lunes, 14 de mayo de 2018

7 Films You Must See Before Visiting Peru

Peru has an average of 250 films a year, and in the movie listings we find that between 65% and 85% of these come from Hollywood, while a significant percentage of films come from England, France or Spain.

This leaves a tiny 9% space for national Peruvian cinema. Despite this small margin, Peruvian cinema has left real jewels for lovers of the seventh art. Criticisms of a class society, homophobic, still tormented by the recent past of the armed conflict against Sendero Luminoso 'Shining Path', are some of the recurring themes that we will find in these films.

From our blog we would like to offer you some recommendations that have left their mark on the history of the Peruvian film industry. (All trailers are in spanish but you could find the eng. subtitles buying the original Dvd's in some peruvian stores such as Polvos Azules, near to Lima Downtown).

No se lo digas a Nadie (Don't tell anyone) (1998)

Directed by the famous film maker Francisco Lombardi, the film narrates the life of Joaquín Camino, a boy raised in the upper class sphere of Lima, who will have to hide his sexual orientation in order to be accepted into a classist, homophobic and extremely conservative society of the 1970s.

His male chauvism father and his devout mother led him to move away from home and become a rebellious, drug-addicted college student. "Don't tell anyone" was the first Peruvian film to incorporate homosexuality as one of its main themes. The scene between two of the gallants of the 90s, Santiago Magill and Christian Meier, was also well remembered.

Días de Santiago (Days of Santiago) (2004)

Josué Méndez directs this film that tells the story of Santiago Román, a former soldier in the Peruvian Navy who, after years of fighting terrorism and drug trafficking in his country, returns to a normal life in Lima. On his return, Santiago encounters complications when trying to adapt to civilian life; the memories of the war prevent him from finding peace and affect his relations with others.

"Días de Santiago" is one of the most awarded films in Peruvian cinema and perfectly portrays the damage and upheavals that several soldiers must go through once the war is over.

Madeinusa (2006)

This film directed by Claudia Llosa tells the story of Salvador, a young man from Lima who travels during Holy Week (Easter) to the imaginary village of Manayayaycuna ("the village that nobody wants to enter", in Quechua language), where from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday there is no sin (because God is dead and cannot see his servants).

In this chaos, Salvador will have a relationship with a resident of Manayayaycuna, Madeinusa, who will try to convince him to take her to the capital.

This film is Llosa's debut feature, which only two years later would opt for the Oscar for "La teta asustada", nominated for Best Foreign Film in 2009. The Argentinian candidate for the film "El secreto de tus ojos" (The Secret in Your Eyes) received this award.

Contracorriente (Countercurrent) (2009)

A film by Javier Fuentes-León released in 2010, which was selected by the National Film Council to represent Peru in the Oscars, although it did not finally qualify as a finalist. Miguel, a young and handsome fisherman with a 'traditional' life and a pregnant wife, is immersed in a love triangle with a homosexual painter who arrives in his small coastal town. After an argument, the painter drowned but still shows up at night to visit Miguel like a ghost.

This film, with a great deal of magical realism, shows the double appearances in which the protagonist of the film is debated, who must appear to be heterosexual in a homophobic society and based on the `what will they say'.

Cielo Oscuro (Dark Sky) (2012)

In this film by Joel Calero,Toño, an older man in charge of a fabric business in the Gamarra emporium, meets Natalia, an apprentice actress who ends up being seduced by him. The romance of these two characters will be full of passion, but it will go hand in hand with a mind blowing charge of jealousy that goes beyond reason, ending in psychological and physical violence against women.

"Dark Sky" reflects explicit sex scenes and touches on the theme of feminicide in Peru.

Magallanes (Magellan) (2015)

Directed by Salvador del Solar, it shows the story of Harvey Magallanes, a taxi driver who, in one of his usual journeys, recognizes Celina, a young Ayacucho girl he met many years ago when he was a soldier in the Peruvian Army and fought against the militants of the terrorist group "Sendero Luminoso" (Shining Path).

When he sees her, he remembers that she is the young woman he forced to become his colonel's sex slave. Magallanes will try to redeem his guilt by helping Celina in her economic problems, even if he has to get into a problem that involves the most prestigious politicians and lawyers in the country.

"Magallanes", is the film with which the former Minister of Culture of Peru, Salvador del Solar, made his debut as director. It is a work that deals with the consequences of the armed conflict in Peru during 1980.

La última Tade (Last Afternoon) (2016)

Joel Calero directs this film, in which the couple formed by Laura and Ramón meet again 19 years later to finish the divorce proceedings. While waiting for the judge on duty, they decide to take a long walk through the streets of Barranco. The conversation both will have will be full of existential reflections, memories, and much mutual recrimination. After all, they only have one afternoon to understand what separated them.

"The last afternoon", shows us a socio-political reflection of two former left-wing militants on the present and the past of Peru.

Fortunately, in recent years, Peruvian cinema has received increasing support from institutions and the public, who have realized that only by filling the theatres can they compete against the great titan who represents the foreign industry.

Senna Gonzalez, Peru Travels Blog
May 2018

lunes, 23 de abril de 2018

The Curtain Rises: getting to know the theaters of Lima


(June 25th. 3.00 pm. City of Lima)

Curtain's up.

A crowd gathers next to the Tourist Information Office located in the Nicolás de Ribera Passage in the Historic Center of Lima. We hope the tour organized by the Municipality of Lima, through its Tourism Department, will begin and that it will lead us to know the history of the main theaters of the Peruvian capital. From Peru Travels Blog we didn't want to miss such an interesting tour and we raised our heads to be able to be attentive to everything that happens.

(Noon is sunny despite being one of the first days of winter. The guide with the unmistakable yellow vest of the institution appears from the tourist office. The murmur of the audience decreases with unusual expectation).

GUIDE (raising your voice): Good afternoon, everyone! In this tour that will take us to see the main theaters of the city, we will made five stops and finish at the Municipal Theater of Lima and the Theater Museum. It is our last tour of June and we will do some more next month that will take us to visit the Monterrico Racetrack and the tour of the Fathers of the Nation in the Maestro Presbitero Graveyard. We will have a small break at the end of July for Fiestas Patrias (National Day). This tour that we are now starting will last about two hours.

(The guide is silent as if waiting for the audience to assimilate what he has just said. A few seconds later, he raises his voice again among the whispers of some of those present).

GUIDE: Does anyone know when the theater began in Peru? (a thick silence is formed among the audience). Any ideas?.... No one? (Those present look at each other).

PERSON 1: 16th Century!

PERSON 2: In the colony!

GUIDE (smiles with relief): Exactly! The theaters arrived in Peru in the 16th century and developed during the colonial period. However, some research claims that there were representations during pre-Hispanic times. In some chronicles it is said that the Inca Pachacútec ordered his subordinates to perform comic pieces for him. The fact that the theatre was present can also be seen in the play Ollantay, whose origin is pre-Hispanic and was transmitted orally and performed in different versions until today.

(He continues) In the colony, rather than talking about theatre, we would have to talk about performances in the Plaza de Armas; Lima was a flat city and there were not too many buildings, so the Plaza was an ideal setting. The Cabildo (which could be compared to the current mayor) was the one who ordered that acts be performed to entertain the viceroy (responsible for administering the city in front of the Crown of Charles V). The atrium of the Cathedral was used as the main stage for the performances. That's how the comedy corrals began to be set up.

(After this introduction, a second guide on one side of the scene makes room with a constant fluttering of his arms and asks the crowd to split in two like the waters of the Red Sea. The GUIDE 2 goes ahead with half of the participants and goes to the first stop of our tour).

GUIDE (surpassing his companion and calling the assistants to where he stands): In the corner of Santo Domingo -Polvos Azules in colonial times- the first theatre of Lima and America was founded in 1594, El corral de Santo Domingo, so called because it was behind the church on Dominican land. (Lifts one finger to the sky). It is important to note that the first representations had an evangelizing nature, since it was one of the objectives of the Spanish Crown. Later, the religious genre did not prevail and the comic genre gained ground, in which politicians and other characters of the time were mocked.

It is the moment when the theatres become more and more famous (our guide continues), with a capacity of 300 to 400 spectators. The figure of one of the most beloved characters of the time also emerged: Micaela Villegas, also called the 'Perricholi'. Does anyone know why they called her that?

(Me, who had already been told on countless occasions about your affair with Viceroy Amat and the anecdote of his fight on a night of alcohol, simply said: "for yelling at him, 'you chola bitch' in Catalan" [what sounds as perra choli]. The guide affirmed with a silent nod, and maintained that the Perricholi was admired by the entire colony and associated with other corrals such as San Martin).

After saying these words, the guide raises his voice and tells us to follow him to the next stop, which will take us to the square of San Agustín. Already in the square, some curious people who are sitting on the surrounding benches wonder what they are distributing so that there is such a crowding of visitors in front of the façade of the church on a sunny hot Sunday.

GUIDE (gazing among the attendees as if doing a mental recount): San Agustín is the second most important corral in the colony. The Augustinian Order thought it convenient to donate this small square for theatrical representations, in which it would be known as the street of the old comedy. The San Andrés corral was another of the great centres of representation, built over the hospital of the same name.

Corral de San Agustín, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

(Although the guide is aware of the two centuries of time jump, he takes the opportunity to ask the audience if they remember the Teatro Colón, which was located on the side of the combative Plaza San Martín and which, as if it were a fairy tale in reverse, It went from being one of the most important and beautiful spaces of the Republican era to suffering a progressive degeneration that led him to show adult films to an audience of addicts and paid masturbators. Some of the older attendees nod with lost eyes and squinting at the appeal to this theater).


GUIDE: A few years later, in 1873, when the Politeama Theatre opened its doors, the largest theatre of the Republican era with some 3,000 seats, the poet and thinker Manuel González Prada gave the most important speech after the War of the Pacific with Chile. That day (it leaves a brief second of uncertainty) was July 29, 1888 (he closes his eyes to recite a few sentences that he will have repeated dozens of times before very different groups): "Those who step on the threshold of life gather today to teach a lesson to those who approach the doors of the tomb. The celebration we are witnessing has a lot of patriotism and some irony: the child wants to rescue with gold what man did not know how to defend with iron".

(To make the background of the text clearer, he said that this was a harsh criticism after the boom period prior to the Pacific War, emphasizing the lack of identity and national pride. The Politeama was in the 12th block of the Lampa St. It is the last reference to this space before passing to our third stop in front of the façade of the Teatro Principal Manuel Segura, which burnt down in 1883 during the Chilean occupation under the name of Teatro Principal, was reopened six years later under the name of Teatro Portátil, to be demolished in 1909 and rebuilt as Teatro Municipal, which soon became Manuel Ascencio Segura, the name of the father of the Peruvian national theatre. The eyes of those present move in circles as they mentally try to assimilate all the name changes of this theatre).

Manuel Segura Theatre, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

The façade of the Teatro Principal Manuel Segura is beautiful despite the dirt and laziness that the years brought. After its reopening, it was only intended to host chamber music concerts. Someone among the attendees asks what some of us are thinking as we see the metal door helpless, tired and weighing down the passing of the years: is the theatre still active?

GUIDE: Unfortunately the theatre it is closed for security reasons (you can see that the guide - like Orpheus - doesn't want to look back at the façade, as if he were saddened by this reality. Take a deep breath and get ready to change the subject). Very close by is the Triple A (Association of Amateur Artists), where workshops are held for children and amateurs, but also education and workshops are given to teachers to create top-level artists. Not to make free publicity but good performances are made and tickets are cheap (smile).

Triple A Associaton, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

(Finishing our tour and heading towards the Municipal Theater of Lima we passed by the façade of the Triple A in the Ica St. I wait for our group members to come by and take a couple of pictures. The space is developed around a beautiful and fresh patio, in which some plays are announced; not long ago they premiered the dramatic Collacocha, which focuses on the story of the flood that buried the town of Yungay in just 30 seconds in 1970. A few metres further on, the conceited man of the city with his classic grey colour appears imposing and proud. In 2020, the Municipal Theater will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and the celebrations must live up to expectations).

Municipal Theater of Lima, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru


The crowd of visitors from the two groups has gathered again around the entrance of the Municipal Theatre and gasps in admiration at the chandeliers, the neoclassical sculptures and the gold leaf from the boxes and ceilings surrounding the stalls. The most rugged element of the theatre seems to be the red cloth curtain on which a light logo of the Municipality is projected. We are seated in our seats when the GUIDE and GUIDE 2 step aside and give way to the person in charge of the Municipal Theater, Beatriz Carrera. His voice is slow and clear.

Municipal Theater of Lima, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

BEATRIZ (smiling all the time at the auditorium): What a joy to see that so many people are interested in performing art! This Municipal Theater, like the Manuel Segura Theater, also caught fire and it is thanks to the efforts of the current mayor's Municipality that it was recovered for all Limeños.

(His gestures are as slow as his voice. Those who have been in the Gran Teatro Nacional will notice a difference with el Teatro Municipal: the Municipal Theater is more elegant. On the left side is the Presidential Box, which is intended for the president of the nation and senior officials, while on the right side is the Municipal Box, where the Mayor and representatives of the Municipality take their seats. Up there are the high boxes, up there the gallery and the lateral and central casserole dish).

(Attendees move their heads from one side of the room to the other while the theater representative reports that an explanatory video detailing the various elements of a theatrical performance will be shown. Suddenly, a huge screen falls on which the aforementioned video is projected: stage, lighting, sound... Finish the video and you hear some isolated applause. BEATRIZ appears to tell us to accompany her to learn more about the history of the Municipal Theatre through the Theatre Museum, which is located across the outdoor arts square and where, by the way, Beatriz tells us that free performances are held every Tuesday of the week at 7.00 pm).

Group Tour Theaters, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

Once at the Theatre Museum, BEATRIZ points out the various objects and photographs to tell the story of the site. The 4 rooms that make up the museum tell the story of the stages that the Municipal Theater went through until the present day, since the inauguration of the Teatro Olimpo by the Pérez brothers in 1886. This theatre was demolished in 1915 and a year later it was converted into the magnificent Teatro Forero, named after the Tacna architect Manuel Forero Osorio and inaugurated during the Fiestas Patrias of 1920. This theater will be acquired by the Municipality of Lima in 1929 deciding that it will be called Municipal Theater, making that the so called until then, will be called Manuel Segura Theater.

The story will give a new setback to the Municipal Theater, which suffered a colossal fire on August 2, 1998 that destroyed its shell, although its concrete structure remains standing (BEATRIZ relies on small projections that hang from the ceiling to guide his speech). In fact, it is said that it was a wise fire when it did not touch the part of the room in which - even without rebuilding - some representations were made. The restoration began a few years later with the recovery of the original ornamentation, the construction of a new scenic box and the enhancement of areas such as the square of the arts and a large house adjacent to the Huancavelica St. that serves as the new headquarters of the Museum of Theatre. The entire integral recovery project of the Municipal Theater was completed in 2011.

Municipal Theater Museum, Theaters of Lima, History of Theaters in Peru

(The few minutes that passed after BEATRIZ's explanation were used by the public to take pictures with their cell phones, to admire the posters and period dresses and to make themselves selfies with past images. It is admirable how one can feel -and hear- the footsteps of the actors on the stage of this colonial, republican, modern Lima, and still hear the applause and ovations that left the air trapped in an infinite loop. People are starting to make a fuss about the forum. The last electronic shots from the cameras are sounding. The room becomes silent and seems to become the protagonist under the spotlights).


Francisco, Peru Travels Blog
May 2018

viernes, 20 de abril de 2018

Conquering Snow-Capped Mountain Pastoruri

Traveling is not only about getting to know a new place, it is also about accepting new challenges. While Huaraz is my favorite destination for the beautiful scenery (and its food, but that's another subject) it also has something else... its places for trekking or hiking.

Let's start with the first thing, whoever writes this note is not known for having the best physique, but I practise box from time to time and if I am in the mood, run a little bit too. In addition to all of I wrote before, I love to explore and accept challenges, and in this case, it was the Pastoruri.

Pastoruri Glacier, Nevado Pastoruri

Before you face something it's good to know a little bit about your opponent - you noticed my reference to boxing, right? The snow-capped mountain is located in Huaraz, which is part of the department of Ancash and is included in the Cordillera Blanca, which, if you didn't know it, is part of the western mountain range of the Peruvian Andes.

Its name in Quechua means "pampas in the background" or "pasture indoors" and is considered easily accessible. Let's just say it's real training for higher snow-capped mountains.

The tour I chose was very interesting, where you go up from a few in the altitude visiting certain tourist places until you reach the foot of this impressive snow-capped mountain. By the way! The local people of the city told me some tips to face the 5.240 masl.

"Miss, take a lot of coca candy," said the landlady at the market where you can buy scarves, sweaters and more clothes to keep you warm, because in case you didn't know it, it's very cold up there.

When I went to the corner kiosk (Kiosko: this is a very traditional shop in Peru, usually located on corners, where they sell you everything), I bought 2 soles of coca candy, equivalent to 10 of them. And because there's no life without chocolate, a couple of extra bars.

My travel companion and I equipped our backpacks with more clothes in case we couldn't stand the cold, candy, chocolates, rehydrating drinks and the inevitable camera. Without photos there is no evidence of your challenge accomplished.

Pastoruri Glacier, Pastoruri hikking

Before starting the trip it is recommended to drink coca tea. The bus will drop you off at approximately 4000 masl, and then you'll have a long, slightly steep walk to the top of 5200 masl.

They are going to offer you a horse, but they won't tell you that it doesn't reach the top, only halfway, don't accept it. Do you know why? Because you need to acclimatize your body, you won't make any effort, the horse will leave you at an even higher altitude and your body won't know what happened, but ask my European colleagues on the bus.

Starting out because they didn't warm up well (there was a handsome Englishman in SHORT!). They took the fast track, and when they started walking in the second half of the stretch, their stomachs suffered; guess who came back without seeing the entire snow-capped mountain. Yeah, them.

Halfway down the road, where the horse would leave you, you're going to want to give up, among my forgotten photos I must have a pseudo-defeat selfie where I told my adventure partner: "Greta, from here I see the snow, let me down".

Because if you turn around, you'll see what you have been climbing and you marvel at how you have been achieving mini goals to get where you were, you can not throw in the towel now, you did a lot.

hikking Pastoruri, Pastoruri Glacier, Pastoruri Trek

Our guide was a lovely guy, "walk in a zigzag, it's better", I have no idea how he learned it, but it's true, apart from counselor, motivational. Like those things that are difficult to achieve in life, this is how it is to reach the top of a snow-capped mountain. You have the wind, the pressure, the lack of physique and the hunger against you, but the satisfaction of achieving it is worth every internal struggle to give up.

A coke candy for the road, and the chocolate bar as a reward when you get to the top. IT'S WORTH IT.

Now, I know you're going to find less snow than you saw in the Google photos, 'thanks global warming' and be careful not to throw your trash out there, seriously. The descent is relatively easier, but still do it slowly. The best thing is the mental congratulations that you will give yourself during the whole descent, you achieved it, and now you can go planning your next challenge.

The great thing about traveling - at least for me - is getting to know new cultures, and facing challenges that you might not do at home. The amazing thing about Peru is that every little corner has something to tell you and challenge you about.

RandomAna, Peru Travels Blog
May 2018

domingo, 8 de abril de 2018

New lines come to light in the Nazca desert

These days Peru is celebrating one of the most important archaeological discoveries of recent years: the appearance of a new series of up to 50 geoglyphs in the Palpa desert, in the southern province of Ica.

These new lines are located very close to the famous Nazca Lines (elaborated between the beginning of our era and 650 A.D. in an area of 750 km2), which were declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

The figures of the Palpa desert have been recorded between December 2017 and February this year by a multidisciplinary group of archaeologists, who used drones to record these geoglyphs from 20 to 30 meters high.

In statements to the local newspaper El Comercio, the leader of the group of specialists, Jhony Isla Cuadrado, reported that some 25 geoglyphs had not been documented to date, while the rest were mostly known by the locals.

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
A group of people with headdresses called the "royal family" in San Ignacio de Palpa
Photo: Diego Ochoa (El Comercio)
One of the main differences that exist between the Nazca Lines and these new geoglyphs its while the first ones were traced in the earthy soil of the Ica desert, the Palpa Lines are created on the slopes of the hills surrounding their valleys.

Another noteworthy detail is that the figures of Palpa were earlier than those of the Nazca (possibly between 500 BC and the early years of our time), belonging to the Paracas and Topará cultures.

The specialists were funded by the National Geographic Society to carry out this research.

Isla said in statements to the same media that although several groups of these figures had already been previously recorded by the Nasca-Palpa Archaeological Project, directed by Markus Reindel and himself, the work with drones allowed a "more detailed and systematic record of the areas".

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
Geoglyphs known as "The Monkey and the Dancer", which is located on a hill
Photo: Luis Jaime Castillo (El Comercio)
Meaning of Palpa Lines

The meaning of these geoglyphs - like those of Nazca - is still a question mark. According to the archaeologist and co-discoverer of these new glyphs, Luis Jaime Castillo, "most of these figures are warriors" who "could be seen from a certain distance".

As for the Nazca Lines, the theory most accepted by researchers is that they served as a "guide" for pilgrims traveling to the sacred city of Cahuachi. Of those of Palpa we still speak of hypotheses, perhaps a demonstration of the power of the Paracas culture or a tribute to the gods.

As for Isla, he says: "We know who made them, but one of things we need to find out is what it meant, whether they were in the same cosmological system as the Nazca or had another meaning. This is brand new," he said.

Finally, the also official of the Ministry of Culture, said that the geoglyphs of Palpa must be protected, delimited and made projects to enhance their value. There is no doubt that the State will take action to give greater relevance to this great discovery.

Palpa Lines, Palpa Lines Discovery, Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines
Human Figures. Photo: Karla Patroni (El Comercio)
Tourist potential of the Palpa Lines

Last year, about 92,000 people flew over the Nazca Lines, most of them over the pampas, which are home to the well-known figures of the monkey, hummingbird and spider.

The discovery of these new figures therefore has great tourist potential to further promote the destination of Nazca and Ica province among the favorites of tourists from around the world.

From the Ministry of Culture visitors are asked to respect the rules of entry to the pampas area (which is mostly intangible). The Palpa Lines also have the advantage of being visible from the ground, without having to hire an airplane at an extra cost.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
April 2018

sábado, 7 de abril de 2018

Puno and Surroundings

If in our previous post we affirmed that Titicaca lake is -without any doubt- one of the most mystical places in Peru. The city on its shores and encompasses it on the Peruvian side, could not be less.

Puno (3.830 masl) is a vibrant crossroads between Cusco and La Paz, where trade between both sides of the border frantically moves and where the perfect marriage between the colorful culture of the altiplano and Catholic religious beliefs are still preserved.

One of these shows is the famous feast of Virgen de la Candelaria (“Candelaria Virgin”), inscribed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO), which is celebrated on February 2 and lasts several days around wind bands that rotate all the night until dawn.

Meanwhile, local people and visitors dance to the rhythm of the huaynos (type of Andean music) and the crashing of the beer bottles that are piling up on a side of the streets.

In the parades dance up to 40 thousand dancers to the beat of 200 bands, with costumes of a bright color in which are mixed, sequins, embroidered skirts and large metal masks that remind of Spanish characters, devils or other spirits of the altiplanic worldview are mixed .

Fiesta de la Candelaria, Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

Puno is also considered "The Folkloric Capital of America", with more than 300 registered dances and other festivities such as The Jubilee Tourist Week of Puno, which marks the birth of the first Inca, Manco Cápac (November 5); Epifanía (January 6); San Juan Bautista (March 8); Las Alacitas (May 2, a beautiful party in which payments are made to the land and small crafts that represent our goals are blessed); Las Cruces (May 3-4 on the island of Taquile and Huancané); the festival of Santiago (July 25); and Nuestra Señora de la Merced (September 24).

For the rest, the city of Puno does not have much to do. Architecturally  is a city that to my impression was frozen between modernity and traditionalism, with hundreds of corrugated roofs (uralita) that reflect the sun's sparkle until sunset. The main street is the Jirón Lima, where you can find exchange houses, banks, coffee shops and small shops.

*Beware: be careful with altitude sickness or soroche; we must remember that we will be almost 4,000 meters above sea level. As we recommend in the post about Titicaca, you can buy some pills called Sorojchi Pills in any pharmacy, or take the coca tea that will serve you in any accommodation in the city.

In the same way, you will find in almost all the lodgings air cylinders  in case you need them. It will help a soft diet based on chicken soup and cooked vegetables.

The baroque cathedral of Puno

At one end of the Plaza de Armas (square) in Puno we can find the Cathedral, dating from 1757 and which holds the rank of Minor Basilica after the visit of Pope Paul VI in 1964.

The temple, which was begun to be built in the old Supay Kancha or Cerco del Diablo (Fence of the Devil), has a baroque style typical of the seventeenth century, with a spectacular facade and a staircase of 10 steps that descends to the square. SCHEDULE: 10.00 to 11.00 and 3.30 to 18.00. Free entrance.

The interior of the basilica stands out for its spaciousness and austerity, with a main altar finished in marble and where two images are worshiped and were taken to Puno in the early years of the Spanish colony, El Señor del Quinario and the Virgen de los Remedios (Virgin of the Remedies). The altar is covered with silver and you can see paintings from different schools such as Cusquena and Italian.

Puno Cathedral, Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

Carlos Dreyer Museum

Behind the Basilica we find this peculiar museum that holds a small collection of archaeological pieces from the Puno region, which belonged to the German artist and collector Carlos Dreyer Spohr. In its halls (Inca, Lithic, Regional, Religious), we will find weavings, ceramics and other objects from cultures such as the Moche, Nazca and gold jewelery of the “Tesoro de Sillustani” (Treasure of Sillustani), with a life-size replica of the Chullpa del Lagarto.

In the upper floor we can find mummies related to the region. SCHEDULE: Mon-Sat 9.30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Entry S/5.

Coca Museum

Coca as a thousand-year-old leaf used in the pre-Inca culture of the altiplano continues to this day. Both the inhabitants of southern Peru, and much of the inhabitants of Bolivia, 'chacchan' (or chew) coca leaf to combat altitude sickness, improve blood flow and acquire greater vitality. In this museum we can find a brief history of these properties and a good collection of party costumes from Puno.

We can also find in the interior several products based on coca leaf, such as liqueurs, sweets, cookies ... and even coca wine.

Coca Museum, Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

Viewpoints of Puno

If we have some time to get to know the city we can go to discover the Cerrito de Huajsapata and the Mirador del Cóndor (viewpoint of the condor), both 10 minutes from the city center and from where we can have beautiful views of the city and Lake Titicaca.

In the Cerro we will find a white image of the first Inca, Manco Cápac, while in the Mirador -as his own name indicates- we will find an enormous condor several meters high.

Condor Viewpoint, Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

The Puma Uta viewpoint (Cougar Viewpoint) is in the northern part of the city and in the Aymara language means the Casa del Puma (The cougar house). Like the condor viewpoint, it has a huge figure of a cougar that presides over the view of Titicaca Lake and the apus (or ancestral gods in the shape of hills) that surround the city: Machallata, Azoquini, Pirhua Pirhuani and Cancharani.

Cougar Viewpoint, Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights


The funerary towers or chullpas of Sillustani are one of the most well-known and visited tourist attractions around Puno, specifically on the Umayo Lake Peninsula (about 40 minutes by bus). In these towers -of various sizes and that we can find elsewhere in the area- the ancient tribe of the colla buried the most notable personalities of the nobility.

The highest chullpa of Sillustani is 12 meters high and in these larger towers families were often buried with the belongings that would accompany them to the beyond. We can still see the small openings through which they entered to leave those belongings and that were later sealed.

The area is surrounded by the beautiful Lake Umayo (3890 masl), where you can see small islands where a great variety of birds nest and graze the vicuñas (camelids similar to llamas).

Buses leave for Sillustani from Puno at 2:30 p.m. for about S / 30, leaving visitors approximately one hour in the ruins of the chullpas. A cheaper option is to take buses that go to Juliaca (S / 5) and ask to get off at the fork to Sillustani.

If we get to Atun Colla, we will find the curiosity of finding edible earth, which is usually used as clay "in sauce" in some foods.

Cutimbo Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

Archaeological Complex of Cutimbo

The chullpas of this Cutimbo site are located 20 km from Puno, on top of an impressive volcanic hill that seems cut with a colossal blade. These chullpas, created by the Colla, Lupaca and Inca cultures, are different from the one we saw in Sillustani because they have a square plant - although we will also find a circular base.

Along with the chullpas we can see the stone ramps that were used for its construction. In the rocks we can see designs of monkeys, cougars and snakes, made by the builders.

Being away from Puno it is recommended to go in groups. First to save money on the journey and second, to avoid possible theft from tourists. A taxi can cost about S/ 70, including a 30-minute-wait for the driver. Another cheaper option is to take a bus to Laraqueri for about S/ 5. These leave from the cemetery next to the Amista Park.

On the way, after about 30 minutes of route, we will see the architectural complex on the left.

Cutimbo Puno, What to see in Puno, Puno main sights

After visiting these tourist attractions, we may want to rest in one of the hotels in Puno or have a drink in their places of march. We have to take strength to know what was considered the'navel of the world': the Imperial City of Cusco.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
April 2018

sábado, 31 de marzo de 2018

7 exotic jungle foods you'll want to try (or not)

In previous posts we talked about the elegant and fancy side of Peruvian gastronomy and the best restaurants in Lima, however, in Peru exist a wide variety of ecosystems that open a huge range of possibilities to the different local cuisines of the country.

Undoubtedly the most extravagant and unknown of the Peruvian 'gastronomic boom' is jungle food. Here are some of the most unusual and unknown local dishes that - if you dare and don't have many objections to new experiences - you will surely want to try.

Churo (Giant snail)

Although in countries such as France, Spain or Portugal, the terrestrial snail is considered a delicacy, in the Amazonian department of San Martín there is a variety of giant river snail (known as churo) that it is very popular for stews based on chilies, onions and tomatoes.

This mollusk is also a great source of iron and protein and a solution to combat anemia and malnutrition in its area of origin. In Lima, some restaurants like Maido have prepared them with an emulsion of dale dale in a gourmet version.

Exotic Jungle Food, Amazonian Food Peru, Jungle Gastronomy

Suri Anticuchos

One of the most emblematic foods of the jungle is the palm worms, know as Suri. Despite the initial rejection that it may provoke at first sight, this type of dish is considered a delicacy in cities of the Amazon like Iquitos or Pucallpa.

Their preparation is very simple and varied, some simply wash and fry them in oil while others prefer to grill them on the grill and place them on a stick like a traditional antique. The most daring dare to eat them raw or even alive.

Giant churo, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Zarapa or Sarapatera Soup

In many parts of South America the turtle is considered a delicacy and Peru could not be left out. In the wetter areas of the Peruvian Amazon we find the motelo turtle, one of the components of the diet of the jungle dweller and a dish that should not be overlooked when visiting this place.

Its meat is prepared in different ways, from grills to stews and among these is the soup Zarapa, which is prepared inside the shell of the animal and is accompanied by grated banana.

Turtle Soup, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Giant ants

Just like you read it: ants. Those insects that gather around your food when you leave it alone for too long are the favorite snack of the people of Moyobamba (San Martin province).

Siquisapas are giant forest living ants that are coveted for their unusual but delicious aroma and flavor. According to kitchen experts, they can also be enjoyed as an appetizer, on pizza or even in exotic drinks.

Giant Ants, giant jungle snail, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Lizard Chicharrón

If you're going to Iquitos, capital of the province of Loreto and a favorite tourist destination in the Amazon region, then you must taste the lizard meat, a common dish among the locals in any corner of the city.

Its most popular presentation is in pork rinds but you can also order it grilled with other protein foods such as venison, chicken or even seafood.  

Lizard Chicharron, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

Roast monkey

Strangely enough, monkey meat is a traditional dish in several parts of the Amazon region of Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. In the market of Belén, in the city of Iquitos, it is possible to discover a passage where we will find a great variety of exotic animals -some of them in extinction- quartered, such as turtles, parrots or monkeys.

The traditional preparation is to skin it and cook it on the grill, being able to bring you the surprise of discovering a leg or an arm on your plate. Not suitable for sensitive stomachs.

*The photos we have discovered on internet are not very nice, so we refrain from putting an image for this dish.

Bushmeat Mazamorra

As well as the popular Peruvian sweet, the purple mazamorra, there is also an exotic version in the Amazon based on monkey, but you can also find it prepared with tapir (or tapir, a kind of Amazonian wild boar), armadillo or even lazy bears depending on the time of year.

Basically, it is a soup thickened with striped green plantains and garnished with roasted yucca and chili peppers. It should be noted that the preparation of this stew is currently based on farmed animals given the ban on the sale of exotic creatures such as those mentioned above.

Bushmeat Mazamorra, jungle gastronomy, curious jungle meals

In the mentioned market of Belén we can ask for the well-known Pasaje Paquito, where there are stalls where they sell from medicinal plants, herbal tonics, to concoctions and aphrodisiac potions and for love.

We can also find other native products of the jungle such as the charapita pepper, the sacha coriander, the sacha potato, or the chonta or palm heart, which is usually used raw for salads, of a pleasant texture.

Without a doubt a whole world of contrasts and an explosion of flavours that we could not imagine. Dare to try it!

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
March 2018

viernes, 16 de marzo de 2018

Tourists were expelled from Machu Picchu for obscene gestures

Believe it or not, the fact that one or more tourists perform obscene acts in Machu Picchu is nothing new and there have been many similar cases.

In the classic postcard that is the most photographed of Machu Picchu (with the Huayna Picchu in the background) have been taken instant several Hollywood stars, there have been hundreds of petitions for hands... But it has also witnessed some"filth" that clearly contravene the ethical rules governing the visit to the wonder of the world.

Tourist expelled from Machu Picchu for obscene acts

On this occasion, three tourists were discovered by the Ministry of Culture's park rangers when they showed their buttocks to other tourists who were passing through the area known as 'La casa del vigía'.

After being intervened by the authorities, the three tourists identified as Gerardo Tobías (21) of German nationality, Noan Reichlin (24) of Swedish nationality and Sjoerd Ten Brinkee (26) of Dutch nationality, were referred to the Aguas Calientes Police Station, where they were warned of their behaviour, forbidding them from entering Machu Picchu until after one year.

Tourist expelled from Machu Picchu for obscene acts

"We very much regret that this type of attitude continues to be taken by bad tourists, we understand that they behave unseemly in other places, but they must respect our monument, because for the people of Cusco and for all Peruvians it is a sacred site," quoted the local newspaper Correo Fernando Astete, head of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park.

The official also regretted that up to now this type of attitude has not been punished effectively or pecuniary, which could discourage other visitors from committing similar actions.

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
March 2018

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2018

Sailing on Lake Titicaca - Bolivia Side

In previous posts we have already talked about the awesome experiences and tourist attractions of sailing on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca and, although this blog is based on the travels to Peru, it seems unfair not to talk about the beauties and main atracctions on the other side of the lake.

To cross the border there are several options, although the safest and most recommended is through Yunguyo, which will take us directly to Copacabana, our base to visit the famous islands of the Sun and Moon, the sacred sites of Andean mythology.

From the land terminal of Puno (between Av. Costanera and Jr. 1 de Mayo), the bus company Ormeño offers services to Copacabana at 7.00 and 7.30 am for about 25/PEN - 8/USD. Or if you wish ,you can follow the road to La Paz from this point.

The journey will stop at the border exchange office for the traveler to complete the obligatory entry formalities. Carry cash and be respectful of control agents. It's not the first time we've heard that some unfortunate commentary has left people without being able to get through or asked for a' bribe'.

If we have more time to travel, another economical option is to take one of the minibuses in the city of Puno that stop in the small towns that are in the outskirts of the Peruvian shore and thus to know its people and their customs.

Among these towns stand out: Ichu, with some beautiful remains of Inca temples; Chucuito, which has some curious stone phallus of more than one meter (where some women sat in search of fertility); Liquina Chico, which has small funerary chullpas; Juli, known as the "Little Peruvian Rome" for its four 16th and 17th century colonial churches; and the town of Pomata, with a beautiful Dominican church on a hill and a viewpoint called Asiru Patjata.


Crossing the border through Yunguyo, we will find the quiet Bolivian town of Copacabana (3841 masl), with approximately 15 thousand inhabitants and large number of businesses focused on tourism. In 6 de Agosto Street there are restaurants of pizzas and fried trout (specialty of Copacabana), exchange offices, banks and travel agencies that offer visits to the well-known islands of the Sun and the Moon.

Copacabana is also known for being a center of pilgrimage, because inside its Basilica (dating from 1601) is the image of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of Bolivia. Inside the temple we will also find the Chapel of the Candles in which miracles of all kinds are requested. In August, thousands of Peruvians and Bolivians carry their cars to be blessed at a well-known popular festival, so caution is advised against possible thefts.

If you have time, you can rent bicycles for about 80/BOB - 12/USD a day and visit the Mount of Calvary, where we will see a beautiful sunset and nearby Inca sites, or Yampupata, about 17 km away on the Sicuani peninsula.

Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun)

According to Andean mythology, the Sun, Manco Capac and his sister-wife Mama Ocllo were born on this island, and later went to Cusco to found the Inca dynasty.

The main tourist attraction is the Inca complex of Chincana in the north of the island, while the south side -along with the community of Yumani- has the Inca staircase and the fortress of Pilkokayna.

In Chincana is located the Rock of the Puma or' Titi Khar' ka', which gave the name to the lake and according to legend, belonged to the body of a puma that devoured the men of the island, making the god Inti (Sun) cry for 40 days and 40 nights, creating the Lake.

Isla de la Luna (Island of the Moon)

About 8 km from the Island of the Sun is located the small Island of the Moon, also known as Coati, considered the second sacred island of the Incas. The most remarkable visit is the Palace of the Virgins or 'Iñak Uyu', where a group of selected women learned various trades such as textile or manufacturing to serve the god Inti or as concubines to the Inca.

On both islands there are simple lodgings where you can spend the night and some restaurants *be aware of the low temperatures in the area. Camping is also allowed on both islands.

There are many agencies in Copacabana that offer the Tour of the two islands for 50/BOB - 7,5/USD, although they do not include payments for the communities in Isla del Sol (10/BOB - 1,5/USD north and 5/BOB - 0,75/USD south) and Isla de la Luna (10/BOB - 1,5/USD).

The departure is at 8.30 am and takes the travelers to Ch' allapampa, in the north of Isla del Sol. On the island there are services of guides, and although they are not obligatory, for 5/BOB - 0,75/USD tips can be very useful to get to the place and learn more about the local history.

A day tour is often criticized as a hasty and poorly organized experience. From Puno you can hire circuits (more expensive) that include food, luxury boats and guides.

Lake Titikaka by Free

You can reach it independently by taking a one-way ferry to Isla del Sol by 10/BOB - 1,5/USD, to Yumani and 15/BOB - 2,25/USD, to Ch' allpampa. We can spend the night there and leave the following day from the northern part of the Moon Island. Ferries depart early in the afternoon from the north of the island.

Departures from Copacabana to Yumani: 08.30 and 13.00 hrs.
Departures from Ch' allpampa to Yumani: 13.30 hrs.
Departures from Copacabana to Ch' allpampa: 13.30 hrs.
Departures from Yumani to Copacabana: 10.30 and 15.30 hrs.

Another option is through the Community Tourism Network of Lake Titicaca, with which we will also be contributing to promote community tourism and paying the same communities.

They offer one-day- to three-day tours on the islands sleeping with local people and their offerings include folk dances, bird watching, storytelling or local food. There is a center of attention in Copacabana, where we can find a museum with valuable information about the communities in the area.

There are no excuses to enjoy a total experience in the waters of Lake Titicaca.

miércoles, 7 de marzo de 2018

5 Best Peruvian Restaurants abroad

Peruvian cuisine has managed to position itself as one of the best gastronomies in the world thanks to the creativity of the new batch of young chefs that emerged from the famous culinary boom of the last decade.

Chefs such as Gastón Acurio, Virgilio Martínez or Jaime Pesaque are already recurring names in prestigious international competitions, which have decided to extend local borders. But there are also other new promises that are timidly and courageously taking on the world's major capitals such as London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Milan.

In this list we leave you 5 of the best Peruvian restaurants that are making people talk in their host countries.

La Mar (Miami)

Located in the Hotel Mandarin Oriental, this restaurant of the famous chef Gastón Acurio offers its guests the opportunity to taste typical Peruvian cuisine in the heart of Florida. It is worth mentioning that La Mar also has a restaurant in Lima that is ranked 15th on the list of Latin America's 50Best Restaurants 2017.

The specialty, as its name indicates, is seafood, fish and seafood dishes. Its flagship dish is the classic Peruvian ceviche, although it has other specialties such as the tiradito Nikkei, shells (vieiras) gratinadas or the airport chaufa.

La Mar Miami, 5 Best Peruvian Restaurants abroad, Peruvian Cuisine

Lima (London)

With the 5th best restaurant in the world and the 2th in Latin America (Central), the success of Virgilio Martinez did not just remain in the southern hemisphere, but dared to take his kitchen to the English capital and in the process won a Michelin star. Lima offers a contemporary version of Peruvian cuisine and its signature dish is octopus in quinoa sauce.

Lima Restaurant London, 5 Best Peruvian Restaurants abroad, Peruvian Cuisine

Above Eleven Bali (Indonesia)

Last July 2017, the first Peruvian food restaurant was inaugurated in Indonesia under the name Above Eleven Bali, which is led by chef Renzo Vaccheli. Offers classic dishes of national cuisine such as lomo saltado, ceviche, anticuchos, and cocktails based on pisco such as pisco sour or chilcanos (pisco & Ginger ale with a touch of lime juice).

The place is located in Jimbaran, Bali Island, with a spectacular view of the bay, the international airport Ngurah Rai and the sunsets. As a consecuence, Above Eleven become one of the top ten best dining spots in the city, according to The RooftopGuide, the guide to the world's best rooftop bars. facebook. com/aboveveelevenbali/

*A few months later, the second Peruvian restaurant, called Henshin, would enter Indonesia, with chef Hajime Kasuga (former chef of Hanzo) in the kitchen.

Above Eleven Indonesia, Mejores restaurantes peruanos en el extranjero, Gastronomía peruana en Indonesia, Best Peruvian Restaurants Abroad

Yakumanka (Barcelona)

After the closure of its two restaurants: Tanta and Astrid & Gastón in Madrid during 2017, the presence of Gastón Acurio in Spain seemed to be in jeopardy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The new proposal of the renowned Peruvian chef arrived in Barcelona at the end of last year to raise the level of national Peruvian cuisine.

Its menu focuses on Peruvian seafood from the coast; in fact the place has that touch of traditional cevichería market that La Mar also have in Lima. The dishes focus in classic fish ceviches, the nikkei tiradito of tuna or the classic causas. A new spot not to miss Gaston's ever-winning kitchen.

Yakumanka Barcelona, Best Peruvian Restaurants Abroad, Gaston Acurio Yakumanka Barcelona

Pacifico (Milan)

The latest restaurant on our list is Pacifico, the latest creation by renowned chef Jaime Pesaque (Mayta), who decided to bring his signature cuisine to Milan in February 2015. This restaurant invites you to taste the fusion of oriental flavors and typical Peruvian cuisine based on seafood. Its star dish is the Asian ceviche.

Pacifico Milan, 5 Best Peruvian Restaurants abroad, Peruvian Cuisine

For next post we will continue to look for the flavor of Peruvian cuisine and the talent of new chefs inherited from innovative culinary techniques in other countries of the world. Stay tuned!

Esteban García, Peru Travels Blog
March 2018

viernes, 2 de marzo de 2018

Sailing on Lake Titicaca

We arrived to one of the most mystical places in Peru and even in the world, Lake Titicaca, whose dark waters -according to the Andean worldview- emerged the sun and the parents of the first Incas: Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo.

Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world (3812 meters above sea level) and with a surface area of 8,562 km² - 56% of which corresponds to Peru and 44% to Bolivia - ranks 19th in the world in terms of territory. As a joke, Peruvians often say that they kept "Titi", leaving the Bolivians "caca" (poop).

The first thing that surprises visitors to reach these spots of Puno is the enormous contrast that exists between the rest of Peru and a place where the Andean culture of the altiplano (shared with Bolivia) is brimming with color and is reflected in the clothes of the women with skirts, small pumps and sandals made of rubber.

On the shores of Puno and the Bolivian border, the Catholic tradition is fervently mixed with the Andean rituals of paying the' Pachamama', in rituals and dances that last until dawn, as in the famous Festividad de la Virgen de la Candelaria -which is celebrated every 27 November- and which was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 2014.

Lake Titicaca Travel Guide

Whether we come by bus from the White City of Arequipa or if we land at the Inca Manco Cápac International Airport (5 km away) in Juliaca, we recommend not stopping too long in this city and continue to Puno. We can take a bus at the same airport for about S/ 20 or from Plaza Bolognesi. The journey from Juliaca to Lake Titicaca takes about an hour.

Lonely Planet's warnings are sometimes alarmist, but in this case we agree with Juliaca's definition of "an ugly, dirty city and, outside the downtown shopping area, dangerous". It is the entry point for most of the smuggling that arrives from the southern border to Peru, so there is a great trade movement on both sides of both countries.

By the way, we will be arriving in a city at 3,826 mnsm, so we recommend caution against altitude sickness. If this is the first visit to Lake Titicaca, we recommend a soft diet based on soup with cooked chicken and mate de hoja de coca (recommended for the altitude), which can be found in all the lodgings in the area.

It is important to know that we are at a point where the minimum temperatures in the winter months (May-August) reach -0 ºC. Note: Remember to wear warm clothing, use sunscreen, sunglasses and Vaseline, cocoa butter or similar for lip care.

In the Juliaca´s surrounding - to mention just a few - we have some very charming points of interest, such as Lampa (36 km northeast), in whose church of Santiago Apostol there is a replica of Michelangelo's Piety that the Vatican used to reconstruct the original after the 1972 bombing; Pucará (60 km northwest), known for its colorful handicrafts and famous ceramic toritos; Ayaviri (100 km northwest) with a lively market and its hot springs of Pojpojquella, open to tourists; and Abra la Raya (100 km), mountain pass to 4.470 mnsm and the highest point of the route to Cusco.

In this post we will focus on the islands on the Peruvian side of the Titicaca, leaving the well-known Sun and Moon Islands on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca for the next post.

Uros floating islands

These islands are the main attraction of Lake Titicaca. They are easily accessible in about 30 minutes through several organized tours or by a ferry departing from the port to Uros every hour from 6am to 4pm. The most striking thing about these islands is that they are built with totora, a reed that grows under the waters and with which the settlers also make their houses, their totora horses (small boats that cross the lake) and even the craftsmanship they sell to tourists.

Nowadays these islands are inhabited by Aymara people, after the almost disappearance of the Uru ethnic group, one of the oldest pre-Inca civilizations, which is said to have settled in Titicaca to escape the invasion of the Inca Pachacútec. If you wish to stay in Uros you can contact a small company run by Cristina Suaña, which offers sleeping with her and her family, as well as other traditional activities with the community.

Taquile Island

The small Taquile Island has about 7 km² and a population of about 350 families. Unlike the rest of the Lake islands that are Aymara, its inhabitants speak Quechua, which differentiates them and gives them a greater group identity. They manage their own tours, host tourists and try to preserve their ancestral customs. From Puno to Taquile it will take us about 3 hours to reach Taquile Island.

It is known worldwide for its textile works, the main economic source of its inhabitants. Among the island's traditions, men wear wool hats that they weave themselves, where red means they are married and red and white means they are single. The women also embroider delicate embroidered blouses, girdles and costumes that can be purchased at the Taquile cooperative store.

To climb up to the top of the village you have to climb 567 steps - which in good physical condition will take 20 minutes to climb - and from whose heights you can have a beautiful view of the lake. To get in or out of the island there are ferries that leave from Puno at 6.00 and 7.45 am and return at 5.30 pm.

Amantaní Island

Also known as the "Island of Love", it is the largest island in Lake Titicaca and is located north of Taquile. Amantaní Island has no hotels and lodging is accomplished by the own settlers, who welcome tourists with dancing, music and local gastronomy. The price of accommodation is usually around S/40 and rotates between the houses of the islanders.

This experience is without doubt the best way to feel the local lifestyle. The island has no cars, motorcycles or any other type of vehicle, and you must walk up the 300 meters of the slopes that will take us to the sanctuary of Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth), which remain from the culture Tiahuanaco, a mainly Bolivian culture that took places between 200 BC and 1,000 AD.

Suasi Island

This tiny island located at the other end of the lake is the only private island of Titicaca and is perfect if you want to rest, enjoy nature, walk or raft. It is famous for its exclusive Hotel Isla Suasi******* of Casa Andina, the only lodging in the area, which offers all the comforts to fully enjoy a luxury experience in Lake Titicaca. The double room rounds the S/ 740 (€ 200), but guests' opinions are unanimous in describing their stay as a "magical" moment in a paradisiacal setting.

In the next post we will discover the city of Puno and its peculiar festivities like the Virgen de la Candelaria, in which bands of music play all night while its inhabitants stomp and drinking beer until dawn.