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AREQUIPA :: COLCA CANYON :: CUSCO :: LAKE TITICACA (PUNO) :: LIMA :: MACHU PICCHU :: NAZCA LINES (PARACAS) :: PUERTO MALDONADO :: SACRED VALLEY
Dating back to the 16th century, Peru's "White City" sits at the foot of the Mount Misti volcano in the western Andes. Beautiful Arequipa's historic center is a showcase of colonial-era Spanish architecture, built from pearly white "sillar" volcanic rock and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. A cultural oasis, travelers enjoy the Spanish-influenced cuisine as well as views of the magnificent nearby Inca terraces, and visits to two of the world's deepest canyons, the Valley of the Volcanoes, and several beaches.
Known as the Lost Valley of the Incas and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon in southern Peru is home to spectacular scenery, beautiful pre-Columbian terraces still cultivated by the locals, and awe-inspiring Andean Condors. Condors' Cross, where condors soar gracefully on the rising thermals, is definitely an area highlight. In addition to the canyon: relax at La Calera hot springs; watch for wolves, vicuñas, flamingoes, and taruca at the Aguada Blanca National Reserve; and maybe join a rafting trip on the Rio Colca for exquisite views from the river up the canyon walls.
Hailed as the capital of the Inca Empire from 1200-1532 AD, Cusco is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city-and its ancient influences are palpable, even today. One of the most visited cities in the country, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Graced with well preserved colonial architecture, the imposing cathedral and San Blas Church are just two of Cusco's highlights. By simply strolling along the cobblestone streets, layers of history are revealed. Spanish colonial buildings sitting directly atop ancient Inca walls line the plaza, and the city is surrounded by ruins, including the impressive Sacsayhuaman.
Shared by Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is South America's largest lake and the world's highest navigable body of water (over 12,500 feet above sea level). A sacred place among the people who live on and around the lake, Titicaca's memorable attractions include beautiful Taquile Island, known for its outstanding handcrafted textiles; and the incredible Uros Floating Islands, made completely of reeds, which are continually added by residents as the old ones disintegrate to the bottom of the lake.
Founded by Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Peru's largest city and capital is a fascinating place to visit. Lima's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is peppered with pre-Columbian temples and remnants of colonial mansions with lavish, Moorish-style balconies. Must-see attractions include the Government Palace, and the San Francisco Monastery and Cathedral of Lima, which are said to be connected by their underground catacombs. Lima is also popular for its beaches (in the summertime) and is celebrated as the "Gastronomical Capital of the Americas."
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Lima. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Lima and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Lima insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
I was born in Lima, Peru, and you can still find me there today welcoming visitors. I am proud to introduce Peru’s cultural diversity and stunning geography. I find it most gratifying when visitors keep returning to see more of Peru, as this country is like no other.
The world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian art is housed in this museum. Marvel at the 45,000 pieces of ceramics, textiles, and jewelry from the Moche Dynasty.
The setting here is as delightful as the Peruvian cuisine. Dine in a 350-year-old colonial mansion adorned with paintings on loan from the Institute of Culture.
For a bite on the run, this gourmet market is the place to go. Grab a salad or sandwich to go, or if you have the time, linger over the passion fruit tart in the café.
Peru is famous for its ceviche—a dish of seafood marinated in citrus juices and served with roasted corn and onions. Canta Rana serves some of the best in Lima.
For handicrafts made in Peru, this shop in Miraflores offers a unique collection of weavings, ceramics, and silver.
Peru’s most famous cocktail is the Pisco Sour , made from Pisco, a regional grape brandy. You can enjoy one on the garden patio of this watering hole in the Barranco neighborhood. Occupying an old house overlooking the ocean, the setting is as great as the drink.
This neighborhood in Lima holds South America’s largest Chinese community. Visit any number of the neighborhood’s chifas for Chinese cuisine with a Peruvian twist.
You can’t visit Lima without seeing at least one peña—a show at a criollo music club with inspiring vocal and dance performances. This criollo club, named after a famous Peruvian song, offers a terrific show.
It’s difficult to maintain your exercise routine on vacation. It’s even more difficult in a traffic-heavy city like Lima. The biking and jogging paths along the malecón in Miraflores offer a great way to get some exercise and see the city at the same time.
Experience the grandeur of this 1927 hacienda-style hotel. Enjoy afternoon tea under the light of elegant chandeliers as a pianist offers enjoyable background music.
Enjoy the National Museum, where impressive halls exhibit the most important aspects in the development of ancient Peru. Exhibits include replicas of archaeological sites, engravings and dioramas, and an extensive collection of ancient material.
Built around 700 AD as a temple for the worship of the sun god, Pachacamac, it housed an oracle that is believed to be one of the main pilgrimage centers in pre-Columbian Peru and on a par with Cuzco. Pilgrims flocked here from far away to worship Pachacamac, who was believed to be the creator of the world and its creatures. The site includes palaces, plazas, and temples that have been painstakingly restored. The on-site museum has a collection of local relics.
Every major city has its bohemian district—where all the artists and musicians hang out—and for Lima, this district is Barranco. The advantage of Barranco is that it combines all this with being a fashionable beach resort too. Originally a playground and place to spend the summer for the old aristocracy of Lima, the district is a cluster of houses, shops, and restaurants in and around a ravine near a cliff overlooking the beach. In Barranco, it is relatively easy to find a place to sip a coffee or a beer while enjoying a fine view over the ocean.
Sail to the islands of Callao. First see the yachts, warships, and merchant ships at anchor in Callao Bay. Then sail over "El Camotal" into the open sea, and observe sunken and stranded ships. Pass the Isle of San Lorenzo—with its long history going back to pre-Columbian times. There are fishing boats at work and many colonies of sea birds and Humboldt penguins. The farthest point on the trip is Palomino Island, home to a large number of seals and sea lions. In a wetsuit, you can swim among them, as they have no predators—it is an unforgettable and emotional moment. Then start your voyage back through impressively shaped islets and rocks.
No more than 25 km to the south of Lima is a little-known hacienda where you can experience nature on the coast, ancestral customs, links with the Inca past, and the incomparable Peruvian paso horse. (Only Tuesday)
This warm and chic modern, colonial dining room is hidden discreetly on a busy side street leading to Parque Central in the Miraflores district. The restaurant has high, white-peaked ceilings and orange walls decorated with colorful modern art—the products of local art students. At the back is an open kitchen, where one of the owners, Gastón, can be seen cooking with his staff. The place is sophisticated but low-key—a description that could fit most of its clients, who all seem to be regulars. The menu might be called "criollo-Mediterranean" with a light Peruvian touch.
Hidden high in the Peruvian Andes is one of the most enigmatic sites from the ancient world-the legendary "Lost City of the Incas." Invisible from below, Machu Picchu was completely self-sufficient, with natural springs and agricultural terraces to sustain the people who called it home. Among the remarkably well preserved structures are palaces, temples, baths, storage rooms, and about 150 residences. Little is known about the Inca's use or daily life here, but many believe one of Machu Picchu's primary roles was as an astronomical observatory. Today, this extraordinary place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Monograms provides traveler’s access to a Local Host, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Machu Picchu. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host about Machu Picchu and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host will share local Machu Picchu insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Hi, I’m Betty. I am not only a professional guide in Peru, but also a teacher—which really goes hand in hand. I have been guiding people for over 25 years and love showcasing my country to all visitors. History, archeology, and gastronomy are just a few of my favorite topics, and I enjoy introducing them to my guests. I invite you to come and discover Peru, a fascinating country with so much to offer!
Known as the "Riddle in the Sand," the mysterious Nazca Lines are a collection of about 300 large ancient geoglyphs etched in the Nazca Desert near Peru's southern coast. Some measuring as large as 660 feet across, the figures range from simple lines and geometric shapes to more intricate designs resembling birds, animals, fish, and humans. Who built them and what was their purpose? Some argue they make up a giant astronomical calendar. Others say they're a landing strip for UFOs. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, many scholars ascribe religious significance to them and believe they were created by the Nazca people between 400 and 650 AD.
Situated in southeastern Peru in the Amazon forest just west of the Bolivian border is Puerto Maldonado, capital of Madre de Dios and the gateway to the Amazon Jungle. Home to some of the most pristine primary rainforest in the world, the area features many nature attractions, like Tambopata National Reserve, Manú and Bahuaja-Sonene National Parks, oxbow lakes, and clay licks, where hundreds of parrots and macaws perch to eat clay every day. Visitors have a great opportunity here to encounter some of the world's most flourishing plant life and fascinating wildlife, including endangered giant river otters, tapirs, maned wolves, caimans, monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, 575 bird species, and 1,200 species of butterflies.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, or Urubamba Valley, is situated between Cusco and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. It was an important region for the Incas, and numerous archaeological ruins can be found throughout the valley. With its numerous rivers, it served as a major agricultural point for the Inca Empire and even today, it continues as an agricultural center for native Andean crops such as corn. It is a jumping off point for visiting Machu Picchu, and other nearby ruins include those at the old Incan town of Ollantaytambo, with its impressive examples of Inca masonry. Pisac sits at the eastern end of the valley and is famous for its market, where visitors can bargain for local goods.
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