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.

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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.

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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

The Rutland Birdfair

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Last weekend, bird fans from all over the UK flocked to the 25th Birdfair, held at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve from 16-18 August. Over the three days, 350 exhibitors and thousands of visitors were welcomed through its gates, including celebrities such as TV favourite Bill Oddie, to peruse the stands and enjoy an extensive program of lectures.

Guy Kirwan

Speaking at this year’s event was ornithologist Guy Kirwan, who participated in the inaugural Birding Rally Challenge in Peru last autumn. This multi-day bird spotting competition was organised by Inkaterra Association and brought together 24 of the world’s top birders in six international teams, who travelled from Tambopata in southern Peru, to the biodiverse cloud forest of Machu Picchu.

The BRC 2012

Guy gave an inspiring presentation about his experiences in Peru to an audience of over 100 keen birders. He spoke knowledgeably and enthusiastically about the birds that his UK team, ‘The Forest Falcons’, spotted in the Amazon Rainforest while staying at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica and Inkaterrra Hacienda Concepcion. He also included details about the Spectacled Bears that were spotted on the final day while the teams were staying at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.photo

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Over its 25 years, Birdfair has raised more than £3million to support international conservation initiatives, resulting in the establishment of many new national parks and reserves globally. www.birdfair.org.uk

Cabo Blanco: A Sea Worth Saving

Cabo Blanco

Sixty years ago this week, Louisiana oilman Alfred Glassell Jr. became a fishing legend. In the sea of Cabo Blanco, Peru, on board a yacht baptized ‘Miss Texas’, he caught a Black Marlin that weighed 1560 pounds, a historical record that was filmed for the Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea (1958).

Hemingway

As a consequence, Cabo Blanco achieved worldwide fame, to be visited by the likes of Marylin Monroe, John Wayne and Gary Cooper. The sea’s warm weather and location, situated on the confluence of three currents, also made it the only place on the planet with a twelve month fishing season – hence the seven world fishing records achieved during the 50’s and 60’s.

Hemingway aboard of the Miss Texasa

Sadly, an exploitation of natural resources has led to a loss in this marine supremacy for Cabo Blanco, which is why ecotourism pioneer Inkaterra has organised the 1st Conference for Research, Conservation and Development of the Peruvian Tropical Sea. This is part of the company’s aim to support scientific discoveries that will ultimately protect natural resources and boost the enterprises of local communities.

Inka Terra founder José Koechlin Von Stein on board “Miss Texas”

Celebrated from the 2nd-4th August, the congress will include high profile exhibitors such as Rob Kramer (President of the International Game Fish Association) and Professor Nelson Ehrardt (Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric science). The legendary “Miss Texas”, will also be on display on the first day of the conference at the Lima Marina Club, having been fully restored by Inkaterra, before it returns to the Northern Sea for its next great adventure.

Stamps celebrating the 60th anniversary of Glassell’s renowned catch; On sale from 2nd August.

  Inkaterra Stamps

“The tropical sea of Peru is a globally outstanding place for marine biodiversity, including many commercially important and endangered species. The designation of a marine protected area to preserve and restore marine life while ensuring the economic benefits to oceandependent communities by the Government of Peru, would be great news”.

–Terry D. Garcia,

Executive Vice President, Missions Programs of National Geographic Society

Peru Independence Day – Felices Fiestas Patrias!

Peru Independence Day

This weekend marks the celebration of Peru Independence Day. Peruvians throw parties and hold patriotic celebrations to remember the Declaration of Peru’s Independence by José de San Martín on July 28th 1821.  Across Peru, even in remote communities, homes fly the Peruvian flag from the start of July. It is customary for all Peruvian houses, private and commerce  to bear the Peruvian flag and people to bear the Peruvian rosette.

The Peruvian Flag Rosette

On the night of July 27th, Peruvians stage serenatas to both folk and Creole music in plazas and public parks. Dawn on July 28th is greeted with a salvo of 21 cannons in Lima, to herald the ceremony of raising the flag. On the following day, before the famous military parade is held in downtown Lima, the Te Deum ceremony, attended by the president, is celebrated in  Lima Cathedral.

Dancing the streets of Lima

In various parts of the country, Peruvians will be holding agricultural and livestock fairs (Cajamarca, Piura, Monsefú) together with three festivals that are the soul of Creole culture: cockfighting, bullfighting and Peruvian Pase horse exhibitions. This year, Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable freshwater lake in the world, will attract more than 10,000 tourists during Peru’s Independence Day, according to regional authorities in Puno.

Peru is a  proud and independent nation that is famous for its love of fiestas, festivals and carnivals, so it comes as little surprise that across the world people will be marking the occasion. In London, the traditions of Peruvian culture will be alive in the streets of the city with some of the best Peruvian food, artists and musicians throughout the day on Sunday. Pisco sours will be flowing in the city of New York also, with Peruvian food, drink and Latino music on offer in the district of TriBeCa.

Pisco Sours will be flowing in New York City...

At Inkaterra, we’ll be marking the occasion with a celebratory lunch today for all of our staff in Lima, and on Independence Day this Sunday, there will be a fraternal lunch and festive activities across all of our hotels and offices.

How will you be marking the occasion?

Here come the girls: Female Spectacled Bears are welcomed with open paws at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Two new females join The Spectacled Bear Project

Two female spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus) named Kina and Josi have been welcomed into the Bear Rescue Project at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. The two bears, who are twins, now have a new place to call home thanks to a collaboration between the Inkaterra Association (ITA)´s representative, resident biologist Carmen Soto at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, the Wildlife Technical Administration (ATFFS), the Attorney General’s Office and the Forest Police.

The local circus

The local circus

Found in a local circus, the bears though docile and well fed by their tamer Ramiro Chávez, were chained to a box that served them as a shelter inside the circus tent. The owners cooperated with the authorities and organised the transfer from Arequipa to Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Access to Peru’s renowned bear sanctuary is only possible by foot or train, and the Perurail railway company kindly helped the mission, allowing Kina and Josi to travel from Pachar Station to Machu Picchu Pueblo in a special wagon.

Have arrived at the Spectacled Bear Project at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, Kina and Josi’s quarantine began. After settling into their new home, they were introduced to male resident bears, Yogui, Pepe and Coco. These bears were also found in inadequate circumstances, and now are kept at Inkaterra in a perfect living space for them, with sufficient daily nutrition of fruits and vegetables.

The transportation of the two female bears was a success

Coco, the youngest of the bears (3) was then transferred by rail to a fenced semi-captivity area at Chacra Inkaterra (the Inkaterra green farm) nearby. There, Coco will have a hectare to explore and feed himself from the nearby trees. After forty days, Josi will join Coco for them to get to know each other a little better…

The green native farm at Inkaterra

With a vulnerable conservation status, the spectacled bear is under threat of extinction due to illegal hunting and the loss of habitats due to deforestation and increasing human populations. This then has a negative knock on affect for o ther local wildlife. Spectacled bears have many kilometres of territory and when feeding, spread seeds around their habitat. This contributes to the growth of plants that feed many other species. The disappearance of spectacled bears thereby contributes to the loss of this bountiful ecosystem.

The spectacled bear at Inkaterra

As these bears lose their survival capabilities when under human influence, they cannot return to the wild immediately (in some cases they will not adapt ever again). Inkaterra’s Spectacled Bear Project provides the best conditions for these five bears and is an on-going project towards the conservation and reproduction of these species. With these two new female spectacled bears, there’s hope that more bears will be able to call this place home.

Competition to win Ceviche new cookbook ‘Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen’

We’re pleased to announce an exclusive competition for all our loyal followers! You could be in with the chance of winning a copy of the new cookbook Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen from Ceviche London. For the first time, Peruvian restaurateur and cook, Martin Morales, whose top London restaurant Ceviche opened to enormous critical and commercial success in 2012, shows you how to make the best ceviche and over 100 other Peruvian dishes. This is laid back, fuss-free and delicious Peruvian food.

Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen

Over 500 years of fusion have taken place in Peru for its culinary offering to become what it is today. Starting with the indigenous culture and then blending it with flavours and cooking styles brought over by migrants from Spain, Italy, Africa, China and Japan, Peruvian food has evolved into being one of the most fascinating, diverse, rich and healthy in the world.

Ceviche

From Ceviche’s signature dishes, authentic Peruvian dishes and new creations, Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen cookbook showcases the innovative food coming out of Lima, the Amazon and the Andes today. From sizzling barbecued anticucho skewers, to superfood quinoa salads, juicy stir fry saltados and lucuma ice cream, Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen brings the unique and delicious dishes from Peru to your home kitchen.

Peruvian Cuisine at Ceviche

To be in with the chance of winning this cookbook, all you have to do is tell us why you love Peruvian food in the comment box below. Our chosen winner will be announced in two weeks time on July 12th.  You can also enter via Twitter and Facebook, using hashtag #PeruvianKitchen. Follow us on Twitter @InkaterraHotels and on Facebook here.

With the Ceviche ethos of helping others cook at home, Martin and his team are travelling around Britain on tour. Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen On Tour will run from the 1st to the 15th of July 2013. Tickets are selling fast. Please book your place now to avoid disappointment.

We look forward to hearing all the reasons why you love Peruvian food. Here is some inspiration from Martin Morales himself.

‘There is a Peruvian saying my great aunt Carmela taught me, aquí se cocina con cariño, which means ‘here we cook with loving care’. This is the motto at our restaurant Ceviche – it’s what Peruvian food is all about. The other side of what we do is sazón – the quest to achieve a perfect balance of flavours. I have spent a lifetime working on this. Like most Peruvians, I am obsessed with cooking and I love sharing our amazing food.’ Martin Morales

Anniversary of Peruvian inspired movies Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo

This year sees the anniversary of two major movies set in Latin America: Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). Inkaterra shares a very special link with the films, as founder Jose Koechlin was the Peruvian producer of both productions. Director Werner Herzog won the Best Director award for the film Fitzcarraldo at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.

Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Fitzcarraldo portrays would-be rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an Irishman known as Fitzcarraldo in Peru, who has to pull a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory. The film is derived from the real-life story of Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fitzcarrald. In the 1890s, Fitzcarrald did bring a steamship across an isthmus from one river into another. The film showcases awe-inspiring scenes from Machu Picchu and the Puerto Maldonado region. It was during this time that Jose Koechlin, founder and president of Inkaterra, developed a strong passion for the rainforest and started looking for somewhere to set up an ecological reserve.

Filming Fitzcarraldo was no easy feat

Koechlin originally went to Herzog with the idea of making a movie about the historical character named Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald, a man who crossed a ship over a mountain. The idea was to use the film as a catalyst to promote tourism in Peru.

The British Film Institute, in honour of its Anniversary has created a new restoration of Herzog’s extraordinary account of the quest for El Dorado. From its opening shots of an ant-like column of Spanish conquistadors and their enslaved indigenous porters scrambling perilously down through the clouds on a sheer pass in the Andes, it’s immediately clear that Werner Herzog’s account for El Dorado – now newly restored – will be something extraordinary. The movie will be in cinemas nationwide in the UK from today. To book tickets click here.

A Journey with Inkaterra

The great affair is to move

For many travellers, it’s all about the journey. The act of getting from one place to the next is where the fun is. Looking out at passing towns on a train or meandering on a boat through glistening waters gives you time to ponder and reflect on where you have been and where you are going. But gone are the days when boarding a plane gets our adventurous juices flowing, the time has come to explore more unconventional forms of travel.

Here we share with you two of the monumental journeys you can take with us here at Inkaterra that will give you the chance to see some of the remote, picturesque landscapes for which our country is famed.

A train journey from Inkaterra La Casona to  Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

A train journey from Cusco to Machu Picchu

It’s been said that the train journeys in Peru are some of the most spectacular in South America. Boarding the train in Cusco, you’ll travel along a mountainous backdrop to Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu. Passengers are treated to jaw-dropping scenery as well as some rather unusual on-board entertainment. There’s even the chance to get some shopping done – watch out for the stewardess modelling some alpaca clothing for sale!

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A boat ride along the Madre de dios River to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica and Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción 

A boat ride along the Peruvian Amazon

Jumping aboard a long boat at Puerto Maldonado jetty, you’ll set sail along this wide tributary of the Amazon River to Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica.

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The Madre de Dios River flows through Southern Peru’s rainforest region, the country’s biodiversity capital. With plenty of caymen, birds and turtles to spot, it’s a fun way to start any trip in the Amazon jungle.