Tag Archives: Peru

City Escape: A Yoga Retreat in Peru

During my numerous vacations and road trips in Peru, I have had the chance to explore the country’s most famous destinations, as well as some of its hidden gems. This has only deepened my love and understanding of the country’s historical, cultural, and natural wonders. Peru has many different climates that offer a perfect escape from busy city life: the lush green Amazon, white sandy beaches along the Pacific coast, the Sacred Valley in the Andes mountains, and so much more.

When I packed my bags and decided to move to Peru, live in Lima, and get married to my Peruvian husband, I struggled to find a yoga studio where I could maintain my daily practice. In 2012, yoga was not very popular in Peru’s capital city (Lima); most people had no idea what it was. Over the years, this has changed and today, there is an growing yoga community, with numerous yoga studios, yoga fan-pages on Facebook, and many opportunities to go on a yoga retreat.

Also as part of my travels and experiences, I completed my RYT200h Hatha teacher training in the Sacred Valley. Ever since, I have wanted nothing more than to share and combine my two passions: yoga and travelling.

The idea to start hosting yoga retreats came about when I travelled for the first time to the north of Peru to visit my husband’s family. The family villa just seemed like a perfect place: a white house with a pool, located on the top of a hill, with ocean views and sounds, and a white sandy beach.

This year, the opportunity came up: two of my favorite yoga teachers were organising a retreat and hadn’t found a place to host it. I was very happy, excited, and a little nervous: I wanted everything to be perfect for my yogi guests, and I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and relax.

None of the guests had any specific dietary requirements, but I planned a vegetarian menu, with some fish options. During our 4-day retreat, the menu included a variety of homemade almond and coconut milks, flavored water, smoothies, iced tea, hummus and guacamole, fresh salads, an abundance of fruits and homemade desserts.

The retreat included yoga twice a day, enjoying the sun and the beach, snorkelling with turtles. We were a group of 12 women and the feminine energy and connections offered us beautiful moments. It was the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the craziness of everyday life in the city and reconnect with one’s inner self.

5 Favourite Coffee Shops in Lima

Coffee in Peru has its history… but in the last few decades, it has mainly focused on exportation. Many locals throughout the country prefer to drink the Nescafe powder instead of good coffee in the French press for instance. 

When I came for the first time in 2009, it was really difficult to have a good cup of Joe. One thing that was weird to me was this coffee extract they mix with hot water. 

However, in the last two years, especially in Lima, there has been an explosion of small coffee shops and barista schools. 

So here it is, when you come to Lima, these are the coffee shops I have found that are low key, have a nice vibe, but can also make a really good cup of coffee.

El pan de la chola
I have loved this place ever since it had only a few tables. Now, although the space has considerably grown, I know I can always get a cappuccino exactly the way I love it.

Green Coffee/Cafe Verde
Green Coffee also does its own roasting. The small space always smells delicious, and they provide coffee for other shops, like El pan de la chola. 

Arabica
Arabica offers a really nice ambiance, and delicious coffee. I always ask for a double macciatto here.

Agora
Right near Parque Kennedy, in the heart of Miraflores, this small cafe allows you to sit outside and watch all the people walking by. Although it is not the most quiet place, it is perfect to meet with friends and their coffee is delicious!

Puku Puku
Puku Puku has two coffee shops and one is right near the Marriott and Larcomar in Miraflores. It is very tiny, but they promote organic coffee from the Andes and the Amazon.

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4 must-see sites in Chachapoyas

It was pitch black outside, the long  and winding route drove us off into the unknown. We knew our destination was Chachapoyas, but little did we know what to really expect. As we stumbled down the bus, eyes burning, necks hurting and tired, we could see the sun rise slowly onto a beautiful, colonial city. We walked on the cobble stone streets and finally arrived to our hotel. The city of Chachapoyas was the sixth city founded by the Spanish on Sept 5th of 1538. It is located in between the mountains and the jungle.

After a quiet breakfast, it was time to explore! We soon realized that there are SOOO many things to do and that it would be difficult to choose what we would do for the next four days: from day trips, to cultural sites, or to several day hikes: Chachapoyas has it all. In total, there are approximately 670 sites that have yet to be discovered.
The best part? Not many tourists! Maybe this is because the journey to get to Chachapoyas is quite an experience in itself, or maybe because it is not much talked about and maintains a certain mystery.

In order to discover a little more, and to make your travel planning a little easier, here are 4 must-see sites in Chachapoyas:

  • Kuelap

Kuelap is known as the “Machu Picchu” of the Chachapoyas culture. The day we went it was raining the whole morning, but the pre-inca archeological site is impressive.

Kuelap

  • Gocta Waterfall

Spend the day with nature as you hike for about 5km to get to the beautiful waterfall, known as Gocta. Depending on the time of the year, there may be little water (like in my photos), or the waterfall can be very full. It is the third longest in the world and is 771m high.

Gocta

  • Revash

Our guide explained that they are not quite sure where the idea came from to build the small houses in the mountains. The mausoleum of Revash is a site where the people’s bodies were deposited (they were not buried, just deposited). This site is very unique because it is the only one in Peru and in South America.

Revash

 

  • Karajía Sarcophagus 

These sarcophagus are very unique because the mummies inside are in a fetal position. Only those of high ranking were deposited here as an honour. The sarcophagus are about 2.5m high, they are a little far; you can see them, but if you have a good camera zoom or extra lens, then even better!

Karajia

Nasca lines: What you need to know

The Nasca Lines are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the world (since 1994). These geoglyphs can only be seen when flying over the the Nasca desert in Peru.

The lines were created by the Nasca culture between 500BC and 500AD. The figures include various animal and bird shapes (the dog, whale, monkey, parrot, heron bird and humming bird) as well as some human figures (astronaut, hands).

Although people like Maria Reiche have dedicated their lives to studying the Nasca lines, the main question still remains: Why are they there?
Also you may visit the house and museum of Maria Reiche to know more about the lines and her life studying them.

This place is mysterious and impressive. If you are planning to go to the south of Peru, make Nasca one of your stops.

Here is what you need to know about flying over the Nasca lines:

– If you fly in the morning, there is less wind and the plane moves less.

– Eat very lightly before embarking

– I recommend going with the company: MovilAir They are very professional and the pilots speak very good English.

 

Top 3 dining restaurants in Arequipa

Arequipa, also known as the white city, is located at 2300m above sea level. The center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city is surrounded by the Chachani, Misti, and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.

After a few times in the city of Arequipa, here are my top 3 dining restaurants in Arequipa. Treat yourself for a little fancy night out at these spots:

Chicha. Another restaurant by the infamous chef Gaston Acurio in Arequipa. The creative pisco drinks are delicious and very well presented. The menu is different from the other Chicha restaurants in Cusco and Lima. The specialty that you will only find at this restaurant is the pig elbow with potatoes and a baked apple.

Zig Zag. A menu that blends gastronomy from the Alps with Andean flavours. A nice choice of wine, various tapas (including cheeses from Europe and the Andes), and original plates. For example, share the asparagus with cheese and lemon or the taboule with quinoa, mango and avocado with a nice bottle of wine.

Sol de Mayo. Located near the yanahuara lookout point, this typical “picantería” from the city of Arequipa. Typical foods include: chupe de camarones (A big shrimp soup), cuy chancado (fried guinea pig), and anything else with shrimp from the Chili river.

Adventures in the Peruvian Amazon

Flying over the mountainous greenness, we slowly lowered down into the Amazon and came to a landing. As I stepped off the plane, onto the taxi and hit the road to our hotel, the humidity and heat entered my body and I felt taken over by all of my senses and surroundings. It did not take me long to realize that I was setting off on a new path filled with new experiences, discoveries and secrets that were hidden in the Amazon. The next day, we took a tour to the Blue Lagoon, approximately 50km away from the city. It was approximately a 2-hour drive, on some paved and some unpaved road. The most impressive mode of transport I have yet seen was the ferry used to cross the lake; its rudimentary appearance also a little worrisome, managed to bring people and other motor vehicles across the river. While we waited, young men with boas around their necks asked us if we wanted to take a picture with the long reptile, whose mouth was shut tightly. We refused, not being supporters of these anti-ecological business practices.

We arrived at the Blue Lagoon and admired its blue reflection with the sun. We were offered an Amazonian pizza made with a type of banana, cheese and meat and after a swim in the lake we had lunch.

Other touristic attractions that can be done near Tarapoto are the Ahuashiyacu falls, visiting local communities in Lamas and the chocolate factories, as well as trying any fresh fruit juices and typical regional food.

Regional food: Juane de Gallina, de chonta; Patarashca; Tacacho; Timbuche (fish soup)

Huaca Rajada, Sipan

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Saliendo de Chiclayo, pasando por el valle de Lambayeque a unos 30km de la ciudad, se encuentra el pueblo de Sipán, y la Huaca Rajada, sitio considerado uno de los descubrimientos arqueológicos más importantes de los últimos 30 años. La palabra Sipán, es un término Mochica que significa Casa o Templo de la Luna o Casa de los Señores.

En el 1987, los huaqueros encontraron y robaron una tumba real, después de lo cual Water Alva empezó la excavación del sitio. La Antigua plataforma de adobe se compone dos grandes construcciones piramidales de más de 30 metros de altura, las cuales eran, en su época, un importante santuario religioso.

La cultura Mochica se extendía entre Piura en el norte, hasta Huarmey en el sur, entre los siglos I y VII. Para los Mochicas, la muerte no era el final, sino que uno seguía viviendo en otra esfera del mundo; razón por la cual los muertos eran enterrados con ofrendas, sus bienes personales, y también con las personas importantes de su vida, como sus mujeres, hijos, o también con perros y/o llamas.

En el Museo de Sitio de Huaca Rajada se pueden ver los esqueletos y los objetos encontrados en las tumbas del Sacerdote Guerrero y el Noble Mochica. Los objetos importantes y las ofrendas que se encontraron en las tumbas eran ornamentos, tocados, narigueras, orejeras, collares, y atuendos de oro, plata, conchas y spondylus, cobre dorado y piedras semi-preciosas como turquesas.  También se encontraron varias cerámicas con las representaciones de las creencias de los Mochicas y materiales audiovisuales que explican el dessarrollo de ésta cultura norteña. Éstos encuentros son importantes en ayudar a conocer y entender el nivel de desarrollo, la organización socio-politica y el pensamiento religioso y espiritual de una de las culturas pre-incas más importantes.

Dirección:

Complejo Arqueológico de Huaca Rajada

Campiña Huaca Rajada s/n, Zaña

Lambayeque – Perú

Tarifas:

Adultos y extranjeros:                              S/  8.00

Estudiantes Educ.Sup. y jubilados:      S/  3.00

Escolares y Niños:                                     S/  1.00

Más información, visita: http://www.museotumbasrealessipan.pe/