World Earth Day 2014

Earth Day 2014

Today, across the world, communities are celebrating UNESCO World Earth Day: an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year. The environment and sustainability has been at the forefront of our decisions here at Inkaterra since our inauguration in 1975, and we continue to integrate sustainable business practices into all aspects of our operations.

World Earth Day

Our world is a beautiful place so let’s take the steps to ensure future generations will have the chance to experience it also. Reflection is a powerful tool, and to pay tribute to our world, here are some of our favourite quotes and images from our home country of Peru in honour of our world. We have much to be thankful for. We can all feel good about the direction conservation is moving, but we can’t stand still. With each of our individual efforts, the next Earth Day will be even better.

Going to Inkaterra  Reserva Amazonica Sunset on the banks of Madre de dios

DSC02382 On route to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica 

EcoTourism Inkaterra

Cusco

The terracotta rooftops of Cusco 

Earth Day Quotes

Machu Picchu

World Earth Day 2014

The Inca Citadel Overlooking the Citadel at Machu Picchu

Sunset at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica taken by Jorge MazzottiSunset on Tambopota 

We are all responsible for the future health of our planet

Trees in the Amazon Rainforest The Peruvian Amazon

-¦ÍL The Sacred Valley 

World Environment Day

Beautiful Lake Tititcaca - Creative CommonsLake Titicaca 

The future of our planet lies with us

It is our responsibility to cherish our planet. Join us in the World Earth Day celebrations on Twitter with hashtag #WorldEarthDay. For more quotes, and inspiring photography for our home of Peru, check out our Pinterest page.

Spotlight on our GM at El MaPi Hotel Machu Picchu

El MaPi Hotel

We thought it was time to turn our thoughts towards our ByInkaterra property this week: El MaPi Hotel Machu Picchu. Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El MaPi, amidst the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes), where you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and glimpse a peculiar perspective. Here you’ll discover an efficient, lively and people-friendly atmosphere; you are welcomed along with other global guests expecting an unfussy, down-to-earth break. Relax in a pleasant and wholesome ambience after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most distinguished destination, the Machu Picchu Archaeological site. We grabbed ten minutes with our resident manager Gloria Neyra, to find out their latest news.

El MaPi Hotel

1. Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be General Manager at El MaPi

In 2001, I ended my college education as a Tourism Business Administrator, then I stayed 4 years in Puerto Maldonado working for Rainforest Expeditions as their administrator & guide for their touristic lodges – in 2003 I also worked as a guide for Cusco Amazónico – former name of current Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. I had the opportunity to acquire experience in the hotel business when I started working for Inkaterra. I started as a senior reception officer at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, then as a deputy resident manager at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, then as Administrator at El MaPi, byIT, Resident Manager at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción and I am now the Resident Manager at El MaPi, byIT.

2. How is El MaPi unique from the other Inkaterra properties?

El Mapi, byIT, is a practical, easy going city hotel with a different concept than all other Inkaterra Hotels, but still maintains  the same quality as these, giving  an efficient and warm service, with a personalized attention to our guests, always keeping in mind the necessity to protect and maintain the environment. This is why in the hotel you’ll  notice many of our efforts such as recycled material – wood, plastic, forged iron, etc in order to minimize the use of printed paper. Walls and mirrors are our chosen method of transmitting information to our hotel guests.

El MaPi Hotel Reception

3. We hear the recent renovations at El MaPi went really well! How have the new rooms been received?

The current renovations have been received with enthusiasm by our guests who love the new design, especially in this village which is very chaotic and offers limited comfort when our hotel offers a very captivating atmosphere and responds perfectly to the necessities of our current and future guests in search of commodity and comfort. Each space and detail has been deeply thought of for their satisfaction.

El MaPi Hotel rooms

4. What is so special about the area surrounding El MaPi?

El MaPi, byInkaterra, is located along the main avenue of the Machu Picchu Pueblo, just a five minute walk from the train station, one block from the main square and two from the bus station that takes guests to the Machu Picchu Citadel. Besides being so central, our guests only need to walk a few minutes to find shops and the art craft market.

El MaPi Hotel Town

5. How long do you recommend visitors should stay in Machu Picchu?

I recommend that travellers to Machu Picchu stay 3 days/2nights if possible. This gives them the opportunity to discover the Citadel of Machu Picchu with time but also appreciate many other unique attractions, such as the butterfly house, trekking to the Putukusi mountains which face the Machu Picchu Ruins, to Apu Machu Picchu, Mandor, with its falls and interesting wildlife – birds, butterflies, plants, and the Thermal Baths in the upper part of the village.

Laszlo Bolgar PhotostreamApu Machu Picchu, Mandor

6. What’s the signature drink at the El MaPi bar? Any special offers or events coming up?

At our hotel, the signature drink is named:  “El MaPi”,which is a chilcano prepared with pisco, mixed fresh mango pulp, a maceration of lemongrass & pineapple, ginger, lemon & sugar.

The Bar at El MaPi Hotel

7. Apart from visiting Machu Picchu, what would you say is ‘not to be missed’ for visitors coming to the village of Machu Picchu (including local restaurants / bars/ shops)?

Following a visit to Machu Picchu Citadel,visitors must visit the art craft market (below), go to Mandor, trek along the Putukusi mountain or have a drink at El MaPi byIT of course!

RSBasch Photostream

To find out more about El MaPi click here. 

Spotlight on our Butterfly Keeper at Inkaterra

Butterfly House at Inkaterra

Located near the Puerto Maldonado Airport, the Butterfly House here at Inkaterra is a welcome and information centre for all travellers that pass through our doors. Here you will understand the fascinating transformation of these colourful insects. We caught up with our butterfly keeper at Inkaterra Helmut Rengifo to find out a little bit more about these incredible insects.

1. Tell us a little about your background and how you came to be a butterfly keeper?

I used to work in the “Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana – IIAP” which is an organisation dedicated to Scientific & Technological Research for Development, specialising in the sustainable use of the biological diversity in the Amazonian regions. It develops activities in a decentralised way, promoting the participation of state & private institutions as well as of the civil society.  I dedicated myself to studying the local biodiversity, its management as well as the breeding of immature Lepidoptera until I had the opportunity to start working at the Japipì Butterfly House –  Inkaterra Butterfly House´s former name -  considered one of the best butterfly farms in Peru & was a great opportunity of experience for me.

 2. How long has the butterfly house been there? What do you feed the butterflies?

The Butterfly House has been around since 2001 and is under Inkaterra´s management since 2007 onwards.

Butterfly House - Inkaterra

The butterflies eat as follows: when they are still caterpillars or larvas: their surrounding host plant leaves; when they are adults: fruit juice from ripe fruit, the liquid from their excrements, pollen, flower nectar, liquid produced by any material in decomposition.

3. What does a typical day look like for you here at Inkaterra Butterfly House?

A regular working day at the Butterfly House starts with cleaning followed by feeding  hundreds of hungry & voracious caterpillars! Then we have to count the number of caterpillars and check the newly born ones from the night.

Butterflies at the Inkaterra Butterfly House

In the afternoon we have to place new food for nocturnal caterpillars; then the pupas are hung on the shelves, and the new posturas or butterfly eggs are  collected. The day ends with the liberation of the butterflies born that day in the exhibition enclosure.

4.  There are around 3,800 species of butterfly here in Peru. Which is your favourite and why?

The Panacea prola, because it is the one I have been doing major research work. It is truly stunning.

The Panacea prola

5. Have you noticed a change in the number of butterflies in recent years at the Inkaterra Butterfly House?

Yes, we have noted that many of the butterflies we have in the Butterfly House do not lay as many eggs as they used to do. We don´t have a proper answer to this but are observing their comportment on a daily basis.

6. There has been press in the last year in regards to a decreased number of monarch butterflies in South America. How can we help towards increasing the butterfly population?

A possible way to increase  the population of these types of butterfly would be to seed host plants from which the Caterpillar usually feeds from, in various places. This way it would be favourable for the Caterpillar to lay its eggs in a place where it can feed, therefore the regular reproductive cycle could continue.  If the plants disappear, the butterflies also disappear.

Butterflies at Inkaterra

Butterflies are one of our favourite things to see here at Inkaterra. Are they yours too? Share your pictures you’ve taken of butterflies with us on Twitter or Facebook with hashtag #InkaterraButterfly

Inkaterra Birdwatching Tours 2014

Peru is renowned for its bird life, being home to a total of 1836 species – that’s 20% of the world’s registered bird species. The changing ecosystems throughout the country, from tropical rainforests to the Andean mountains, makes  it  the perfect environment for both visiting migrators and endemic species.

To  celebrate Peru’s status as one of the best birdwatching countries in the world, Inkaterra Hotels is launching two birdwatching itineraries to showcase the best ornithological gems Peru has to offer.

On the first 2 night itinerary guests have the chance to spot some of the 207 registered species that live in the Cloud Forest surrounding the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Guided tours and walks will give keen birdwatchers some of the best opportunities to spot particularly elusive species, and the area surrounding the Inca Citadel is a favourite for the Inca Wren.

Inca Wren

Further to this, the gardens of the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel itself house the world’s largest collection of native orchid species, with 372 found within the gardens. Here hummingbirds, tanagears and the iconic Cock of the Rock can be found flitting around the picturesque setting.

The second bird-watching trip is a totally different experience, with three nights in the Amazon Rainforest of Southern Peru, in the Madre de Dios-Tambopata region. Here there are 540 bird species waiting to be discovered, together with other creatures like monkeys, three toed sloths, black caymans and the rare giant river otter.

Guided trails through the rainforest can help to reveal these natural treasures which are so often camouflaged against the surroundings. Staying at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and journeying across Lake Valencia, the Madre de Dios river or high above the treetops on the Inkaterra canopy walkway, guests have plenty of opportunity to spot the amazing birdlife for which theses forests are home.

Both these tours run over four days , which give ample opportunity to explore the area and catch a glimpse of some of those exclusive creatures. For more information and booking, take a look at our website at inkaterra.com

Image

Off the (well) beaten track – Peru’s Alternative Inca Trails

Machu picchu

Without doubt, Machu Picchu is the most famous attraction in Peru. The winding Inca trail draws people from across the world, but like so many of the World Heritage Sites, Machu Picchu’s awe and attraction comes at a cost.

Over 400,000 people visit every year and, whilst the Peruvian government has restricted the amount of people who can walk the Inca Trail to a maximum of 500 daily; with 2500 people being allowed entry to Machu Picchu itself, and only 400 being allowed to trek Huayna Picchu, there is still a great risk of permanent damage to these protected sites.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, there are trails running throughout Peru that are just as stunning as those leading to Machu Picchu – and with far fewer people! Camino Del Apu Ausangate is a path through this stunning landscape of snow-capped mountains and rust-red hillsides and thermal springs.  And you’re more likely to stumble across a heard of llamas than you are another tourist.

inka1

For those still looking for that Machu Picchu experience, Choquequirao is the best option. Nicknamed “Machu Picchu’s Little Sister” this site is ideal for those who still want to experience an Incan settlement, but with solitude. After two days of uphill and downhill climbing, adventurers are rewarded with lush slopes, traditional buildings and ‘llama-terraces’. And for the real explorers (or mad-men) climbing the Choquequirao terraces 5,000 feet above the Apurimac river is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Camino Salkantay is an alternative path to Machu Picchu, and trekkers really do take the high-road. With the original Inca Trail reaching 13,800 feet above sea-level, Salkantay rises even higher to over 15,000 feet. As such, walkers will be explore some of the area’s most spectacular mountains, and while the high altitude may have a strain on the body, the hot-springs, warm duvets and friendly bartenders at some of the lodges along the trail do help the daily recovery.

Views from Choquequirao

Views from Choquequirao

If you are still committed to trekking the Inka Trail all the way to Huayna Picchu, then do your homework. Booking your tickets online is the only way to ensure you reach the peak – and do this early: unsurprisingly with a centuries old settlement nestled in the heart of the Andean mountains, mobile phone signal isn’t at its strongest.

However, with all of these treks being so ‘off-piste’, so to speak, they’re not for the faint-hearted. Expect strenuous days and aching nights. But the end destination is beyond words. Just invest in a good pair of boots. Our additional tours at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel mean you’ll have an expert, local guide alongside you whilst trekking the Inca Trail. It’s even a trip to take with the whole family with our specially created family journey to Machu Picchu. Make 2014 the year you see one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Peru, if not the world.

Halloween: The Day of the Creole Song in Peru

Creole Day

Do you not do Halloween? Are all of those silly costumes, sickly sweets and chocolates too much? Well, the Peruvians have a an alternative solution: Creole Music Day. Sounds good doesn’t it? You don’t know the half of it.

So what is it?

To sum up, The Ministry of Culture hosts a meet-up and performance of Peruvian Creole music to celebrate the Día de la Canción Criolla on 31st October.

Cusco Square

Creole Music Day was created in 1944 to celebrate the rich tradition of Peruvian Creole music. The word Creole (pronounced criollo) generally refers to Spanish-influenced culture of the Americas. Creole music was born from a mixture of musical traditions from a variety of groups, including African peoples brought to Peru as slaves. Typical instruments include the Peruvian cajón and the guitar, among others.

Creole Day in Peru

For a taste of Peruvian Creole music, interested parties should head down to the III Encuentro de Centros Musicales (3rd Meeting of Musical Centres), where a number of musicians will demonstrate their skills in the Creole musical tradition. The event begins at 7.00pm and it’s free for anyone to attend.

The Peru effect: the rise of Peruvian restaurants across the globe

Finally, Peruvian food has emerged from the shadows and is receiving the international recognition it deserves. In London, the Peruvian restaurant Lima and its head chef Virgilio Martinez were recently awarded Michelin star status (their first of many, we hope) – the first such accolade for a Peruvian restaurant in London. Another proponent of Peruvian food is Martin Morales who, after the phenomenal success of Ceviche in Soho, is opening a second restaurant in Shoreditch. It seems that Londoners can’t get enough of the taste of Peru. And with good reason too…

Virgilio Martinez

You wouldn’t think that nestled away in the corner of South America lays one of the most varied gastronomies. But it is Peru’s location that makes its cuisine so diverse. The seafood rich Pacific Ocean is on Peru’s doorstep, the Amazon gives birth to exotic fruits and herbs, and the Andes provides the perfect climate for potatoes and corn. It is the availability of full, fresh ingredients and the fusion of many different cultures that really sets Peru apart. With common dishes like cerviche, to chifa and nikkei – drawn from Chinese and Japanese migration into Peru, or dishes that can trace their ancestry back thousands of years like pachamanca – succulent meat, traditional, local potatoes and lima beans cooked on hot stones buried underground; Peru really comes alive with its food, and there is a dish to suit even the most discerning of critics.

Peruvian Food

Host to the largest food festival in Latin America, Mistura, Peru – and the Peruvians – take their food exceptionally seriously, with a passion to rival even that of the Italians. Fresh, spicy and full of variety, Peru offers a culinary experience like no other. But, with the bold Mexican and Caribbean flavours to the north, possibly the world’s best steak producer to the south and vibrant, fruity tastes from the east, it is easy to see why Peru has sat somewhat in the shadows until the efforts of a brave few to export it worldwide; and we should all be thankful they did.

Gaston Acurio

London best keep its ears – and stomachs – open for the arrival of “the Peruvian Jamie Oliver”, Gaston Acurio, who is rumoured to have his sights set on the city. It’s about time the rest of the world learnt that food in Peru isn’t just limited to a roasted guinea pig, or half leg of llama, although they still taste delicious too.

 

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra

Chocolate Week 2013

This week is Chocolate Week (14th-20th October), the one week where it’s socially acceptable to eat chocolate at all hours of the day. Across the UK, brands, businesses and consumers are joining in the fun; from Chocolate Factory Open Days to open screenings of the film Chocolat’, it will no doubt be a week of indulgence. To celebrate this wondrous occasion, Inkaterra has launched a tree-to-tummy chocolatey experience at their Amazon Rainforest hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Chocoholics can be enthralled in all things delicious by learning about the world of cocoa, deep in the rainforest.

Chocolate Week 2013

Guides will unveil secrets about the millennium-old cocoa trees and their sought-after pods. Then guests will hike through the plantation’s cocoa groves and learn the magic behind the most decadent of ingredients – used for ceremonial, medicinal as well as culinary purposes in Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures. Guests also have the opportunity to learn how to make tasty treats including chocolate bars, cookies and freshly baked chocolate bread before tasting the delicious results.

Cocoa pods

José Koechlin, founder of Inkaterra, explains how sustainable practices play a fundamental role in the cocoa harvesting at the property:

Cocoa pods grow along the full length of the tree, which grow particularly tall at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción. In keeping with our conservation ethos, Inkaterra staff only hand-pick pods that grow in the middle of the tree.’

To feel every inch an authentic ‘oompa loompa’, visit Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción from January to March, when the cocoa tree harvest season is at its peak and get involved in a bean-to-bar chocolate-making journey.

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra

Seeing Purple: The Lord of The Miracles Festival in Lima, Peru

October is Mes Morado (or purple month) in Lima, Peru, and the faithful dress from head to toe in purple as a sign of their devotion to El Señor de los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles).

A group of women called "saumeadoras" carry incense as they follow the procession of Peru's most revered Catholic religious icon through central Lima

This Christ figure, known for its miracle-working powers, is housed in the Church of the Nazarenes, and thousands of purple clad worshippers come to pray and make offerings during the month of October. There are several processions on different dates in October, including a 24 hour long procession which is one of the largest in all of the Americas annually. Tens of thousands of the faithful dressed in purple tunics, sing hymns and pray as they accompany a huge two tonne litter which bears the painting of the Christ from the church of Las Nazarenas. The smell of incense and the steady beating of drums add to the solemn atmosphere as the procession winds its way along the narrow, purple clad streets of Lima.

url

The origins lie in colonial times, when a slave drew an image of Christ on a wall. The wall with the image stayed standing despite an earthquake which destroyed all the building and many around it. Thus, this image has since become one of the most venerated in South America, and the church of Las Nazarenas was built around it.

5098230041_e4050d564c_b

The whole of October is classed as Purple month but key procession dates are October 18th, 19th, and October 28th. How are you celebrating this festive time in Peru? We’d love to hear!

Top wildlife sightings of the month at Inkaterra

We’ve had some wonderful wildlife sightings across our Inkaterra properties in the past month. See below for some of our highlights and unique stories from Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.  Make sure to check back here every so often, as we’ll be giving you our top sightings from the past month.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel 

Spectacled Bears at ITMPP

It was a cloudy day, Fredy Apaza, storage personnel, was returning to Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel from the train station with a guest. He was entering the hotel when he saw the top of the branches moving on the other side of the river in front of Café Inkaterra. Much was his surprise when he recognised the family of Spectacle Bears (Tremarctos ornatus), a mother with two small cubs. He reported the sighting by radio to the Ecotourism staff and hotel personnel. Guests passing also were lucky enough to see this unique sighting.

Chicotillo

Angel Layme and Percy Jauregui were at the Ecocenter when the Public Areas Supervisor, Julio Huaylla, came to inform them that he had found a green snake near the NGO ITA office (Inkaterra Association). Since snakes can be very dangerous, they took the snake catching equipment to try and capture the snake. When they arrived they realized that it was a Dichrours drymoluber snake (or commonly known as “Chicotillo”). They were able to capture the snake and release it without any problems in a remote area.

Our visitor returns! 

Chesnut Eagle

As some of guests gathered in front of the Ecocentre to begin their excursion to the Andean Bear Rescue Centre, one of the travellers observed a big bird flying near the top of the mountains. Using their binoculars they could identify that it was the same bird that they saw a couple days ago; the Black and Chesnut Eagle (Oroacetus isidori). The eagle once again, was flying with the help of warm air drafts looking for food. Fortunately, their cameras were at the ready to capture it this time round.

Have you taken an image of a wildlife sighting at Inkaterra? Why not enter our Inkaterra Q3 Photo Contest? This could be just the opportunity for you to showcase your photography skills. If you’ve stayed at one of our Inkaterra properties or experienced any trip with us, we invite you to share your photography for a chance of winning the Inkaterra photo contest for the third quarter of 2013. The winning photograph will be published in our September newsletter and on our Inkaterra website. We’ll also be showcasing entries on our Inkaterra Pinterest page. To enter please send your photographs (JPG Format) to webmanager@inkaterra.com by September 30th. Good luck!

Inkaterra Photo Contest Q3