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The Llama Travel Blog

Top 8 Things To Do In Cusco

Written by  Hannah
  • 12 August 2019

Known for being the gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Peru’s tourist capital is nestled in the Andes at 3,400 metres above sea level. The historic centre of Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has a mix of colonial and Inca architecture, making it a truly fascinating place to visit. As well as the 500 Inca sites and museums, the city boasts excellent opportunities for shopping, eating and trying one of the many adventure sports in the vicinity. 

Comparing our Peruvian Amazon Jungle Lodges

Written by  Tsehai
  • 30 June 2019

The vast Peruvian Amazon covers over half of Peru and offers spectacular biodiversity, with incredible vegetation, birdlife and wildlife. Puerto Maldonado is a small jungle town in Southern Peru, close to the Brazilian and Bolivian borders. Located on the Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers, the nearby jungle lodges we work with offer excellent opportunities to explore the surrounding scenery. Staying in a jungle lodge allows you to experience the Amazon in relative comfort, while guides take you on excursions to explore during the day.

Taking the train to Machu Picchu but you’re keen to take a crack at hiking whilst at the ruins? Walking the Inca Trail but you’re up for one final trek? Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain offer unparalleled birds-eye views of the ruins, as well as panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks and valley. While both hikes are difficult, arguably making the decision of which mountain to climb is the biggest difficulty of all.

Peru is synonymous with the Andes mountains. Dividing the country from north to south, this vast chain of snow-capped peaks and diverse landscapes moulds the country’s geography, culture, history and people. It is the highest mountain range outside Asia and the longest continental mountain range in the world. Keep reading to find out what makes the Andes such a special place to visit on a holiday to Peru.

Machu Picchu is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, combining fascinating ruins with the incredible scenery of the Andes. You’ll want to make sure you are getting the most out of your trip by choosing the right option for you, whether it’s the classic Inca Trail, a daytrip to Machu Picchu or one of the many other ways. With this in mind, we have put together a guide to what options you have for a Llama Travel visit to Machu Picchu including logistics and possible excursions.

A Llama Travel Customer's Journal From Peru

Written by  Vivien
  • 01 February 2019
  • Peru

This trip has been in the offing since nearly two years ago when I was having lunch with Flo at our favourite eatery. She said to me, “Mum, do you still want to go to Peru?” . It’s something I’d dreamt of since learning about the people of the Andes at junior school, aged about 9 or 10 and had been inspired by the pictures of the people, their textiles and the mountains. We spent some time comparing companies and decided to go with Llama Travel, who gave us a good price and seemed friendly, experienced and well organised (the clue is in the name!).

So here I am in a twin room at the Casa Andina Select Hotel in Lima at the end of our first full day.

Travelling Alone to Peru

Written by  Hannah

People have different reasons for travelling alone to Peru. Sometimes it’s an active choice, and sometimes it’s due to circumstances. Either way, if you’re considering solo travel, you probably have some questions: how much will it cost? Is it safe to travel alone in Peru? What about Spanish? Here we go through some common queries that people have when travelling alone for the first time.

The Amazon rainforest is humming with life, from the large mammal species all the way down to the tiny frogs and insects. This is of course why so many travelers venture into the humid depths of the jungle. If you have a trip planned, these are some of the animals you might encounter while you're there.

Peru is as diverse as it is beautfiul and like many destinations, the people you meet are as much a part of the experience as the sights. The Peruvian highlands, which encompass Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Lake Titicaca (and more) are home to indigenous people who keep their traditions alive, providing an important insight into how highland communities live. 

The majority of our travellers to Peru opt to visit the Sacred Valley – its appeal is well-established. There is rich Inca history, indigenous local culture, striking scenery and a relaxing ambience.  Whether you should go or not hardly warrants the question. How long you should go for – that’s a different thing. 

I have now made the journey between Cusco and Puno by coach, on the PeruRail Titicaca train and the Belmond Andean Explorer train. Whilst I have enjoyed all the trips, I found the Belmond Andean Explorer to be by far the most enjoyable, combining glamour, romance, luxury and service. It is not cheap, but it is very special.

On visiting Machu Picchu, some people are content to wander amongst the ruins, while others are keen to get a different perspective on them. Climbing Huayna Picchu, the sugarloaf mountain which rises above the ruins, is a favoured challenge when it comes to seeking out an elevated vantage point. Becky, our  Australia sales manager did the climb on a backpacking trip a few years ago, and here she reminisces  on the experience.

The main area of Machu Picchu is quite compact and a three-hour tour of the site allows plenty of time to explore this. However, Machu Picchu is much more than just the main ruins, and there are several other visits that can be made in the area. My favourite of all of these is the climb up Machu Picchu Mountain. This is hard work, but immensely rewarding, with the best views in the area.

Over here at the Llama Travel offices, we often use the term “flexible group tours”, although what does this actually mean for you? Well it means that you get to pick and choose the places you want to visit, without being limited by a rigid itinerary. Unlike a traditional tailor-made holiday though, you pay group tour prices.

How does that work?

The Sol y Luna is a fabulous hotel by anyone's standards. Located in Peru's Sacred Valley, surrounded by the Andes, and Relais & Chateaux accredited, you know it's going to be a good experience before you get there. What you may not know though is that this isn't just any upmarket hotel. Set up by an intrepid and big-hearted French woman, it exists to support an education project in the valley, and to help improve the lives of the people who live there. Below is an interview with Petit (as she is known), the driving force behind the Sol y Luna Association.

Rediscovering Lima, Peru

Written by  Mari

Our Sales Supervisor, Mari, is a Peru native, born and bred in Lima. She returned recently for a holiday and was pleasantly surprised by how the city has changed

Returning to Lima after 3 and a half years and seeing how much it has improved and grown was mind blowing. To many people Lima is just another city but to me it is a place that holds many great memories with family and friends. Some people think there isn´t much to do there, but Lima has well preserved archaeological sites and museums, not to mention a great gastronomic offering with many Michelin Star restaurants. In fact, Lima’s Central restaurant was voted 4th in the World’s 50 Top Restaurants in 2016.

Recently back from Peru having successfully completed the Salkantay Trek (read the day by day account here), Graham has a few tips for those planning on trekking in Peru.

Reaching the famous Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, on foot is high up on many travellers’ bucket-lists. Whilst the accomplishment brings a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction it is an extremely challenging endeavour. Here are some tips to help you prepare for one of the most famous trekking expeditions in the world.

Graham, a member of the Llama Travel sales team was lucky enough to be sent on the 4 day Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu, a popular alternative to the renowned Inca Trail. This is his account of a magnificent four days.

During my four days of hiking the Salkantay Trail – the lesser known, but none-the-less stunning route to the fabled ancient city of the Incas, Machu Picchu – I was struck by the sheer beauty and diversity of the environment. We ascended ancient Inca paths guarded by majestic snow-capped peaks; navigated our way down rocky mountainous dirt paths in a throng of mule packs, and traipsed along valley paths enveloped in tropical foliage. This is a blow by blow account of the trail.

7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Peru

Written by  Catherine

Latin America is a special part of the world, and each country offers its own gems. As the original Llama Travel destination though, Peru will always hold a special place in our hearts. Furthermore, as one of our most popular destinations, it is clear that our high opinion of Peru is widely shared. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, read on for the reasons everybody loves Peru.

Just about everyone who visits Peru goes to Machu Picchu and loves it. You can visit on a day trip from Cusco or the Sacred Valley, and this is fabulous. It’s a long day (the Llama Travel excursion starts before 6am and you get back to Cusco around 9pm), but very satisfying. This includes a beautiful train journey, an in-depth guided tour of Machu Picchu and a great lunch in the restaurant next to the ruins. As Machu Picchu is quite a compact site, you visit most of the important parts of the ruins on the guided visit. So, given that you can visit Machu Picchu and see many of the significant sites in on a day trip, why would you want to spend a night there? Well, lots of reasons…

Llama Travel’s Sales Manager Graeme has always been a fan of travelling in comfort and style. For his latest blog he has reviewed some of his favourite superior hotels in Peru, from location and facilities to dining and atmosphere, and why in his opinion they are worth every pound of their upgrade supplement!

“I like my comforts when I travel. I always have. When I check in to my hotel, I like to know a very comfortable bed is waiting for me, the minibar is stocked, room service is a phone call away and most importantly a bathroom with a fantastic shower and soft white bathrobe will make the long flight dwindle away and energise me for my holiday ahead.

I’ve written about some of our choice superior hotels for those of you, who like me, like a little bit extra.

Next week sees the release of Paddington, a film adaptation of the classic children’s book series about a speckled bear who journeys from “darkest Peru” to England, and throws himself and everyone around him into a whirlwind of adventures.

Here at Llama Travel, we do the reverse; whisking people away from their cosy firesides in good old Blighty and off to the teeming jungles, vast lakes, soaring mountains and faraway cities of Peru and the rest of the Americas. Someone who took the reverse Paddington journey with us quite recently is Llama Travel’s own Sales Manager Graeme, and he found it hard to imagine why anyone, bear in a duffle coat or otherwise, would ever want to leave Peru!

Check out the below for Graeme’s top 5 list of what in darkest Peru is worth shining a spotlight on…