Peru’s Not-So-Angry-Bird

 

Spotted by Inkaterra Association biologist, Helmut Rengifo, the Collared Puffbird is a common sight across the Madre de Dios region, with it’s orange head and distinctive black collar.

But for the rest of the world, this bird has a wider familiarity, looking very similar to a character in the popular Angry Birds game.

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Thankfully, the real Collared Puffbird is slightly more peaceful than its namesake, often being labelled the “lazy bird” due to its habit of sitting and waiting for insects, rather than predating them.

It is not the only species that can be found at Inkaterra that has a more popular identity. The Spectacled Bears, some of which can be found at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel are the inspiration for one of the world’s most popular childhood characters – Paddington Bear. Paddington’s books have been translated across the globe, and a new feature film is due out at the end of the year.

World Birding Rally 2014

Birding Rally Challenge

It’s that time again! From May 12th to 20th, the fourth edition of the World Birding Rally will take place in Peru. Four teams of renowned birdwatchers from United States, South Africa and United Kingdom will be part of a unique competition due to its non-stop modality. They will travel the Nor Amazon route in search of the bird species that habit this search area.

Route 2014

On this occasion, the World Birding Rally will cover a 1503-km itinerary through twelve life zones and four regions of Peru that will showcase the Pacific coastline, the Andes and the Amazon rainforest: Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Amazonas and San Martín. It is the second time that the World Birding Rally follows this enthralling route, which allowed last year’s teams register a total of 864 bird species (10% of the world’s total species), with 34 endemics among them.

Organized by our team at the NGO Inkaterra Asociación and the Peruvian Tourism Board (PromPerú), the World Birding Rally is part of a strategy to promote Peru as a top destination for bird watching. It is worth mentioning that it is the third country with the largest number of bird species throughout the world (1816 species, 120 of which are endemics). The competition also aims to raise awareness on the environment, and contributes on creating added value in rural areas trough sustainable tourism. Keep up-to-date with the upcoming challenge on Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #BirdingRallyChallenge

 

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

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

The Birding Rally Challenge Begins

 

Inkaterra Associación (ITA), is proud to announce that the world’s first Birding Rally Challenge is off to a flying start. Organised alongside the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) & PROMPERU as co-organisers, the rally has drawn together 24 experts for six days and five nights of non-stop Amazon and Andes birding.

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The Birding Rally Challenge began at the Pantanos de Villa – a wetlands and nature refuge located near Lima and is home to many migratory birds. This environment is renowned for ornithological diversity and the teams logged some excellent sightings on the first day of the rally. Species seen included the Many-Coloured Rush-Tyrant (Tachuris rubrigastra), the Peruvian Tern (Sternula lorata), the Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) and the White-Cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis), the Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera), the Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), the White-Tufted Grebe (Rollandia rolland), the Peruvian Pelican (Pelecanus thagus), the Peruvian Diving-Petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii) and the Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja)to name just a few.

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The Inauguration Ceremony for the Birding Rally Challenge took place at the Universidad Cientifica del Sur-Chorrillos. The ceremony was attended by José Carlos Dextra Chacón, Chairman of the Board, José Luis Silva Martinot, Minister of Foreign Trade & Tourism, and PROMPERU’s President of the Board of Directors, Maria del Carmen de Reparaz, PROMPERU’s Director of Tourism (MINCETUR), José Koechlin-ITA, his Excellence the Ambassador of Great Britain in Peru, James Dauris and Jorge Caillaux Zazzali, President of SPDA (Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental).

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There will be more exciting updates to come as the Rally progresses and teams including the Forest Falcon Team, eBirders, The Zululanders, the Tramuntana Birding Team and the Ararajuba Team get spotting at Madre de Dios and then at Machu Picchu.

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The teams are staying at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and El MaPi, byInkaterra, in Machu Picchu & at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica and Hacienda Concepción in the rainforest and are following Inkaterra’s specialist birding routes.

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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.

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.

Explore Machu Picchu in 3D

 

Surrounded by mountains, the Inca Citadel is one of the most beautiful places to visit. Maybe this ancient city of Andean civilizations is one of the reasons why Machu Picchu was recognised as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Have a look at this amazing 3D-Website created by the newspaper El Comercio to celebrate the 5th anniversary of this recognition and enjoy discovering some hidden stories about the lost city of the Incas.

Machu Picchu is home of Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.