Information about Peru

Information about Peru
Information about Cusco
Information about Lima (capital of Peru)
Information about Machu Pichu

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Transportation: Air
Peru does not have one clear national airline, but rather various different airlines offering service to Peru from North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Some of the most popular airlines are LAN Perú(domestic and international), TACA Peru(international), and Star Peru (domestic). The country's airports are also served by many international airlines from other nations. The Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima is the nation's leading international airport. Domestic air travel serves as a major method for tourists to traverse the country with multiple airlines offering service between many of Peru's cities.

Transportation: Highways
Additionally, Peru has land borders with five countries and has highway connections with all but Colombia. International bus routes are operated on each of these highways providing service from Peruvian cities to other South American cities. Domestically, the highway system is extensive and covers nearly the entire country excluding the department of Loreto which can only be accessed by boat or airplane. There are frequent buses traveling throughout the country. The buses range in size and comfort but they usually have cushioned reclining seats and a form of onboard entertainment, such as a movie or music. Many offer bus-camas, or sleeper buses, with seats that recline to become beds.

Transportation: Rail
Peru is starting to build a metro in Lima, but other regions do not have this system. Tourists must travel by bus or taxi within the city. Outside of Lima, there are only two major railway systems in operation, one in the central part of the country and the other in the south. The central railway starts at sea level in Lima and traverses the Andes, crossing through the Junin and Huancavelica departments.
The southern railway is the one most commonly used by tourists, as a segment of its route goes from the city of Cusco to the citadel of Machu Picchu, a major tourist attraction. This route offers seating options ranging from economy class to first class. The railway originates in the city of Mollendo in the Arequipa Department and goes through the Puno and Cusco departments, passing through the cities of Arequipa, Puno, Juliaca, the citadel of Machu Picchu, and ends at Cusco. The railway is operated byPeruRail, the largest railway manager in Peru.

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Tourism
Cultural tourism forms the largest sector of the tourism industry in Peru. Pre-Columbian civilizations -most notably the Incan Empire, Chavin, Moche, and Nasca- left a large archeological and cultural impact on the nation. The ruins of Machu Picchu are the most internationally recognized of all the ruins of Peru and therefore receive the most tourists. The other popular ruins are those of Chan Chan, Sipan, Kuelap, Nazca lines, Ollantaytambo, Caral, Sacsayhuamán, and Sillustani.

Tourists also visit the Spanish colonial architecture in many cities in Peru. Some of the most outstanding examples of Spanish colonial architecture are in the cities of Lima, Arequipa, and Cusco.
Because of Peru's geographical diversity, it is possible to go surfing, sand boarding, 4x4, dune buggy,alpinism, rafting, rappelling, downhill, rally, trekking, skiing, and mountain climbing. Surfing is extremely popular in Peru, and the country has been host to numerous national and international competitions in the sport.

Gastronomic tourism
Peruvian cuisine stems mainly from the combination of Spanish cuisine with traditional native Peruvian ingredients, with later influences from the cuisines of China, Italy, West Africa and Japan, due to the arrival of immigrants from those locations. Each of these cuisines has had to be heavily adapted because of a lack or scarcity of many ingredients.

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Information about Lima

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HOW TO GET TO LIMA, PERU?
The usual way is by plane, taking an international flight from your home country to Lima city (Capital of Peru).

Lima´s airport (LIM) is Jorge Chavez International Airport. The airport is well connected with most cities in South America. There are regular flights from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Newark, Atlanta and Houston in the US. There are daily flights from Amsterdam, Madrid, Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, Quito, Santiago de Chile and Toronto.


Lima city
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurínrivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With a population fast approaching 9 million, Lima is the fifth largest city in Latin America, behind Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Lima's climate is mild and comfortable, despite being located in the subtropics and in a desert. Although classified as subtropical, Lima's proximity to the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean leads to temperatures much cooler than those expected for a subtropical desert, and can be classified as a cool desert climate.

The city of Lima is the transportation, cultural, economic, social, political, and touristic hub of the nation. Because Peru is a highly centralized nation, much its organization and commerce are centered on this city.

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Entry Requirements
US citizens must present a valid passport upon entry and departure.
EU citizens are permitted entry into the country for up to 6 months without a visa. The only document necessary is a passport, which must be valid for at least six months after your return date.

Important: The six months of stay should be explicitly solicited. Without this explicit permission, only three months of stay will be authorized and you will not have the possibility of extension. Students in the Spanish language schools should include in the written solicitation that they are enrolled in their respective school and request permission for “Study and Travel”. If you say only “Study”, it is possible that they will request a Student Visa application from you as well.

Health
In Peru, we only recommend that you attend private health clinics. Public healthcare can be quite deficent. Prior to your Spanish program, it is advisable to acquire travel medical insurance. While in Peru, you should avoid consumption of tap water and ice cubes to avoid stomach problems. Also, one must exercise precaution in making sure all foods are well cooked.

Money and Prices
The official currency used is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN). The average price levels in Peru are significantly lower than those in the United States and Western Europe. Therefore, the majority of situations don’t require that you bargain or ask for special offers. Paying a little more for something will certainly be worth it in quality and service . In tourist areas, however, there is a great fluctuation in prices, which means it’s probably a bad idea to buy before comparing deals. Another piece of advice: always carry small change. Large bills are often not accepted.
Typical meal: 2 - 4 Euros / 2.5 - 5 USD
Tips: 10 to 15 % (Waiters always expect a tip)
Forms of Payment:
Credit card (mainly accepted in Lima)
Debit card (ATMs)
Cash in local currency (Nuevo Sol)
Dollars in small quantities (to be used as emergency cash)
Travelers Checks in dollars

Phone and Internet
Internet cafes can be found in almost every city and tourist center and generally offer internet connection at very convenient prices. Many of these cafes have Skype and MSN messenger programs through which phone calls can be made. Phone cards for local calls can be used in public phone booths, which are prevalent throughout shopping centers, restaurants, and gas stations. European cell phones do not work in Peru. Pre-paid cell phones can be purchased for around US$ 70.
Peru Country Code: 0051

Time Difference
Peru Standard Time is GMT (UTC) -5. It coincides with the Central Standard Time Zone of the U.S. during the North American summer and the Eastern Standard Time Zone during the North American winter. Similarly; Peru is CET (Central European Time) minus 6 hours (minus 7 hours in European summer).

Voltage
220 V (same as Europe)
European plugs with two round connectors
Japanese plugs with two flat connectors

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Information about Cusco

How to get to Cusco?
The usual way is by plane, from Lima (capital of Peru). You also can arrive by bus. From Cusco's airport there are several daily flights from / to Lima (approximate flight time, 55 minutes). Cost: from US$70. There are also flights from / to Arequipa, Juliaca (Puno - Lake Titicaca area), and Puerto Maldonado (Tambopata). Also flights Cusco - La Paz, Bolivia.
Cusco's airport (CUZ) is Teniente Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport. The airport is at the edge of the city (taxi ride). There are daily internal flights to and from Lima and Arequipa. Lan Peru has the most flights to/from Cusco and Lima followed by Star Peru and Taca. The closest main international airport is Lima. The cheapest one way flights to Lima cost around USD 70. StarPeru generally has the cheapest flights. The airport of Cusco has restaurants, communication services, ATM´s, etc.

Airlines:
http://www.lan.com
http://www.starperu.com
http://www.taca.com
http://www.peruvianairlines.pe

Bus companies: Although it is possible to access Cusco by land, this isn’t the most convenient thing to, given that the route is long and the journey can be exhausting as it can last about a day and a half. Some bus companies:
http://www.tepsa.com.pe
http://www1.cruzdelsur.com.pe


City Information
The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of theIncan Empire.Cusco is the most visited department in Peru. It is home to the city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the citadel of Machu Picchu, one of theSeven Wonders of the World. The city of Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire and was placed on theUNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983. Incan monuments are throughout the city and are some of the most impressive in Peru. Additionally, after conquest by the Spanish, they attempted to bring their architectural and cultural influence to the city and rid of the Incan presence. Their goal was only partially successful as their architecture and culture did remain.

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Cusco is the most touristically developed area in Peru; tourism is by far the largest industry and infrastructure is extremely well developed. Major attractions include the historic downtown with colonial architecture and the main Plaza, Sacsayhuamán, the palace of Inca Roca, neighborhood of San Blas, and the archeological sites of Qenko, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. The Sacred Valley has a multitude of picturesque towns such as Písac, Maras, and Chinchero. Additionally, a variety of archeological sites such asOllantaytambo are located in the valley. Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Peru is located a few hours from Cusco by train: the citadel of Machu Picchu. These ruins are beyond description and are the most beautiful and important legacy of the Incan people. The site is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Machu Picchu can be accessed by the PeruRailtrain or a hike on the Inca Trail.

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Climate
Cusco has a subtropical highland climate. Its climate is generally dry and temperate, with two defined seasons. The dry season lasts from April through October, with abundant sunshine, and occasional nighttime freezes: July is the coolest month with an average of 9.6 °C (49.3 °F). The wet season lasts from November to March, with night frost less common: November averages 13.4 °C (56.1 °F). Although frost and hail are common, snow is virtually unheard of. The only-one snowfall was recorded in June 1911.

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Population
Until the late 18th century Cusco was the most populous city in the continent, even more than Lima. But because of the great revolution of Túpac Amaru in 1780, the white population migrated to Arequipa, considered safer from a possible new uprising. So, until the 20th century, the population was largelymestizo and indigenous, but now the white population has grown significantly in the city as high as 30%, as it is experiencing a demographic explosion process led by the tourism boom.
The city has a population of 390,000 people by 2008.

Food
The Plaza de Armas of CuscoAs headquarters to the Inca Empire, Cuzco was an important agricultural region. It was a natural reserve for thousands of native Peruvian species, including around 2,000 varieties of potato cultivated by the people. Recently many fusion and neo-Andean restaurants have developed in Cuzco, in which the cuisine is prepared with modern techniques and incorporates a blend of traditional Andean and international ingredients. Also, a cacao and chocolate museum, ChocoMuseo, recently opened in the center of the city. The purpose of this place is to teach people about Peruvian cacao and also the whole process to make artisanal chocolate.

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Information about Machu Pichu

The Inca Trail to Machupicchu is considered one of the best adventures programms of the whole world, and this is because its great variety of scenaries and ecological biodiversity and for its impressive inca's momuments visited during the trek as well.

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MACHU PICHU - TRAVEL INFORMATION:

LOCATION
The Machupicchu archaeological complex is located in the department of Cusco, in the Urubamba province and district of Machupicchu. It is perched on the eastern slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range, a chain of mountains curtailed by the Apurimac and Urubamba Rivers. At latitude 13ยบ7' South and longitude 72035' West of the Greenwich Meridian, Machupicchu is located at a height of 2,350 meters above sea level (main square).

CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
It is located in a subtropical zone, or dense wood, the reason why the climate is mild, warm and damp. One can perceive two distinct seasons during the year: the rainy season from November to March, which is a time of heavy rains. Visitors are advised to dress accordingly during this season. The dry season from April to October brings on higher temperatures.

FLORA AND FAUNA
Both are abundant and varied. Typical plant life in the historic reserve of Machupicchu includes pisonayes, q'eofias, alisos, puya palm trees, ferns and more than 90 species of orchids. The fauna in the reserve includes the spectacled bear, cock-of-the-rocks or "tunqui", tankas, wildcats and an impressive variety of butterflies and insects unique in the region. The lie of the land, the natural surroundings and the strategic location of Machupicchu lend this monument a fusion of beauty, harmony and balance between the work of the ancient Peruvians and the whims of nature.

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HISTORY
One cannot pinpoint the first to populate these lands, as it was a time of occupation rather than foundations. Machupicchu was visited by explorers well before Hiram Bingham, although with little success. These included Antonio Raymondi, the Count of Sartiges and Charles Wiener. Other visits included one in July 1909 by the Santander brothers, whose inscription can be found carved into the base of the Temple of the Sun. At the same time, Peruvian explorers Enrique Palma, Augustin Lizárraga and Gavino Sánchez arrived at the citadel by the route of San Miguel.
The railway line runs parallel to the river in winding loops that follow the riverbed. From here one can seethe typical vegetation of the upper jungle, which climbs up to the top of the steep mountain range that forms the Urubamba Canyon. The train passes through the Chilca train station from where one can see the snowcapped peak called "Veronica". With a height of 5,750 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in the Urubamba range. The train stops at Kilometer 88, where the Inca Trail begins.
The train then continues on its way, passing through the station of Pampacahua and the town of Aguas Calientes, located at Kilometer 110. When the train line comes up against a wall of imposing granite mountains, it then plunges into two tunnels before arriving at the station of Puente Ruinas. From here, minibuses take the travelers up 8 kilometers of roads up to the Tourist Hotel. The entry control to the Inca citadel is done near the hotel.

GUIDED TOURS
The guided tour of Machupicchu starts on a path that leads from the bus terminal. The path, built on purpose for tourism, enters the citadel in the section that houses a cluster of rooms near the outer wall. The path continues through a terrace to gain access to the agricultural zone before arriving at the urban area.

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ARCHITECTURE
The citadel is divided into two sectors: the agricultural (terracing) and the urban, where there are main squares, temples, palaces, storehouses, workshops, stairways, cables and water fountains which run through both sectors, which measure 20 and 10 hectares respectively.
It is clear that the architectural design was based on Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire. Machupicchu was built according to its natural surroundings, with its constructions following the natural curves and dips and rises in the land..

The archaeological excavation that took place after Bingham discovered the ruins showed the land was previously given granite foundations with little surrounding soil.
The agricultural and urban sectors are split by a dry ditch, the result of a geographic fault line.
The following chapters describe the most important constructions in each sector.

THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
The sector is surrounded by a series of terraces of different types and sizes which had two main functions: to grow crops and halt the erosion caused by the rains. The most eye-catching terraces lie at the entrance to the citadel. They begin at the cluster of rooms located at the entrance and climb up to the top of the mountain until they stop at a large rectangular room.It is clear that the upper terraces at the entrance were meant for agricultural purposes as they have raised steps and are much wider. The lower terraces, meanwhile, have different shapes because they were built as foundations.
There are no canals as they were not necessary, as the constant rains and ever-present humidity allowed the plants to grow without irrigation. The only water channel that flows through the urban sector crosses through the central terrace.
In the agricultural sector there are five rooms that look like Chincheros and Ollantaytambo storerooms.

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THE CONTROL GATE
This is made up of a three-walled room with a view with several windows, which can be found in front of the main gateway. There is a go panorama from here of the agricultural and urban sectors and the surrounding landscape. It is a good idea to take photos from this angle as it gives the visitor a good view of the complex.

THE UPPER CEMETERY AND RITUAL STONES
In every Inca city, the dead were buried on the outskirts of the town, which is where in this case Cusco archaeologists found human remains. In the upper part, they also found sculpted stones that belong to the area, which indicated the Incas used the stones to make offerings to their gods. On this same piece of ground lies a granite boulder sculpted with steps. But the most striking feature is that it is pierced with a ring, the purpose of which is unknown. This ritual boulder is very similar to that of the ñusta-hispana in the Vilcabamba I ruins. In the upper part one can see a body-shaped spot as if people had been placed on their backs.

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THE URBAN SECTOR
While the agricultural sector is cut short by a dry ditch, one can see a long stairway that leads to the front gate.
This sector houses the most important constructions of any Inca city, where one can appreciate the talent, effort and quality of the pre-Hispanic builders, as the constructions are entirely made of granite, a very hard rock that is different from that used in Cusco.
The city is U-shaped. In the northern section there is the great religious sector containing the temples, to the South there are the houses and workshops on platform terraces that Bingham called the Military Group. The main buildings in the Urban Sector are the following:

THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN
This construction is shaped like a semi-circle and built on solid rock, an existing granite block shaped to blend with the natural curves, with a diameter of 10.50 meters. It is composed of highly polished polyhedrons. There are two trapezoidal windows in this building with protruding knobs at every comer, and on the north side there is a carefully-sculpted door with bored holes in the doorjamb, very similar to the Qoricancha temple in Cusco. The Spanish historians relate there were once gold and precious jewels encrusted in the door. To the West of the temple there is a rectangular patio with nine ceremonial doorways alternating with prism-shaped studs.

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THE INTIWATANA
This stone is located on a hill made up of several terraces. The visitor can gain access to the stone via 78 well-crafted steps. At the end of the staircase one enters an open patio with walls equally well-sculpted, and where one can see an upper platform where there is a granite rock sculpted into three steps. In the central part one can see a rectangular prism that is 36cm high and which is pointing from North-West to South-East.
Its four corners are directed to the four cardinal points. The Intiwatana had specific functions: it measured time (the solstice and the equinox) by using sunlight and shadow, and also served as an altar. In Quechua, "Inti" means "sun" and "Wata" means "year", thereby giving us the meaning of a solar year observatory.

THE GROUP OF THE SACRED ROCK
The sacred rock, located in a four-sided spot flanked by two three-sided rooms, features a monolithic rock sculpture which is 3cm high and 7m wide at its base. The pedestal, which is approximately 30cm high, resembles a feline. From another angle, It looks like the profile of a mountain near Machupicchu. It is possible that this cluster of constructions, together with two "Wayranas", or three-sided rooms, were used for rituals.

THE TEMPLE OF THREE WINDOWS
It is located West of the main square, has a large rectangular floor. Its name comes from the fact its main face has three windows and two blind bays. Together with the main temple, this is the most impressive architecture in all of Machupicchu. The enormous polyhedrons have been carved and joined with millimetric precision.
In front of the Wayrana-style construction, on the large doorjamb next to the central column that holds up the roof, there is a sculpted lithograph with carefully polished molds and flat parts.

MAIN TEMPLE
The temple is located North of the Sacred Square, very near the Temple of Three Windows. It is built of three walls and is 11m long and 8m wide.

THE DOORS
Doors are a common sight in Machupicchu and especially in this sector. They vary in texture, size and architectural style that set them apart from each other, although all have the same trapezoid shape. Some only have one doorjamb and lintel, and some have two. Some doors are simple and others have different security mechanisms such as stone rings, central trunks and other mechanisms which served to tie together beams to make the doors more secure.

THE FOUNTAINS
To the South of the complex, between the Temple of the Sun and the Royal Palace, the area houses a series of water fountains, the only sources of the vital element for the residents of Machupicchu. The first three water fountains or "PaqchaS7 in Quechua, have been extremely well sculpted. The architectural structures in this area are basically sculpted rock to which are added other decorations such as the spillway and the side walls. This beautiful finish is due to the harmony existing between the Temple of the Sun and the Royal Palace. These fountains were fed by underground water and carried via a canal to be used for irrigation of crops.

THE TOMB
The enormous leaning block of stone that holds up the Temple of the Sun has a large crack in its bottom part, which has been exceptionally skillfully decorated and furnished to be later used as a tomb.
It was also a site of worship and offerings to the mummified bodies of the main authorities. In the doorway it shows a carving portraying the symbol of the goddess Mother Earth. In its interior there are niches, monolithic pillars and other accessories used for religious means and to attend the mummies.

THE SQUARES
There are four main squares at different levels, but share the characteristic of being rectangular in the classic Inca style, interconnected by sunken stairways in the parameters of the terraces. The main square is the largest, which just like the main squares in all Inca cities, had religious and social functions.
The fourth open area is a square flanked by terraces with their respective access ways, similar to the 1,000 B.C. Chavin culture.
On July 14, 1911, Hiram Bingham arrived together with a team of Yale University specialists in topography, biographies, geology, engineering and osteology, led by local inhabitant Melchor Arteaga. They asked him about the city, and he told them it was located on top of an old peak ("Machupicchu" in Quechua).
Later, in 1914 Hiram Bingham returned to Machupicchu with economic and logistic backing from Yale University and the U.S. Geographic Society with the specialists mentioned above, whose report was published and made available around the world with the title "The Lost City of the Incas".
In the original map, Bingham carved Machupicchu into sectors according to the four cardinal points. Some names have remained the same, but 76 years after the discovery of Machupicchu, scientific studies carried out by archaeologists from the archaeological foundation of the National Cultural Institute as well as delegations of foreign scientists, have provided valuable conclusions about the use and functions of the buildings. These were based on archaeological excavations and the architectonic relations between the buildings with similar construction across the vast Inca empire.
The periods of occupation have been broken down into the following, based on historical accounts, construction style and ceramics:
1. Initial (up to 1,300 A.D.)
2. Classic (up to 1,400 A.D.)
3. Imperial (up to 1533 A.D.)
4. Contact or Transition (1533 to 1572)

DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE TO MACHUPICCHU
There are 112krn of railway line between the city of Cusco and the station of Puente Ruinas or Machupicchu. The trip starts in the station of San Pedro in Cusco, zig-zagging up the Picchu mountain until it reaches the highest point, a spot called "El Arco" (the arch), in the northwest part of the city.
- The route then descends to the villages of Poroy, Cachimayo and lzcuchaca until it reaches the Anta plains, an extensive cattle area. It climbs down the gully of Pomatales before descending to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, arriving at the station of Pachar. The route then crosses the Urubamba River to the right bank and arrives at the station of Ollantaytambo. For those who arrived here by the asphalt road of the Sacred Valley, one can board the train to continue to Machupicchu.

HOT SPRINGS:
At a distance of 800m East of the town of Aguas Calientes, there are underground hot sulfur springs which bubble up from the rocky ground at varying temperatures.
The especially-built pools at this resort are the basis of its use as hot mineral baths. The average temperature of the water runs from 38ºc to 46ºc. There are also changing rooms, bathrooms and a small snack bar.

RAIL TRANSPORT
Tourist Train, It only operates in the high season, leaving Cusco in the morning, stopping at the most important stations (Ollantaytambo, Km.88 or Ooriwayrachina) until it arrives at the station of Puente Ruinas. The trip takes four hours and returns in the evening.
Autovagon, This tourist service leaves Cusco in the morning and takes three hours. The trip from The Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba to Ollantaytambo) takes 1,1/2 hours. It returns in the evening.
It is recommended to check all timetables in train stations and travel agencies, as they are modified according to the season.

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