Archive for April, 2011
Day 1: Iquitos/City Tour/Momon River/Lodge
AM: Our guide collects you from the airport or your hotel to begin the City Tour of Iquitos, as fascinating vibrant jungle metropolis with historical roots in the rubber boom. We will look at the principal attractions: the Boulevard overlooking the Amazon River, The Main Square, The Catholic Cathedral, The Cast Iron House designed by the French architect Gustave Eiffel himself! (Of Eiffel Tower fame) in 1897, the city of Belen also known as the Venice of the jungle. We also visit the Amazon Museum to study a collection of bronze statues of tribes of the Amazon jungle. These lifecasts of indigenous peoples were made by sculptor Felipe Letterstein on a three year cruise of the entire Amazon Basin traveling on his own riverboat “The Inca Pachacutec”.
To complete our City Tour we visit the Quistococha Zoo located outside the city past the airport, about a 20 minutes ride from downtown. The Zoo is built on the shores of the Quistococha Lake which with its white sand beach is a popular bathing spot for the locals. Here we see a wonderful collection of different species of animals including large felines, many monkeys, colorful birds and the Paiche Fish. These primitive fishes nearly 10 feet long, have lungs and must surface occasionally so that they can breathe!
PM: We have lunch in a typical restaurant in the downtown area of the city. We usually eat at a restaurant located in the area of the town plaza or on the Boulevard. Our tourists have their first taste of the delicious foods eaten by the locals in the Amazon.
Note: The cost of the meal in the city is at the tourist’s expense
We head towards The Bellavista harbor at the Nanay River, passing through the lively native market, to board our speedboat for a 1 and ½ hour (including stops) trip up the Nanay and Momon Rivers to get to the Amazon Rainforest Lodge. Groups larger than five will travel to the lodge in a “Pamacari” type boat, up to two and ½ hours (including stops). On the boat ride we will be thrilled to see dozens of small canoes used by the natives in their daily activities and the fabulous and luxuriant foliage of the Rainforest.
Day 2: Jivaro Indians/Lodge
AM – We rise at the crack of dawn, around 5:30 am, for an hour long canoe ride upriver to enjoy the great variety of bird life.
In the morning we take our first hike through the jungle following ancient trails opened up by the indigenous people eons ago. Our guide will point out t o us the great variety of flora, trees, wild orchids, vines (lianas) and medicinal plants. We can also appreciate a large variety of butterflies, insects and abundance of small animals. We will cross single log bridges, trails and tree trunks in our first exploration of the mysteries of the rainforest.
We trek through the rainforest to visit the Jibaro Indian Tribe, Descendants of fearsome headhunting savages; they were infamous and feared for the hideous practice of decapitating their enemies’ heads and shrinking them. In modern times they are our peace loving neighbors who are active in the making of handicrafts and costumes.
PM. After lunch we visit the river communities of Gen Gen and Centro Fuerte where we will learn the customs and habits of the mestizo peoples who live on the river banks of the Amazon region.
Nightime: Visit of a Shaman to the lodge – This is optional and there is an extra payment for this service US$30.00 per person per ceremony).
In the Peruvian jungle there are ancestral traditions, which have been jealously guarded by the Shamans.
The shaman will explain to us the Ayahuasca Ceremony. Ayahuasca is a natural mind expanding plant, which opens the door to a profound experience of oneness with nature. During this experience participants may connect with their higher selves while also contacting the Spirits of the plants and animals of the jungle.
P.S: The taking of Ayahuasca is completely voluntary and up to the discretion of the individual. The tourist may sit in and listen to the shaman and participate without actually drinking the preparation.
Day 3: Momon River / Lodge
AM: After the buffet breakfast we take a hike through the woods to a nearby distillery where we will taste the delicious home made rum produced by the natives from locally grown sugarcane.
Afterwards we continue our hike through the forest to the home grown botanical garden of a local herbalist. Here our guide will explain the different species of medicinal plants which grow there. We will be able to see the Ayahuasca vine in its natural surroundings as well as Cat’s Claw and other well known herbs.
PM: We will spend a lazy afternoon fishing while drifting along the Momon River in a dugout canoe. Using simple fishing gear we will fish for local fish such as peacock bass, tiger-striped catfish, Amazonian shad and the sharp-toohed piranhas.
Night Time: Our guide fascinates us with tales of the jungle, telling us about jungle folklore: Tales of pink dolphins that turn into humans and seduce young maidens, the whistling of the Tunchi, and the one-legged jungle elf known as the Chulluchuki.
Later on we have a musical jungle jam session using a variety of local acoustic instruments that we keep by the bar, such as harmonicas, guitars and flutes.
DAY 4: Lodge/Bora Indians/ Serpentarium/ Iquitos
AM: Morning free. Ur guests have use of our large swimming pool with bar, various games such as the coin-tossing game called Zapo (frog), darts and table football. They can be active sports wise with a game of football against the local villagers from Gen Gen or Centro Fuerte. We also have a selection of board games and cards, and hammocks by the pool and up to the look-out tower. For the more actively inclined we can take a longer hike through the rainforest deeper into the jungle and explore virgin forest, departing after breakfast and returning just before lunch.
PM: On the final day we make 2 visits by boat. First to the Bora Indians who lives further down the Momon River. They are a friendly tribe who will show us their traditional dancing and singing. The men chant and beat their drums and the women invite the tourists to join in the dancing and everybody ends up dancing together going round in big circles. After the dancing session is over, we can take plenty of photos of the tourists together with the Indians and they will show us their lovely collection of handicrafts, which they offer for sale to the visitors.
Our second stop is at the Serpentarium. A local Peruvian man has a fine collection of wild animals including Boa and Anaconda snakes. Monkeys, jungle cats (Pumas) and sloths. He is happy for us to pick up the animals and take plenty of photographs. This is actually a real fun part of the whole jungle tour experience as it is the only time that you can really get up close and personal with the animals!
On the way to the Lodge we stop off to visit the Yagua Indigenous Tribe. Originally from the border of Colombia they recently moved to our area. They have built a small community with a large communal hut where they offer us their typical friendly greeting. They dance and sing and perform THEIR TRADITIONAL RITUALS. The men wear reed dresses and body wear as well as reed headgear, which they make themselves. The ladies are bare-breasted and wear bright red cloth dresses with plenty of beads. They offer us their home made handicrafts made out of local plants, seeds and wood from the area.
Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm. This is Iquitos’s latest attraction: just off the Nanay River near the village of Padre Cocha there is a large enclosed area which houses dozens of species of native butterflies. Here you can see and walk among many experience their whole life circle. It’s also a unique opportunity to take photos of tropical butterflies in their natural environment.
Upon arrival at the lodge we are warmly greeted with a welcome drink made of local tropical fruits. Our guide will explain the activities and give us an orientation tour of the lodge. He will show us our log cabins, the restaurant and bar, the hammock and games room, the swimming pool, the look-out tower, the canoes, and the Tambo hut where the Shamans do their ceremonies. The beating of the Manguare Indian drums announce all the mealtimes.
Evening: This will be followed by an Amazonian buffet dinner consisting of fresh chicken or fresh fish from the Amazon River, Palm heart salad, rice and beans, potatoes, fried plantains and a variety of juicy fresh fruit.
After the delicious evening meal we motor our way up river with our long canoe. After a while the guides’ switches off the engine and in complete silence we drift downstream under the moon and stars enjoying the chorus of nocturnal animals: insects, frogs, birds, owls, woodpeckers, jumping fish, fireflies and other creatures of the night.
* Optional additional charge of US- $5.00 per person entrance fee.
Visit to the pink or grey dolphins: (optional; the tourists need to purchase 10 Gallons of gasoline, aprox. Two hours total time from the port of Nanay). Heading downriver, into the Amazon River itself, is an area called Caseria Santa Rosa. This is where we usually – but not always – see the dolphins feeding. In the Amazon River there are 2 species of dolphins: the grey ones and the pink ones. Sometimes schools of dolphins surround our boat playfully and jump around in the water doing natural acrobats. It’s a lot of fun and wonderful to film with your camcorder.
From here we make our way back home to the city of Iquitos and by private bus to your hotel or directly to the airport.
Your visit to Amazon Rainforest Lodge will be the highlight of your trip to Peru!
P.S: This program may vary according to various factors, such as what time of day the tourists enter the lodge on the first day, what time they leave on the last day, the weather conditions, and how active that the tourists whishes to be during the trip. All the tourists’ wishes should be communicated to the guide who will do his best to accommodate them.
Also note we cannot bring tourists to the lodge after 5 PM. This is because there are floating logs on the river, which cannot easily be seen by the boatman at dusk or at nighttime. If they arrive in Iquitos at this time or later, they will have to spend the night in a hotel in the city and sail out on the following day.
End of Our Services
The city of Cusco is large and the choice of tourist attractions is enormous, so it really is essential that you take your time to properly sightsee, and don’t try to rush your holiday. With attractions such as the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu and the very beautiful Sacred Valley on the very doorstep of Cusco, there certainly is plenty to see.
If you don’t have much time to spare for sightseeing and are only able to visit one tourist attraction in Cusco, then be sure to come to the Inca ruins of Qorikancha. Other recommendations for tourists include the Q’enqo ruins, the various central plazas, a choice of outdoor activities, and the extremely vibrant Barrio de San Blas, which is steeped in Inca history.
Although a large number of the tourists visiting Cusco come to explore the spectacular Inca ruins and learn more about the ancient civilizations once living here, others come to the city to enjoy its extensive selection of other outdoor attractions and recreational activities.
With some of the best activities and exciting adventures on offer in Peru, tourists will be able to try their hand at:
* Hiking / Trekking – although for many, the Inca Trail is the epitome of hiking trails, there are a number of further routes in the region of Machu Picchu, such as those around Ausangate, Huancacalle and Vilcabamba, and throughout the Sacred Valley
* River Running / White-Water Rafting – something for the more adventurous, rafting down the Urubamba River is relatively tame and usually lasts around half a day, passing some spectacular Inca ruins en route
* Mountain Biking – with endless mountain biking opportunities being available for all abilities, around Calca, Lares and Moray in particular, and alongside both the Rio Apurimac and the Rio Tambopata
* Bird Watching – with exceptional bird watching opportunities to be found between Ollantaytambo and Quillabamba, around the Abra de Malaga
* Kayaking – generally following the same routes as the river running, with various outfitters around Cusco renting out kayaks for the day
* Horse Riding – an increasingly popular way to enjoy this region, with friendly Peruvian Paso horses being found at the Wayra stables, close to Cusco and at the Sol and Luna Lodge Ranch
* Mountaineering – an adventure sport for only the fittest, with the best and most reliable excursions being organised by Inca World
* Skiing – whilst there are not actually any official ski runs, experienced skiers are known to head up to an Andean summit and enjoy a major rush of adrenaline as they ski back down
Cusco tourist attraction open: daily – seasonal variations
Cusco tourist attraction admission: free, charge for guides and equipment hire
Cusco Tourist Attractions: Barrio de San Blas
Address: Barrio de San Blas, Cusco, Perú, PE
The neighborhood of San Blas is better known in Cusco as the Barrio de San Blas and is the most historic part of the city, residing just a few blocks to the north of the Plaza de Armas. Many of the cobblestone streets follow the same lines as those first laid out by the Incas, and the oldest houses have been built directly upon ancient Inca foundations. As you climb the steep streets, take time out to stop and enjoy the panoramic views, or the multitude of interesting shops. This colorful area also goes by the name of the Barrio de los Artesanos (Artisan Quarter), due to its wealth of artisan studios, galleries and workshops.
Cusco tourist attraction open: daily – 24 hours
Cusco tourist attraction admission: free
Cusco Tourist Attractions: Image showing the Qorikancha remainsCusco Tourist Attractions: Qorikancha
Address: Plaza Santo Domingo, Cusco, Peru, PE
The remains of Qorikancha were actually once the most important temple in the whole Inca empire, with magnificent temple walls lined with solid gold. Many ritual ceremonies were once held here by the Incas, while high priests used Qorikancha as something of an observatory. Today, these 15th-century ruins form the base of the Convent of Santo Domingo and its church, and offer only a very small suggestion of its former grandeur.
Cusco tourist attraction open: Monday to Saturday – 08:00 to 17:00, Sunday – 14:00 to 17:00
Cusco tourist attraction admission: charge, discounts for students and children
Cusco Tourist Attractions: Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (Centre of Native Art)
Address: Avenida El Sol 604, Cusco, Peru, PE
Tel: +51 084 22 7901
The Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo is worth searching out and was established as far back as the 1920s, making it amongst the oldest of all the city’s folkloric attractions. This intimate theatre can accommodate audiences of around 300 people within its auditorium and features regular Peruvian dance performances, which last around an hour and are first introduced in both English and Spanish. An onsite museum is filled with traditional costumes from the city’s provinces.
Cusco tourist attraction open: daily – 18:30 to 21:00
Cusco tourist attraction admission: charge
Cusco Tourist Attractions: Photo of the Q’enqo ruins (Quenko)Cusco Tourist Attractions: Q’enqo / Quenko
Address: Cusco, Peru, PE
Literally translating as ‘zigzag’, Q’enqo is the name given to these rather fascinating ruins, located just 4 km / 2.5 miles to the north-east of Cusco. It is widely believed that the archaeological site of Q’enqo was used for religious ceremonies, since the limestone monolith is carved with symbolic zigzags, possibly used for ritual sacrifices when they would be served as channels for the blood. At the top of the Q’enqo are etched images of various animals, including a llama and puma, while down below, a large semi-circular amphitheatre remains in good order, along with carved stairs and tunnels.
Cusco tourist attraction open: daily
Cusco tourist attraction admission: free
Cusco Tourist Attractions: Plaza viewCusco Tourist Attractions: Plazas / Public Squares
Address: Cusco, Peru, PE
There are no less than three main public squares / parks in central Cusco, each of which is surrounded by its own set of attractions and colonial buildings.
* Plaza de Armas – the largest and most central of these squares, once the very heart of the Inca capital, when it went by the name of the Huacaypata (Aucaypata). Today, the Plaza de Armas is edged by a series of arcades and overlooked by both the cathedral and the Iglesia de La Compania de Jesus
* Plaza de Regocijo – once actually part of the now smaller Plaza de Armas, the Plaza de Regocijo lies to the west, where it has become a pleasant park and worth checking out if you are passing that way
* Plaza San Francisco – the most southerly of all the squares, next to the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and close to a number of popular hotels
Cusco tourist attraction open: daily – 24 hours
Cusco tourist attraction admission: free
Arequipa has the Colca Canyon and many places to practice water sports such as River Rafting. Also offers activities Trekking and Horse Riding. Pirwa hostels chain is offering a 50% discount on Backpacker on the second night.
P.S: Promotions are not cumulatives.
The Inti Raymi (“Festival of the Sun”) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti, one of the most venerated gods in Inca religion. According to chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Sapa Inca Pachacuti created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. Since 1944, a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuamán (two km. from Cusco) on June 24 of each year, attracting thousands of tourists and local visitors.
During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. The celebration took place in the Haukaypata or the main plaza in the city. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting nine days of colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish conquest and the Catholic Church suppressed it. Some natives participated in similar ceremonies in the years after, but it was completely prohibited in 1572 by the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.
In 1944, a historical reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was directed by Faustino Espinoza Navarro and indigenous actors. The first reconstruction was largely based on the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega and only referred to the religious ceremony.
Wanna be there when it occurs go book your room at PIRWA CUSCO