Peruvian style? Book your tickets through Best Peru Tours and save money on your trip. U.S. and Canadian residents can contact us toll free at 866-788-5647 today.

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