Welcome to our blog. We hope you enjoy our posts on Peruvian history, archaeology, cultural insights, events such as festivals, and travel tips.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Sunday, July 21, 2013
By María Elena Tord for El Comercio
Translated by Alix Farr
There are many activities in the Sacred Valley that are suitable
for family members of all ages.
Cusco is becoming an ever more popular destination for families.
The charm of the city that so delights the adults can also be
something to please the kids, though they may not immediately
realize it. Once there, your family will see that the number of
activities for children is on the rise.
It is recommended that the first stop of your trip, after arriving in
Cusco, be Urubamba, because it is at a slightly lower altitude,
which can help prevent altitude sickness.
Children love walks to the river and through the valleys. A little
bit of fresh air is always nourishing, especially for those who
live in the city.
One outing that the kids always like is to the salt-evaporation
ponds of Maras, where wells of salt create a sea of white
surrounded by mountains. This is where salt is extracted and t
hen sent to the regional markets. Those who extract the salt
come on foot or by car in the dry season.
Not far away are the circular terraces of Moray, which served as
an agricultural laboratory during Inca times. Today it is a fun place
to visit. The kids can run around, up and down, through the terraces.
Also near by, only 20 minutes by car from Moray, is Chinchero.
When there, ask for the textile workshops, where local women
do demonstrations of the weaving process. These textiles are known
as being the most beautiful of the region, and they preserve the
ancestral techniques that you will be able to appreciate in a class.
In Chinchero, you can also visit the church and the archaeological
complex located next to the main plaza.
An option for the afternoon is Wayra, which is part of the
Sol y Luna Hotel. It offers a number of different experiences for
those in the Sacred Valley, including many that would appeal to young
people. The concept of Wayra is to introduce the culture and art of
the local people to children by way of workshops in ceramics, textiles
In Wayra, as well as in other rural centers in the area, there are
opportunities to go horseback riding, as well as go on mountain biking
and kayaking expeditions. In Pachar, Natura Vive has alternative
adventures in scaling a 300-meter rock wall that are suitable for
children, from 6 years old.
In the valley, there is a chicken restaurant called Wallpa Wasi,
which is a nice country-style restaurant, in the style of Lima’s famous
Granja Azul. Kids will be able to enjoy pollo a la brasa and play
on a playground. This is a great lunch option.
In the city of Cusco there are also many options for the youngest
members of our families. Just outside the city is the archaeological
complex of Sacsayhuaman, where there are a number of natural
rock formations that are used as slides.
If you would like some fresh-air activities, you can ride horses to
“Zona x” where you can explore the mysterious caves.
In the city, you can also take tours that start at the Plaza de Armas.
In the afternoon, what could be better than something sweet in a
place full of toys? In Cusco there exists such a place, called Yanapay,
which has a “village” for children. There are tables and chairs
sized just write for the kids, as well as games, desserts, and storytime.
Another option is El Hada where Alessandra Pinasco, inspired by the
culinary passion that she inherited from her grandfather, offers artisan
ice cream in 40 flavors, which are 100 percent natural. Options include
lavender, baked apple, Doña Pepa, vanilla and “suspiro.” And for the
adults in the group, there is also coffee.
The Choco Museo is another great option. Visitors here can learn
about the process of preparing cacao and chocolate. For kids, there
is the workshop called “From the Tree,” which includes two very
fun hours where they will make their own chocolates and have a
dozen flavors to choose from. This is recommended for children 8 years
old and up, and the experience can be shared with parents.
For the smaller children 4 years old an up, there is a mini-workshop
that takes 45 minutes. Kids will mold their own chocolates with flavors
of their choosing. And at night, what better than a pizza? In the San Blas
neighborhood, you will find Pacha Papa, a great restaurant with a big patio.
From the clay ovens come pizzas of a variety of flavors.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Sunday, July 21, 2013
Elvi Bjorkquist - Saturday, April 09, 2011
The new National Geographic magazine has the mighty kingdom of the Inca and the magical Machu Picchu as its main story. It is on the newsstands now. Here is the link to the online information of the Inca with interactive maps, videos, 3-D computer-generated animation, photos and written articles about the Inca and Machu Picchu. Fascinating read!!! Enjoy!!
Elvi Bjorkquist - Sunday, February 20, 2011
Elvi Bjorkquist - Sunday, February 13, 2011
Fabulous Causa Recipe is on our website
Last week I participated in a Peruvian cooking class at the
Kitchen Table Cooking School in Denver with Patricia Belaire.
What a fun and tasty experience with the interesting
combinations of ingredients used in Peru. I came away with
new ideas and great recipes which I will share with you on
our website. Fabulous Causa Peruana and Seco de Cordero
and a final dessert of Alfajores Rellenos con Dulce de Leche
provided by the Kitchen Table Cooking School.
Peruvian cuisine is nothing like Mexican food. Almost
unknown until recently, Peruvian Cuisine is steadily
conquering the taste and interest of the best chefs worldwide.
The wild choice of fresh ingredients and the gentle blend of
immigrant traditions -such as Spanish, African, Chinese, or
Japanese- have created one of the World's most unique and
delicious cuisines. Go back in time through its millenary
cultures, smell the impressive biodiversity surrounding every
corner of the country, taste a bit of heaven with its huge and
world renowned gastronomy. Go beyond an ordinary tour to
Peru and indulge in your culinary interest. Attend classes with
chefs, trips to the markets, superb restaurants, wineries, and
fall in love with its people, their customs, arts and beliefs.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Sunday, February 13, 2011
Hey, you orchid lovers Peru is home of 3000 orchid species.
The greatest diversity of species is found in the High Amazon
Jungle located between 500 and 3,600 m.a.s.l. Peru surpasses
the number of native species found in Colombia and Ecuador,
countries that are known because of their orchid variety.
Orchids were highly prized by the Inca and pre-Inca cultures as
is described in ancient records. Check out our orchid page for
all the locations and genera pictures in each area.
Machu Picchu Sanctuary
The estimates for diversity within the sanctuary reach 200 species.
Among the species that can be found (take a walk in the crossroad
Ollantaytambo Machu Picchu) are Aa, Epidendrum, Masdevallia,
Maxillaria, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, Phagminpedium and the Sobralia.
Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone
Orchids studies do not show significant diversity but do include some
interesting species of the genera Cataseum, Mormodes, Psychopsis
Only by request:
Huascaran National Park
The National Park has High Andean species that have been studied
recently. One of the most representative species is the Masdevalia
amabilis, which grows in rocky mountain slopes. Other genera
are: Aa, Altenasteinia, Epidendrum, Stelis and Trichocerus.
Land of Orchids (also Chachapoyas is possible, beautiful, but remote)
The watershed of the Mayo river (Department of San Martin) is known
as the land of orchids. There are great numbers such as Anguloa,
Brassia, Cataseum, Cattleya, Bollea, Coryanthes, Lycaste, Masdevallia
and many more. The most representative is the Cattleya, locally
known as "Golondrina".
Loreto and Ucayali (beautiful, but remote)
Amazon lowlands have not much diversity. The great attractions are the
species of the genus: Caryanthes, Gongora, Maxillaria, Mormodes
Podocarpus Forests in Cajamarca
The high Amazon jungle is known for the podocarpus forests, the forest
with the highest number of orchids. Many are quite exotic varieties such
as the Masdevalia setacea, Masdevalia glandulosa and Lycaste
The Valley of Orchids (beautiful, not far away from Lima)
The Valley of Chanchamayo (Department of Junin) is a fantastic place
for orchid funds, although nowadays highly depredated. The zone
requires immediate protected area status.The Masdevallia can reach
up to 30cm. The Pschopsis sanderae, known as the royal butterfly,
is a rare endemic species. The majority of genera in Peru are
found in this valley.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Thursday, January 27, 2011
A Peruvian Restaurant with Argentinean Flair
The Rincon Gaucho restaurant has obviously a lot of Argentinean flair with the red walls adorned with tango memorabilia, aged black and white photographs as well as colored ones of prize heifers. All this along with cow hides scattered on walls and floors. In the corner is a refrigerator full of meat and the large grill stocked and ready for the day’s orders. All the waiters at Rincon Gaucho wear matching blue pants, white shirts and blue neckerchiefs with leather belts. The owners plan to move to an area around Lima called Baranco. Baranco is an artsy type area full of folk art. So if you want to eat steak with a sea view make your way to Rincon Gaucho.
On the terrace upstairs you can enjoy the view of the sea where you can order provolone cheese and Argentinean empanadas. These empanadas are quite different from Peruvian ones in taste and texture, with more gravy than filling and a little messy to eat. I am a great fan of Peru’s empanadas so you would find it hard to win me over but these are delicious. If you have not tried Peruvian empanadas your really missing something.
Tips from the kitchen at Rincon Gaucho.
Follow these at home for a tasty BBQ:
Sauces to compliment the meat:
Elvi Bjorkquist - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The VI National Marinera Contest
There is no time when Peru's love for its official coastal dance is more spiritedly manifested than during The National Marinera Contest in Trujillo. For two weeks Local parades liven up the streets and several Marinera competitions are held in local stadiums and collseums in Trujillo. This is the first year the contest will be considered a worldwide event after more than 100 contestants from different nationalities, from amateurs to national champions, signed up to compete.
When: Saturday, Jan. 15 through Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
Where: Plaza de toros de Trujillo
El Niño Perdido Festival in Huancavelica
Huancavelica's El Niño Perdido (Lost Child) Festival is a four day celebration based on the story that one day Jesus got lost and a search party composed by a group of slaves from Chincha and their master looked for him until they found him in Huancavelica's church of Santo Domingo and then they danced to celebrate finding him. This festival is most famous for the Danza de los negritos (dance by the black people) competition where locals dressed in bright costumes and black masks dance in the streets after a man dressed in a white mask cracks his whip to begin the festivity. There are also other dance shows, food fairs,
When: Saturday, Jan. 14 through Tuesday Jan 18, 2011
Elvi Bjorkquist - Saturday, January 15, 2011
Cusco is a Great Destination for Family Trips.
However, it is time to start considering Cusco as an option
for a family vacation. The charm of Cusco that attracts adults
is also appealing to children.
Cusco has many activities for kids. There are many
alternatives to have fun with your children in Cusco.
Just outside of Cusco there is an archaeological complex
called Sacsahuamán. There, you will find natural rock
formations that are used as slides in many different
sizes and shapes. You can also hire horses to go to the
Zona X to see mysterious caves. Have coffee in a place
filled with toys. In the city of Cusco there is a place called
Yanapay that has a children’s village made with money made
in the restaurant. Everywhere there are tiny tables and
chairs for the kids, as well as desserts, games and books.
Good cuisine for kids. While walking around Cusco, you will
come across a Bembos, which is located right across from
the Main Square. It offers children’s menus which include
surprises inside. In the town of San Blas, the Pacha Papa is
a cozy restaurant that serves pizza and has a big patio that
is always warmed by its stoves and ovens where all kinds
of delicious plates are cooked. Many times a harpist will
play while you eat.
The Sacred Valley is great for kids. The fresh air of
Urubamba Valley and its open spaces are wonderful for
children. The circular terraces of Moray are a great source
of fun for children where they can run around as much as
they please and climb up and down, all with a magnificent
view of the mountain range in the background. Nearby Moray,
only 20 minutes away by car, is Chinchero. There you can
participate in textile workshops, where the local women perform
interactive demonstrations of the process of spinning and dyeing
of the fabrics. Chinchero textiles are known for being the most
beautiful in the area and for maintaining their ancient techniques.
Check out our website
Another great place to bring kids are the salt mines of Maras
where kids will be fascinated by walking the slabs of natural salt.
For feeding your kids, Wallpa Wasi is a cozy countryside
restaurant that serves grilled chicken buffet-style and has a big
yard with trampolines and games for children. An additional
option is to spend the afternoon at Wayra, which is a countryside
center of the Sol y Luna hotel which offers different hands-on
experiences for the visitors of the valley, most of which are
dedicated exclusively to children. The concept of Wayra is to
teach young kids the art and culture of the place’s settlers
through ceramic and textile workshops. They also offer
horseback rides and mountain bicycle excursions of the valley.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Peru's Top 10 Restaurants, according to the
Summum's 2010 ranking.
Astrid & Gastón.
Summum's number three restaurant, by Peru's most
celebrated restaurateur-chef couple, Astrid Gutsche
and Gastón Acurio.
A refined French restaurant.
A seafood restaurant on the Pacific Ocean.
A restaurant that serves up cuisine from Peru's
A Miraflores restaurant
that serves up
with an emphasis on
Elvi Bjorkquist - Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The birth of the infant Christ allowed early Peruvians to identify immediately with the festivity, which gave rise to artisan creativity, a sense of aesthetics and the religious devotion of Andean peoples. Andean Christmas began taking on characteristics of its own by adding elements from each region. The highlanders put together Nativity scenes in churches and homes, perform dances and plays, cook typical dishes and produce a wide range of handicrafts such as Nativity scenes in Huamanga stone, retablos featuring images related to Christmas and pottery or carved gourds called mates burilados decorated with Yuletide scenes. In most Andean communities, the festival continues until la Bajada de los Reyes (the arrival of the three wise men), January 6, when traditionally people exchange gifts.
The market of Santuranticuy in Cusco is a wonderful crafts market on the main Square of Cuzco. The Plaza comes alive on the morning of Christmas eve with crafts people selling their crafts. Artisans sell a large variety of sacred representations, woodcarvings, pottery and nativity scenes.
Galas, Laicas o Tusuq – December 24th – 28th
Province of Huancavelica
An ancient dance is still performed today which is a classical dance with a magical/religious ritual and represents characters such as the Pachamama (Earth Mother), Hananpacha (realm of the gods), and Ucupacha (underworld) as well as aspects of Andean popular life. The presentation takes place at the Church of San Francisco.
Elvi Bjorkquist - Monday, December 20, 2010
Summer Solstice Celebration!
On December 21st the indigenous Andean peoples in Peru
celebrate the beginning of the summer solstice - summer
is here! Yes, it is summer in Peru and that means Christmas
is in the summer time. They celebrate in a traditional Andean
way, with a "Pago a la Tierra" (Giving Thanks to the Earth)
Cultural Expeditions Peru offers:
Customized luxury group tours to Peru.
Providing travel to Peru's Spanish and Andean history, archaeology, arts and culture.
Travel packages that promote sustainable travel to areas that conserve the environment, respecting and benefiting local people.