Guide to Travel South Perú
Planning your visitOutlets in Perú are the same as in the United States, it means that the outlet has two pins; however, the voltage is higher: 220 V instead of 100 V. Buying an electricity adapter would be a good idea especially for the hairdryers and straighteners.
Visa and PassportsMost of the foreign people traveling to Perú will receive a ‘Tarjeta Andina de migration’ card, which allows you to stay in the Peruvian territory no more than 183 days. Some airlines may require you to show proof of your returning ticket, however, this is not the rule of thumb.
Currency in PerúIs it the Nuevos Soles, where Sol refers to one unit, and Soles are the plural. At this time (10.07.18) the exchange it is for each dollar you get back 3.27 Peruvian soles.
It´s the capital of Perú, it´s located on the central coast of this country, it was also the capital of the Spanish activities in South America during the viceroyalty.
Highlights• Founded: the Spanish conquer Francisco Pizarro founded the city in the year 1535.
• Location: on the southern border of the Rimac river, flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Andean lowlands on the east.
• Time Zone: -5GMT.
• Climate: the conditions on the city are affected by the cool offshore Perú Current, also known as the Humboldt Current, that covers the city from April to December with a thick and grey sea mist that is also known with the name of ‘donkey´s belly’ and brings high levels of humidity to the city.
• Altitude: 154 meters at its highest point (Plaza de Armas)
• It has an estimated population of 8 million people.
• It is the capital of the gastronomy in South America (and probably of the world)
• Is one of only three places in the world where the Coca-Cola it is not the leading soft drink, (the other two places are India and Scotland that also have their own drinks) here you can find ‘Inca Kola’ a yellow colored soda.
• One of the most famous Peruvian cocktails, the Pisco Sour, was allegedly created in the Bolivar Hotel, in the center of the city.
• The city is plenty of colonial catacombs, where you can find pieces of Peruvian’s history.
• There are only two capital in the world that is located in a desert: Lima Perú and El Cairo Egipto.
When to goThe best time to visit Lima it is during the summer (December to March) because these are the warm months, with temperature peaks that can reach 28° C at midday. The rest of the year the weather can be cold, due to the cold marine current that goes parallel through the Lima´s shores.
Getting there & awayBy plane:
Travel time from Los Angeles, CA to Lima Perú: 6 hours approximately.
Cost of a flight from LA to Lima: $650 approximately.
Travel time from Madrid, Spain to Lima Perú: 12 hours approximately.
Cost of a flight from Madrid to Lima: $1400 approximately. By bus from Santiago de Chile: The distance between Lima, Peru and Santiago de Chile, Chile; 3307 KM.
Travel time: 1 day and 16 hours traveling by bus, approximately.
Food and lodgingCeviche: made of fresh fish, Peruvian lemon, Peruvian onion, Peruvian chilly and sweet potato.
Rice with seafood: rice, octopus, seafood mixture, beer, yellow Peruvian chilly, milk, and others.
Anticucho: meat brochette to the grill, typical Peruvian snack that you can find in any street of Lima and other Peruvian cities.
Chicha Morada: typical Peruvian drink, made of purple cork, Peruvian Lemon, pineapple, cinnamon, and quince.
Rice with milk (Arroz con Leche): typical Peruvian dessert, made of rice, milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, clove, and coconut.
Ica – Department of Ica
Overview• It is the capital of the Region with the same name, located about 274 km from the capital of Perú Lima and 49 km from the Pacific Ocean. This region has long been known for the cultivation and processing of grapes and cotton and as well as the Paracas bay, famous for his extensive wildlife.
Highlights• Founded: the Spanish viceroy don Diego López de Zúñiga y Velasco, Count of Nieva, who settle up the primary city with the name of ‘Villa de Valverde’, on June 17, 1563.
• Location: it borders the regions of Palpa and Nasca by the south, the region of Huancavelica to the east, the region of Pisco is on his north side and by the west with the Pacific ocean (49 km)
• Time-zone: -5GMT • Climate: Ica has a desertic and warm climate, with an average temperature which hovers the 22° degrees Celsius. Different from other regions like Lima and Ancash, the climate in Ica is mostly dry and sunny the most part of the year, however, during the nights the temperature can fall to 8° or 7° degrees Celsius.
• Altitude: 406 meters at its highest point.
• It has an estimated population of 763, 558 inhabitants (2012) • The Huacachina lagoon, an amazing oasis placed in the middle of huge sand dunes has become very popular this last decade mainly due to the practice of sports like sandboarding and motocross and, of course, due to his beauty.
• Wine and Pisco harvest: this is one of the main touristic attractions of Ica. The region has an extensive tradition of wines and Pisco that is the main spirituous drink in Perú. Pisco is also the name of a district of Ica region.
• Paracas bay National Reservation: created on September 25, 1975, this natural protected area has for objective the preservation of the uncountable marine ecosystem, the conservation and promotion of the pre-Inca Paracas culture and for the rational management of the marine resources.
• The Nazca Lines: Viktoria Maria Reiche Neumann was a German mathematics and archeologist, famous for her investigations, for the preservation and the value enhancement of the Nazca Lines. The lines are a collection of large ancient drowns made by the Nasca Culture over the Nazca desert and the largest figures can reach up to 370 meters ( 1200 ft approx.); some of them are geometric shapes or figures however others are zoomorphic and even phytomorphic representations.
When to goDuring the winter the days are dry and sunny even though, during the nights the temperatures can reach up to 7° or 8° degrees Celsius. If you do not want to worry about high temperatures, very heavy sun, and sunburns, the best months to visit Ica are during the winter. In summer, the dry temperatures, the sand dunes, and the desert sun may lead to getting temperatures up to 36° degrees Celsius.
Getting there & away
Distance from Lima to Ica: 310 Km Travel time: 4 hours traveling by bus (there are no flights from Lima).
Food and lodging
‘Dry Soup’: made of onion, hen, Peruvian red chili, garlic, and Carapulcra (dry potatoes). Ica is one of the dessert´s paradises, where you can find all sort of unimaginable desserts like: Mashed sweet beans, menjar blanc (manjar blanco), ‘Alfajores’, ‘Mazamorra Morada’, ‘Chocotejas’, ‘ Chapanas’ and many others.
OverviewThe capital of the department with the homonymous name, placed at the foot of the dormant cones of Misti and Chachani Volcanos, the city is also known with the name of ‘The White City’ because many buildings in the city are made with white blocks of volcanic stone known with the name of ‘sillar’.
Allocated about 1011 Kilometers from Lima (629 miles), 509 Kilometers from Cusco (316 miles) and 708 Kilometers from Ica (440 miles).
• Founded: the Spanish foundation of the city was on the year of 1540 under the name of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion del Valle Hermoso (Our Lady of the Assumption of the beautiful Valley), on orders of the conquer Francisco Pizarro. It´s the second most important city in the country.
• Location: it borders by the southeast with the region of Moquegua, by the north with the regions of Cusco, Apurimac and Ayacucho, its flanked by the west by the Pacific Ocean and the Region of Puno it is on is east side.
• Time-zone: -5GMT
• Climate: The most part of the year the air is dry, and the temperature ranges between 14° and 25° degrees Celsius. The average humidity floats around 46%; all this conditions create a climate in this city that can be very pleasant and stable, with little cold or very hot days.
• Altitude: 2335 meters (1450 miles).
• Population: 1, 386 730 inhabitants (2017).
• The Santa Catalina Monastery: built in 1580 and subsequently expanded in the 17th century, is probably the largest convent in the world and one of the most interesting places to visit in the city. During his heyday, the convent accommodates up to 450 nuns, who were completely isolated from the outside world forever. This condition has created many tales, legends and rumors about what really happens inside his walls. There are still nuns living in the north area of this complex.
• La Recoleta Convent: located nearby the Chili River, this convent was built around 1648 and was totally reconstructed after the earthquake of 1687. The Franciscans are well-known for studying and teaching all their life, that´s why you can find inside this convent a library that holds more than 20,000 books some of them date back to the 15th century.
• The Colca Canyon: 230 Kilometers (143 miles) away from Arequipa city is located this endless plateau at a height of 3800 meters m.a.s.l (12, 468 feet approximately), characterized by being a volcanic area; the Colca Canyon itself it is one of the deepest canyons in the world, for example, the world-famous Colorado Canyon has a floor elevation of 800 meters (2624 feet) on the other hand the Colca Canyon has a floor elevation of 3250 meters (10, 662 feet).
The area is also a National Reservation where you can find the South American camelids like the Guanaco, the Vicuña and the impressive flight of the biggest bird on the world: the Andean Condor. As part of its natural attractions, here you can find nice and relaxing hot springs of natural volcanic water, the original systems of canals where created by the Incas, 600 years ago who used it to heal all kind of skin diseases because of the green sulfur in the water.
When to goThe city it´s located at 2,335 m.a.s.l (7660 feet a.m.s.l approximately), it has a dry, mild climate with temperatures soaring to up 24° during the midday and falling down to 7 degrees Celsius during the nights. The main festivities of the city are on August, 15 the date on which the city celebrate his anniversary.
Getting there & awayDistance from Lima to Arequipa: 1,011 Km. Travel time: 15 hours travelling by bus.
Travel time: 1 hour by plane.
Food and lodgingThe cuisine from this part of Perú is distinguished by is high quality, variety of dishes, its remarkable preparation and incredible intense flavor.
Ocopa: it´s one of the most famous preparations made in Arequipa, compose by: yellow Peruvian chilli, boiled potatoes, cheese, milk, peanuts, bread or salty cookies, garlic and ‘huacatay’ (similar to parsley).
Rocoto relleno (stuffed hot pepper) served in Arequipa and many other Peruvian cities, this delicious dish features as one of the most representative in the Arequipa´s gastronomy. Made with Hot pepper, minced meat, red onion, red Peruvian chilli, peanuts, eggs, cheese, milk and other ingredients. The method for cooking produces that the hot pepper losses most part of his spicy component so that can be consumed by any person.
Chupe de Camarones (Soup of shrimps) this traditional dish from Arequipa is a combination of milk, shrimps, onions, tomatoes, red Peruvian chilli, corn, garlic and other ingredients. Its main characteristic is intense and strong flavor that is also delicious and nutritive.
Puno and Titicaca Lake
OverviewPuno it´s the capital of the department with the same name, placed on the middle of a territory known with the name of ‘meseta del collao’ also known as ‘Altiplano’ that means high plain or plain. On the shores of the highest navigable lake in the world, the Titicaca Lake, Puno it has unique characteristics that make it the third most touristic city in Perú, after Cusco and Lima, respectively.
Located about 1,292 Km from Lima (802 miles), 386 Km from Cusco (240 miles), 294 Km from Arequipa (183 miles) and 147 Km from the border with Bolivia (92 miles).
Highlights• Founded: the city of Puno was a modest village of Indians until the year of 1668 when the Spanish Viceroy Conde of Lemos established as the capital of the Paucarcolla province, on November 4 of that year.
• Location: the before mentioned Titicaca Lake it is on his east border, the regions of Cusco and Madre de Dios are on his north side, Arequipa region it is on his west border and the limits with the country of Bolivia are his south perimeter.
• Time-zone: -5GMT
• Climate: the city has dry and cold weather conditions. The rainy season begins in October and concludes in April. The highest temperatures can reach during the sunny days 24° degrees Celsius while the lowest can fall down to 0° degrees Celsius.
• Altitude: 3,827 m.a.s.l. (12, 555 a.m.s.l approximately).
• Population: the city of Puno it has an estimated population of 190,000 inhabitants, including those who live in the floating islands.
• The festivities of ‘La Virgen de la Candelaria’ (Candelaria´s virgin): declared by the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage on November 27, 2014 due to the multiple artistic and folkloric representations that are part of this celebrations, it represents the biggest expression of culture, dance, art, and music in Perú because of the high number of dancers and teams leading to this date (February 2, of each year).
• The Titicaca Lake and the floating islands of los Uros: this lake is located about 3,812 m.a.s.l. (12,500 a.m.s.l approximately) so for that reason it is considered the highest navigable lake in the world. By the volume of water that the lake has is also the biggest in South America (58,000 km2). The floating islands of los Uros are made of Totora (similar to papyrus) that´s why is inhabitants need to add new layers permanently and remove the unused.
• The islands in the Titicaca Lake (solid islands): we can find numerous and picturesque islands on the lake like the Taquile Island, remote 3 hours by boat from Puno, the Amantani Island, remote 3 hours from the floating islands of the Uros by boat, and the Sun Island, remote 3 hours navigating from the same floating islands.
When to goThe city is mostly cold and dry so the best months during the year to visit it are from the dry season from April to October. The high season is on July-August. The anniversary of the city is on November 4 and the top day of the celebrations during the Candelaria´s festivities is on February 2.
Getting there & awayDistance from Lima: 1282 Km Travel time: 21 hours traveling by bus from Lima.
Travel time: 1 and 40 minutes traveling by plane approximately, with connection in Arequipa or Cusco generally.
Food and lodgingPuno have always been the cradle of the Quinoa-made dishes, here we can find for example smashed salty and sweet quinoa but also there are other original dishes like the ‘Thimpo’ made with trout, potatoes, chuño (dehydrated potatoes)and other ingredients; ‘Kankacho’ (baked lamb) and Pachamanca, amongst others.
Cusco and vicinity
OverviewThe most touristic and beautiful city in Perú without a doubt, it is the capital of the department with homonymous name and was also the most important city during the Inca´s empire. The city is a melding between two cultures and influences basically: the Architecture of the Spanish conquers highlighted by balconies, rock-made columns and many other unique characteristics and the Inca architecture were the use of stone for every single aspect of building is remarkable.
Allocated 1,102 Km (684 miles) from Lima, 509 Km from Arequipa (316 miles), 386 Km from Puno (240 miles) and 4 hours from the ancient historic citadel of Machu Picchu.
Highlights• Founded: the Spaniards troops arrived to Cusco headed by the conquer Francisco Pizarro in the year of 1533, later they decided to establish the ‘very noble and very loyal city of Cusco’ on March 23, 1534 nevertheless the Inca´s uprising on 1536 unleashed a long period of violence and resistance while the top Inca´s leaders were searching for refugee in the remote area of known as ‘Vilcabamba’.
• Location: the department of Cusco it is located on the southeastern side of Perú, with the region of Ucayali on his north border, the regions of Arequipa and Puno on his south limits while the region of Madre de Dios it is on his east side and the regions of Ayacucho, Apurimac and Junin are on the west side of his perimeter.
• Time-zone: -5GMT
• Climate: most part of the year the city has dry and cold weather conditions however during the months of January, February and March, that is actually the summer time, the city can be very rainy and stormy. The high season starts in the month of May and finishes in September approximately.
• Altitude: 3,339 m.a.s.l. (11,151 a.m.s.l. approximately).
• Population: the city has an estimated population of 427,000 inhabitants.
• The Qoricancha Temple: when the Spaniards conquerors arrived to the capital of the Inca´s empire and saw how advanced was the incas society, agronomy and economy they decided to erase all traces of this culture and that´s one of the reasons why now we can see temples like the Qoricancha, builded on the remains of the Inca´s ‘Venue of gold’ with massive stone block of the original construction made by the Incas used as a base for the Spanish catholic temple.
• The Main Square (Plaza de Armas): allocated on the center of the old city, this square is part of the history of South America; here happened many important and transcendental events and many people from all over the world knew where this square was placed. At first sight we can see two massive cathedrals with 20 meters (65 feet approximately) of height each one, built with rocks on the rest of Inca´s temples.
• The Sacsayhuaman (satisfied falcon from the Quechua´s word) fortress; it is an impressive structure placed on the highest point of a mountain, near to the center of Cusco. Numberless of the massive stone blocks that we can find here are larger than 6 meters, so you can imagine a big fortress made with uncountable and massive stone blocks stacked on top of one another.
• The lost city of the Inca´s, the ancient Machu Picchu: this is one of the few places that were not destroyed or removed by the conquers, here we can find almost untouched rooms, balconies, farming terraces arranged as stairs, irrigation systems, amongst other incredible developed systems.
When to goThe rainy season is from December to March and during the month of February the Inca trail is closed due to maintenance. The date in which is inhabitants celebrate the anniversary of the city is in June 24. However, the high season goes from May to September.
Getting there & awayDistance from Lima: 1,102 Km Travel time: 1 hour traveling by plane.
Travel time: 22 hours traveling by bus approximately.
Distance from Arequipa: 509 Km Travel time: 1 hour by plane.
Travel time: 12 hours by bus approximately.
Distance from Puno: 386 Km. Travel time: 1 hour traveling by plane (from the nearest city of Juliaca)
Travel time: 8 hours traveling by bus.
Food and lodgingCusco as many other regions of Perú, has its own gastronomic traditions that are also a mix between several cultures. One of the most popular dishes all over the year it is known with the name of ‘Chiriuchu’ that means cold dish, composed by hen meat, cuy meat, sausage, cheese, corn, smashed and fried pumpkin, seaweeds and other ingredients. We can find also the ‘tamales cusqueños’ (Cusco´s tamal) made of a mixture of corn dough (masa) and meat or sweet raisins and filling, wrapped in a corn husk and then steamed.