LIMA, PERU: This is a country full of opposites, on almost every corner one finds another Inca ruin and, in the towns, the colonial influence on architecture is clearly visible. Nature has so many different facets as one would not expect in just one country.
When traveling from west to east, one starts at the coast with its wonderful, deserted sandy beaches with a view to the desert with its impressive, endlessly appearing dunes. A bit further to the east lie the Andes, with snowy summits and immense height differences and the rain forest spread out in the East. Only on account of the size of the country, the different climate zones and long distances, Peru is not a country for a short trip – instead of scouring the “highlights” in one week only, it is worthwhile finding time and to dive deeper into the culture and return with a suitcase full of impressions.
Rain forest. Travelers are captivated by the rain forest: a completely different and diverse flora and fauna expects travelers when visiting the Amazon region and Puerto Maldonado. The Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica offers wonderful cabañas with river view, own hammock, a newly built spa and tasty, regional food. A highlight is, however, the guided tours in the surroundings, the guides are trained extremely well and know answers to questions. Whether a boat tour with animal observation on the Lake Sandoval, a tour to the ecological fruit farm (of course including degustation) or the visit of an animal sanctuary: there is a wide variety of tours.
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World cultural heritage. Most visitors spend only one or at most two nights in Aguas Calientes – just enough to be able to explore the world cultural heritage Machu Picchu. Thereby it is absolutely worthwhile to include more time for the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Here travelers are near enough and yet far away from the hustle and bustle of the small touristic village and can enjoy relaxation surrounded by the nature which can be discovered joining various tours: 372 different orchid kinds of which some can only be seen with a magnifying glass, hummingbirds and the special Andes bear’s protection project are only some examples. By the way, guests can book a tour to the Machu Picchu in the hotel and visit the ruins with the well qualified guides.
Cultural and natural highlights. From Cuzco it takes approximately one hour to reach Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley with its wonderful mountains, Inca ruins, mountain lakes and small villages waits to be discovered. The ruins of Moray and the endlessly applying salt mining terraces of Maras can be well explored with a combined excursion. A specific highlight is the visit of the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco through the organization the women have a secure job and improve their living conditions.
Beside all the excursions the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is however, also a highlight: From the generous Cabañas with terrace one enjoys an impressive view of the mountains, the restaurant serves dishes according to the Earth-to-Table-Concept using food from the own organic garden.
Oasis in La Casona. The former capital of the Inca’s empire is known to many people, at least, because it is visited as a stopover on the way to Machu Picchu. However, the town has to offer much more. Ecologically friendly one can spend the night at the small boutique hotel Inkaterra La Casona: When the heavy wooden front door shuts, one feels in a quiet oasis in the middle of the lively town. The historical building from the 16th century was renovated ecologically and today offers eleven suites. The nice preserved wooden carvings, for example, on the doors and the balcony railing, as well as some antique pieces of furniture are relics from long gone times which characterize the charm of the La Casona.
The dark side. Machu Picchu is the most popular attraction and you probably have to be deaf, blind and without internet access to not have heard about this ancient Inca ruins voted among the Seven New World Wonders. Every year a million visitors pave their way into the Peruvian hinterland as the picture perfect. But Machu Picchu also has a dark side, a very rainy, foggy and crowded side, which is crawling with mosquitoes! Big crowds can turn the adventure of a lifetime in a very bad experience.