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Peru

Peru is one of the most peculiar countries in South America, with its diverse geographic regions that stretch from the Pacific coast, across the Andes mountains to the Amazon rainforest. The distinct mix of traditional Inca and Spanish colonial influences has created a truly unique culture with its own music, food and mysteries. What sets Peru apart:

* Machu Picchu and other important archaeological sites
* The world's leading culinary destination
* Renowned hotels

It’s truly one of the most unique places to visit on this planet as it consistently amazes our travelers.

Testimonials And Reviews

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We just returned from the Galapagos and what a time we had. As usual, you delivered on everything you promised.

Vinay & Sudha Virginia US

Thank you for making my last minute adventure such a smashing success!

Nick & Kit Atlanta, Georgia

In Machu Picchu our guide explained this sacred place in such a matter that we all felt a little bit of magic light up in us.

The Melen Group Fair Lawn NJ USA

What we think makes your company stand out is your customer service and dedication.

Los Angeles CA, USA

From the moment we arrived to our departure from Cusco, Peru you took care of us.

Emiliy & Geoff Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Thank you so much for putting together such a wonderful trip. Everything turned out just as we expected and then some!

Ernest & Sharon California, USA

We like to think of our service as lifestyle enhancement, rather than just mere travel packages. The best hotel rooms, private guides - who are often university professors - and perfect planning by our travel experts all blend together into a seamless experience.

If you require assistance at any point during your trip, our travel experts are just a phone call away - via our 24 hour emergency support line.

LUXURY
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About Us

We are a U.S.-based travel firm serving clients worldwide since 1998 and are proud to say that we serve more than 2,500 travelers a year. We have offices in Austin, TX as well as two offices in Peru in both Lima and Cusco, with a full time staff of over 40 people.

We put in a lot of effort to make sure you are given the freedom to do what you came here to do - enjoy Peru to its fullest.

Geography

Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia (north), Brazil and Bolivia (east) and Chile (south). The country is comprised of three distinct geographic regions: the Pacific coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest, which gives it an astounding biological and cultural diversity.

Peru’s coast stretches from its border with Ecuador in the north, to the Chilean border in the south. This expanse is roughly 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in length and provides Peru with a rich abundance in fresh seafood, all of which can be enjoyed in Lima, Peru’s capital city and one of the gastronomic hotspots of Latin America.

The Andean highlands are the traditional home of the Inca empire, which had its capital based in Cusco. This region of Peru hosts the greatest diversity as it touches the rainforest in the lower sections and rises all the way to snow caped peaks at 22,200 feet (6,700 km).

The Peruvian Amazon jungle is sparsely populated by humans, but its pristine state is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. Access is limited within the region and the best way to experience this side of Peru is by staying a lodge near Puerto Maldonado.

History

Pre Colonial

The region which comprises today’s Peru has been home to a wide array of cultures, stretching far back to the culture of Caral in 2000 BC. Not much is known about all of the groups that have lived in Peru, but ruins and artifacts shed some light on pre-Inca cultures: the Chavin (900-200 BC); the Paracas (600-50 BC); the Nazca (50 BC – AD 700); the Moche (AD 100- 800); the Wari (AD 550-950); and the Chimu (AD 900 – 1400).

The biggest influence of all pre-colonial cultures was exerted by the mighty Inca Empire, who have left their legacy among the ruins found in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and of course, the world famous Machu Picchu citadel. The Inca Empire was the largest South America had ever seen and was at its height between 1438 and 1532. The influence of the Inca culture has been passed down through generations and can be seen today in textile art, ceramics, handicrafts, cuisine, agriculture and ceremonies.

Colonial Peru

The arrival of conquistadores marked the end of the Inca Empire and establishment of Spanish colonial rule. Serving as the capital of virtually the entire South American content (excluding today’s Brazil), Lima enjoyed great wealth and power under colonial rule.

At the same time, the population of what used to be the Inca Empire was undergoing a cultural and religious change, adopting the religion of the Roman Catholic church. Following national divisions of the 18th century, and the growing power of Caracas and Buenos Aires, the Viceroyalty of Peru began experiencing a gradual decline in influence.

Peruvian Republic

Following the revolutionary movements again Spain, Peru declared its independence on July 28, 1821 – which is still celebrated today. Political and territorial conflicts ensued against newly independent neighboring countries, most notably against Chile during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).

Indepence also marked the beginning of increased immigration from Europe (France, Italy, Germany), the Middle East and Asia (China and Japan). The newly arrived cultures adapted to Peru, but also played an important influence on the development of the local culture – most notably the cuisine.

Modern Peru

During the 20th century, Peru has experienced economic oscillations, political dictatorships and guerilla movements – a fate shared by many South American states.

The 1990s brought political stability and growing economic wealth, although there is still a significant gap between the rich and the poor. The tourism industry has played an important part in Peru’s economy, as well as promoting its image worldwide.

Cuisine

In recent years, Peru has experienced a true gastronomic boom. Lima has been named time and again as the gastronomic capital of South America and Peruvian restaurants keep popping up across the globe.

Mistura is South America’s largest culinary festival, hosted in Lima during the month of September. What sets Peruvian food apart is the sheer diversity in cooking styles – a legacy of its numerous cultural influences:

  • Ceviche – this coastal favorite is raw fish marinated in lime juice and seasoning. Refreshing and delicious!
  • Chifa – the Peruvian version of Chinese food.
  • Nikkei – Japanese dishes with a Peruvian flair and ingredients.
  • Criollo – Aji de gallina, lomo saltado, and rocoto relleno are typical Peruvian dishes that have their roots in the colonial Criollo culture
  • Andean – heart meals, with an option to try something exotic such as alpaca and cuy (guinea pig).
  • Amazon – while not a cuisine of its own, the sheer variety of exotic fruits and vegetables available in the rainforest deserve their own mention.

Lima is home to world renowned chefs and restaurants, which are primarily located in the districts of Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco. Two restaurants that continually receive praise are Astrid & Gaston (by Gaston Acurio) and Central (by Virgilio Martinez). But the list doesn’t end there. Outside of Lima, the cities of Cusco and Arequipa have culinary traditions of their own and restaurants that rival many cities across the continent.

Packing List

Machu Picchu

  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Fleece
  • Poncho or light rainjacket (November through March)

Trekking (Inca Trail & Salkantay)

  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Headlamp
  • Passport and driver’s license. These documents will be requested at the entrance to the Inca Trail so make sure to carry them with you in order to avoid any problems.

Amazon Jungle

  • Comfortable walking shoes/hiking boots to and from the lodge (these will get muddy)
  • Comfortable sandals for lounging (rubber boots are available at the lodge)
  • Loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants (protection from sun and insects)
  • Hat
  • Poncho
  • Insect repellent
  • Headlamp

Travel Accessories

  • Sun block & mosquito repellent
  • Sunglasses & hat
  • Camera & binoculars
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