The Chaparri Ecological Reserve is set in the remote dry-forest of Northern Peru. The reserve has been founded by Heinz Plenge (Peruvian Wildlife Photographer/conservationist) and works in collaboration with the Frankfurt Zoological Society to protect the local environment and it's inhabitants like the rare spectacled bear or the White-winged Guan. You can visit the reserve as a day trip but I would highly recommend everyone to stay for a few nights and get emerged into the uniqueness of the dry-forest. The Chaparri EcoLodge is the ideal place to stay, a good mix between comfortable and rustic, you could not get any closer to nature in these traditionally build cabins with hammocks stung across the porch. We had Sechuran Foxes, White-tailed Deer and exotic hummingbirds visiting us while having breakfast and ad night there are millions of stars in the sky. Your stay includes traditionally cooked cuisine, from locally sourced produce. You can spend your day hiking, bird and nature watching, visiting the Spectacled Bear Rescue Centre or have a swim in the river. You will learn about local culture and the biodiversity of the area from the park wardens, who all come from the surrounding communities. This is a truly unique experience, which really is off the beaten track and you not only support the local community but the nature reserve itself – I traveled South America extensively over a year and this is the place I long to return to most.
The Chaparri Ecological Reserve is set in the remote dry forest of northern Peru. The reserve has been founded by Heinz Plenge (Peruvian wildlife photographer/conservationist) and works in collaboration with the Frankfurt Zoological Society to protect the local environment and it's inhabitants like the rare spectacled bear or the White-winged Guan. You can visit the reserve as a day trip but I would highly recommend everyone to stay for a few nights and immerse themselves in the uniqueness of the dry-forest. The Chaparri EcoLodge is the ideal place to stay, a good mix between comfortable and rustic, you could not get any closer to nature in these traditionally built cabins with hammocks stung across the porch. We had Sechuran Foxes, White-tailed Deer and exotic hummingbirds visiting us while having breakfast and at night there are millions of stars in the sky. Your stay includes traditionally cooked cuisine, from locally sourced produce. You can spend your day hiking, bird and nature watching, visiting the Spectacled Bear Rescue Centre or have a swim in the river. You will learn about local culture and the biodiversity of the area from the park wardens, who all come from the surrounding communities. This is a truly unique experience, which really is off the beaten track and you not only support the local community but the nature reserve itself – I traveled South America extensively over a year and this is the place I long to return to most.
In Summer 2008 I joined a conservation project in the Peruvian Amazon. I was based in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, said to be one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet. It was.
Strangely, for me, the jungle itself wasn’t the best bit. I loved the people who lived there. While I helped them to reforest instead of deforest, they taught me how big life can be even with very little.
On my last day I scaled a waterfall, avoiding bullet ants, poisonous spiders and deadly snakes, to visit a natural oil spring. Daniel, our jungle guide, told me that in 50 years time an oil company would be drilling where I stood, exploiting both the oil and the people who live there. Afterward I travelled up the Madre De Dios river to the Shintuya community. There I saw a hand painted Makaw on the side of a Peki-Peki boat. It was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.
In that moment I realised there are all kinds of marks we can make on the world and I knew there and then I wanted to leave a brightly coloured one.
Booked my trip to Machu Pichu thru these guys and couldn't recommend them enough. They told me not to do the more expensive tour that I planned originally because it wasn't worth the extra money, so did themselves out of a big sale, but the one they did sell me was exactly what I wanted. They also sold me good value travel insurance, which paid out quickly when my camera was nicked.
Find yourself in Peru in the rain? Want something to help keep you dry? Find that people keep laughing when you ask for a poncho?
There's a reason. Although the word "poncho" means the same in most South American countries as it does in the UK, in Peru it actually means condom.
So it might keep you dry, but you'd have to stretch it a lot.
Beautiful, rustic tavern, still running after all these years by a number of old Limenos, in the beautiful Pueblo Libre district, surrounded by the gorgeous colonial homes of the colonial Spanish elite, daubed in irridescent colour. Typical Peruvian dishes offered to a high standard, particularly recommend papa rellena: a jacket potato filled with mashed potato, egg, meat and olives. Superb.
A great excursion from Lima is a visit to the desert city of Ica and the nearby oasis, called Huacachina. There are numerous hotels around the oasis to suit different budgets, as well as several restaurants.
From Huacachina you can ride in a sand buggy over the dunes, or, my preferred activity, you can visit the local vineyards and pisco distilleries. Pisco is a kind of Peruvian non-aged brandy, which is something of a national icon.
Your hotel in Huacachina should be able to organise a tour to visit three or four local vineyards and distilleries where you can sample Peruvian wine (surprisingly delicious), pisco and pisco sour.
There are modern mechanised and artisan distilleries, you should visit one or two of each on the tour.
Ica is a four hour bus ride from Lima. From Ica, a taxi to Huacachina should take 15 mins and cost a few dollars.
Google map: bit.ly/i62C6l
If you've just crossed over into Peru from Chile, through the Atacama Desert, you probably wouldn't be expecting a desert to compare to Atacama - supposedly the driest desert in the world with the clearest skies in the Southern hemisphere. But you'd be surprised...
Check in at Nazca, on the Southern Peru coast and at 4am be picked up by your guide who will drive you along the Pan American Highway to the foot of Cerro Blanco, the world's highest sand dune at over 2000 metres. At 5am you will begin a three hour trek up the sand mountain, equipped with a sand board and plenty of water. The desert scenery as you ascend is breathtaking in the solitary dawn. At the summit Nazca's immensity can be truly appreciated. Then begins your descent - on a sandboard, waxed to increase your speed, down the world's biggest sand dune! The experience (and speed) is sheer.
Try to leave at 4am to avoid other people as most guides leave from Nazca around 5am. When I went, my boyfriend, the guide and me were the only people for as far as the eye could see.
Google map: bit.ly/hxMfKm
The best place in Southern America to celebrate a traditional, over the top festival in the name of Holy Week and Easter Day. It's an incredibly friendly and hospitable city where you are constantly met by happy, smiley faces who are intrigued by our race and want to learn about us. They truly celebrate Semana Santa like no other. Daily processions commemorating special days in Christ's life, true reinactments of Jesus' crucifiction, ball runs through the city, flower carpets created daily on every street in the city, free food and drink supplied by the town council, fireworks and free parties galore, floats, dance displays and...did I mention the free food, drink and fiestas? An incredibly insightful but fun way to spend your Easter
Semana Santa, Ayacucho, Peru
This is a hostel located in the best place of Miraflores (Lima) I stayed there for four days. The place is clean, quiet and comfortable. The staff are professional and polite. The best part: the price!
This is a beautiful XVIII century house recently restored by a couple of retired academics, passionate about archaeology, Peruvian music and culture. The house is within walking distance from the main museums in the region where you can see the impressive remains of the cultures that developed in northern Peru before the Incas. It is simple, comfortable, very functional and charming. Nice swimming pool, no TV in bedrooms, easy access to cheap internet cafes, amazing local food in nearby restaurants. Most tourists go to hotels in either Trujillo or Chiclayo. San Roque is a good alternative for exploring northern Peru in a much nicer colonial town.
This secluded eco-lodge is located in the heart of the Amazon Basin, a short boat ride down the Rio Tambopata river. It's an incredible place to go to get in touch with nature, with expert staff, they even cater for ecology academics. Each lodge has a completely open wall facing the dense tropical jungle. Great for spotting wildlife from the comfort of your hammock. For more energetic folk, there are plenty of activities Including a medicinal plant walk with the local Shaman. You can also pretend you're a native and take part in the spiritual Ayahuasca Ceremony. Truly a magical place to escape.
+511 241 4880
A lovely home in Lima where Gloria and Victor host travellers, volunteers and students from all over the world.
This welcoming home is suitable for anyone who wants to live the local experience. By this I mean, being surrounded by locals and paying local prices as if you were a local too. However, assistance with the language and other services are provided such as; airport pick-up, tourist information, Spanish classes etc.
It's also close to all facilities (transport, shops, cafes, restaurants, the Inka market, etc).
The reason I strongly recommend "mi casa en Lima" is because my friends from Australia, Europe and US loved staying there and encouraged me to spread the word.
As a matter of fact, Gloria and Victor have had a great feedback since they opened their home three years ago. They offer nothing but personalised service and make sure you have a great time in Lima.
This can be done in half a day if time doesn't extend to the Colca Canyon as it is only a 45 minute drive. The rapids are grades III and IV and the views of El Misti as you go along are spetactular. We had local guides who were great about making sure everyone felt safe (even the nervous First Timers) and all equipment was provided. It a great contrast to the sightseeing in Arequipa.
There are lots of places offering trips, we went through a place just on Jerusalen road.
Isolated in the middle of the highest lake in the world, the islands of Taquille and Amantani are an unbeatable place to engage with indigenous culture, and staying with a welcoming local family is the perfect way to do it.
The communities who live on the islands fled there to escape the Inca conquest of Peru, and little seems to have changed since then. No running water, electricity, and freezing candlelit nights make for an uncomfortable stay! But I'd recommend it because of the awe inspiring setting and shy, but warm, knitting population who have set up their own collective to transport and accommodate guests.
If you can happily eat potatoes three times a day, this homestay is perfect.
Turn up at the docks in Puno before 8 a.m. and be sure to ask for the collective boat, (this way all the proceeds go to the island communities), when you arrive on an island, 4 or 5 hours later, the boat men will arrange a local family for you to stay with, on a rotating system.
Beginning from Puno on the shore of the magical Lake Titicaca, the Orient Express Company's luxurious train works it's way across high Peru to the historical city of Cusco - fine food and wine, an observation car, and a midway stop for local entertainment - magical.
ViaSpanish Language School is a great Spanish school in Cusco in the San Blas region. I had a fantastic time here - I took two weeks of group classes and one week of private lessons and learned a surprising amount. The school itself is big and airy, the teachers are lovely and they have a nice big sunny terrace. My home stay was perfect and I hope one day to go back and visit everyone - I really miss them all!
A small local-run organisation desperately in need of volunteers, donations and tools to help with reconstruction projects following the devastating earthquake in August 2007. More than a year later, there are still thousands of people without homes so every pair of hands is appreciated, whether you stay for a couple of days or several months. If you can bring anything on their wishlist with you, even better!
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com