Traveling to Peru
Why Peru? Why would you travel to Peru when the world is so big and there are so many beautiful destinations to admire? Worldwide, Peru is probably best known for Machu Picchu and the Nasca Lines. We from Fairtravel4u sometimes even get requests from travelers from the United States to organize a 4d/3n trip to Peru to see the Nasca Lines and Machu Picchu. Those travelers underestimate how large and varied Peru is. The country is no less than 37 times the size of the Netherlands and offers a rich variety of culture and nature!
Tour through Peru
If you take a tour through Peru from west to east, you will travel from the otherworldly deserts on the coast, over the mighty Andes Mountains to the mysterious Amazon Rainforest. During this trip you can admire the remains of ancient cultures and their richly detailed ceramics and gold objects in the deserts of Peru, while in the Andes you will be surrounded by snowy peaks, cerulean lakes, impressive ancient buildings and vibrant colorful traditions. And during a visit to the Amazon Rainforest, your senses will be treated to new colors, smells and sounds!
Did you already know that….?
The Huayhuash Trek in Huaraz is one of the three most beautiful treks in the world and that the men on the island of Taquile in Lake Titicaca must first knit a hat before they can get married. Only the king and other nobles of the Quechua people were called Inka. And you can surf the longest wave in the world in Chicama, in the north of Peru. Every year many surfers from all over the world travel to Peru to ride this wave.
Peru as a culinary destination
What few people know is that Peru has already been proclaimed “World’s leading culinary destination” 10 times by the World Travel Awards. The capital Lima is home to no less than two restaurants (Central and Maido) from the top eleven best restaurants in the world! This is mainly due to a healthy mix of ancient traditions and cultures from different parts of the world that come together in Lima. Traveling to Peru is therefore also a culinary journey of discovery.
Peru’s Pisco sour
A culinary destination naturally requires a special drink. Wine was and is an important drink for the Catholic Spaniards. But in order not to have to load their ships full of wine every time they traveled to Peru, they brought grapes. These grapes were planted on the coast of Peru, among others. However, the dry soil on the coast made the grapes and wine taste sweeter. The higher sugar content made the grapes extremely suitable for distilling a brandy-like alcohol. This drink was later named Pisco after the name of the nearby port city. Pisco Sour contains; Pisco, mixed with fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, ice, egg white and a drop of bitter and is now Peru’s national cocktail.
The Inca culture
What started as a small population that spoke Quechua grew into the most important culture of South America in just 100 years. This impressive achievement was mainly due to the king (Inca) Pachacuti. He understood that if you want to rule over a large area, it is important that you can travel quickly from A to B. To make it easier to travel within what is now Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and even Chile, Pachacuti had a huge road network built. Estimates range from between 20 and perhaps 40 thousand km of roads! The most famous part of this network ends in Machu Picchu and is now called ‘The Inca Trail’. Thousands of people travel to Peru every year to walk this stretch of Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
Traveling to Machu Picchu
The archaeological site of Machu Picchu is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. A trip to Peru is therefore not complete without a visit to this impressive structure. Located on steep mountain tops and surrounded by cloud forest, Machu Picchu is both literally and figuratively shrouded in mist. How Machu Picchu could have been built without metal tools, without knowledge of the wheel and without the help of strong beasts of burden (horses and donkeys were only brought to Peru by the Spaniards on their travels) is still not entirely clear. In addition, it is also not certain what the original purpose and even the name of this archaeological site were.
Machu Picchu means ‘Old Mountain’, and is the name of the mountain that lies behind the archaeological site of the same name. When the eccentric Hiram Bingham came across the remains of ‘Machu Picchu’ on one of his many explorations through Peru, he asked his local guide what the name of this place was. However, his guide did not know the name of these plant-overgrown ‘cairns’ and therefore did not understand the question very well. The site was of no value to the locals, but they revered the surrounding mountains. The guide therefore replied: “Machu Picchu” and the rest is history.
Traveling to Peru is educational
On my own travels through Peru I have learned a lot about and even from the Inca culture. The Inca rulers were masters of planning and acquiring useful skills.
A major reason this culture was able to spread across Peru so quickly was because they did not try to erase other cultures. As long as the conquered populations paid taxes to the Inca Empire, they were allowed to keep their own culture. As the Quechua people mixed with the local population in the newly conquered areas, they also learned more about the local (agricultural and building) techniques, which they then improved.
Fusion of cultures in Peru
Some archaeologists believe that the rounded forms of the Inca Sun Temples in Cusco, Machu Picchu and even Ingapirca (in Ecuador) could have been built because the Quechua people learned new building techniques from the Colla people. This indigenous group lived near the huge Titicaca Lake had already built rounded stone burial towers even before the Inca era. You can admire these impressive towers during your own trip through Peru in Sillustani, near Puno.
Traveling to the Colca Valley
If we travel from Sillustani to the west of Peru, we will arrive in the Colca Valley (Cañon del Colca, Arequipa). It is impressive to see that the people of this valley knew how to increase their harvests many centuries before the Inca era. They did this by building terraces and water channels against the slopes of the valley. As a result, the glacier water washed away less quickly, so there was more water for agriculture and the chance of erosion and even landslides were reduced. The Quechua people later adopted this system and improved it in the now known Inca terraces.
Voyages of Discovery in Peru
It wasn’t only the Quechua people that adopted and used techniques from older cultures. In Cusco, for example, the earthquake-resistant Inca structures were used as foundations for new colonial buildings. This gives this city a special prestige. In addition, the Spaniards used the road network of the Incas to travel faster through Peru with their horses. There is one path, however, they never found. To prevent the Spaniards from finding Machu Picchu, the Quechua people had erased part of this road. It was also rumored that a group of Inca nobles with large amounts of gold and silver had moved deep into the Amazon rainforest beyond Machu Picchu. Explorer Hiram Bingham was actually looking for these lost treasures when he found the remains of Machu Picchu on one of his trips through Peru.
Peruvian Amazon rich in natural treasures!
Whether or not there are Inca treasures hidden in the Amazon Rainforest will probably always remain a mystery. However, the wealth of the rainforest cannot be expressed in monetary terms. The impressive flora and fauna is so varied that we still haven’t discovered everything. In addition, the Amazon Rainforest is also called ‘the medicine cabinet’, or even ‘the lungs of the earth’. Unfortunately, however, the rainforest in Peru is highly threatened by illegal logging and mining. A trip to the impressive Amazon nature reserves of Tambopata and Manu, among others, can contribute to the protection of the Amazon Rainforest. Tourism can provide an alternative and sustainable source of income for the local population. Travel to Peru is therefore not complete without a visit to the Amazon Rainforest.
Traveling to Peru by yourself?
Traveling around Peru is relatively easy and safe. However, because the country is so large and there are so many highlights to see, we strongly recommend not to travel to Peru without first making a good plan. We at Fairtravel4u have a great deal of experience both in the planning and also on the ground in this fascinating country and can of course help with organizing your tour to Peru.