From Latin America

Machu Picchu – 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Too

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 26, 2011

Have you heard of Machu Picchu? If not, you’ve probably never heard of Peru, or South America! Machu Picchu is a famous Inca Citadel located in the Andes mountains of Peru.

It is a destination that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists a year on Peru vacations. Here are five reasons why you should follow in their footsteps and go and see Machu Picchu for yourself.

One of the 7 wonders of the world
In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the new ‘Seven Wonders Of The World’ in a worldwide internet poll involving millions of people. Other sites included the Taj Mahal in India, Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Italy and the Great Wall of China in…China.

If there was ever a place to see before you die, Machu Picchu is globally recognized as one of your best options.

An incredible setting
2,430 meters above sea level on a mountain ridge in cloud forest, Machu Picchu was hard to find and was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors. Despite improved access for the high numbers of tourists, visitors can still get a sense of the remoteness of the site.

Visitors to the site can stare down over dizzying drops to the Urubamba river that churns through a deep valley surrounding the site. Peaks rise up on all sides, covered in thick vegetation. There is no substitute for visiting Machu Picchu and getting a true sense of what it must have been like for the Inca inhabitants hundreds of years ago.

Adventurous access – the Inca Trail
Machu Picchu isn’t just a site, it is a destination. For travelers with a sense of adventure and a desire to test their legs, Machu Picchu can be accessed by a 3 or 4 day trek along a section of the ancient Inca highway known as the Inca Trail.

The route passes through cloud forest and Andean tundra, climbing over 4000 meters on mountain passes in full view of snow-capped peaks. It is impressive, which is why it books out quickly – if you’re interested, get in touch with a tour operator at least 3 months in advance to reserve your space.

See it while it is still around
On the World Monuments Fund 2008 list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, Machu Picchu showed up. With the number of annual visitors in the order of hundreds of thousands, the site is degrading under the physical effects of so many tourists.

Geological surveys on the site have revealed that certain areas are in danger of collapsing – if you want to visit one of the most iconic sites on the planet, you may not have much time left.

See the classic photo for yourself
Almost everyone has seen the famous photo of Machu Picchu – the Inca ruins perched on top of a mountain ridge with the impressive steep slopes of Huayna Picchu mountain in the background.

However, no photo can give you the full impression of the site. The only way you’ll ever appreciate the majesty of Machu Picchu is to visit it for yourself!

Have you been to Machu Picchu? What did you think?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 25, 2011

Sometimes clichés really do say it best, and expect the unexpected does the job when trying to describe our Peru experience. When we booked our vacation with Escaped to Latin America we harbored the usual, reasonable expectations:  that our flights would be reserved properly—they were; the hotel staff wouldn’t be surprised to see us when we showed up—they weren’t; we would enjoy learning about a country we’d never visited before—we did; and the memory card on the camera would be chock full of amazing photos—it was. Having our expectations met is certainly notable but in the end, it was what we weren’t expecting that made our trip unforgettable.

 We didn’t expect our driver, Eduardo, to stay with us until we were safely checked in to our hotel, or wait in line with us the next day at the airport until he was satisfied we were properly checked in for our flight to Cusco and had waved us through security with paternal concern.

 We didn’t expect a personal meeting with Freddy, our Inca Trail guide, the night before our trek. He came to see us at our hotel, got to know each of us, made sure we were physically and mentally prepared for the trek, and patiently answered all of our questions.

 We didn’t expect to have Freddy anda bevy of porters all to ourselves, anticipating and attending to our every need for the entire trek; we didn’t expect every meal to be a multi-course extravaganza that was so delicious we asked our cook, Dimitri, if he would come home with us and be our personal chef (he politely declined); and we certainly didn’t expect to wake up every morning and have a steaming cup of coca tea handed to us before we got out of our sleeping bags.

 From the planning stages with Zara who catered to our every request and patiently customized our trip exactly the way we wanted it; the many tour guides like Philippe and Silvia who engagingly shared Peru’s cultural and historical delights with us; our nightly chats with Freddy, when we played cards, learned new ‘Quechuan words, and exchanged cultural anecdotes; to our exit team that handled last minute travel glitches with calm professionalism; our escape to Peru far exceeded our expectations.

 We thoroughly enjoyed the culture and people of Peru and anticipate more opportunities to travel in Latin America. When we do start planning that next adventure, the first item on our ‘to do’ list will be contact Escaped to Latin America; and we will definitely be expecting the unexpected.

7 Things To Avoid On A Peru Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 20, 2011

Peru is an incredible travel destination, which is why so many people take Peru vacations and Peru tours every year. But just like anywhere else in the world, Peru has its problems. If you’re taking Peru vacations, here are seven things that you should be careful to avoid.

1) Getting denied entry
Conditions are always changing in Latin America to be able to visit a country, and Peru is no exception. International relations, disease outbreaks and changes in regulations can mean that even if you book a flight to Peru you won’t necessarily be allowed to enter the country. Check your government website for visa and vaccination requirements at least a couple of months before your departure date to make sure the Peruvian government has no reason to keep you out.

2) Health scares
Health problems can come in all shapes and sizes, from physical injuries to getting malaria. The best option is to have as many situations as possible covered and to make sure that you have travel insurance to cover medical emergencies and repatriation. Be sure to check the small print on your policy to find out what you’re really covered for and what you must do in the event of a claim.

3) Pick-pockets
Peru has some great markets like the Witches market in Chiclayo or the popular market in Pisac near Cusco. However if you are negotiating a crowded market place you could be the victim of pick-pocketing, something that frequently happens to tourists. When out and about be sure to leave your valuables in a secure place back at your hotel. Any essentials that you must carry should be in a money belt under layers of clothing. Also try not to flash money or valuable objects around in public as this will attract the attention of thieves.

4) Stomach trouble
Traveller’s belly has soured a few Peru vacations over the years. The best way to avoid sickness is by being careful about what you eat, and particularly the water. Tap water in Peru is not drinkable, so stick to bottled water and avoid ice and foods such as salads that can be washed in tap water.

5) Altitude sickness
Peru’s mountainous regions are spectacular but very, very high! To avoid getting altitude sickness try not to make big jumps in altitude over short time periods. If that can’t be avoided, make sure you plan a few rest days at higher altitude before attempting any exercise. Try to avoid alcohol and drink lots of water to stay well hydrated in your first few days at altitude.

6) Large bills of money
A common problem in Peru is the lack of small change that people have. Even trying to use a relatively small note to pay for something may create problems for many store-owners. Try to carry money in small denominations – you can change large bills at banks or when making bigger purchases.

7) High tourist season
The problem with being a popular tourist destination is that there are a lot of tourists in Peru! Businesses tend to raise their prices around the times of year that lots of tourists visit and popular sites can be very busy. If you would like a quieter vacation try to avoid the months of July and August and mid-December to mid-January.

What other things should be avoided in Peru? Is there anything else that you should be careful about?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Tours – Custom Designed Vs Group Tours

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 19, 2011

If you’re considering options for Peru tours, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice. Something that can narrow things down for you is deciding between a custom designed vacation or a group tour. This article explains the differences and the benefits of each option so you can choose the best one for you.

Group Peru tours – what are they?
Group tours are fixed routes with set dates that are filled by travel agents or tour operators. They generally have a large capacity and the people booking onto the tour will not know the other travelers in the group (unless a large group books together and fills up the tour).

What are the benefits of group Peru tours?
Lower cost – as many people are doing the same thing, it should normally be possible for the tour agency or tour operator to get a lower price for the tour per person particularly when using larger chain hotels.

Good for visiting very popular sites – most countries where tourism is popular like Peru, have sites that everyone visits such as Machu Picchu. If you’d like to base your trip around these sites and don’t mind a fairly generic visit and the possibility of being in a crowd, group tours can be a good option for you.

Meet other people – if you’re up for meeting new people on your travels, then a group tour could be for you. You’re going to be spending the duration of the tour with other travelers that you’ve never met. You have to be lucky with who ends up in your group, but you could end up making some great new friends.

Custom designed Peru tours – what are they?
Custom Peru tours are those which you design in conjunction with your Peru tours operator. You decide how long you travel for and when, where you visit, what sort of accommodation you use and how much time you spend in each place. Your Peru tours operator will offer you advice and expertise on your options, but you ultimately get to decide. By having complete flexibility in your vacation planning the tour will be tailored to your tastes and interests.

What are the benefits of custom Peru tours?
Flexibility – you get to control all the elements of your tour. Instead of fitting in with the fixed schedule of a group tour, you can leave out places you don’t want to visit or spend more time in places that you’re excited about visiting.

Accommodation – on group tours operators tend to use large hotel chains. If your preference is for smaller more personal hotels with local character then a custom tour can accommodate this.

Visit places not on major tourist routes – group tours tend to only take people to the big tourist sites, but if you’ve got a lesser-visited location that you want to include on your Peru tour, a custom tour operator can make it happen. Also if you want to visit somewhere a bit different but aren’t sure where, a good custom Peru tours operator can suggest less popular places that are more off the beaten track.

Follow your interests – maybe you are an archeology buff or wildlife is your thing. A custom tour operator will design your Peru vacation to fit with your specific interests rather than the generic interests of a large group.

Great for families – typically families have a very specific set of needs and schedules and prefer to be their own group rather than part of a bigger one. If you are planning a family trip to Peru, consider going with a custom Peru tours operator. This will allow you to stay in family friendly hotels and set the itinerary and pace to suit you and your family.

Go at your own pace – the classic example is a hiking trip. In a group there will be fast and slow people, which can be a source of frustration for all concerned if people have to wait around for others or feel pressured by the rest of the group. In custom tours this isn’t a problem as you define the pace of your trip during the planning process. Equally on an excursion if you want to spend more time in a certain place, you have more flexibility and don’t have to convince anyone else to stay!

Custom tour operators may also be able to combine the best of both worlds. A tailor made vacation may include certain shared services such as a trek, excursions or shared transport where appropriate in order to lower costs and to allow you to share those experiences with a group. That way your overall itinerary is customized to your needs whilst taking advantage of some shared services.

Which option is the best for you? What other benefits are there for group Peru tours and custom Peru tours?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Ten Things To Expect On The Inca Trail

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 13, 2011

If you want to take a Peru vacation, you’re probably thinking of visiting the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. The most famous and popular way to get to Machu Picchu is on the Inca Trail, over 30 kilometres of winding paved path that is more than 500 years old.

So if you’re thinking about Inca Trail tours, what should you expect? Here are ten important things.

1) A waiting list
The Inca trail is so popular that most people must book 3 months in advance. If you’re thinking about booking, it’s also worth remembering that the trail is closed in February for maintenance.

2) Obligatory guides
Since 2000 the Peruvian Government has made it an official requirement to trek the Inca Trail with a guide. This means the only option is to do the trek as part of a tour.

3) Poor service for low prices
When choosing your tour operator for the Inca Trail, avoid the temptation to go as cheap as possible. You’ll find yourself in large groups of twenty people or more and there’s a high chance that the tour operator will treat their Peruvian staff badly.

4) Tipping porters and guides
Even if you choose a company that treats its workers well, cooks, guides and porters will still be relying on tips to get paid a decent wage for their work. Generally accepted rates are as follows:

If you are part of a group, each group member should allow:
• US$5 per person for the porters (ratio is 1 client: 1 porter)
• US$10 per person to the cook
• US$10 per person to the guide

However, if you are part of a very small group, you may consider increasing these amounts.
If you are on a privately escorted trip, you should allow:
• US$25 for the porters
• US$10 for the cook
• US$50 for the guide

5) Difficulty with Altitude
Coming straight up from Lima and getting stuck into the Inca Trail will leave even the fittest hiker gasping for air. With the 4200m “Dead Woman’s Pass” waiting for you on day two of the four day hike, try to allow for a couple of days in nearby Cusco to acclimatise to the altitude before setting off.

6) Crowds
Guides do their best to keep distance between groups on hiking days, but expect to see crowds in campsites. Inca Trail regulations permit 500 people on the trail per day (most of whom are expedition porters and staff) so if you wanted to be alone in the wilderness, there are probably better routes to choose from in Peru.

7) Lots of rules
Want to light a camp fire? Nope. Any chance of camping outside designated sites? Nope. Walking off the trail? Nope.

Expect a set of strict rules when walking the Inca trail – if you get frustrated try to remember that a lot of people use the Inca Trail and for good upkeep a strong set of rules are necessary. If you want a more flexible trek, there are plenty of options for hikes in the same region.

8) Steps
Up, down, up down…don’t expect an easy, flat road. Inca engineers took their climbs and drops pretty seriously, so trekkers will have the benefit of kilometer after kilometer of stone steps to negotiate the mountains.

9) Early mornings
If you’re not a morning person, don’t opt for the Inca Trail. Particularly on the last day for the approach to Machu Picchu; your guide will be trying to get your group a good position amongst the others for entry into the site which will result in a cheery 5.30am wake-up call.

10) Incredible views and the trip of a lifetime
Despite all the problems and challenges, you’ll be set for a wonderful experience which keeps trekkers coming back to the Inca trail, year after year. It’ll be a decision that you’ll never regret!

Have you trekked the Inca Trail? What were your experiences?

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Tours – 5 Unmissable Places To Include In Your Trip

Posted in Traditions and Culture, Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 13, 2011

If you’re planning a Peru vacation, there’s a couple of places that you really shouldn’t miss – especially if this is your first trip to Peru. Here are 5 place in Peru that you should include in your Peru tour plans.

1) Machu Picchu
Everyone has heard of the world famous UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve probably seen the picture of the impressive Inca ruins rising out of the cloud forest. No matter how many times you’ve seen the image, nothing compares to actually standing and looking down over the site. If you really want to go for the traditional Machu Picchu experience, try to book yourself onto the Inca Trail, a four day trek that follows a 500 year old Inca path and finishes at the site.

2) Amazon Jungle
Half of Peru is covered by the Amazon Rainforest which provides a home to the greatest concentration of animal and plant life on earth and incredible bio-diversity. The main areas that are visited by travelers are the Tambopata and Iquitos regions which can be reached relatively easily. The Peruvian Rainforest is a truely spectacular environment even if you are not a complete animal or bird enthusiast!

3) Nazca lines
Best seen from a light aircraft, the Nazca lines are a set of ancient drawings on the surface of a desert in southern Peru  that range from simple lines to complex images like monkeys and spiders. Some figures are more than 200m across, and archaeologists are still debating hotly as to the origin and purpose of these mysterious lines as they can only really be fully viewed while flying!

4) Lake Titicaca
This lake sits 3,811m above sea level and is the largest lake by volume of water in South America and is shared with Bolivia. Visitors can navigate the lake by small boat and visit the various islands dotted around it’s vast area, as well as paying a visit to the famous Uros floating reed islands made by the inhabitants who still to this day live and work on their self-constructed homes.

5) Colca Canyon
The second deepest canyon in the world (the deepest being the Cotahuasi next door), Colca Canyon offers visitors the opportunity for some spectacular hiking and other adventure and cultural activities. It’s also recognized as one of the best places to see the famous Andean condor, the largest land bird in the world with a wingspan of 3.2 metres.

Visiting all 5 sites
Depending on the time constraints of your vacation, it’s possible to visit all these sites as part of the same trip. However, to do this independently normally requires a lot of time to organize transport and travel between the different sites (many of which are hundreds of miles apart) let alone sort out logistics once you arrive. If you are planning on taking a Peru vacation where you have less than a couple of weeks to play with and want to see this top 5 it is generally advisable to book with a Peru tour operator.

Have you visited any of the sites mentioned above? What other spectacular places would you recommend for Peru vacations

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Peru Tours – What To Bring On A Trek In Peru

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 7, 2011

The last thing any trekkers wants is to carry more than necessary. This was never truer in Peru, where trekking routes can take hikers over 5000m. Here’s some advice learnt from years of taking treks in Peru to make sure you avoid those unwanted extra kilos in your pack, but still have all the essentials covered.

A useful trick – give your stuff to someone else!
If you choose to book your Peru vacation with a tour operator, you’ll be carrying a lot less! The operator will be able to provide you with either mules and arrieros (mule drivers), or on some routes porters, to carry supplies, tents, sleeping bags, water and mattresses. This shrinks the size of your pack from 20kg to a small day pack. When you’re tackling a high pass on the Inca Trail or pushing up towards Punta Union on the Santa Cruz trek, you’ll appreciate the reduction in weight. If you are grinding up the 5200m pass on the Ausangate circuit you will certainly not be wanting to carry a gram more than you need to!

If you’re travelling independently, most major towns close to trekking routes such as Cusco and Huaraz will have a range of local tour operators. They will be able to assist you in resources for your expedition such as mules, but be careful! Some local operators have a better reputation than others. Ask around town for the best operators, or book with an external operator who already has a good trusting relationship with a expedition provider.

What you need to carry
If you’re following the suggestion above, then all you need to worry about is your day pack. When you arrive in camp at the end of a long days trekking, everything will be set up for you. All you have to worry about is eating the hot meal prepared for you and collapsing into your sleeping bag. Here’s a list of things to include in your day pack and on your person, learnt after a few years of trial and error:

  1. Hiking Shoes
  2. A Hat and beanie to protect you from the sun and the cold
  3. Gloves and scarf for the nights
  4. Sun Block & Insect Repellent
  5. Some extra snacks (biscuits, energy bars, chocolate)
  6. A Rain Jacket or a Poncho
  7. Towel
  8. Swimsuit (recommend for routes involving hot springs)
  9. Long Pants
  10. Some cash in local currency
  11. T-shirts that you can layer
  12. Warm clothes, including jacket, fleece, sweaters and 4 pairs of socks
  13. Original passport – photocopies are not acceptable.
  14. Tips for porters, guides and cooks in separate envelopes
  15. Plastic bags to store your spare clothes
  16. Toilet Paper
  17. Flashlight (and batteries!)
  18. Pocket knife
  19. A Water Bottle & water purifying tablets
  20. A small personal medical kit

Are there any other preparations, or things that you advise bringing for a trek in Peru?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Eating Vegetarian In Latin America – Is It Possible?

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 6, 2011

 

It’s no secret, Latinos love meat. Argentina vacations will present you with doorstop-thick steaks, Peru vacations with roasted cuy (guinea pig). Every country in Latin America seems to bring its plates to the table with a portion of meat included. If you’re a vegetarian traveller, does this mean it will be impossible to travel in Latin America without having to eat meat?

Difficult, but not impossible
The good news is that plenty of options exist for vegetarians especially in tourist hot spots such as Cusco, near Machu Picchu. A plant-based diet is actually the staple food of Latin America – the Inca Empire, for example, was based around corn culture. Markets all over the continent are bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables, far cheaper than any meat alternatives.

Things to make your life easier
If you want to travel successfully as a vegetarian, here are some suggestions to make life easier.

1) Bring your own supplies as backup
Without loading your suitcase with kilos of tofu, you can at least bring a selection of vegetarian snacks to keep hunger at bay when you’re out and about. Primal Strips are the meat-free version of beef jerky and there are a wide range of protein and cereal bars available .

2) Research restaurants in destination
Especially around popular tourist destinations such as Cusco, Antigua or Buenos Aires, you’ll be sure to find options for vegetarians. The website www.happycow.net has a list of vegetarian restaurants and health food stores globally, so you can check out options for eating before arriving in your travel destination.

3) The language barrier
There may be options for vegetarians, but many restaurant staff will be steeped in a culture of meat-eating. Before you leave try to learn the words for “fish”, “chicken”, meat”, “dairy products” and “eggs”. It’s also good to know that the Spanish translation for vegetarian is “vegetariano”, so you’ll eventually be understood if you patiently explain your situation to the waiter.

Be careful with asking for dishes without meat. The translation for meat is “carne”, which normally just refers to red meat, so you could still end up faced with a plate of chicken! Explain fully what your requirements are, as it’s possible that your waiter has never heard of vegetarianism before…

4) Consider travel with a tour company
If there’s one thing tour companies are used to, it’s satisfying a wide range of dietary requirements. It would be useful to state what you can or cannot eat when asking for a tour quote, especially if booking a trek like the Inca Trail or similar active excursion. A tour company with years experience in a certain location will have good links to restaurants and options that are considerate of vegetarians. This way you’ll be able to avoid the possibility of eating rice and beans for your whole trip!

Have you travelled in any countries where it was difficult as a vegetarian? What advice can you give to vegetarians travelling in Latin America?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

Safe travel – 5 Tips For More Secure Latin America Vacations

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 5, 2011

Millions of tourists take Latin America vacations and Latin America tours every year, and the vast majority have a wonderful time without any problems. However just like any other destination, travelers are in unfamiliar environments and should take care of themselves. Here are some common sense suggestions to bear in mind when on your Latin America vacation.

1) Look after your belongings
Many towns and cities in Latin America are polarized mixtures of affluence and poverty, with the result that pick-pocketing is common. If you are in a crowded environment such as the popular Semana Santa festival in Antigua, Guatemala pay close attention to your belongings.

When at restaurants keep a close eye on handbags or day-packs to prevent passers-by from grabbing your stuff.

2) Dress conservatively
In many Latino countries such as Mexico and Argentina there can be a strong macho culture, so women in particular should consider a reserved style of dressing to avoid catcalls or any unwanted attention.  

3) Don’t flash valuables
There’s a simple way to avoid becoming a target for robbery – don’t look like you are worth robbing! Avoid wearing jewelry or flashing photo or video cameras around in public places. It may not win you any style points, but wearing plain-looking clothes will also avert the eyes of a potential thief looking for a wealthy foreign target. Be careful showing cash in public and consider a money belt instead of a wallet.

4) Night-time worries
Wake up the next morning with only good memories – try to stay in groups of familiar people, especially if you are new in town. Take care with taxis, and use only official cars with other people from your group. If you find yourself alone, project confidence and look as if you know where you are going, even if you don’t!

5) Ask your government
Latin America is a diverse place, and things are changing all the time. Beyond a common-sense approach, inform yourself about the current affairs and potential security concerns of your travel destination before departure. You can check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website www.fco.gov.uk or the US equivalent www.state.gov/travel.

What other advice do you have for secure Latin America vacations?

 

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America

When Is The Best Time To Visit Peru? Find Out Here!

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on February 5, 2011

Planning Peru vacations? You’re probably wondering what dates you should book. The good news is that you can visit Peru anytime! The country is incredibly varied with multiple climatic zones, all of which have different seasons.

The only thing to consider when choosing your Peru vacation dates is what you want to do. Read the article to find out the best time of year to visit Peru for your chosen activities.

The “tourist season”
You’ll either be ok with more crowds and slightly higher prices, or you’ll want to avoid them. Peru's “high season” coincides with the driest months in the mountains: May through to October. The greatest number of visitors come between July and August. Airlines and hotels also consider the period from mid-December through mid-January as peak season, so expect to dig a little deeper in your wallet.

Trekking and mountain activities
An obvious one – many visitors come to Peru to walk the Inca trail and visit Machu Picchu or do the Santa Cruz circuit in Huaraz in the mountain regions of Peru amongst other great treks.

Hopeful mountaineers should visit between June to September in the highlands. During these months, days are clear with chilly or downright cold nights, especially at high elevations. Anyone visiting from December to March runs the potential risk of a wash-out under heavy rains.

Surfing and beach-side living
Summer along the desert coast is between November and March, when it is typically hot and sunny (especially in the north). Things turn cooler with a frequent hazy mist between April and October. For any water-babies, swimming is possible all year round, though the water itself (thanks to the Humboldt Current) is cool-to-cold at the best of times, except for the most northern beaches like Mancora and Tumbes.

Exploring the jungle
Amazon adventures can be conducted at any time of year, depending on your preferences. Between December and January heavy rains increase water levels, which offers distinct advantages for spotting wildlife and access by canoe to remote creeks. On the other hand, June to September is the best time of the year for some: Mosquitoes are fewer, and many fauna stay close to the rivers. Your choice…

Party time!
Peruvians love an excuse for a party, and this is reflected in the long list of national holidays when you can expect festivities and government services to grind to a halt. Consider how the following national public holidays in Peru overlap with your travel plans:

New Year's Day (Jan 1), Three Kings Day (Jan 6), Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (Easter week, Mar or Apr), Labor Day (May 1), Fiestas Patrias (July 28-29), Battle of Angamos (Oct 8), All Saints' Day (Nov 1), Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), and Christmas (Dec 24-25).

There are always a selection of local festivals wherever you go, seemingly every other week!

Author: Gary Sargent – Escaped to Peru / Escaped to Latin America