LARES TO MACHU PICCHU clean up trek – handy in the Andes

I have just recently returned from experiencing one of our Apus Peru treks, which happened to be a specially requested ‘Clean up’ hike.

I accompanied a group of 8; a family of 5 with 3 girls under 12 years old, a father/daughter couple and a teacher. The trek was our Lares to Machu Picchu route, http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/lares_machu_picchu.htm a 4 day trek, hiking 3 days, 2 nights camping and ending with a visit to Machu Picchu.

We passed through the Andean communities of Chaullacocha and Chupani with which Apus Peru work directly through supporting their sister organisation Threads of Peru http://threadsofperu.com/ in promoting production of their traditional textiles.

We started on day 1 heading up from the Patacancha valley where our guide, Herbert, got us to do some team preperations.

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As we made our way up to 4100m we collected trash located around the road side and managed to get two big sacks full of rubbish.

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We passed through some local farm communities and gave out bread to the locals as there are literally no bakeries around for miles.

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Three of our youngest group members were especially keen to interact with the local children. Here’s the Apus Peru clean up “team” foto:

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As we passed through the communities later in the day the opportunity came to buy some local textiles from the people who made them, further supporting the communities which we encounter during our treks.

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Day 2 began well and ended better. After a fair spell of rain it dried up just in time for a dip in the thermal baths near to Lares and our final nights camp.

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During the course of the trek we had collected 7 and a half bags of rubbish and not passed by any other trekkers. Our trek culminated in a well deserved visit to Machu Picchu.

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By Matt Waugh, 17th September 2014. Photographs, Matt Waugh and Sophia Kohler.

To book this trek or find out about other similar eco-hikes, please see our link: http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/special_treks.html

Agricultural jewels of the Incas, Salineras and Moray

The Sacred Valley can be reached from Cusco in less than 70 minutes by car.

“What is so special about the Sacred Valley anyway?” people may ask. For anyone who gets out and explores the area on foot, or bike for that matter, they will soon understand the answer to that question!

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The Incas thought the Sacred Valley was an impressive and holy place.  As such, it is a place where many of their ruins are prominent features, strong and proud against the mountainous back-drop.

Most of the Sacred Avlley ruins were built in strategic, agricultural or sacred places. Almost every smaller valley heading out of the Sacred Valley hosts something rare and unique.

On one side of the Urubamba river, just outside of the town of Urubamba, sit the Saltmines (or Salineras) of Maras. They offer the visitor a unique photographic opportunity, nestled into the Canyon, featuring a fascinating mix of colors.

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Moray also offers something special to the visitor with its conundrum of concentric cylindrical terraces, which is very different to other Inca sites across the Andes. This is thought to have had an agricultural purpose, possibly test-farms but there are many other theories to the origins of this complex. 

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There are several ways to get to this wonderful place, it can be hiked or biked from the top to bottom!

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As part of the trip Apus Peru clients have the choice to do some down-hill mountain biking through the specatular surrounds, to get you down to the Sacred Valley floor. 

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Here is one of our guides, Jose, showing Apus Peru trekkers around.

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Many thanks to Thayer Allyson Gowdy http://thayergowdy.com/ and her partner for the great shots of this location from our Apus Peru ‘Shapes of the Past’ hike http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/shapes_past.htm that they took with us this year. We offer this hike on any day of the year, as well as a number of other one day hikes all within close reach of Cusco. For more information, please drop us an email at reservas@apus-peru.com . Happy Trekking!

Eastern to local, Cusco has it all… foodie review, Megan Malley

If you’ve had your share of Peruvian food and are looking for a different ethnicity, try the fabulous Japanese restaurant Kintaro only one block from the main plaza. The dining room is open and elegantly decorated, and the food is served on Asian-style wooden planks.

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The sushi menu here includes bizarre combinations like the bacon avocado roll, which, I concluded, is much better than it sounds. The large noodle soup bowls, however, are the star attraction of Kintaro. I ordered the curry bowl and absolutely loved it, making sure to finish every last spoonful of spicy broth. http://www.cuscokintaro.com/en/

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However, if you are looking for an authentic Peruvian dining experience, head to Encuentro on calle Ruinas for a typical local lunch. This vegetarian restaurant offers a daily “menú” for a set price of about 8 soles. The menú includes a “refresco,” or juice, a small plate of salad and potatoes, a large bowl of veggie or quinoa soup, and a main course of your choice depending on that day’s available dishes.

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Their saltados, which are vegetable stir fry plates with rice and soy sauce, are delicious and very healthy. They also have chaufa, which is fried rice with tofu or vegetables. If you are sitting at a table with an empty seat during the rush hour, expect a Peruvian stranger to come up and sit with you. A great way to eat the way the locals do! http://restaurantelencuentro.blogspot.com/2008/04/comida-saludable-y-sabrosa.html

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Descending to the Sacred Valley – a rewarding route, suitable for most levels of hikers!

As I have the opportunity to do some of the treks that Apus Peru offer, I can only be inspired every time I go on one. Every day hike that is available offers something different, new views of the surrounding mountains of the Cusco region and always an experience to be shared.

Photos and words tell only half of the story – you have to go there to really understand!

Last week I had the pleasure to accompany a group of keen and able trekkers on a stunning route through to the Sacred Valley.  It took approximately 4 hours to cover the 7kms (about 4.5 miles) of traverse down into a lush valley of trees and farms from the Inca market town of Chinchero to Urquillos in the Sacred Valley. We started from 3600m and ended down by the Urubamba river by the small town of Urquillos at 2900m.

We started by descending from some awesome Inca terraces at Chincheros.

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We then headed on down an ancient Inca trail that skirted some small streams and miniature waterfalls

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About 30 minutes in, the valley opened out and we were left with jaw-dropping views of the way down to the Sacred Valley

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On the way down we encountered a little forest and took shelter for a bit of a picnic

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At the bottom where we ended our trek we found the quaint town of Urquillos. I think most gave it a mark of 10/10

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Simply put, this is a great little intro to the Andes and an adequate warm up hike for those going on to do the 4 day Inca Trail, Salkantay or similar.

To book this trek or similar 1 day hikes within close reach of Cusco, please see our link at -http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/descending_sacred_valley.htm

La Veronica –the mightiest mountain of the Cordillera Urubamba in the Andes

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Veronica is the mightiest mountain in Urubamba Mountain range and here she stands at a height of 5860m/16830ft overlooking all of the Cusco region. She is coated in a horn of snow most of the year round and named Wakay Willca, or Sacred Tears in Quechua. This is taken in the valley of Urubamba and not far from Ollantaytambo, a famous town of the Inca’s. This is part of the trail to the Inca Quarries of Cachiccata, a good days warm up hike on the way to Machu Picchu if you happen to be staying the night in Ollantaytambo or the close-by in the Sacred Valley.

For more information on our Sacred Valley tours and 1 day hikes please see other options at our links: http://www.apus-peru.com/tours/sacred_valley.htm and http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/one_day.html

Thanks to Matt Waugh, Apus Peru Travel Consultant, for his local insights!

Curry in Cusco!! Foodie review – a continuation. Megan Malley

Last year Megan Malley, Threads of Peru intern, had the delightful task of sampling a variety of Cusco’s restaurants for our Blog. A continuation from her earlier posts, here is another to wet your appetite for a cuisine other than that you may have expected in Cusco!

As surprising as it may sound to find Indian food in Peru, make sure not to skip over Korma Sutra in the artsy and quaint San Blas hillside neighborhood.   With a completely open kitchen, this small candlelit restaurant allows the mouth-watering scent of curry to waft out onto Tandapata street to lure in passersby.

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Although the curry bowls aren’t cheap, they are sometimes discounted for occasions such as the restaurant’s anniversary. If you order the “very spicy” level of chicken, lamb, or tofu curry, make sure to accompany it with a mango or banana lassi to cool off your mouth!  Run by the owners of the former innovative Sumaq Misky, they bring the same Andean pizzaz to Indian food.

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Alpaca Curry anyone? https://www.facebook.com/KormaSutraCusco For alterntaive suggestions see our restaurant link: http://www.apus-peru.com/trip-planning/restaurants.html

A special thank you!

Apus Peru has always been interested in being a responsible business that treads lightly and ‘gives back’ to the communities where it travels.

This desire eventually grew to be a not for profit organisation, Threads of Peru. $15 from every Apus Peru client is donated to Threads of Peru as a way of directly supporting these high Andean communities.

coin purses - a selection

coin purses – a selection

Now, as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for your support, Apus Peru has ordered coin purses from Huaran, a weaving community at the beginning of the Lares trek. Every Apus Peru traveller will receive one of these gorgeous coin purses, perfect to stash your stuff or even carry your USB.
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“These coin purses provide Apus Peru clients with a reminder of their Peru visit while also providing a tangible investment in local communities,” said Ariana Svenson, Apus Peru Co-Founder.

Here we have two of the wonderful weavers, Bacelia and Juana.

Bacelia Condori Quispe

Bacelia Condori Quispe

For more information about Threads of Peru, go to http://www.threadsofperu.com
Or, should you love the coin purses and want more please check them out here

http://threadsofperu.com/alpaca-clothing/accessories/wool-bags/

Juana Paola Siccus

Juana Paola Siccus