Machu Picchu, the Amazon Basin & Fab Peru Holidays

Machu Picchu is surely the high-point of a Peru holiday, and with good reason. It is as magnificent as the legends and mysteries that surround it. The gateway to Machu Picchu is the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and the surrounding Sacred Valley, which retain their indigenous character. On the street, Quechua women in bowler hats sell pan chuta, the circular anise-flavored bread of the Andes, and at traditional craft markets colorful tapestries and alpaca wool accessories delight travelers.

Most visitors to Peru have about two week’s vacation time, which makes tailoring an itinerary and making arrangements a challenge. Unless you engage Enchanting Travels, whose local experts ensure you’re covered every step of the way. After all even the American explorer Hiram Bingham, credited with rediscovering Machu Picchu, hired a local to lead him there.

From Cusco the luxurious Belmond Andean Explorer train crosses to Arequipa via Lake Titicaca, where the Uro people have built a village of floating reed islands. And then there’s the vast Amazon Basin. Catch pink dolphins swimming or experience the rainforest from suspension bridges, canopy walks, and boat cruises on the mighty river. Unlike Cusco, Peru’s capital Lima is a very Spanish city, filled with magnificent colonial buildings and churches, and a great dining scene. Make sure you sample pisco sour cocktails, the more rustic corn beer chicha de jora, or the famous carbonated beverage Inca Kola, because they are so much a part of Peruvian identity.


Packing List, Climate & Best Time to Visit

Peru Weather
Expect sunny yet cool weather when you venture into northern Peru.

Expect a variety of climatic zones during your trip to Peru with climate that differs greatly from one region to another.

Best time to visit Peru

Top ten Things to do in Peru

Mystical ruins, indigenous communities and floating islands – Peru is brimming with treasures. Follow this link to see our list of top ten things to do.

Things to do in Peru

Safety in Peru

The safety situation in Peru has steadily improved in recent years. The country benefits greatly from its growing tourism sector and therefore, local authorities take travel safety issues very seriously. Follow this link to read more about safety in Peru.

Is Peru safe?

Peru Travel Tips

What vaccinations do you need for Peru? How do you make payments in Peru? How can you protect yourself from altitude sickness? Discover all this and more by following this link.

Peru Travel Tips

Peruvian Culture

See a fascinating and rich cultural heritage due to an incredible blend of strong indigenous roots and Spanish colonial influence on personalized Peru tours.

Evidence of the native culture of Peru is everywhere, and especially in the Andes regions. You will see locals in traditional dress, plenty of colorful markets in every town, and amazing ruins from the various ancient civilizations. While on one of our Peru vacations, you’ll find that the architectural style also reflects Peru’s history. The beautiful city of Cusco, for example, is a unique blend of Spanish colonial style and Incan ruins as the Spanish built right on top of Inca structures!

Peruvians are very welcoming people, service-oriented and happy to share their culture and traditions with guests. After centuries of turning its back to the Andean roots in favor of imposed Western culture, modern Peru is now extremely proud of its indigenous heritage and the resources that come from the Andes and the Amazon.

Top Peru Travel Tip – Culture:

On one of our Peru trips, don’t be surprised if you are gifted some yellow underpants by warm-hearted people on New Year’s Eve – it is tradition after all!

Cuisine of Peru

Peru tours are incomplete without sampling some of the country’s famous cuisine. Currently, Peru is one of the top gastronomic destinations in the world, and you’ll find that this entirely justified.

Extremely creative young chefs are defining a new Peruvian cuisine that reflects the bounty of natural resources and various cultural influences that make up this unique country. Peru’s food is fresh, colorful, and full of unique flavor. On the coast, seafood is popular, especially the emblematic dish Ceviche.

The cuisine of the Andes regions includes more meat and starch, such as llama or alpaca meat, quinoa grain and a plethora of potatoes, all which are native to the Andes. Many ingredients that make up the food of Peru come from the exotic and bountiful fresh produce found in the Amazon. Don’t be shy to sample some exotic fruits on your Peru tours – they are delicious and a complete surprise to the senses!

Mealtimes are different in Peru than in other parts of the world. Dinner is typically served between 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm, lunch can be anytime between 12:30 pm or as late as 4 pm. It is typical to have a merienda (light snack with tea or coffee) around 5 or 6 pm. During our Peru trips, you will find all types of eateries – from a streetside diner to famous fine dining restaurants such as Astrid y Gastón in Lima. The cost of a meal depends on the type of restaurant you choose and meals at high-end restaurants can even go up to USD 100 per person.

Here are some authentic Peru food items to whet your appetite:

  • Ceviche: fresh fish cured in citrus juices
  • Pachamanca: food is buried underground with hot stones and cooked over several hours
  • Cuy: guinea pig – a traditional Andean entrée
  • Alpaca jerky: a non-greasy Peruvian invention of classic dried and salted meat
  • Anticuchos: skewers of marinated meat, grilled and layered with sauce

Top Peru Travel Tips – Cuisine:

  • Lima is the modern gastronomic capital and packed full of hip gourmet restaurants, markets and street food. We highly recommend you include a gastronomic tour of this city in your customized Peru travel itinerary!
  • Peru is home to the ubiquitous potato and more than 5000 varieties of potato are grown in the country – which you can taste everywhere on during our Peru tours!

History of Peru

Peru tours take you to the heart of the most ancient and important civilization in the Americas. Evidence of human activity dates back several millennia to around 12,000 BCE, although little is known of these early inhabitants.

In the southern Andes, the Tiwanaku culture were in power whilst the northern Andes were home to the mysterious Chachapoyas empire.

The most famous civilization of Peru was also the shortest-lived – the Inca Empire. Fierce warriors and conquerors, the Inca defeated a majority of other civilizations, consolidated their empire around 1300 AD, and built their capital in Cusco. Visit the most famous Incan ruins on your own Machu Picchu vacationHowever Incan domain was to decline as fast as it rose with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in 1532. Francisco Pizarro is famous for conquering a weakened Inca empire with just 100 soldiers! For the centuries that followed, the Viceroyalty of Peru became the most important region of the Spanish colonial empire with Lima as the capital.

In 1820 Argentine liberator Jose de San Martin arrived with troops, occupying Lima and declaring independence from Spain. However independence would not be won until 1824 when royalist forces were defeated. A period of political instability followed. In 1879, Peru and its ally Bolivia, fought the War of the Pacific against Chile. The war ended in humiliation for Peru and they were forced to sign over territory to the Chileans.

In the 20th century CE Peru faced major economic and political upheavals, especially in the later decades when the country was plagued with inflation as well as terrorist threats from the Shining Path militant group. Between 1990 and 2000, the controversial Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, did much to curb inflation and get the economy back on track, although he was considered a dictator.

In the 21st century, modern Peru is on a positive upward trend with political stability, declining poverty, and a growing economy.

Top Peru Travel Tip – History:

Evidence of more advanced cultures from around 1250 BCE, such as the Chavin, Chimu, Nazca, Moche and Paracas, have been found, and you can visit their ruins on your private Peru tours.

Language of Peru

Spanish is the official language of Peru, however, native languages such as Quechua and Aymara are still spoken especially in the Andean regions. English is not widely spoken in areas outside of tourist establishments.

The Enchanting Travels team welcomes you on your very own authentic and tailor-made Peru holidays.

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