From Latin America

Inca Trail Trek Alternatives

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on September 13, 2011

Read our blog entry on some alternative treks to Machu Picchu, sometimes there just isnt space on the Classic Inca Trail….

http://peru-tour-packages.com/peru-trekking/

Weekend Antics – High Altitude Fishing

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on September 6, 2011

What we got up to this weekend…..

http://escapedtolatinamerica.com/blog/?p=33

Very interesting blog by Robert on the Ice Festival

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on September 1, 2011

New Peruvian Banknotes

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on August 3, 2011

New designs of Peruvian bank notes have hit the streets, we enclose the new and the old so that when you have them both in your hands, dont panic, they are both legal tender. Here we are showing the 10 and 20 sol notes, new version above the old one.

Paucartambo Festival Videos on our YouTube page!

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on July 18, 2011

Videos from the Paucartambo festival this weekend, Gary, Malka, Seppe and Robert went to visit, and Saby from operations was actually dancing;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v​=Adb5YwG3Jq4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v​=h5Ow9KwEFhw

Annual Construction of the Qeswachaka Inca Rope Bridge

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on July 7, 2011

Robert from the Cusco sales team recently went to see the unique annual Inca rope bridge construction near Cusco and shares his experiences and photos with you. Check out the link below:

http://www.escapedtoperu.com/english/qeswachaka-inca-rope-bridge.html

Escaped to Peru sponsors Peru´s most successful cricket team

Posted in Traditions and Culture by escapedtoperu on April 14, 2011

 

The Cusco-based Tour Operator Escaped to Peru, part of Escaped to Latin America, is proud to be a sponsor of the Peruvian national cricket team as they enjoy their best ever result in international competition in Costa Rica.
The Peruvian national cricket team has enjoyed its best ever tournament in Costa Rica and the Tour Operator Escaped to Peru is proud to have been a sponsor and is a constant supporter of the development of this sport within Peru.

The recent ICC Americas Division III tournament was held in San Jose, Costa Rica between the 14th and 18th of March and featured 6 Latin American teams seeking promotion to the second division. Peru competed against teams from Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and the Falkland Islands and on pitches that were slow with huge boundaries all the teams battled with the local conditions and struggled to score runs. The Peruvian team played extremely well to beat every team except the eventual group winners, Belize.

Gary Sargent, the Managing Director of Escaped to Peru, is normally a member of the squad but missed this tournament due to work commitments. He explains "The current team is made up of mainly ex-pats like myself who have been nationalized". Gary goes on to say "We are actively promoting the development of cricket amongst Peruvian born young men and women and we are sure that within a few short years we will be able to field a complete team of native Peruvians". Until that happens the nationalized members in the side will continue to represent Peru in a sport that is not yet fully recognized by the Peruvian authorities despite being supported by the ICC, the world governing body.

Some of the private bi-lingual schools in Lima such as Markham and Hiram Bingham are running cricket coaching for their kids, both male and female, and recent junior tournaments bode well for the future. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about cricket in Peru can contact Gary via his office.

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

How To Haggle Like A Pro In Any Latin American Market

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on December 19, 2010

Roll your sleeves up, it’s time to make some purchases on your Latin American vacation! It could be a market stall, back-street shop or wandering vendor. Whatever the custom in your country, you are practically expected to haggle for prices or pay much more than you should. Here are some tips to help you have fun and get a good price.

Getting your haggling head on

First of all, expect prices to be flexible and don’t feel worried about asking for a discount.

• Vendors will try their luck and ask for a much higher price than normal, so you should try your luck and ask for a much lower one!
• Remember that negotiating is not arguing; you’re not aiming to get into a screaming match, but trying to find a fair price for the item that is acceptable to both parties.
• Don't be embarrassed about asking for money off! Being price savvy is not being cheap.

Preparation

As with any good negotiation, you shouldn’t walk into things cold.

• Work out how much you want to spend; haggling is the process of getting the best possible value for that amount of money.
• Research the product you want to buy – typically Latin America markets and shops are full of the same items, so you can do a price survey in a couple of other locations.
• If you can, bring someone with you who speaks the language.
• If not, bring a calculator to show numbers (the universal language) and do conversions if you are not totally familiar with the local currency
• Dress down and don’t give the impression of someone with a lot of money to spend.

Beginning the negotiation

A much as you may want to discuss price, never jump straight into it…

• Build rapport with vendor, and show an interest in their business, life and country whilst remaining polite and positive.
• If you notice something you like, never show interest. During the haggling process never appear needy and be prepared to walk away empty handed (sometimes this even helps as part of the negotiation).
• Price-wise, what is good for one is good for all – out of respect for the vendor negotiate quietly so no-one else can hear and don’t shoot off at the mouth about the deal that you just got.
• Allow the vendor to sell their product – this will relax them.
• Make sure the vendor makes the first offer, no matter how much they ask you for the opening price!

Getting down to business

OK, the first move has been made. Now comes the fun part!

• Establish their baseline price – go as low as possible in your counter-offer! Expect a dramatic response, as it’s all part of the haggling game…
• At no point in the negotiation should you mention your budget!
• Have an excuse to walk away if the haggling gets too intense – maybe you’ve got to meet friends or your tour group is waiting.
• Don’t say anything after your counter-offer until the vendor replies – silence is awkward, but golden.
• Check the quality of the product – if you can see any flaws, angle for an extra discount!

Closing the deal

It’s all agreed – counter-offers have gone back and forth and you’re both finally set

• At this point you should really commit to purchasing to honor your verbal contract. Many Latin America vendors are poor and it is unfair to commit to a price without purchasing.
• However, when the final price is fixed, there’s no reason not to try and go for low-value extras or accessories to throw in with your purchase. You should try to do some research into these before you begin your negotiation as well.

Do you have any other tips for haggling in Latin America? What are some of your haggling experiences?

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


 

10 Reasons You Need A Latin American Vacation Right Now

Posted in Uncategorized by escapedtoperu on December 19, 2010

If you’re reading this, you are struggling with a decision. You want a vacation, probably to Latin America, but there seem to be a hundred reasons not to go. Maybe you are worried that there’s not enough money in the bank, or you are concerned about losing your job in the current economic climate if you “slack off”.

At a time like this, you need a motivator! Instead of focusing on reasons not to travel, turn things on their head. Lets look at ten great reasons to book your Latin American vacation and start getting excited!

1) For starters…having something to look forward to
It’s good to be excited in anticipation of something. Preparations, speculating what will happen, the impending freedom and escape…it will make the last couple of weeks as work so much easier!

2) Be able to step back and look at the bigger picture
A vacation is a break – a pause from routine, a chance to get away from regular life. If you leave on vacation with a problem or decision that has been bothering you for ages, you won’t have the distractions that normally prevent you from getting some head-space. With time for yourself, the decision or solution to your problem will come much easier.

3) Get the health benefits
Countless studies have proved that people who use their vacation time enjoy the benefits; reduced chances of heart attack, depression, mental fatigue…the list goes on. Think of it as a more pleasant alternative to a grinding gym routine or chewing salad for the rest of your life.

4) Come back from your vacation a different person
On vacation you’ll be exposed to countless new experiences, places and people. If you open yourself up to Latin America, it has the potential to change your world perspective. From spiritual retreats in the Sacred Valley of Peru to fireside discussions with indigenous Guatemalans, you’ll see a side of life you’d never get close to in an office cubicle.

5) Challenge yourself and become tougher for it
Travel is hard. Well, as hard as you want it to be. Everyone has their own comfort level, and travel helps you push that – maybe you never knew you could dance the tango, or could do a four day trek. You’ll come back from vacation a stronger person for the challenges that you’ve faced.

6) Put your Spanish lessons to good use
Been struggling with Spanish for a while? There’s no better motivation to practice than using your language skills in a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak English…

7) Be the envy of your friends
Don’t deny it; there’s always a kick of satisfaction when people ask you about your vacation…and you have some incredible stories to tell them. It also helps that while you were away exploring Latin America, not a great deal changed at home!

8) Get closer to the friends or family that you travel with
Real life sometimes takes away the time that we’d otherwise spend with friends and family. If you decide to travel with other people, it’ll be a wonderful opportunity to re-establish a bond. The relationship will grow from your shared experiences.

9) Discover the beauty, ridiculousness, surprise and variety of the world
Be inspired, get creative, laugh at the craziness of Latino life that you’ll encounter. Things certainly won’t be the same as your home country…

10) Return to everyday life refreshed
With all the things that your vacation has to offer, you’ll be going back to life at home feeling refreshed, energized, ready to take on the coming months – quite different from the person who left a few weeks previously!

Are you struggling with the idea of cutting loose and booking a vacation? What are your concers? What other benefits have you got from vacations in the past?

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