Three hours and 5,000 years from Peru’s capital is a land once lost, that has only recently been found. Archaeologists believe this city is the Americas’ oldest, rivaling the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt in its complexity, and the city of Troy and the prehistoric Stonehenge in age.
Photo: Alma de Viaje
Easter week is a big deal throughout the predominantly Catholic, Spanish-speaking world and Peru is no exception. The country really comes alive during Semana Santa, the week leading up to Easter. This year, revelers will start celebrating Holy Week on Palm Sunday, April 13. The celebrations will wrap up the following week on Easter Sunday, April 20.
Photo: Philippa Kikelly
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world,” penned renowned travel writer Freya Stark in her 1932 book Baghdad Sketches.
I can attest to this. I just completed my very first solo adventure last month, though I will admit, it was less “pleasant sensation” and more terrifying fear that rattled my nerves; at least in the days leading up to the trip.
While I was nervous, the experience was one I can only call amazing. Going it alone meant not only seeing I wanted to see, when I wanted to see it but also getting to eat at this great hole-in-the-wall multiple times and going to bed at 7 p.m. one night after an exhausting day sightseeing.
With its sweeping vistas, rich history and diverse terrain Peru is the perfect place to explore on your own.
The Spanish may have been the first to emigrate to Peru, but they certainly weren’t the last. Perhaps it’s the eternal spring along the coast, or maybe its the rich history and culture that draw the international crowd. Whatever it is, people from all over the globe have been leaving their native lands and calling Peru home for more than half a millennium and with each group comes their traditions, their culture and, of course, their food.
Peru receives international acclaim for its man-made mysteries – primarily Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines – but perhaps one of its equally alluring destinations wasn’t manufactured by hand.
Peru’s beaches stretch more than 1,400 miles (2,250 km) down a sprawling coastline that kisses the Pacific Ocean. At nearly double the length of California’s famous seaside, Peru offers travelers a varied experience – from luxurious resorts to surfing Meccas to playful penguins.
Photo: Carlos Adampol Galindo
From Italy to the Caribbean and even the United States (Mardi Gras), Carnival is celebrated in practically every region of the world with Catholic roots. The celebration traditionally falls in the days preceding Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, a period of 40 days where practicing Catholics typically abstain from parties and rich foods, while engaging in fasting and other activities viewed as pious. Historians believe this is where Carnival came into play.
In the days leading up to Lent, all those rich foods – including the stockpiles of alcohol – needed to be spent and what better way than throwing a huge block party to get rid of it all (it’s like eating a box of brownies smothered in ice cream before starting a new diet).
When thinking of Carnival in South America, the first vision that likely comes to mind is scantily clad women costumed in elaborately ornate headpieces Samba-ing their way through Rio de Janiero. While true for Brazil, the Portuguese-speaking nation isn’t the only place to get a piece of the Carnival action; Peru has a few parties all its own.
Photo: Diego Escalante Urrelo
Revelers around the world celebrating the Chinese New Year recently rang in the Year of the Horse and among them were Peruvians, many of whom have ties to the Asian nation. One might not think of the Chinese having an influence on a culture half a world away, but in Peru, Chinese traditions touch many parts of everyday life, with perhaps the most popular being food.
Certainly one of my favorite ecosystems, full of orchids, ferns, colorful birds, waterfalls and other amazing flora and fauna. From all the places I’ve been to, the Manu Road has always been the most challenging. From the highlands it takes you deep into the forest. But biking this one-way road full of cliffs is even more challenging. Are you brave enough to take on this adventure?