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Don't worry, this is not a political push or climate change commentary - this is your advance-notice, inside scoop on Peru's hottest new destination: The White City.
Arequipa, located at a comfortable 2,000 meters above sea level in southern Peru, is the country’s second major city in terms of population and economy. The city has long been a secondary destination attracting only in-the-know visitors, but the recent addition of luxe hotels has catapulted the city into the spotlight.
The hotels in the city have long lagged behind the rich heritage and ample activities on offer, and kept the well-heeled traveler at bay. This is finally turning around, and is the catalyst for the recent “discovery” of the local gems that have held their shine for centuries. A variety of new properties have stepped onto the scene, offering everything from well-appointed ballrooms and havens for special group retreats, to refurbished historic monasteries, decorated by distinguished Peruvian designers and offering personalized butler service and a glamorous rooftop dining scene. The city is now home to a character-filled cast of hotel personalities, each comfortably filling a different niche and offering the perfect sanctuary for its discerning guest. The new hotels offer peaceful respite after long days exploring the many experiences Arequipa has on offer.
The White City is called so for its colonial historical center, built entirely from white volcanic sillar stone. The historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protected from development for its unique and outstanding display of cultural integration between colonizers and native populations, and authentic one of a kind architecture. The city is built strategically in the cradle between 3 volcanos, lending it copious sillar building blocks in addition to an incredible skyline. Today, the art of sillar craftsmanship lives on in the masonic families living on the outskirts of the city, and visiting with these proud artisans and their workshops is a popular activity, along with visiting the city’s museums and the myriad adventure activities awaiting just beyond the city walls.
As much as Lima is world-renowned as a gastronomic hub and haven for culinary innovation, Arequipa has a reputation within Peru as the capital of cuisine. The city’s 300 days of sunshine per year mean it has been a prominent city within Peruvian civilizations for centuries, and the culinary heritage of the city trace back to the Inca, with countless popular dishes having originated in the city during that time. The city embraces its roots and identity, and picanterias, or traditional local eateries, continue to pop up around the city serving fresh takes as well as classic recipes, and allowing a platform for young chefs to create names for themselves.
Arequipa has dug its heels in and secured a spot on the quintessential Peruvian circuit. Whether travelers come to hike, bike, or photograph the rich surroundings, get a little adventure and a lot of top notch cuisine while acclimatizing for higher sites, or delve into the rich history that oozes from every sillar stone, The White City does not disappoint.
To plan your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or call +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.
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Family travel is on the rise, as more and more families are choosing to use their vacation time to reconnect with loved ones in exciting destinations. Experts and parents alike are choosing travel over more traditional reunions for increased engagement across all generations. Parents realize that some of the most important lessons for their children can only be taught outside the classroom.
When the entire family can synchronize schedules to get the same week to two weeks free for a grand trip, we hope that the “where and how to go” is the least of their worries.
Peru makes a dream family destination for a variety of reasons, some not as obvious as others. Of course, Machu Picchu is a bucket list experience, and one that is just as exciting for the youngsters, who feel about one step away from Indiana Jones, as it is for grandma and grandpa. While Machu Picchu may be the highlight, the country is full of experiences that are exciting for all ages. With a bit of creative planning, differences in levels of mobility can be easily overcome as well. For example, if parents and their teenage children would like to hike one of the guardian mountain peaks overlooking Machu Picchu, but the grandparents are not up to it, it is a quick fix to arrange a special breakfast for the grandparents and a guide to coordinate and bring them to the bottom of the hike just as the rest of the family is descending, in time to explore the ruins as one. If the family would like to actually hike to Machu Picchu along the iconic Inca Trail, a guide would accompany the grandparents on the train while the rest of the family treks. The family would meet that evening for a celebratory dinner in the shadow of Machu Picchu, and plan their investigation of the ruins the next day.
For some, it is the secondary sites and activities that may not have been the inspiration for visiting Peru, but end up being their most cherished days. Bicycling between ruins and villages is a day that must be lived to be believed. Between ancient feats of amazing human ingenuity, fascinating living cultures and sites of breathtaking natural beauty, it seems unreal that all of this exists so close together a bicycle can connect the points. For the those that feel more comfortable on four wheels rather than two, vehicle support fuels their itinerary. The two parties’ cross paths throughout the day to lunch and explore sites together, but a few extra surprises along the way for the travelers in the vehicle, while the rest of the family gets their workout.
Another bucket list destination that may be often overlooked is an extension into the Amazon rainforest. Although the Amazon basin is largely associated with other South American countries, the mighty river actually originates in Peru, and this is where you have the best infrastructure and opportunities for exploring in style. One of several cruises whisk families through the Avatar-like landscape, offering a myriad of excursion options throughout the day and night. Again, the more active of the gang can opt for special methods of transportation, like searching for howler monkeys from a paddleboard, while those who prefer a sturdier seat can follow in a skiff. At the end of the day, the intimate and exotic setting is the ideal atmosphere for creating lifelong cherished memories.
The options for family travel in Peru could fill an itinerary for a sabbatical, and there is something for everyone and all mobility levels. For one to two weeks, it will be hard to go wrong in a country where the food, the history, the living culture and natural beauty, are some of the most enticing and inviting in the world.
To plan your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or call +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.
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Machu Picchu's mountaintop sanctuary is not the only must-do-experience that Peru has on offer.
While exploring mystical Machu Picchu is a staple on most traveler’s bucket lists, the mountaintop sanctuary is not the only must-do-experience that Peru has on offer. The following are a collection of do-it-while-you-can, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Condor-spotting over Colca Canyon
For the birder in the family, there is no more thrilling encounter. The Andean Condor is the largest flying bird in the world with a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet. The best place to spot them happens to be when they are soaring over Colca Canyon, the second-deepest canyon in the world (after nearby Cotahuasi Canyon). Discerning travelers staying in one of the great properties on the edge of the canyon can head out on early morning expedition to catch these majestic birds soaring gracefully over the canyon’s rugged depths.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on the world’s highest navigable lake
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, as well as the largest lake in South America by volume of water. Most visitors come for the unique Uros floating islands; man-made islands built by the Uros people centuries ago, and still inhabited today much the way they were during the times of the Inca. Guests at the luxurious Titilaka Lodge get the best opportunity to visit with this culture, as well as complimentary access to a host of water sports on the legendary lake.
Catching a Wave where Surfing was Invented
Modern archaeology backs the claims that Peruvians have been making for decades, that surfing traces its roots to pre-Columbian fishermen on Peru’s northern coast, who fashioned single-person “boats” from totora reeds, and rode waves in while netting fish. Today, this same coastline boasts one of the most reliable swells in the world, and travelers can recharge in chic yoga retreat-style resorts after a day on the water.
Cruising the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest in the world and the most biodiverse ecosystem as well, is the ultimate in exotic natural wonder. Explore this magical cradle of life in style, cruising on a small luxury ship, eating the unnamed-in-English fruits of the forest, fishing for piranha, spotting jumping pink dolphins, trekking to see monkeys among a myriad of other jungle creatures, and attempting to catch a frame of the elusive and sacred jaguar.
Trekking to Machu Picchu
Of course, no talk of bucket-list experiences is complete without mentioning following in the footsteps of legendary explorers, and trekking along the Inca highway to Machu Picchu. The mountaintop citadel nestles just above the cloud forest among endless jagged peaks piercing the sky, and evokes amazement at the feat of early human ingenuity. Machu Picchu has earned its place as one of the 7 Manmade Wonders of the World.
To plan your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or call +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.
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Spiritual ceremonies gain acceptance as more and more travelers seek out the "taboo".
As globalization increases, so does cultural tolerance and curiosity, which in turn lends itself to an even more rapid exchange of ideas and customs. It truly is a wonderful world that we live in, and never has it been easier to discover the marvelous treasures that hide throughout.
Of the more exotic aspects of native cultures around the world, medicine and the processes of healing are high on the list. Western cultures that place less emphasis on connectivity of mind, body and spirit are enchanted by the accuracy of seemingly far-fetched intuition. Although visitors are familiar with medicines that are based on natural ingredients foraged from the environment, barks and seeds, smokes and leaves seem like impossibly distant cousins to the treatments that stock the shelves of pharmacies back home.
For the traveler to Peru, exotic culture is a given; however meeting medicine men may not be what comes to mind. Archeology and cuisine are the headliners for tourism, but it wasn’t just the structures and sustenance that helped the civilizations of ancient Peru become some of the most powerful in human history. Peruvians today continue to hand down simple healing knowledge, and hold deep reverence for the shaman who are able to fix more profound issues. Treatments take various forms, from simple rituals, cleanses and offerings to more elaborate ceremonies that can last up to several days.
Curious culture-seeking travelers can arrange shamanic consultations for a variety of ailments, as well as to simply pay respect to the culture and place they are visiting by making a ceremonial offering to the pachamama, or Mother Earth. Simple ceremonies transform from a nervously begun novelty act to something more profound, as an open mind lets in the positive healing energy and easy nature of the shaman. Ceremonies are conducted in places of spiritual significance, such as an Inca temple on the outskirts of Cusco or next to the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley. A quick stop on an otherwise adventure-packed day is quite often one of the more memorable moments for families, as they walk away feeling connected to the place as well as one another.
Of course, when seeking Shamanic counseling, travelers must be sure to arrange this through a guiding service they trust. Unfortunately, the sharks advertising on the streets of tourist hotspots can be selling gimmicks – most travelers wouldn’t take medicine from a doctor who pulled them off the street, would they? Travelers must also be careful to discuss with their guide and translator what they are and are not comfortable with. When exploring healing rituals and authentic primal remedies, some treatments can be shocking or uncomfortable. These can be easily avoided, as each ceremony is unique and tailored to the guest, but setting expectations and preferences is crucial for a congenial experience.
It is a wild world that we live in, without a doubt. But who the wild ones are tends to be a matter of perspective. So suspend the norm for an hour or two, open the heart and mind, and experience a sacred spiritual craft that has been centuries, perhaps millennia, perfected.
To plan your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or call +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.
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The White City never fails to enchant with a fairytale like setting and dreamy climate
Nestled between two volcanos, Arequipa is unique in that the historic city center is built entirely from sillar, or white volcanic stone. A stroll through town is an exotic adventure in itself. The immense white blocks stacked cleanly to form buildings leave a dramatic impression that starkly contrasts the warm nature and small-town rural feel of the modest boutiques, restaurants and workshops that beckon within. Unassuming picanterias, or traditional eateries, rub clean white shoulders with grand cathedrals. Locals from across the social spectrum gather in plazas to discuss politics, ideologies, and gossip of the day. The entire city center is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its spectacularly singular architecture.
For visitors wishing to dive a bit deeper behind the scenes of the sillar city, embark on an exclusive excursion beyond the city limits, where the magic of craftsmanship begins. Along with an expert private guide, venture to the outskirts of town to visit the historic volcanic lava quarries and experience the UNESCO World Heritage declared process of hand-molding the sillar blocks. Using simple tools, master craftsman lead lucky visitors in a demonstration of the craft that has been handed down generation by generation; you can even try your hand and splitting the blocks yourself. The excursion continues, combining living culture with stunning nature. Explore the quarry set in a ravine eroded by thousands of years of wind and water. For those with a keen eye, be sure not to miss the petroglyphs carved into the rocky walls, providing clues to ancient secrets still open to interpretation.
Arequipa is seen by many as a hub for gastronomy, or a stopover en-route to the majestic Colca Canyon. Travelers looking to check Colca and the condors off their list often overlook the endemic cultural and natural explorations that exist within the city and just beyond its fringes. Whether this is a blessing or a curse is a matter of perspective – travelers finding themselves lost in a magical white city, learning an ancient craft, tend to lean towards the former.
To learn more about our Signature Journeys, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or at +51-1- 700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713- 7030/34.
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Picture Reference: Cosas Perú
Sport fishing off of Peru's northern coast was once accesible to only the most high-profile celebrities. Those days are gone.
Northern Peru’s “Cabo Blanco Fishing Club” was a world-famous fishing club in the 50’s, and jumping off point to the some of the best black marlin fishing the world has ever seen. Not only were the marlins here bigger, they were closer to the shore and easier to spot. The world-record black marlin was caught here in 1952, and still stands as the largest ever landed at 1,560 pounds. Ernest Hemingway famously stayed at the club for a 32 day stretch while writing “The Man and the Sea”, although he only ever reeled in a 910 pounder. Hemingway was not the only noteworthy name to grace the halls (or the bar in Hemingway’s case) of the exclusive 10-room fishing lodge: among others were John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Joe DiMaggio, and Marilyn Monroe
Since the 50’s, Cabo Blanco Fishing Lodge fell out of popularity and is no longer operational. Commercial anchovy fishing decreased the numbers of granders, and the celebrities went back to Los Angeles. The sport of choice along Peru’s northern coast transitioned from fishing to surfing. And a few choice hotels in the area, offer in addition to world-class cuisine, beachfront digs, and a variety of adventure activities.
Picture Reference: Blog Inkaterra
Peruvian hotel chain Inkaterra has been quietly doing their part as well, for the better part of a decade. The eco-tourism champion of Peru, is cleaning up the waters as well as a stretch of coastline, and rumor has it they are sitting on quite the interesting acquisition: the original charter boat from Cabo Blanco Fishing Club itself. If the plans are to build a new luxury fishing eco-lodge to complement the already-stellar selection along the cape, both the environment and in-the-know travelers are in luck.
Cabo Blanco’s glory days may be gone, or perhaps they are just on hiatus. When the world’s most spotlighted gastronomical hotspot, and the birthplace of ceviche, combines with unmatched adventure and top-tier hotels, discerning travelers and noteworthy public figures are soon to follow.
To discover how to incorporate a northcoast adventure into your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or call +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 1-347-713-7030/34.
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Travel that trascends the typical. Experiences that exceed the ordinary.
Travel presents a unique opportunity to enrich, exchange, and explore. There exist few extraordinary travel experiences that do so on a grand scale, providing the traveler with uncommon access to exclusive areas and profound interactions, complimented with the most luxurious touches a destination has to offer. Here is a collection of the most compelling such experiences found in Peru. Whether you are short on time and must cut to the chase, or you simply prefer the very best, The Peru Empire Company’s Signature Journeys have you covered.
Carefully curated and expertly vetted, these Signature Journeys have been designed with the most discerning globe-trotter in mind. Down to the last detail, these experiences feature the highest cut of quality, from necessities such as a five-star meal prepared on-site alongside a remote rainforest lagoon, to intricacies such as fine butler service as you exit your helicopter charter to a secret Andean hot spring. No stone has been left unturned, no tire not kicked, in the mission to ensure that these outings are unrivaled in the way of itinerary, service, and infrastructure. But exquisite details and top-notch tangibles are just the start.
While luxury is the basis of these excursions, experience is the emphasis. To be pampered is nice; but cultural breakthroughs, connections with pristine natural wonders, and unprecedented access to archeological and historic treasures are the moments that transcend the present and strike a chord decades down the road. Each journey touches on a unique focus area, providing a once in a lifetime opportunity for the appropriate enthusiast. This may range from exploring the only cloud-forest citadel that the Inca could not take by force, to yacht-top brunching in the South Pacific and swimming with sea lions, or the fishing trip of a lifetime.
Each experience has been designed in partnership with National Geographic writer, photographer, and conservations Walter Wust. Walter has spent the last blank years exploring, building relationships within, and working to protect Peru’s most pristine natural attractions and resources, as well as the communities who rely on them. Through Walter’s relationships with local populations, and his discovery of spectacular destinations yet untrod by tourists, Peru Empire Co. is able to offer exclusive access and authentic interactions unfound and unprecedented by other operators. These Signature Journeys bring the pages of National Geographic to life, passing far beyond the boundaries applicable to the average traveler.
Travelers can choose from five itineraries, that are then tailored to their specific preferences and requests. While in the Cusco region, spend a day heli-hopping between remote and hard to reach sites such as the Rainbow Mountain and secret hot springs. For the fisherman, embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fish Amazonian monsters during the pinnacle of feeding season. Experience what the explorers felt by investigating an ancient mountaintop citadel, yet undiscovered by the masses. Enjoy the thrills of sea, land, and air by adventuring through a protected marine reserve. Escape to a secluded Amazonian sanctuary, and mingle with the natives who have forged a compromise with this rugged yet glorious paradise. Whatever you choose, prepare for an unforgettable experience in luxury and adventure.
To learn more about our Signature Journeys, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or at +51-1- 700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713- 7030/34.
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Barranco's chic seaside hideaway expanded into the neighboring art gallery, adding 3 rooms and 2 common areas to its exclusive offering.
Walking into Lima Arts Hotel B’s newest wing, it is hard to tell that the building is no longer being utilized as an art gallery, save for the plump beds poised handsomely in the centers of the three new guest rooms. Dark wood floors flirt with clean lines and inspiring art. Heavy claw-footed tubs stand their ground against contemporary furnishings, merging antique inspiration with modern comfort and design. This is sexy speakeasy meets the Great Gatsby – one half-expects to turn a corner and see James Bond sipping a martini.
Large Victorian-style windows fill the rooms with natural light. Warm accents contribute to the aura of comfort and home that is present in abundance throughout the casona. From the moment guests arrive and receive their welcome glass of champagne, they are made to feel at ease in this genteel respite from the bustling streets outside. Strolling through the hotel, sophisticated parlor sofas beckon travelers to slow down, take another sip, and smell the roses.
The three new guest rooms bring the total count to just twenty, so plan on booking with ample advance notice. In addition to tasteful accommodations, the Mediterranean fusion restaurant and gin bar attracts flocks of well-heeled locals, making for a buzzing atmosphere that doubles as an outsider’s “in” to Lima’s sophisticated social scene. This is as good a spot as any to grab a drink and a slice of gourmet pizza, and get lost in the romantic swank of one of Lima’s most charming neighborhood.
Speaking of charming neighborhoods, Hotel B situates itself at the center of the bohemian action. The hotel may be the most handsome house on the block, but it is certainly not the only colonial-style manor around. The entire area was once summer homes for Lima’s wealthy class; a summertime escape that has since been swallowed by the ever-expanding sprawl. The former residents of these elegant mansions have left, the leisurely pace and air of sophisticated summer vacation, however, has remained.
Hotel B was already one of Lima’s most enticing options in accommodations, and the Relais & Chateaux property has upped its game again. More rooms and more common spaces add to the hotel’s legacy founded on white-glove service, elegant style, and unbeatable location. Celebrated worldwide and locally beloved, Hotel B is a fabulous choice for discerning visitors to Lima.
To learn more on how to incorporate Hotel B into your unique, individually tailored Peru itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or at +51-1- 700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713- 7030/34.
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