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.

Inkaterra launches Walking to Wellness Programme

Walking is the best possible exercise

The human body is designed to thrive in a ‘natural’ environment. It’s worrying then that we’re experiencing the largest global exodus from rural areas to cities in history, with an estimated five million to be ‘geographically cut off from nature’ this year (Spa Finder Wellness Report 2013)With ‘nature deficit disordera new buzz-term, and ‘wellness tourism’ one of 2013’s most salient travel trends, Inkaterra has created an eight night ‘Walking to Wellness’ programme. This incorporates diverse outdoor adventures, daily low-impact exercise, and health-focused spa treatments, taking in Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica and Inkaterra La Casona along the way.

Adventure in the Andes

Guests spend three nights at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, perfectly located for getting in touch with the Andean Cloud Forest and enjoying nature at its most exuberant.  The programme includes a selection of treks, including a two-hour hike along the Vilcanota River, a staggering walk through the Mandor Valley and a climb up Machu Picchu to the Citadel.   Guests are guided on a botanical walk through Inkaterra’s own native orchid garden and up to the hotel’s organic tea plantation to taste the camellia sinensis tea produced on site.

Our Twilight Walk at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Spa treatments at the hotel’s Unu Spa are included, and have been chosen for their health-boosting qualities.  Drawn from traditional Andean techniques, Inka Purification starts with a lymphatic drainage massage using Coca leaf, an essential element of traditional Andean medicinal rituals. The purification ends with an Andean Sauna where stones are heated in a candle-lit eucalyptus hut in the forest.

UNU Spa at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

For weary walkers, an Andean Foot Therapy, using local herbs and flowers will improve circulation, whilst a De-stress Massage will alleviate tension and anxiety.

Active in the Amazon

Next stop on the Walking to Wellness Programme is the luxurious Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge near the Tambobata National Park. Only accessible via a 45-minute boat ride along the Madre De Dios River away from the city of Puerto Maldonado, it is a gateway to one of the world’s most remote rainforest environments.

On the banks of the Madre De Dios River

Guests will spend three nights in luxurious cabañas, and by day be encouraged into the wild on a series of walks, treks and hikes.  These include an exploration of jungle trails, a trip to Lake Sandoval to spot the endangered Giant River Otter and pre-historic hoatzin bird, then hike to Gaminata Creek, home to piranha, caiman and turtles. The programme also incorporates a rainforest night walk and a climb up the mighty Inkaterra Canopy Walkway .

The Canopy Walkway at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica’s Ena Spa will offer those on the Walking to Wellness programme an Amazon Exfoliation treatment to promote circulation and eliminate impurities, as well as an Amazon Purification using local medicinal plant ‘Cat’s Claw’ or ‘Uncaria Tomentosa’, to purify and cleanse.

The Ena Spa at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Uncover Cusco and The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The programme concludes with two nights at Inkaterra La Casona, a XVIth century colonial mansion in the heart of Cusco. From here Inkaterra guests can visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas to experience the area’s staggering limestone plateaus, natural sinkholes at Moray and ancient salt springs at Maras.

Visit The Sacred Valley, staying in the heart of Cusco at Inkaterra La Casona

Back at Inkaterra La Casona, spa treatments include a Yacu therapy, which uses local river stones including Serpentine, an Andean gemstone. The stones are bathed in warm water and anointed before being placed on the body to promote inner peace and inspire long life.

The programme costs from USD $ 4,070 (approx. £ 2,612) per person in a double room, and includes accommodation, excursions and spa treatments. Meals are also included and healthy menu options are available throughout.  Accommodation is based on double occupancy, superior room category. International and domestic airline tickets are not included but can be organised upon request. For more information on this package please visit our contact us page on our website here

UNESCO World Earth Day

World Earth Day 2013

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.

Here are some of our core initiatives that we undertake to ensure a healthy future for our planet. Our world is a beautiful place so let’s take the steps towards to ensure future generations will have the chance to experience it also.

1. Creation of the Inkaterra Association: In 2001, we established the NGO INKATERRA Association (ITA), which develops scientific, technological, social, and cultural research to help manage and protect the biodiversity of Peru’s Andes and Amazon Rainforest.

2. Carbon Neutral: Since 1989, we have belonged to a carbon stock-monitoring network with the University of Leeds (UK); and in 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organisation. We protect more than 42,000 acres of original forest, which helps to directly reduce 3,315,000 tons of carbon. All Inkaterra hotels use clean technology and sustainable practices to ensure that each guest has a 100% carbon-neutral stay.

The garden at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

3. Eco-friendly products: Over the years Inkaterra has substantially increased the amount of eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products used at each hotel. Additionally, all in-room amenities are organic and eco-friendly, and bottles are made from recycled glass.

Eco-friendly products

4. Water Conservation: It is a goal of ours to measure, control and decrease overall water consumption at all properties. We are verified by the Rainforest Alliance, and we also organise an annual cleaning campaign for the Vilcanota, Alccamayo and Madre de Dios riverbanks.

Our annual clear up at Inkaterra

5. Recycling: Eco-consciousness is a company-wide practice here at Inkaterra, and the headquarters in Lima follows suit by actively recycling paper.

6. Conserving Trees: For the next 30 years, Inkaterra is managing five Forestry Concessions throughout Peru for conservation, research and educational purposes. Inventories of flora and fauna will be regularly taken and various environmental education workshops and volunteer activities will be available on a regular basis. Wildlife: Before Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was built, the area was only used for cattle; after the restoration took place, numerous native species of birds and other wildlife began to re-appear. Today there are constant wildlife sightings, including the endangered Spectacled Bear and several types of hummingbirds. We founded a Spectacled Bear Project in order to rehabilitate these bears, many of which have been harmed or affected by human impact.

Spectacled Bears

8. Energy Consumption: Each Inkaterra property has an employee responsible for managing and monitoring energy (as well as water, waste and other sustainable-related activities). We have a strict energy consumption policy, and employees are required to attend training sessions and lectures to make sure they are constantly up-to-date with information.

9. Responsible Construction Methods: All Inkaterra properties are built using the least amount of energy and new materials possible. At Inkaterra’s newest property, Hacienda Urubamba – scheduled to open in late 2013/early 2014 – only basic modern machinery is being used during construction. Traditional techniques and tools will be implemented whenever possible, such as using oxen and tacclas (an Andean foot plough) to plough the fields, whilst 14 acres of the land will be dedicated to cultivating 100% carbon-free organic products.

10. Education: Inkaterra offers many workshops and programs for local children (as well as adults) centred on the importance of sustaining the environment. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel holds an Environmental Education Workshop for local children run by the Inkaterra Association (ITA).

Inkaterra offers many workshops and programs for local children

We must educate our children

11. The Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk: This system of bridges, platforms and towers at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica offers an expansive window into the world of the tropical rainforest, enabling guests to better understand the area’s vast ecosystem without causing a carbon footprint. Nature experts at Inkaterra constantly monitor and study wildlife, endangered ecosystems as well as flora and fauna in the area.

The towers at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

12. Staying Local: Many of the products used in Inkaterra hotels are purchased from local suppliers, which enhances the economy of these communities and cuts down on transportation. The majority of produce at Inkaterra comes from local farms that are run by both the Inkaterra Association and nearby native communities.

Make every day World Earth Day

What are you doing to help towards the future of our planet? Share your thoughts with us on twitter #WorldEarthDay

Inkaterra celebrates the Year of the Quinoa

2013 The Year of Quinoa

The United Nations recently declared 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa,” and in celebration, we’re sharing a recipe of one of our most popular breakfast dishes: Quinoa pancakes.

A traditional Andean superfood

Quinoa is a highly versatile, gluten-free grain native to the South American Andes and is known for its great nutritional value, as well as its good taste. Over the years its popularity has grown world-wide and today quinoa is commonly known as one of the world’s most popular “superfoods.”

The year of the Quinoa

The quinoa pancakes, among other quinoa delights served at Inkaterra properties, are prepared using traditional Peruvian ingredients and techniques, and the quinoa is purchased local from Andean farmers as part of Inkaterra´s commitment to Sustainable & Social actions. They are a delicious and healthy breakfast dish – the ideal meal before a day of hiking up to Machu Picchu, exploring the many wonders of Cusco or trekking through the Peruvian Amazon.

Quinoa Pancakes

Why not make some yourself? Try out the recipe which has come straight from the Inkaterra kitchen. Share your images with us on twitter at @InkaterraHotels with hashtag #yearofquinoa

QUINOA PANCAKE

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 ½ cups of flour
• 2 eggs
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon Pisco or brandy
• Approximately ½ cup milk
• 5 tablespoons previously cooked quinoa
• 1 1/2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons baking powder

PREPARATION:

• Mix eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, pisco, milk and the melted butter.
• Mix the flour and the baking powder separately and then add slowly to the wet mixture until it becomes soft.
• Add the previously cooked quinoa, and add milk if the mixture is too dry.
• Sautee the final mixture in a non-stick frying pan.
• Serve with maple syrup or honey.
• Provecho!

A New Year, A New You, with Inkaterra

The New Year is always a time to stop and take stock of health goals and dietary habits, as well as the time to set exciting and challenging new years resolutions. Reuters has predicted that healthy hotels, wellness tourism and natural spa treatments will be among the top spa trends in 2013.

Sailing along the Peruvian Amazon

With enchanting slow boats sailing through the Peruvian Amazon, the cloud-topping Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the down to earth characters of the indigenous people, Peru is the perfect place to take a break and get back to nature.

Inkaterra has a unique spa concept that combines both the classic nurturing of what you expect from a treatment, intertwined with a mystical Andean approach. Products at the Unu Spa at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel are 100% natural, derived from local botanical extracts, providing a pleasing spiritual, sensual and soothing experience.

100% Natural Products at Inkaterra

Located next to a romantic natural spring water pond, The Andean Sauna sees stones from the river, bathed in warm water and anointed with a choice of fragranced oils. These are placed on the main energy points of the body and incorporated in a rhythmic massage sequence. The stones release their warmth and power to the tired and tense muscles, promoting inner peace and deep relaxation.

Unu Spa at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

At the Ena Spa at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, a local medicinal plant from the Amazon is used to create the Lymphatic Draining massage. This treatment uses a blend of a cream made from the plant called “Cat’s Claw”, to increase the flow of the lymphatic system. Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a local medicinal plant from the Amazon. Some of its properties include: blood cleanser, detoxifier, diuretic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Located on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, facing Rolin Island, the Spa provides a great spot for watching Amazonian sunsets.

The Ena Spa at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

The spa at Inkaterra La Casona will take you on a soul journey that will leave you feeling spiritual and soothed. The Yacu Therapy Room will give your mind, body and spirit the chance to relax and embrace the mystic and magic of this vibrant Andean capital. The explore and restore package gives you the best of both relaxation and adventure on this four day experience.

Restore and explore package at Inkaterra La Casona

And for a New Year’s Resolution, why not set yourself a challenging and exciting goal, and trek the Inca Trail? The Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top five treks in the world. In just 26 miles (43km) it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels. Our hotel being in the town of Pueblo means you can reach Machu Picchu in just one day on our Inca trail excursion.

New Years Resolution: Hike the Inca Trail

Whether it’s a relaxing spa break abound with natural treatments, or a challenging adventure, Peru is the ideal destination for a unique start to this new year.

A Honeymoon Escape with Inkaterra

Pass

There’s something inherently romantic about being in the midst of nature, with nothing but yourself, your new partner and the trees around you. With a Peruvian honeymoon, couples can experience diverse landscapes and diverse wildlife viewing opportunities, ensuring an unforgettable start to married life.

Inkaterra’s Passionate in Peru Package is a perfect solution for newly-weds seeking a little natural adventure in their honeymoon. Escape on a romantic adventure in the Southern Amazon, get spellbound in the Sacred Valley or have a quixotic exploration of the Inca legacy. The magic and mystique of Machu Picchu awaits and the captivating city of Cusco is ready to be explored.

Some of the trip highlights include:

  • A surprising welcome in Lima, where you can center yourselves as a couple at
    former crown jewel of Spain’s South American empire.
  • Enjoy rainforest luxury at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, for riverside romance on the banks
    of the meandering Madre de Dios.
  • Get spell bound in Sacred Valley as you see the finest Inca sites, colorful villages
    and markets.
  • Marvel at Machu Picchu – and each other. Enjoy your own royal Inca retreat, at
    Inkaterra Machu Picchu’s whitewashed casitas and villas
  • Take your pick for a tryst: towering temples, majestic mansions, remarkable
    ruins or cool colonial churches in Cusco

Or, why not just stay at just one of our hotels during your honeymoon. Each Inkaterra property offers unique honeymoon experiences that cater to all. At Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica spend unforgettable nights of Peruvian rainforest enchantment with your beloved. Celebrate with champagne, indulgent massages in our river-view spa, or experience an energizing flowering bath.

If the ancient ruins of the Inca empire call to you, then why not plan a Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Honeymoon escape. Champagne and special treats from Inkaterra await, as well as guided excursions to the ancient Machu Picchu. Relax after your Inca trek with our Andean sauna, or maybe a de-stress massage session for two.

If a city retreat is more your style for your first trip as man and wife, then the colonial churches and lights of Cusco will delight. Use Inkaterra La Casona as your base to explore Cusco’s meandering streets, then relax back at the hotel with a de-stress massage and foot therapy session. The quiet oasis of La Casona, located on the serene plaza Las Nazarenas, will leave you feeling rested and inspired by the surroundings of the beautiful Andean scenery.

Whatever you decide to do, there’s nothing quite like setting off on your first adventure together as you begin a new chapter in your lives. And where better to do it than in Peru with Inkaterra.

Educational Travel Community: Opening doors to Open Minds

As part of the Educational Travel Community’s commitment to advancing responsible tourism, the Educational Travel Community (ETC) hosts an annual Responsible Tourism Conference. This is to recognize the efforts of it’s members and their partners working diligently in the field to develop and implement responsible tourism initiatives. 

Educational travel facilitates deeper, more enduring connections between travellers and the communities they visit through strong interpretation, experiential programming, and meaningful engagement. The Educational Travel Conference is the world’s only travel industry meeting to bring this exclusive group of professionals together, under one roof, for several packed days of outstanding educational sessions, keynotes, and collegial roundtables designed to address a variety of critical and timely topics, as well as skills workshops, networking opportunities, and special events.

Inkaterra are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a 2nd place Honoree award from the committee for their efforts towards Responsible Tourism and education, which will see them receive a cheque for $1000 at the awards ceremony in Orlando early next year. This money will go towards enhancing the current efforts that Inkaterra take in order to pursue an educational experience for both workers and guests alike.

Inkaterra have several programs in place that aid in educating the local communities at each of their properties. At Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica there is continual training practices in place for the Inkaterra interpreters or guides who are kept ready to teach about the enormous wealth of the biodiversity in the cloud forest and the tropical Amazon rainforest, the archaeological sites and the living cultures which assure their “Peruness”. Inkaterra also actively support the development of the Science and Environment curriculum in the local community school of Madama, located near the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica lodge, in the district of Las Piedras, as also at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Guests are included in the educational programs also, with programs in place to create awareness and education on biodiversity and archaeological sites to guests staying in the Inkaterra chain of hotels.

Inkaterra believe in benefiting and helping the local communities in which they operate as much as they can. By encouraging the development of local communities, taking into consideration their environment and culture, Inkaterra hope to assist in helping Peru towards a educated, sustainable and brighter future.

Restoration Project – for the love of history at Inkaterra La Casona

A stay at Inkaterra La Casona in Cusco is akin to stepping into a history lesson, as La Casona is one of the finest remaining examples of a 16th century Spanish Colonial mansion in the city of Cusco.  Built between 1585 and 1700, its authenticity still shines through even after undergoing a series of renovations.

After acquiring the house in 1999, Inkaterra has restored La Casona to its full glory.  Launched as an 11 suite boutique hotel in March 2008, Inkaterra seamlessly merged the old with the new, incorporating both Spanish Colonial style and ancient Inca civilization, with contemporary décor and exquisite antiques.

Officially designated a Historical Monument by the National Institute of Culture, this land was once part of the Warakos Academy –the training ground of the elite army of the Incas. The mansion has had some famous inhabitants too, as it was home to don Diego de Almagro, said to be the first European discoverer of Chile. It was also the residence of Captain Francisco Barrientos and don Juan Alvarez de Maldonado. But the most known figure to have inhabited the site was Simon Bolivar, “El Libertador”, who resided at the property in 1825, after his final victory in the battle of Ayacucho.

Guests at Inkaterra La Casona today can still enjoy a genuine, historic atmosphere which highlights the mansion’s past and every step has been taken to ensure its heritage is retained: the original internal structure has not been altered and the frescos have been carefully preserved. There are of course a few more luxuries to be enjoyed today: open plan suites feature iPods, plasma TV’s, DVD players, an open fireplace and even a therapy table for in-room massages. There’s also plenty of open communal spaces including terraces which are just perfect for relaxing with a drink after a day’s exploration around Cusco.

Cusco a contender for one of the New ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’

Amazon Rainforest Receives Recognition

Encompassing 1.7 billion acres and the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the world, the Amazon Rainforest has been recognised as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. A 120 kilo plaque, stating that the Amazon is officially one of the wonders of the world, can now be found in Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the capital of the Loreto Region.

Now vote for Cusco as one of the new ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’

The city of Cusco, home of the Inkaterra La Casona Cusco Hotel, has also reached public acclaim. It is currently ranked as the top contender to take the crown of Favorite City in the New ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’. Lima is placed in the 15th position as the other representant of Peru in the 21 finalists for best City.

Cusco, the old capital of the Inca Empire, was declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of the Humanity in 1983 and it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Peru.

To help Cusco become one of the New 7 Wonder Cities in the World, you can vote here until 7th of December 2012, when the results will be published.

Celebrating Cusco – 10 travel ideas for your next holiday

Congratulations to Cusco which recently received recognition as the Best Latin American City 2012 in Mexico, Central & South America by Travel & Leisure Magazine. To celebrate, we have compiled our top ten local attractions that you should visit on your next trip to this amazing city.

1. Take a tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Plaza de Armas, home to more than 300 paintings, carvings and sculptures. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the City of Cuzco in 1983.

2. Visit the Sacsayhuaman, a fortress dedicated to the Sun cult and one of the most impressive Inca constructions. Located just a 10 minute drive away on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, the Sacsayhuaman is also where the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated every 24th of June.

3. Located right next to the Inkaterra La Casona in Plaza Nazarenas and well worth a visit, is the MAP Museum – Peru’s only museum dedicated to the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures. You can also visit the house of the Inca Garcilaso Museum, birthplace of the Inca author Garcilaso de la Vega, which was converted into the Regional Historical Museum in 1946.

4. Explore the Koricancha Temple, dedicated to worshipping the sun. It’s the most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire. The Temple of the Sun is located in the southern part of the city of Cusco, just a 7 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.

5. Also close by to the Plaza de Armas is San Blas, one of Cusco’s most picturesque and famous communities. The area, known as the ‘artisan district’, is home to some of the most artistic families of the city.

6. Why not venture outside Cusco for a day and explore Zona X: an amazing network of tunnels both natural and artificial. Explore the idyllic area and enjoy the impressive views of Cusco and the valley, or book a horse parade tour around the north of Cusco.

7. Visit the Sacred Valley, also known as the Urubamba Valley, where the new Inkaterra’s Hacienda Urubamba Hotel will open in early 2013. Visit the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, one of the most ancient occupied human settlements in America which showcases the best example of city planning done by the Incas. There are plenty of tours to the Sacred Valley and tickets can be bought from Plaza de Armas.

8. Keep your Sunday morning free to explore the local culture in the Pisac Market. This, the biggest market in Cusco, can be found in the Sacred Valley, just by the UrubambaRiver and is the perfect spot to sit and relax with a coffee and watch the locals go about their business.

9. Known as the Square of the warrior, the Plaza de Armas has been the scene of several important events in the history of this city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Enjoy the best of Peruvian food at a restaurant here – it’s one of the most popular lunchtime destinations in Cusco.

10. After a busy day of sightseeing, there’s nowhere better to relax than on our terrace at Inkaterra La Casona. Centrally located, enjoy beautiful views of the Plaza Nazarenas as you sip a Pisco Sour, the most famous Peruvian cocktail.