Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America which is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. After flying into the capital LIMA, you will notice that like any major city, high rises monopolize the skyline. The colonial centre is still visible and provides a quick glimpse into the past.
But when we think of Peru of course we think of Machu Picchu and for some the Nazca Lines – famous for the geometric drawings in the desert. Discovered by a Peruvian archaeologist in 1926, the lines and bird shapes are virtually impossible to identify from ground level. They were only first brought to light with the advent of flight in the 1930’s.
Colca Canyon is the Condor capital of Peru. If you are a bird enthusiast or simply inspired by these powerful creatures, to just gaze upon the Condor is incredibly gratifying. The remote Condor Valley villages with their terraced agriculture predate the Incas.
Flying from Colca to Cusco in readiness for the assault on Machu Picchu covers a large amount of territory. As we cross the Andes Mountains it conjures up images of the Inca Gods and pots of gold being hidden away in the many shadowy recesses beneath us.
The journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu can be undertaken in many different ways. The train is a local one in itself with the locals smiling all the way and engaging you in conversations about their Llama and crop growing. Another suggestion is to take a bus to Ollantatambo then the train to Aguas Callientas where we spend the night before bussing it to Machu Picchu the next day.
Lake Titicaca is a highly visited tourist spot covering some 8300 square kilometres. As the largest lake in South America, not counting Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, it divides Peru and Bolivia. Approximately 60% of the lake is in Peru and 40% of the lake is in Bolivia. Titicaca is the ancestral land of the Quechuas, Aymaras, Uros, Pacajes, and Puquinas. Lake Titicaca was the foundation of the most influential pre-Hispanic cultures of the Andean Region.
Food in Peru can range from exotic to good basic staple. Throughout there is a wide variety of potato dishes (papas, not patatas as in Spain), the traditional Andean vegetable. Papa a la Huancaina is a tasty dish of potato slices and diced boiled egg topped with a thin, creamy yellow sauce, and usually includes a lettuce leaf and an olive or two. (A similar green sauce, called Ocopa, can be served over potatoes or yuca.) Papa rellena is mashed potato reformed into a potato-like shape, but with meat, vegetables, and other spicy filling in the middle. Aji de gallina is shredded chicken in a thick, spicy, cheese-based sauce over sliced potatoes, often with an olive and slice of hard-boiled egg. Causa is mashed potato layered with mayonnaise-based tuna or chicken salad mixed with hot peppers. Many Peruvian dishes can be very spicy and heavy, so if you have a weak stomach, proceed with caution.
I recommend Chimu Adventures based in Mooloolaba for your South American adventure.
Happy travelling – Deanne.