As we enter 2021, the Aracari team looks forward (perhaps more than ever) to a new year of unforgettable adventures. Seeking inspiration from the past experiences of our Travel Designers, we decided to ask a few of them to share their ultimate, all-time favorite, travel recommendations. All of which can be arranged by Aracari for you, as part of your next trip to Peru.
First up, adventure specialist Mark Green, here’s how he answered:
‘The Ausangate Trek is the highest trek in Peru. It takes you through some of the country’s wildest scenery and is the perfect opportunity for travelers to get off the beaten track. For me, the trek was a life-changing experience. I will never forget the stunningly diverse and dramatic landscapes, the cost accommodations, and the privilege of sharing the trail with a dedicated and friendly team from the local Andean communities.’
When we asked Aracari Travel Designer, Monica Szepesy, to tell us of her most treasured travel experience, like many of us, she was drawn to reminiscing about the very last trip she took before lockdown.
“Tucked away in the Sacred Valley, near the village of Lamay, is a community that offers a wonderful community-based experience centered around a plant found only in that region – the Achupalla. After a short and beautiful drive into the mountains, we were greeted with music and several members of the Yachaq community, including the Mayor. We were dressed in traditional clothing, before taking a short walk further up the mountains to where the Achupalla plant grows. With a spectacular view of the Andes mountains, we were treated to a demonstration of the plants; harvest, and informed of many of its uses. A local “Curandero” – Healer, elevated the experience with an overview of the common medicinal plants in the area – and why traditional medicine is so important to the community. A very entertaining reenactment of the legend behind the Achupalla plant provided fantastic entertainment, as well as an insight into the history of why the village evolved in that particular location. We were then treated to a light snack of a very traditional meal in the area. Cuy con torrejas de maiz, papas nativas, y uchucuta – wood fire-roasted guinea pig, corn fritters, and native potatoes with local huacatay sauce. Every aspect of the dish was on point. As a Peruvian chef for the past 20 years, I have had the pleasure of enjoying meals, including some of the world’s top restaurants. The meal served to us by the Yachaq’s was right up there as one of the best and most memorable. Prepared by authentic people in a humble and very authentic way. But the very part of the trip? Being able to experience, first-hand the unique experiences Aracari has curated over the years for our guests.”
With so many extraordinary hotels across Peru, how do you find one that truly delivers on the travel tick boxes that are most important to you? Well, Travel Designer, Monica Szepesy recently shared her reasons for putting the Explora Valle Sagrado hotel right at the top of her list:
“The meticulous execution of making me feel like a modern, eco-conscious traveler impressed me most. Explora is elegant, think Italian villa meets high-end minimalism. Sustainable from every angle, the property si one of the only green-certified, zero waste hotels in the Sacred Valley. On a personal note, my choice for Explora is their partnership with Virgilio Martinez, of restaurants Central and Mil. The menus in the dining room, as well as for the boxed lunches, are all designed by Virgilio, making this a go-to choice for foodies, especially since it can be a challenge to secure reservations at his restaurants.”
“For me, the Colca Canyon is a very special place. It’s where I go to breathe and reconnect with nature, people, traditions, and a quiet way of life, where time freezes and where it feels good to be away from the crowd.” These are the words of Aracari Travel Designer, Cécile Fabre, on why she chose the Colca Canyon as one of her most treasured destinations…
“The Colca Canyon and Valley constitute one of Peru’s most dramatic and spectacular natural landscapes. The Colca River, considered by a National Geographic survey to be the source of the Amazon, cuts a sensational scar through the mountains for more than 50 km (31mi), forming the Colca Canyon which, at 3,182 meters (10,439 feet) deep, is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and is lined with majestic snow-capped peaks, many of which are volcanoes.
The Colca Valley presents visitors with endless surprises, including fascinating archaeological remains such as Madrigal Chimpa Fortress and Uyo Uyo, many of which date back to Colonial days and earlier. The Valley is surrounded by several colonial Spanish Villages; small and lovely churches still standing despite being battered by earthquakes, and women still dressed in traditional voluminous Andean skirts and colorful hats.
Truly, when arriving in the region of Colca from Arequipa – you’ll feel like you’ve found a hidden paradise in Peru.”
So, The Ausangate Trek, the Sacred Valley and Colca Canyon – these are just a few of our travel planners’ recommendations for 2021. Where else would you like to travel and more importantly, how would you like to travel? For more Peruvian travel insights and recommendations from our Travel Designers, follow us on Instagram @aracaritravel.