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Tony Dunnell

Peru Travel

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Blood Moon Tonight, Visible From Peru

Monday April 14, 2014

Blood moon eclipse

Here's a very quick reminder about tonight's "blood moon" eclipse, a chance to see the moon turn red.  It should be visible from most of North America and parts of South America -- including Peru -- during the night of April 14 to 15.

According to Dr. José Ishitsuka, director of the Observatorio de Huancayo, the total eclipse will begin at 2:06 a.m. in Peru and will last for one hour and 17 minutes.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I always stay awake for these astronomical events and typically see absolutely nothing. So I'm hoping tonight's blood moon will be clearly visible from my home in Tarapoto...

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Scott Taylor, Wikimedia Commons

The Cusco Crackdown?

Sunday April 13, 2014

It seems that local authorities in Cusco are losing their patience with foreign tourists who break the law in their city and its surrounding archaeological sites. And with good reason.

So far this year, foreign tourists have been detained for spraying graffiti on the city's ancient Inca walls; for getting naked at Machu Picchu; for having drug-fueled orgies at the Sacsayhuamán archaeological site; and for consuming and selling drugs in hostels and hospedajes (guesthouses) in the city's historic center. 

Add to that more than 30 foreign tourists arrested this year for robberies in Cusco, and it's no surprise that local authorities -- and local residents -- are bored of hearing these kind of reports.

Reports are already emerging about tougher new penalties for crimes against cultural heritage (15 years for defacing cultural artifacts), as well as the installation of 12 high-definition security cameras at Machu Picchu to deter streakers and strippers.

According to Diario Correo, recent police raids on hostels in the historic center of Cusco have also caught foreign tourists red-handed. When police raided the hostels, which cater primarily to Israeli tourists, a number of foreigners were found in possession of -- and consuming -- marihuana and crack. The report states that police operations of this type will continue. 

With the number of foreign idiots in Cusco -- those who are too stupid to know better and far too stupid not to get caught -- appearing to have reached critical mass, it seems like local authorities are ready for a crackdown.

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Upcoming Music Festivals in Peru

Saturday April 12, 2014

Selvámonos Festival Peru

Peru has seen a welcome rise in music festivals in recent years. Major music events like Acustirock, Rock en la Playa, Festival de los 7 Mares, Selvámonos, Rock en el Parque and Creamfields Peru all returned in 2013, and most are set to make an appearance in 2014.

If you want to catch a music festival in Peru, here are some of the confirmed events taking place in the next few months:

  • Electo Selvámonos -- May 3, Club de Tiro, Jr. Cuzco 1600, Huancayo (Junín Region)
  • Festival Barrio Latino -- June 28, Parque de la Exposición, Lima (recently confirmed, this festival will feature Daddy Yankee, Prince Royce, Cumbia All Stars and more)

For more information about these events and other gigs in Peru, see Music Concerts in Peru 2014.

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Image © Selvámonos

 

“Crazy Cars” Soap Box Derby in Lima, April 6

Saturday March 29, 2014

For a few years now, the Red Bull energy drink company has been organizing soap box derbies in cities across the globe. Now it's Lima's turn, with the Red Bull Carros Locos (Crazy Cars) event all set to take place on Sunday, April 6.

Billed as "a race of velocity and creativity," the free-wheeling contestants will thunder (or blunder) their way down the Bajada de Bertoletto along Lima's Costa Verde in the San Miguel district.

The racers will be judged on three different elements: their race time, the creativity of their crazy cars and the driver's racing ability and overall showmanship. In other words, it should be a highly entertaining spectacle.

Among the judges will be surfer Sofía Mulánovich, one of Peru's most famous celebrities. She'll help decide which of the 60 teams claims the Carros Locos title for 2014.

Entrance is free, with three different public viewing points at the following locations: Av. Costanera (for a panoramic overview of the race); on the beachfront Costa Verde strip (from where you can see the mid-section and finish line) and at a point 400 meters down the route (for some intense action).

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The Everything Peruvian Cookbook

Friday March 28, 2014

The Everything Peruvian Cookbook

I'll happily admit that I'm neither a great cook nor a cookbook connoisseur, but I love to experiment with local ingredients here in Peru and I'm always more than happy to get some help from a handy cookbook.

I've tried a few cookbooks in Peru, both in Spanish and English, online and off, but none have grabbed me like the 300-page book by the mother-daughter team behind the excellent Peru Delights blog.

In "The Everything Peruvian Cookbook," authors Morena Cuadra and Morena Escardó have done their national cuisine proud with a book that combines easy-to-follow recipes with plenty of background information about Peruvian gastronomy as a whole.

The book begins with an introduction to the history of Peruvian cuisine via short sections covering everything from the Inca diet to Spanish, African, Asian and Italian influences. You'll also find a fascinating introduction to the staple ingredients found in many Peruvian kitchens.

Recipe-wise, "The Everything Peruvian Cookbook" does a great job of covering Peruvian classics and less well-known dishes, while at the same time never leaving the reader behind. Along with a recipe for great anticuchos, for example, you'll also find a separate recipe for the perfect anticucho sauce. And before you dive into the selection of empanada recipes, you can first find out how to make empanada dough.

Other Peruvian snacks covered by the book include tamales and juanes. You'll also find sandwich recipes, classic rice and bean dishes, ceviches, soups, quinoa ideas, classic Peruvian desserts and more.

Photos are limited to an eight-page color section in the middle of the book, something that might be off-putting if you're looking for a highly visual or coffee-table style cookbook.

But if you want precise recipes and engaging background information about a variety of Peruvian dishes, I doubt you'll be disappointed with "The Everything Peruvian Cookbook."

You can buy "The Everything Peruvian Cookbook" at Amazon.com.

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Free Concert in Lima’s Plaza de Armas

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Free Yushimi concert in Lima

If you're in Lima this weekend, how about seeing a free concert in the Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor)?

Peruvian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lucia Vivanco, otherwise known as Yushimi, will be playing a free gig in the square to mark the end of Women's History Month. Yushimi's Facebook page describes the artist's style as acoustic minimal folk with "subtle lo fi melodies." 

The gig will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 29.

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Stripping and Streaking at Machu Picchu

Friday March 14, 2014

A recent spate of strips and streaks at Machu Picchu has been dividing public opinion in Peru and abroad. While some see it as harmless fun, others have been expressing unfettered rage at this blatant disrespect for Peru's national and cultural heritage.

Notable events include this streak by a 30-year-old New Zealander and an 18-year-old Australian, as well as a couple of Canadians caught taking photos of themselves naked at the archaeological site.

Needless to stay, the images have had plenty of viral success online, despite the best attempts of local authorities to erase, bury or otherwise destroy the photos and recordings.

Onsite guards at Machu Picchu have since been told to step up their level of vigilance against potential nudity and high-speed nakedness. Those that have been caught exposing their parts to the high altitude air have been briefly detained and ordered to delete any offending images (images that somehow still found their way online...).

The official Machu Picchu visiting rules detail various acts that are prohibited within the archaeological site, such as making campfires, climbing on the walls or making unnecessarily loud noises. While a specific no-nudity rule does not exist (at least not yet), the regulations do state quite clearly that people demonstrating bad or immoral behavior will not be allowed into the site.

It could be argued that the foreign tourists ejected and detained for nudity have been quite lucky in their treatment so far. There have been plenty of calls in Peru for harsher penalties, including hefty fines and even jail time.  

An overreaction? Well, there are plenty of heated comments floating around the web regarding the subject, some defending the streaks as harmless and others calling for extreme measures to stop more nudity occurring at Machu Picchu. 

One thing many foreign commenters seem to miss is the religious or spiritual significance of the site to contemporary Peruvians, and therefore the impact that streaking and nudity can have. Machu Picchu isn't a simple Inca fort, nor is it a religious relic of a completely extinct faith.

Streaking at Machu Picchu will never result in controversy and punishments of Pussy Riot proportions (thankfully). But I can certainly understand why some Peruvians would be irate when foreign visitors don't treat the site with respect -- a site that is both a piece of Peru's archaeological heritage and a place of spiritual significance to many Peruvians, particularly those of the Cusco region.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to leave a comment below....

Peru Hop, a Hop-On Hop-Off Option for Exploring Peru

Tuesday March 11, 2014

Peru Hop

Here's a quick post to bring your attention to Peru Hop, a new hop-on hop-off bus system for tourists in Peru.

It's an interesting endeavor -- the first of its kind in Peru -- that could be just right for certain types of travelers. And while it won't fit everyone's style of travel, it does offer a good balance between the flexibility of independent travel and the more rigid but structured nature of a tour.

There's quite a lot of information to take in, with various schedules and bus passes available, so head over to the Peru Hop website for further details.

Basically, however, Peru Hop runs its own buses along routes between Lima and Cusco (some via Arequipa), giving you the option to buy a pass that lets you hop on and hop off wherever you like along the route.

You'll travel with your fellow "hopsters" and a guide, providing plenty of companionship and local knowledge along the route. And in terms of flexibility, you'll certainly have the option to tailor your trip -- day-by-day -- as you see fit. According to Peru Hop:

"Hopsters can fall in love with a local Peruvian in Paracas and want to stay there for a week more, or decide to do some volunteering work for a month in Ica... our flexible passes make everything possible!"

Pricewise, it's kind of tricky to compare Peru Hop with standard bus travel in Peru. Cruz del Sur, one of the better and more expensive bus companies in Peru, has tickets direct from Lima to Cusco for about S/.130 ($47) -- sometimes significantly less. Right now, the cheapest Peru Hop ticket from Lima to Cusco is $129 (S/.360), a sizeable difference.

But it's like comparing apples and oranges. Peru Hop is a fundamentally different type of service, especially in comparison to buses running direct between the two cities.

Of course, you could travel independently along the same or similar route as the Peru Hop buses, stopping off whenever and wherever you want. That could well end up being cheaper, but only if you are very familiar with the various forms of local transport in Peru (not all of which are particularly secure).

In the end, it's a question of travel taste. If you want to avoid rigid and often rip-off tours but would still like a degree of structure and support during your travels, Peru Hop could well be a good option for you.

Peru Hop Reviews

I haven't traveled with Peru Hop, so I'm obviously not going to review them yet. But if you've had the Peru Hop experience, I'd love to hear your opinion -- short or long -- in the comments section below.

(If you had a positive experience and Peru Hop staff asked you to write a review, go ahead -- but please make it clear that you were asked. Thanks!)

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Image © Peru Hop

Paul McCartney in Lima, April 2014

Friday February 28, 2014

Paul McCartney is all set to make a second appearance in Lima, Peru, having first played in the Peruvian capital back in 2011.

Back then, the ex-Beatle performed in front of 50,000 fans in the Estadio Monumental. This time around he'll be hoping to pack out the 40,000-capacity Estadio Nacional for one night only.

The gig will take place on April 25 with tickets going on sale just about now. Check back for more details in the next few days.

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Pre-Columbian Cultures and the Sea Exhibition in Lima

Thursday February 27, 2014

Del Mito a la Realidad: el Mar, Fuente de Vida

A new temporary exhibition in Lima's will certainly pique the interest of any history enthusiasts out there.

"Del Mito a la Realidad: el Mar, Fuente de Vida" ("From Myth to Reality: the Sea, Source of Life") is an exhibition dedicated to exploring the relationship between pre-Columbian cultures and the sea, primarily coastal civilizations such as the Nazca, Moche, Chimú, Lambayeque and Chincha. The exhibition also reveals the connection between the sea and the Incas, a civilization whose origins lie far inland.

Artifacts on display include ceramics from various coastal cultures (often decorated with coastal scenes or mythology), ancient harpoons, fishing weights and nets.

The temporary exhibition began on January 29 and will continue for at least a couple of months. The museum is located on Plaza Bolívar in the Pueblo Libre district of Lima; opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Entrance to the temporary exhibition is free.

Image © Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú

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