Alternative Tourism in Peru
Special Interest: There are few countries on Earth that can match Peru in offering such a varied and harmonious cultural adaptation of the many languages, ethnic differences and cultures to one of the most diverse and complex geographies on Earth.
This characteristic gave rise in Peru to some of the world's greatest ancient civilizations, and is what makes Peru today a fascinating country for visitors from all walks of life.
At the same time, Peru's staggering biodiversity is reason enough to entice nature lovers to explore the Peruvian outback. Visitors can spend weeks touring the fascinating coastal desert, the highlands or the tropical rainforest, all of which feature an astonishing diversity of animal and plant species.
New tendencies are beginning to emerge in today's world, in which a new type of traveler has appeared; a traveler in search of a different experience, less massive, and with better contact with rural societies. For those communities that have started taking some initiatives in order to incorporate themselves into the most consolidated tourist circuits of Peru, a wonderful economic alternative of development has presented, and rural communal tourism has the potential to become one of the most efficient mediums through which to improve the quality of life of the most excluded towns in Peru. However, in order to allow our communities to offer a competitive and innovative product with direct participation, there are still great challenges to be confronted for which strategic planning has to be a priority. Thus, we propose a sustainable model which not only responds to demand, but at the same time maintains the traditional culture of the Andean communities and peoples of Peru, based on a close relationship between culture and nature.
The wealth and cultural diversity of Peru is based on the history, tradition, and the present of its communities. They occupy a great portion of our national territory and in these times they constitute an invaluable complement to our tourism offer. For those visitors interested in getting acquainted and interacting with other cultures, visiting the rural communities becomes the main motive for their trip. Within this same search, the possibility to get closer to the artistic work of artisans represents a crucial factor during their stay in our country. 91% of travelers who visited Peru bought handicrafts, and found that the visits to handicrafts markets were an interesting highlight of their trip.
Here, people of all races do not hesitate to call themselves "Peruvians" and make their accents and flavors part of what is ours. The land has taught us generosity by placing endless delicacies in our hands for centuries now. Children learn the colors by seeing all types of chili peppers and fruits, and our mothers at home make the kitchen a laboratory of flavors and love. For of all this, I dare not venture to give one reason why our country is so rich or where this inexhaustible source of flavors starts. Over 40,000 restaurants across the country reflect the diversity of a nation that has mixed its native traditions with the cuisines of Europe, Arabia, China, Africa and Japan. The result: unique flavours that make Peruvian cuisine one of the best and most varied in the world.
About 400 known thermal sources spot Peru's regions, but only some are open to tourism. Such abundance of thermal waters is caused by subduction, an ongoing volcanic geological phenomenon that pushed the Nazca Plate under the South American Plate during the Mesozoic. Thermal flows filtering through these geological faults warm up the ground and superficial water filtrations that rise to the surface at various temperatures. Waters are classified as bicarbonates, chlorinated, and sulfated (sulfur, calcium, lithium, iron, bromide, iodine, chlorine, manganese, potassium, oxygen, bicarbonate and silica) and by their temperature. They contain ions in solution as part of their chemical composition. Thermal waters are 20°C (and as hot as 89°C), and mineral waters contain over 100 mg/l ions in solution. Their main use is therapeutic and for tourism, and to a lesser degree thermal waters are used in heating cities (as a geothermal source of energy).
Candy for the eyes.
It is absolutely unnecessary for you to learn their
scientific names because there are more than 3,500 species distributed among 240 genera. But we definitely recommend remembering that almost 800 of them can be found no where else in the world since they grow only in Peru, some even at altitudes of 4,500 m.a.s.l. (14,760 f.a.s.l.). Such wealth is explained by the amount of ecosystems existing in the country, a guarantee for the presence of hundreds of different forms, sizes and colors. You may want to write down on your trip diary the following name: Phragmipedium peruvianum, which has become Peru's representative orchid.
A dream come true. See it with your own eyes. When it comes to birds, Peru is so fabulous that it seems almost unreal. Peru is first in the world in both new bird species discovered per year and the number of birds seen in just one day (without the help of motor vehicles), a fact reflected in its skies that are decorated with close to 2,000 bird species, from the sacred Andean condor to the scarlet-banded barbet (Capito wallacei), which is one of the latest ornithological discoveries. Do not forget to bring your camera and your capacity to be amazed.
Just like a miracle. Peru holds the world's record for fish diversity. Here, the sheer quantity of fish being spawned along the coast and in rivers and lakes of the Andes and the Amazon is mind boggling. There are three Amazonian species considered trophies in the world of fishing: the chambira or payara, the tucunare (peacock bass), and the dorado. In the north, the beaches of Cabo Blanco and Máncora are famous sites for marlin fishing, where a world record breaking specimen weighing 1,542 pounds was caught. There, beneath the waters, await even larger marlins for the intrepid to come along and be conquered. Then, in the south, there is the Paracas National Reserve and farther south the coast of Mollendo, which are also waiting for your visit.
For centuries, Amazonian shamans have used ayahuasca as a window into the soul. The sacrament, they claim, can cure any illness. The author joins in this ancient ritual and finds the worlds within more terrifying—and enlightening—than ever imagined. Those who use this beverage in rituals to heel their spiritual and medical illness have different sensations; such as cold, heat, sweat etc. This has a lot to do with the vegetables used in the preparation. Active synthetic components are forbidden everywhere, but no South America country forbids the use of Ayahuasca in its natural state or prepared according to ancient and traditional recipes. Is very common to find "curanderos" (healers or witch doctors) that treat sickness only with Ayahuasca and are known as "ayahuasqueros" due to their skills in the preparation and use of this beverage that contributes to physical and spiritual health. This means that Ayahuasca is considered a sacred and therapeutically beverage; an important goal, considering human beings in its context and not as a organism that only responds to external stimulus.
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