The island of Taquile on Lake Titicaca is high on the list of Perú InsideOut’s favorites and much requested destinations by those looking to tour this beautiful lake. Lake Titicaca offers inspiration and solitude to its visitors especially due to the fact it is the highest navigable lake in the world. Peru offers many interesting places to visit however, from our perspective, we think that Lake Titicaca is pretty special.
Taquile Island, unlike some of the other floating islands on Lake Titicaca, has not been overtaken by tourism and the island manages to maintain a wonderful balance between the traditional lifestyle and the tourists which visit. and life on the island is still today reflects ancient traditions.
The inhabitants, approximately 2,200 at last count, are referred to as Taquilenos and specialize in finely handcrafted and handwoven textiles and clothing which are some of the best handicrafts in Peru. In 2005, UNESCO, honored their textiles and proclaimed them as ‘Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Humanity’. What is particularly interesting about the Quechua speaking Taquilenos is that the knitting is done exclusively by men who start learning the trade as young as eight years of age. The women for the most part focus their attention on weaving and the making yarns.
You have the option of visiting the island of Taquile in our customized tours which will introduce you to the traditional way of life, almost untouched by modernity. The views on the island are unique and the Taquilenos customs are well preserved.
Like many destinations in Peru, Taquile Island offers a once in a life time opportunity to visit an exclusive and memorable site. Cherish a relaxing boat ride on the clear waters of Lake Titicaca and enjoy your visit to Taquile Island and this amazing isolated local community.
Contact Perú InsideOut for more information on Lake Taquile and Lake Titicaca tours in general.
Lima, with its cosmopolitan vibe and ever-growing population, offers a lot of opportunities to learn more about Peru and its rich culture and history. However the staff at Perú InsideOut agree that no visit to Lima is complete without a tour of the Museo Larco (Larco Museum).
Founded originally by Rafael Larco Hoyle, a collector of pre-Columbian artifacts, the museum now represents thousands of years of history and over 50,000 items are on view. While all items may not be necessarily be catalogued and available to see as a complete exhibition, the tour of the Larco Museum also includes the storage area giving a unique behind the scenes approach.
There are permanent exhibitions on display as well as ad hoc exhibitions which vary regularly. The noteworthy ‘Gold and Silver Gallery’ houses the largest collection of jewelry worn by rulers in pre-Colombian times. It includes a delightful collection of masks, crowns, garments and vases. Of particular interest to curious visitors, is the world’s largest collection of erotic ceramics housed within the walls of the Larco Museum. The ‘Cultures Gallery’ goes a long way into shedding light on the variety of cultures that existed in pre-Columbian times by offering a chronological view of the art of this historic period, and the ‘Textile Room’ features a selection of woven clothing and mantles.
Not only do the items in the museum provide interesting viewing, the building itself adds to the general attraction of this tourist destination. The building is a beautiful 18th Century vice-royal mansion aptly built atop a 7th Century pre-Columbian pyramid, complemented by stunning gardens. And for those looking for a bite to eat, the onsite Café del Museo is worth a visit.
The Museo Larco in Lima provides an unforgettable and enriching experience to all who visit.
There is no shortage of good quality restaurants in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru. One of our favorite eateries is Zingaro, located in the downtown historic district on San Francisco. With their newly opened wine bar and quality local dishes, it is no wonder the restaurant is fashionable with both locals and tourists.
You can sit in the restaurant sipping wine while sharing an Arequipa Mix Appetizer with your friends: a mix of pork, mini rocoto, fried cheese, potatoes in ocopa sauce and cheese solterito; this dish is always popular. Or you can enjoy a Pisco Sour in a more private setting while enjoying the popular shrimp chowder. From cuy to alpaca, beef to quinoa taboule, the restaurant has something for everyone. And the extensive wine list will have you coming back for more – they offer over 250 wines from Argentina, Chile, Spain, Italy and Peru.
The restaurant has been in operation for over 10 years and the modern menu complements the traditional beauty of the building in which it is housed.
With the open kitchen, you can easily watch the kitchen staff hard at work preparing the food. And if you are keen to try your hand in the kitchen yourself, Zingaro also offers cooking classes. You can enjoy preparing a couple of classic traditional dishes under the guidance of the chefs as well as learning how to make your own Pisco Sour. You can then sit back and enjoy your hard work. Bon appetit!
Whatever the occasion, whether for a long lazy lunch or a corporate dinner, Zingaro is definitely worth a visit.
Filmed in Italian, Roberto takes the viewers on a tour of Lima while discussing his early days of arriving in Peru and his subsequent decision to set up his travel agency, PeruInsideOut. The program is available to view in North and South America, Asia and Australia. On 22 November the program was rescheduled on the national Italian channel RAI 3 and is possible to watch it at the following weblink:
Now 5 years on, Perú InsideOut has developed a solid reputation amongst locals and travellers alike and established themselves as one of the leading tour operators in Peru. Roberto still sticks closely to his original mission of focusing on the heart and soul of travel balanced with European flair and expertise; and it is obviously working well for him. In 2014, Perú Inside Out announced they would be extending their tours to popular destinations in Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Watch Roberto take you back to where it all began.
Nazca, located near the south coast of Peru, is a fascinating destination . Situated in the central Andes, the Nazca Valley was home to the Nazca culture for hundreds of years. If you manage to tour this area, we recommend you add Cahuachi to your list of sites. It often gets overshadowed by the nearby Nazca Lines although we feel these structures are definitely appealing in their own right.
Cahuachi, located 30 kilometers outside Nazca, was thought to be a non-urban ceremonial or pilgrimage center and during its decline period, a burial center. Llama, bird plumage and guinea pig remains were discovered in the building known as The Great Temple – a further proof of the sacrificial offerings and divination rituals that took place here. Whilst no permanent agricultural or farming system was ever set up here as the Nazca culture did not stay here long term, discovery of objects such as food, fine pottery and textiles, engraved gourds, panpipes and drums seem to be indicative of items brought to the site by those passing through.
This fascinating complex, rediscovered in 1922, features approximately 40 mounds, many built on natural pre-existing hills for ease of construction. Some of the mounds were used for burials while others were temples or living spaces, possibly for priests, although not all the mounds had rooms. Experts are still excavating the area to learn more about this fascinating culture and period of history.
What is interesting about this site is that the entrance to Cahuachi is seemingly unrestricted. Back in the day it would have been possible to visit Cahuachi from any direction with no walls or buildings preventing access.
Please note that if you will be visiting the ruins in the height of the day you will need a hat and plenty of water as this site is built in the pre-mountainous desert landscape and on the southern side of the Nazca River.
There are many great ruins in Peru, the most well-known is of course Machu Picchu in the southern area of the country near Cusco. But a special mention is necessary for Kuelap, built in the north of the county by the Chachapoyas (meaning mountain mist in Quechua) culture, located in the area bythe same name.
The complex located in the Utcubamba Valley is a walled city comprising more than four hundred buildings. The ruins are situated at 3,000 meters above sea level and due to the size of the complex and the height of the walls (some up to 20 meters) it must have been quite a feat to build this massive fortress. There are only three entrances into the city itself provided by narrow walled alleys . Despite this, the Chachapoyas were conquered by the Incas and subsequently the Spanish.
Many of the constructions built by the Chachapoyas were cylindrical in shape and some of the walls show remains of geometric wall friezes (zig zags and diamonds being popular), carvings and significant iconography. The buildings include a watch tower, main temple and castle and of great interest are the remains of burial sites located beneath many of the constructions themselves.
Kuelap was built in 6th century AD and occupied until sometime in the 1500s (dates vary according to sources) and subsequently abandoned. The complex was then rediscovered in 1843.
The reasons why it was built are the object of some controversy. Some scholars believe the very height of the walls mean it was defensive in nature while others believe it was an emergency refuge where they kept a large number of food storehouses such as granaries. There is some talk of it being a sanctuary housing the aristocracy responsible for dealing with the administration of food and religious leadership or it may have held some other sacred function. At its height it was thought to have housed over 300,000 inhabitants.
Given its size, it is no wonder it is compared to Machu Picchu and other great archeological sites in the Americas. Experts believe that over 200 years were necessary to build this massive complex protected somewhat by the mountainous landscape, neighboring rivers and forests. It is interesting to note that while it was discovered 60 years before Machu Picchu, it was never the object of the same level of interest by the public until recently.
No other complex in the Northeastern Andes comes close to the magnificence of Kuelap in terms of dimensions. Although it is quite a hike to reach Keulap due to its remoteness and location in the cloud forest, in our eyes, it is definitely a worthwhile trip.
Arequipa provides many great sightseeing opportunities for visitors from all over the world and those who choose to spend a few days in the “white city” will get to see some unique gems afforded to travelers. For visitors who have the time and make the effort, Lake Salinas provides remarkable views. Located both in the Salinas National Reserve and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, the lake and the surrounding area provides a unique vista of the natural landscapes, sweeping meadows and its superb flora and fauna.
Setting out early is a must as the journey takes approximately 3 hours from Arequipa itself; however, it is totally worth the trip. This part of the Arequipa region provides visitors with unmarred views of the Volcanoes El Misti and Picchu Picchu and spectacular does not even begin to cover it.
While the lake floods in the wet season, note that in the months of March to December, the lake completely dries out into a salt flat. Both forms provide interesting insights into the area.
Particularly for bird watchers, this lake is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the birds that inhabit the area, including Andean flamingos, Andean goose, Andean ducks, hummingbirds, condors, eagles, canasteros, anas puna, swans, Andean avocet and more. Aside from the wide number of bird species living here, you will also see many vicuna, llamas, guanacos, alpaca, deer, rabbits and possibly Andean puma.
A trip to Salinas Lake allows you to see how the locals work alongside nature, specifically the farmers and the salt workers who call this area home. Much of the economy focuses on the camelids which thrive on the vegetation in the area hence the large numbers located in the near vicinity. A visit to Lake Salinas also allows you to take in the pre-Inca terraces which surround this vast area.
Regardless of the month you visit, Lake Salinas and the surrounding national parks are a must-see on the Arequipa circuit. If you would like more information on our personalized trips to Lake Salinas, contact us for more details.
AREQUIPA, PERU, 4 September 2015 – Over the last five years Perú InsideOut has been fine tuning their expertise and knowledge in the south of Peru, offering quality customised tours to clients wishing to learn more about this fascinating South American country. Last year Perú InsideOut has expanded their offering with a range of trips to popular destinations in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.
The latest tours on offer by Perú InsideOut include the Highlights of Bolivia Tour; the Peru Bolivia Andean Tour; the Lima, La Paz, Cusco Tour; the Bolivia Classic Tour; The Easter Island Tour; the Highlights of Peru, Chile and Bolivia Tour; and the aptly named Magic Ecuador Tour.
“Offering this extensive new range of tours was a natural progression for PeruInsideOut. An ever increasing number of our clients wish to extend their Peruvian tours into the neighbouring countries of Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, and we are happy to oblige,” says owner Roberto D’Amico.
Roberto and the team at Perú InsideOut spent many months doing their homework, researching the destinations, scouting reputable tour guides and finding quality accommodation and interesting sights to round off the new set of tours.
“Of course all these changes didn’t happen overnight,” says Roberto. “And although the work that goes into each tour may be lengthy, it is never dull. We love travel and researching each trip: it rarely feels like work. Now that we have added them to our range, it feels like they have always been part of us,”.
Clients wishing to visit destinations like La Paz, Uyuni, Santiago, Atacama Desert, Cuenca and Quito need only to browse the Per InsideOut website to view the new range.
“Travellers and adventurers will not be disappointed as we take them to a mix of destinations both on the tourist trails and off the beaten track,” adds Roberto.
Perú InsideOut can offer clients one of their readily prepared tours or create a customized tour based on interests and budget.
For more information on Perú InsideOut and their new range of tours, visit www.peruinsideout.com.