sábado, 30 de diciembre de 2017

Huacachina & Sandboard

5 km away from the city of Ica we can find the oasis or Huacachina Lake, a beautiful place nestled between large sand dunes where you can practice sports like sandboarding or cross these large stretches of sand mounted on a tubular buggy or sand car. If you are in the city of Ica you can get to Huacachina by taxi from S/ 5-7.

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru

The waters of this oasis come from underground currents that give it that characteristic emerald color; on the other hand, the origin of its name comes from the Quechua word "huacca", which means to cry, and from the word "china", which means woman. In this way, Huacachina would mean 'Criyng Woman'.

This is because of the legend of a pre-Hispanic princess who, after losing her love when she went to war, plunged into deep sadness and cried at the place where they met. The locals claim that their tears formed this lagoon and that even at night their tears can still be heard.

Although in past decades this paradisiacal enclave in the middle of the coastal desert of Ica, was a center of amusement for the upper class of Lima, the few houses and premises that exist today are mainly shops and hotels for a mass of international tourists who usually spend one or two days of relaxation and celebration in their way to the Nazca Lines or the' White' city of Arequipa.

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru

Although it is said that the waters of Lake Huacachina have medicinal properties thanks to the minerals carried by the underwater currents, it seems that obstructions in its underground branches would have nullified these healing qualities. While boat rides can be made on its surface, we recommend that to take a bath use the swimming pools of their accommodation.

Practising Sanboarding

Without a doubt one of the greatest attractions of the Huacachina is the practice of Sanboarding, which although it is a more' safe' discipline than snowboarding because of the texture of the sand, it can cause serious injuries.

If this is your first time doing this sport, we recommend that you hire an instructor. The rental price for a standard board is around S/10 (US$ 3, for 2 hours); while the price for a professional board is S/30 (US$ 10, without instructor).

The dunes of the northwest end have a smaller slope and are ideal for insiders, while those that are travelled by the tubulars have a larger size and slope.

If you carry a camera, be very careful, because the sand can easily get into the equipment and bring you many problems. Most lodgings in Huacachina offer these sandbox tours with tubular buggies for about S/50 (US$ 16, with instructor).

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Where to Sleep in Huacachina

If you prefer to spend the night in Huacachina instead of the city of Ica, there are several mid-range and affordable accommodations where you can rest and have a drink. If you are travelling in high season don't forget to make your reservation in advance.

Hotel el Huacachinero***

Very close to the Huacachina lagoon, this hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant that offers food and drink throughout the day. The rooms are modern and have free wifi, cable TV and air conditioning. The price includes American breakfast. Visits to the dunes can be booked at your counter. The average price is around S/ 238. elhuacachinero.com/

Hotels Huacachina, Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Hostería Suiza***

This quiet hotel is located at the end of the road parallel to the lagoon and has an outdoor swimming pool with a bar, solarium and an a la carte restaurant. The rooms are clean and bright, with private bathroom, cable TV, fan and safe. There is also a laundry and ironing service. The room rounds the S/ 258.

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Hostal Curasi***

Close to the Huacachina lagoon is Hostal Curasi, a modern hostel with a central swimming pool next to the rooms and a small bar that offers drinks all day long. In the mornings the volume of the bar music can be a bit annoying. The rooms have their own bathroom, fan and free wifi. Tours to the dunes can be booked at your counter. The price of the room is about S/ 160. huacachinacurasi.com/

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

In Huacachina we can also find some cheap accommodations with good conditions. If you are looking for rest, this choice may not be the best option, since the clients is mainly young people who want to have fun and have fun.

The Upcycled Hostel

This simple hostel located in the access to Huacachina has a central swimming pool that surrounds the guest rooms. The price of the night -which is around the S/ 50- includes breakfast and free wifi. It has a common room with book exchange and internet access.

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Huacachina Backpackers House

A few steps away from the Huacachina lagoon is this inexpensive and simple Hostel, which has a restaurant with outdoor tables and shared rooms. The hostel also organizes tours to the dunes for sandboarding. The price does not include breakfast and private bathrooms. Approximately S/ 23. hucachinaperu.pe/

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Banana's Adventure

Also in the heart of the Huacachina is the Banana's Adventure, a beautiful hostel that in one of its packages includes an activity and breakfast per person. (Activities offered are: sand car and sandboarding tours, city tour with visit to the winery and chocolates factory Helena, or barbecue at night). In its interior zone it has an outdoor swimming pool and a bar where you can eat and drink during the day and night. The price is around S/52. bananasadventure.com/

Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

Leisure in Huacachina & Drinks

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, most of the accommodations have bars with music in which you can socialize and have a few drinks until late at night. However, if you want something more of' 'action' there are some establishments in Huacachina with the concept of' disco and high volume music. We give you a couple of alternatives.

The Huacafuckingchina

This premises located in the heart of Huacahina has an outdoor terrace ideal for eating pizzas, burguers or traditional food (anticuchos, lomo saltado, causas) and some of their cocktails based on different national and international drinks. Inside you can find a good atmosphere with music of all kinds, such as Latin or electronic. (Photo Facebook Huacafuckingchina).

Pubs in Huacachina, Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

The Silva House Discoteca 

This accommodation has its own party room with live music, swimming pool and a pleasant atmosphere to spend the night having a few drinks. Obviously rest is not what this establishment offers, of which you can also do the classic sandbox tours, but the fun is assured.

pubs in Huacachina, Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

The Pub

Simple and inexpensive establishment in which you can eat a menu based on local foods such as loin saltado, causes, pizzas, among others. The atmosphere is calmer than the above mentioned premises and is ideal for having a few beers and chatting on its terrace overlooking the lake.

pubs in Huacachina, Huacachina Sandboard, Sandboard Huacachina, Huacachina Peru, Huacachina dunes

We hope that with this info you can spend a pleasant day in this beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. After relaxing, it is time to take our gear and continue on the path that, if it is the classic southern route, will take us to the enigmatic Nazca Lines.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
December 2017

viernes, 29 de diciembre de 2017

National Cultural Heritage declared to Clean Ditches "Sequía Pitsé" (Áncash)

The ritual celebration of the ancashina community of Raquia called Clean of irrigation ditches "Sequía Pitsé", oriented since pre-Hispanic times to prepare irrigation channels for each agricultural period, was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation today by the Ministry of Culture.

Developed in the Raquia community, in the fertile valley of Fortaleza, Ancash department, at an altitude of 2,100 masl, the "Pitsé Ditch Cleanup" aims to prepare the local water distribution system and clear its path so that it flows into the fields without interruption.

Cleaning of irrigation ditches Pitsé Ditch, Cultural Heritage of the Nation
Photo by Roberto Aldave
The tradition, which takes place annually between the 3rd and 6th of February, activates an ancient system of work called "ayni", as well as forms of reciprocity with nature and allows us to maintain a set of values, knowledge and practices associated with the efficient use of water and respect for the environment.

La Limpia de Acequias "Sequia Pitsé" is also a typical celebration of Andean agricultural societies that has different denominations throughout the country, among them, Fiesta del Agua, Yaku Raymi and Champería.

Pitsé Ditch Drying Ditch Cleaning
Photo by Roberto Aldave
These festivities annually repeat a custom of pre-Hispanic origin that has been seen in several cultures such as the Nasca, whose ritual symbolism refers to the fertilization of the earth (the Mama Pacha) by new water, and at the beginning of a new agricultural cycle.

Esteban García. Peru Travels Blog
December 2017

5 organizations to volunteer in Peru

Perhaps you are thinking of learning more about Peru and want to contribute to improving the way of life in their communities. There are a good number of non-profit organizations in the country that allow young volunteers from all countries to increase their work experience while experiencing vulnerable areas in need of international assistance.

If you are foreigner, young and dare to take the leap of coming to this country, volunteering can bring you multiple benefits. On the one hand, make friends, expand your network of contacts, discover a new way of looking at the world, support with your experiences and knowledge the workers of your city or community of residence; and on the other hand, gain experience and add this work to your resume.

In Peru there are a large number of organizations who offer this volunteer service and they usually provide transportation, orientation, volunteer placement, meals and emergency services.

In relation to your professional career you will be able to choose which one is more in tune with your preferences and which of them may be the best option to spend those months in Peru. Remember that in some communities or cities of Peru there is a high rate of poverty and chronic malnutrition, but we are sure that with the right disposition you will live beautiful stories and experiences.

1. Kallpa

Kallpa defines itself as a creative and innovative organization, committed to human development that seeks to improve the quality of life of children and adolescents on the coast, mountains and jungle of Peru.

It work focuses on the motivation, organization and participation of the family and community, the transfer of strategies with quality and sustainability, the understanding of interculturality, participation in public and private networks, and the propositional capacity in social policies in health and education. Web: http://www.kallpa.org.pe/; Mail: peru@kallpa.org.pe; Phone: +51 (01) 224 3344.
Web: kallpa.org.pe/webnueva/

organizations to volunteer in Peru, Kallpa Peru, Peru Volunteer

2. Manuela Ramos

This is a nonprofit feminist organization founded in 1978 with a mission to defend women's rights and improve their quality of life. It seeks the empowerment of women from a perspective committed to social justice, democratic values and respect for human rights. Web: www.manuela.org.pe. Headquarters: Av. Juan Pablo Fernandini Nº 1550, Pueblo Libre. Mail: postmast@manuela.org.pe. Telephone: +51 (01)423 8840. Facebook.

Peru Volunteers, Organizations Non profit Peru, Volunteers Peru

3. Escaes

The non-profit organization Escuela Campesina de Educación y Salud (ESCAES) aims to train young, creative and responsible peasant leaders who are committed to change and development in their communities. They work in the Piura and Cajamarca areas. Web: http://escaes.net/. Headquarters: Jr. Junín 589, Magdalena del Mar. Mail. administracion@escaes.net Telephone: +51 (01)4613047.

Peru Volunteers, Organizations Non profit Peru, Volunteers Peru

4. Tierra de Niños

Tierra de Niños (TdN) "Children's Land", promotes and strengthens the autonomy and social protagonism from and with children and young people in relation to other social actors, articulated to local empowerment processes that influence public policies in favor of children and young people of the poor populations of Peru. Web: www.tierradeninos.org. Headquarters: Av Angamos 351, Interior 1502, Miraflores. Lima. Mail: tierradeninos@tierradeninos.org. Telephone: +51 (01)44 43462. Facebook.

Peru Volunteers, Organizations Non profit Peru, Volunteers Peru

5. Cuso International

Canadian-born CUSO is an international development organization whose actions focus on reducing poverty and inequality through training and empowerment of volunteers. Web: www.cusointernational.org. Headquarters: 44 Eccles St # 200. K1R 6S4 Ottawa. Mail: questions@cusointernacional.org. Telephone: +1 888 434 2876. Facebook.

Peru Volunteers, Organizations Non profit Peru, Volunteers Peru

In addition to those already mentioned, South American Explorers (SAE) has a database of volunteer organizations with lists of foreign volunteers in their offices in Lima and Cusco. Several of them accept volunteers by contacting us in advance. We can quote several as:

Cross-Cultural Solutions offers educational and social service projects in Lima and Ayacucho. www.crossculturalsolutions.org

ADRA (Headquarters: 770 Angamos Oeste Avenue, Miraflores) Development Agency or with projects related to health, education and agriculture. www.adra.org.pe

Earthwatch Institute that supports scientists on archaeological missions and other expeditions to the Amazon and Andes. earthwatch.org/expeditions

Global Crossroad. Volunteer programs in the Andes with language teaching, homestay and volunteer work. www.globalcrossroad.com

Hope Foundation. Education and health work in the Peruvian Andes. www.stichtinghope.org

AECID. The Spanish Cooperation Agency, which carries out several works in Peru and has been implementing several development projects in the country. www.aecid.org.pe

Volunteers for Peace. Volunteer work camps in Lima or Ayacucho. Part of the fees can be paid directly to the communities involved. vfp.org/

Kiya Survivors. Positive Action is responsible for volunteering up to six months as teachers and therapists for children with special needs. The work takes place in Cusco, Urubamba, the Sacred Valley and Mancora. www.kiyasurvivors.org

We hope that if you take the plunge of spending a few months as a volunteer, your stay here will be most rewarding. The warmth of the humble people in Peru is one of its greatest treasures. I'm sure you're not disappointed in the experience.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
December 2017

miércoles, 13 de diciembre de 2017

Peru is voted 'Best Culinary Destination' for the sixth consecutive year

Peruvian gastronomy does not stop reaping success in the world. The evidence is irrefutable. Peru stands for the sixth consecutive year with the award of' 'Best Culinary Destination' by the World Travel Awards (WTA), which in this last edition will be held in the city of Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

Likewise, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, in Cusco, won the prize for' Best Tourist Attraction' in 2017. The WTAs give this awards based on the organization's online voting, which involves tourism professionals, industry entrepreneurs and travelers from around the world.

Peruvian Gastronomy Sixth Consecutive Year

Isabella Falco, director of Country Image of Promperú, said that "these recognitions we receive as a country are the result of the work we are doing to promote our tourist resources and our gastronomy".

In statements to the Andina news agency, Falco assured that these awards place Peru in the eyes of the world, especially the travel industry's elite.

It is worth noting that according to a study carried out by Promperú, the main reason to visit Peru is to visit the citadel of Machu Picchu. However, gastronomy is already among the motivating aspects of travel. 82% of tourists visiting the country consider it a gastronomic destination.

A recent news item published in the Peruvian press also states that due to this growing recognition of local gastronomy, Promperú is preparing a delegation to show the virtues of national dishes to visitors who come to Russia to see the Football World Cup, that takes the Inca team to this competition after 36 years of absence.

There are currently three Peruvian restaurants on the list of' The '50Best Restaurants in the World'. These are: Central, in fifth place; Maido, in 8th place and Astrid & Gaston, in 33rd. In addition, 10 restaurants are on the Top '50Best Restaurants in Latin America' list. These include Maido, Central, Astrid & Gastón, Osso Carnicería and Salumería, among others.

So now you know. If you want to come to know Machu Picchu and the beauty of the Sacred Valley, give yourself the time to make a reservation in one of these restaurants (or go for example to a Market to taste a good ceviche for no more than S/ 20), and enjoy one of the most spectacular gastronomies of the planet.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
December 2017

domingo, 10 de diciembre de 2017

Peruvian Economy Improves in 2018 with 4.2% Growth

The Peruvian economy during 2017 came with a "lukewarm" growth after several years of an exponential increase in GDP of around 8%. Starting in 2008 - just when the international financial crisis hit several of the most powerful countries in the world - Peru experienced the well-known "Peruvian economic miracle".

The causes of this fall in 2017 had to do with exogenous factors such as the fall in the price of metals (some of Peru's main economic livelihoods), and the lower demand for traditional and non-traditional products from the country's two main trading partners: the United States and China.

Peruvian economy 2018, mining sector 2018, Mining 2018, Mining 2018

However, internal factors were the ones that hit this 2017 that is leaving with greater impetus. The natural disasters that devastated the northern part of the country at the beginning of the year were compounded by other mitigating factors such as the well-known case of corruption Lava Jato (who sprayed the main construction companies in the country) and the lack of understanding between the executive and legislative branches (the latter dominated by the Fujimori party) that ended with the change of cabinet.

All of this paralyzed the main infrastructure works that were being carried out, slowed spending and fostered mistrust among foreign investors, who saw a State unable to cope with all these disasters that undermined its response capacity.

By 2018, the situation seems to be coming to an end. According to the Quarterly Macroeconomic Report of the Economic Studies Area of the Banco de Crédito del Perú (BCP), the growth estimate for 2018 is 4.2% of GDP, if the international economic environment remains favorable.

In addition, domestic demand and private investment could grow to 5% and 6%, respectively. The construction sector -which had remained in standby for the aforementioned reasons- will advance 9% and profits and investment in the Mining sector will be favored by higher international prices.

An important factor for this result will be the expansion of the mining projects currently under way: Toquepala Phase II (copper) and Marcona (iron). In addition, it is expected that next year works will begin on the Mina Justa copper projects (US$ 1,270 million) and the expansion of Toromocho (US$ 1,300 million).

Peruvian economy 2018, mining sector 2018, Mining 2018, Mining 2018

Of note in the construction sector is the reconstruction of the coastal El Niño phenomenon, the construction works for the 2019 Pan American Games, the progress on Line 2 of the Metro (U$ 400 million) and Talara Refinery (U$ 1.1 billion), as well as the land removal works for the expansion of the Jorge Chávez International Airport (US$ 100 million), to begin in the second half of 2018.

In addition, the real estate market would benefit from a reduction in the initial quota for the purchase of a second home. As for private investment, this will grow by about 6%, while private consumption will grow by 3.3%.

World Cup qualifier generates greater domestic consumption

Peru's recent ranking for the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia may contribute to higher household consumption, but this will not be generalized, so it is estimated that the Commerce sector will grow around 3% next year.

Regarding inflation, the bank assures that it will go from 1.6% in 2017 to 2.5% in 2018. In addition, it forecasts that the exchange rate for next year will remain within the range of S/ 3.20 and S/ 3.25, with risk even to appreciation.

Regarding monetary policy, the base scenario considers that the reference rate will remain at its current level of 3.25% in the coming months, although with a probability of up to 30% that the Central Bank will surprise with a new rate cut.

Finally, the BCP's Quarterly Macroeconomic Report indicates that GDP for 2018 could be lower than projected (4.2%), if political noise increases and business confidence deteriorates significantly, there is a significant under-execution in public investment destined for reconstruction by El Niño or an abrupt reversal of capital flows is generated.

For all these reasons I think we can say that we are at a good time to invest in Peru; at a time when after a brief period of recession, it seems that the country is taking encouragement to reach quotas that positioned it a few years ago, as one of the best countries to carry out an international investment.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
December 2018

miércoles, 6 de diciembre de 2017

The day that Paco de Lucía met Peruvian cajon

There are days and moments in which a series of magical events follow one another to bring us a unique coincidence that can change the course of music history.

What do we mean after this blistering phrase? It means that on the night of March 23,1977, all the circumstances took place for the flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía to get to know the Peruvian cajón (Peruvian box) on a visit to Lima on the occasion of a closing a tour he was making with his band throughout South America.

We have been able to see so much of the Peruvian cajón adapted to flamenco in the infancy of the last generation of Spaniards and we will have heard it in those nights when Tve2 broadcast flamenco programs. So by force of habit we came to believe that the cajón was an instrument native of Spain.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Peruvian cajón is part of the Afro-Peruvian music tradition and its use has been documented in the traditions of this community since the mid-19th century.

As has happened with black slaves all over the world, creativity in celebrating their parties and rescuing the sounds of their native Africa led them to use instruments with whatever they had at hand, such as a little wooden box bitten with a stick, donkey's jaw, or a simple wooden box.

According to the Afro-Peruvian singer and former minister of culture, Susana Baca, Paco de Lucía's first contact with the Peruvian cajón took place at a party organized by the Spanish Embassy in Lima, in which Chabuca Granda, the most international performer of the moment in Peru, was invited as guest of honor.

She was accompanied by the well-known Afro-Peruvian percussionist Caitro Soto, who brought with him a drawer made by himself.

It wasn't until the evening when Susana Baca joined the celebration that merged flamenco with Afro-Peruvian music into one. In that house in the bohemian district of Barranco was sung, danced and mixed rhythms such as landó, festejo, alegrías and bulerías. It is then that the Brazilian percussionist who accompanied Paco de Lucía, Rubem Dantas, gets the cajón and includes it in the party. It is the origin of the flamenco cajón.

Paco de Lucia cajon peruano, peruvian cajon, peruvian box, origin of the flamenco box

According to Paco de Lucía himself, years later, both he and Dantas realized that the cajón was the ideal percussion of flamenco "because the palmas (claps) do not have the consistency (...) and has the high-pitched sound of a bailaor's heel and the bass of a plant".

That Peruvian cajón for which the guitarist paid 12,000 pesetas (US$ 12 aprox at current price, something excessive for that period), began to be present in all the artist's shows and, since then, ran through the musical atmosphere of the time in Spain as a trail of gunpowder. Paco de Lucía proudly stated that six months after arriving in Madrid, in all the flamenco houses in Spain there was a cajón.

The variations that have allowed the internationalisation of the flamenco cajón are the use of strings in its interior -which give it greater vibration- and the way in which the acoustic cover is fixed to the structure.

Paco de Lucia cajon peruano, peruvian cajon, peruvian box, origin of the flamenco box

In Peru the cajón is recognized as a National Cultural Heritage and for Peruvians it is a sign of pride that flamenco has adapted its rhythms. Flamenco owes a lot to the cajón, and maestro Paco, from wherever he is, keeps tapping to the rhythm he launched that many years ago sounded clear and clear as a Spanish bulería.

Ricardo Armestar, Peru Travels Blog
December 2017