VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 9 POSTED ON: 3/14/2010
First, I thank you for considering volunteering to help build this much-needed community center in San Francisco de Asis, Lima, Peru. In behalf of the people that make this community, the members of the NGO in Lima that helps them and the mayor of Ancon, we thank you for your collaboration with this project. We will do our best to make your experience memorable and enjoyable in Peru. I have put together some brief information about areas you might consider visiting in Peru, a couple of itineraries to consider and some useful travel tips. Moreover, there are many good travel books and website that will help you decide and plan your trip. Enjoy! Ericka Disclaimer: information gathered from several sources, books, websites, my notes, etc. ABOUT PERU Official Name: República del Perú (Republic of Peru) Area: 1'285,215 square km Population: approx 27,000,000. Urban: 72.3%, Rural 27.7% Capital City: Lima It is located in the central and western part of South America, it limits to the N with Ecuador, to the NE with Colombia, to the E with Brazil, to the SE with Bolivia, to the S with Chile and to the W with the Pacific Ocean. The marine domain is called "Sea of Grau" (in honor of a Peruvian Hero Admiral Miguel Grau), reaches a distance of 200 marine miles from the coastline. The Peruvian territory possesses a great geographical contrast and presents three defined natural regions, parallel among each other from north to south. The coast: Located to the west, it is a narrow fringe of desert, sandy and arid plains, with valleys oasis formed by rivers that go down from the Andes Mountains to the sea, and in these valleys big populated centers are located. The Mountain: Also called Andean region is of uneven topography, it is formed by the Mountain range of the Andes, and is located between the coast and the forest; high mountains, deep valleys, plateaus. The highest pick in Peru is the Huascarán and it has 22,224 feet (6,780 m) above sea level. The forest: Also called Amazonian, mountain or east, located to the east, formed by the oriental hillsides of the Mountain range of the Andes and extensive plains with exuberant vegetation and tropical forests. It is furrowed by numerous rivers, all tributary of the Amazonas River. The forest occupies more than 50% of the territory existing some zones that are in full discovery and investigation stage. For more info about Peru, see: http://www.peru.info/default.asp?leng=2 Tour Peru video: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=3790746 PLACES TO VISIT I highly recommend visiting museums in Lima first to learn about the culture, unless you have already read a history book about Peru and learned that the Incas were not the only civilization in Peru. Below, in alphabetical order, is a brief description of 10 of the most-visited tourist destinations in Peru. Arequipa - Colca Valley Widely known as the "Ciudad Blanca" (White City) for its beautiful colonial homes, churches and monasteries constructed of a white volcanic stone - sillar - that is unique to the zone. The city center, which was recently recognized by the United Nations as a World Cultural Heritage Site, is surrounded by a beautiful countryside. You may also visit the nearby Colca Valley and Colca Canyon, Valley of the Volcanoes, natural areas as Salinas and Aguada Blanca, and the Mejia Lagoons. Arequipa is an ideal destination for those interested in colonial architecture, living culture and in spectacular outdoor natural beauty, biodiversity and adventure. Chiclayo Chiclayo was a simple village of Indians and mestizos in the road between Lambayeque and Zaña in colonial times. It had the good fortune, however, of being in the center of an important Pre- Incan archaeological area, the site of recent spectacular archaeological discoveries such as The Lord of Sipán in Huaca Rajada, The Lord of Sicán in Batán Grande and the pyramids of Túcume. The recently inaugurated Museo de Tumbas Reales de Sipán (Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum) and Sicán National Museum, housing a collection of incalculable worth, has made these discoveries accessible to all. Chiclayo has thus become Peru’s second destination, after Cuzco, in terms of archaeological and historical interest. Chiclayo, also known for its highly-regarded sorcerers and healers, is located on Peru’s northern coast . Cuzco - Machu Picchu - Inca Trail "The Archaeological Capital of America"; it constitutes the biggest tourist attractiveness in Peru, and the most visited one. Cuzco, was the biggest city and capital of the Inca Empire and then taken by the Spanish conquerors; today it has an architecture that fuses the Inca with the Spanish style. Their town conserves with pride its customs and traditions. It is also the forced step to know the mystic and enigmatic sacred citadel of the Inca Machu Picchu that the Spaniards never knew and was discovered by the occidental culture in 1911. Cuzco, as Machu Picchu, for its historical value, and for its beauty is considered Cultural World Heritage Sites. The Sacred Valley of the Incas, beautiful places and the Inca Trail are waiting for you. Huaraz & the Cordilleras The Callejón de (Corredor of) Huaylas - sometimes called “the Switzerland of South America” - offers spectacular Andean landscapes, snow-capped summits and turquoise blue lagoons in the beautiful Cordillera Blanca (White Mountain Range). Both the nearby Chavín de Huántar - the cradle of Peru’s oldest civilization - and the magnificent Huascarán National Park have been named World Heritage Sites. This gorgeous region, only a short drive north of Lima, is also a paradise for adventure sports. Iquitos - Amazon River An ideal place for those lovers of the nature & biodiversity tourism and the ones who want to feel an intimate contact with the virgin nature of the Amazon forests; from the city you will be able to go into housings located in full jungle, and for the most adventurous and fearless you can arrive to the Reservations and National Parks as Pacaya Samiria or Allpahuayo Mishana, with exuberant flora and fauna, and you can take contact with Amazonian aborigines. Lima The capital of Peru is a great metropolis; in general it is the entrance door to the country. You will be able to enjoy and know its historical center with beautiful colonial constructions declared Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the best museums in Peru, some pre-Hispanic archaeological locations, and a great variety of cultural shows, folkloric, centers of amusement, luxurious casinos and game houses, and rich culinary tradition. Nazca - Nazca Lines A unique place in the world, full with mystery and mysticism, wonderful forms of immense figures and lines, of spectacular perfection, work of a very old Peruvian civilization, the Nazca Lines, Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Also you can visit the pre-Inca archaeological complex as Cahuachi, Estaqueria, Chauchilla and the aqueducts. Paracas An excellent ecological destination for the nature lovers and birdwatchers, the Paracas National Reserve declared Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it also offers cultural historical attractiveness and it is a good alternative to pass relaxed moments excellent for the nautical sports as windsurf, scuba diving, deep sea fishing and more, visit the Ballestas Islands. Puno and Lake Titicaca Located in the Andean highland and beside the Titicaca the highest navigable lake in the world inhabited by the Uros, Taquile and Amantani Islands. Earth of the legendary Aymara town, and the Tiahuanaco Culture. It is the folkloric capital of Peru. It offers excellent alternatives for the archaeological, living culture and nature & biodiversity tourism. Trujillo The capital of the spring, city of old colonial lineage, very near Chan Chan, capital of the Chimú nation (XII Century), one of the biggest cities build with mud in the world, declared Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO, archaeological pre-Inca locations as Huaca La Luna and Huaca El Sol. An excellent destination for the archaeological historical tourism. For the proximity among certain destinations, you can plan the following recommended circuits: (Start point: Lima) 1. Cuzco – Puno (7 days) 2. Arequipa - Puno – Cuzco (9 days) 3. Cuzco - Puerto Maldonado / Tambopata (7 days) 4. Cuzco – Manu (National Park in the Amazon Rainforest (8-9 days) 5. Trujillo - Chiclayo - Cajamarca - Moche Route (6 days) 6. Paracas - Ica - Nazca – Cuzco (7 days) 7. Paracas - Ica - Nazca – Arequipa (5-6 days) ** add 1 or 2 days before or after to visit Lima & museums. ** SUGGESTED ITINERARIES: I’m assuming you are arriving in Lima on a Tuesday night or a Wednesday and going directly to San Francisco de Asis to volunteer for a week and that you are starting your in-country travels on a Thursday morning. YOU HAVE 3 DAYS I suggest to stay in Lima, do a city tour, visit museums, walk around and enjoy the beach. It’s summer after all! YOU HAVE 5-6 DAYS DAY 1: Lima -> Cuzco. Take City Tour. DAY 2: Sacred Valley Tour (all day) DAY 3: Train Aguas Calientes. Visit Macchu Picchu. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. DAY 4: Early start. Hike Huayna Picchu or to the Sun Gate. Train back to Cuzco. DAY 5: Cuzco – Lima. City Tour. Have a great meal. Late flight back to Seattle DAY 6 If you have one more day: Lima, museums. Late flight back to Seattle. OR DAY 1: Stay in Lima. City Tour in the morning, visit museum in the afternoon. DAY 2: Lima -> Cuzco. City Tour DAY 3: Sacred Valley Tour DAY 4: Train to Aguas Calientes. Visit Macchu Picchu. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. DAY 5: Visit Macchu Picchu: climb huayna picchu or hike to Sun gate. DAY 6: Cuzco to Lima. Shop in Lima. Late flight back to Seattle. YOU CAN STAY 9 TO 11 DAYS With that many days you can comfortably visit more than one place in Peru. Any of the suggested circuits above can work. Here is one suggestion. Starting on a Thursday. DAY 1: Go to Lima and stay in Miraflores neighborhood. Have a great meal and take half day city tour. DAY 2: Visit Museo de La Nacion (history) and archeological museum or gold museum. DAY 3: Fly to Cuzco. Take City Tour. DAY 4: Sacred Valley tour and Pisac Market. DAY 5: Train to Aguas Calientes. Visit Macchu Picchu. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. DAY 6: Go to Macchu Picchu early and hike the Huayna Picchu Mountain or go to the Sun Gate (entrance to the Inca Trail). Train back to Cuzco. DAY 7: Cuzco to Puno DAY 8: Lake Titicaca tour, overnight in one of the islands. DAY 9: (1) Back to Puno, back to Lima. One more good meal and shopping in Lima. Fly back to Seattle late at night. OR (2) Back to Puno, flight back to Lima. Go to the beach town called Asia. 1.5 hours south of Lima. Relax by the beach and party like Peruvians (late late night dancing). Saturday or Sunday: Return to Lima Airport for flight back to Seattle. THINGS TO CARRY ALWAYS WITH YOU Trip itinerary, plane tickets or confirmation number, unless you can access them online. Passport yellow card for vaccinations (in case you have one) Cash / ATM card / Credit Card Valuables (IPOD, camera, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.) Your favorite munchies for a long trip Book / game / magazine THINGS TO TAKE Note that in Lima you can find practically anything you might need. There are a lot of small shops and big large stores like Macy’s (Ripley, Saga Farabella) that carry from clothes to electronics and malls with many specialty stores. Cellphone (you might have INTL coverage). If you need a local cellphone you can get one for $40 and buy prepaid cards, or rent one at the airport for $10 and buy prepaid cards. Binoculars Camera Batteries / Memory Cards Mosquito Repellent (can buy there) Your Vitamins / Medicine Sun block (lots of it!) Chap sticks Sunglasses Hat Raincoat (if you go to the mountains, it’s rainy season there!) Tennis shoes or sturdy boots for walking on rocky roads, grass or mud. Fleece / Sweater Sports towel (compact) Bathing suit Sandals Computer (if you must, BUT, there are a lot of internet shops and it costs ONE SOL (.30 cents of a dollar) for an hour!. Very cheap! USEFUL THINGS TO REMEMBER - Like in any foreign place, please be aware of your things, don’t leave backpacks, cameras, wallets or purses unattended. Also be careful in hotels. If there is no security box in the room leave them at reception. - ONLY DRINK BOTTLED WATER, which you can find anywhere. Look for DANSANI, SAN MATEO, SAN LUIS, EVIAN or recognizable sealed bottled water. People will ask you “CON GAS (fizzy water) or “SIN GAS” (plain water) Small bottles should cost up to $1 don’t pay for more than that. - WASH YOUR TEETH WITH BOTTLED WATER, check before ordering made drinks that they are made with bottled water. Otherwise try to avoid it. You won’t get really sick if you drink it, but you might have a stomach age for a few days. - When you get to CUZCO, take it easy. Seriously, Move 1/3 your pace. Eat lightly the first day. Let your body and lungs get used to the altitude. BREATH. - If you get altitude sickness in the form of dizziness, try to rest and lay down, and drink MATE DE COCA, it’s a tea that helps with altitude sickness and raising your blood pressure. If you are fainting, then ask for oxygen or to get you down quickly from where you are. - If you get altitude sickness in the form of loose stomach (throw up, gas, etc), then ask for OREGANO TEA, get a few leaves of oregano and put it in hot water. That helps get rid of gas and stomach pressure. Try not to get too worried or take a bunch of medicine that usually makes it worst. - There are a lot of pharmacies in Peru and you can find medicine or antibiotics if you need it. - You will noticed Peruvians have a high spirit of entrepreneurship so if you get surrounded by lots of vendors and you are not interested in what they are selling, just ignore them. They’ll go away if you don’t say anything. Maybe it won’t work ;-) - You are expected to bargain so if you see something you want. Ask for less. Most likely they already raised the cost by 10-30%. Some stores will also give you a discount. - If you like things made of wool, the best kind is BABY ALPACA. Silver is the best quality in Peru. Ask for 925 silver.There are some great designs. - Use sunblock and Use mosquito repellent at night - In Aguas Calientes usually in the morning it’s covered by fog but don’t worry usually it goes again and it unveils the high mountains and Macchu Picchu to you. Also don’t get discouraged by the rain. It comes and goes. - At the beach, don’t get tricked by the light clouds. ALWAYS use sunblock. You will get a tan no matter what, just avoid getting burn, specially the kids. - I think in the north the water is calmer but I highly recommend always being with the kids and check out the currents. - MOST IMPORTANTLY: HAVE FUN, ENJOY THE AREAS YOU ARE VISITING AND THE CULTURE. In case of emergencies: - Give your trip itinerary to family members - Give me your contacts in US in case of an emergency - Kids should learn my name and phone number CURRENCY $1 DOLLAR = S/. 3.18 to S/3.20 (NUEVOS) SOLES You can exchange dollars to soles in Lima (don’t do it at the airport). Dollars are accepted almost everywhere. Probably small vendors might not take them. You can use your ATM card almost anywhere and get SOLES, can exchange at the bank or in the street. Just remember to check the exchange rate. ELECTRICITY 220V INTERNET In all the places you are going there are INTERNET CAFEs called “CABINAS DE INTERNET”. It’s very cheap about less than $1/hr. and most likely the hotels you are going have them, including in Aguas Calientes. WEATHER CITY TEMPERATURE (estimate) Lima DECEMBER – FEBRUARY: Summer time! HIGH 78F / LOW 68F, However, the main factor will be the humidity level. It could be between 60 to 90% so it might feel warmer. Breeze late afternoon/night Cuzco HIGH 67F / LOW 42F, Precipitation 50% chance. Plan for some rain. North cities HIGH 80s / LOW 68. Humidity Is 60- 90%. Very warm. CONTACTS IN PERU If you need to give your family a contact number in Peru, please contact Ericka. American Embassy Address: Avenida Encalada, Cuadra 17, Monterrico, Lima, Peru Phone: 434-3000 Fax: 618-2724 From the United States: Phone:  (51-1) 434-3000 Fax:  (51-1) 618-2724 FOOD CONSIDERATION Peruvian cuisine is recognized as one of the most exquisite in the world, and the country is home to a large variety of native products which are now consumed in many countries. In fact, gastronomy is one of the main highlights of the country. Resulting from a fusion between Asian, European, and local gastronomy, Peruvian couisine uses a wide variety of ingredients and some dishes may be considered spicy. Therefore, we recommend that people with sensitive digestive systems bring regular medication for indigestion. Besides, as Peru is a developing nation, we specially recommend our travellers to avoid eating from street vendors or in places where healthy conditions are not guaranteed; these simple measures will help you experience the most and the best of our country. Enjoy your stay in Peru. ALTITUDE SICKNESS Altitude sickness, known as soroche in Peru, is occasionally a problem for visitors traveling directly from the coast or jungle regions to the high Andes, above 2,500 meters (8,000 feet). Machu Picchu Sanctuary is about 1,000 meters (3281 feet) lower than Cusco, giving the body time to adjust to the altitude. The best way to prevent altitude sickness (headache, dizziness, fatigue) is to eat lightly, drink plenty of fluids, and rest upon arrival. VACCINATIONS There is no vaccination officially required to enter Peru. Travelers that are planning to visit only highlands and coastal cities do not require any inoculation. However, it's advisable for independent travelers who plan to visit some particular jungle areas at altitudes below 2,000 m. (6,500 ft.) to consult their doctor regarding vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid before leaving their country. Since the effect of most vaccines is felt 10 days after they are given, visitors should take precautions in advance. In addition, it's worthwhile nothing that neither Malaria nor Dengue exists in the Machu Picchu Area. WATER Tap water in Peru is not safe to drink, especially for foreigners. The best option is to drink bottled water, available in various sizes throughout the country. Boiling water for a couple of minutes and sterilization tablets are also good alternatives. For a complete set of information go to: US Department of State http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_998.html USA Embassy web site http://lima.usembassy.gov/ Visitors can check out the following sites to learn more about health care in Peru: Travel Health Online https://www.tripprep.com/scripts/main/default.asp Extensive health information for every country. World Health Organization http://www.who.int/ith/en/ Publishes a book called International Travel and Health, revised annually and available online at no cost. MD Travel Health http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/ Provides complete travel health advice for every country and is updated frequently.
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