The next stop in our Re-imagine: Event Destinations series is, “The Land of the Incas,” Peru.
In this series, we’re sharing travel guides for prominent cities to consider as destinations for your next major event. (read our Puerto Rico travel guide in this post) Here, we’re taking you on a tour of Peru, complete with tips and insights from an experienced BCD M&E traveler. In our Peru travel guide, you’ll discover the best places to go, things to do and why Peruvian food is some of the best you’ll ever eat!
Peru is a nation of mythical wonders. It’s a country that boasts spectacular scenery, vastly different geographical regions and cuisine that reigns as a source of national pride. Its rich and varied heritage includes the ancient Incan capital of Cusco and the bucket-list lost city of Machu Picchu – but it’s also more than that. Today, visitors are being drawn to its variety of quieter, less crowded attractions – exploring Peru’s resurgent cities, archaeological treasures, biodiversity, world-class gastronomic scene and cultural heritage. With a multi-ethnic population consisting of indigenous Peruvians and descendants of Amerinidians, Europeans, Africans and Asians, the mixture of cultural traditions culminates in a wide diversity of expressions in Peru’s art, cuisine, literature and music.
68-72 °F (20-22°C) Lima
77-79 °F (25-26°C) Machu Picchu
88-92 °F (31-33°C) Iquitos
Elegant and modern, Swissotel Lima is located in the heart of San Isidro, the business, residential and cultural district of the city. Expect genuine first-class service and perfection in every detail. Having just completed its stately multi-million-dollar expansion, the property offers 12 function rooms equipped with cutting edge technology and immaculate design. For R&R, the remodeled SPA offers 13 treatment rooms, four restaurants, two pools and a well equipped fitness center.
Housed in a restored 16th-century convent, the warm and welcoming JW Marriott El Convento offers a unique blend of historic grandeur and modern comfort. During your stay, find sanctuary in sophisticated rooms and suites offering range of amenities, including an oxygen enriched system to relieve altitude sickness. The property offers a signature spa, pool, sauna and its award-winning restaurant, Quespi.
In Andean belief, Titicaca is the birthplace of the Sun. South America’s largest freshwater lake covers 3,000 square miles and sits 12,500 feet above sea level. Its surrounding towns are tourist-friendly and steeped in the old ways. The area is a longtime home of highland cultures where crops are still planted and harvested by hand. An indigenous community of some 350 families continues to live within the traditions of the 14th century, according to the principles of Inca life. Once here, visit the Sillustani Ruins, the floating homes of the Uros people, and traditional food on Taquile Island for a serene, sacred glimpse into rich cultures, past and present.
THE BELMOND EXPERIENCE
Memories start here. With two luxury trains and six luxury hotels in locations including Cusco, Lima and Machu Picchu, Belmond shows travelers a different side of Peru. Named after the American explorer who re-discovered the site of Machu Picchu, Belmond’s Hiram Bingham train takes guests to and from the Lost City of the Incas in exceptional style – celebrating the thrill of early exploration with modern day elegance and a lively ambiance. The Belmond Andean Explorer is South America’s first luxury sleeper service and offers 1 and 2-night journeys between Cusco and Lake Titicaca. On both trains, indulge in sumptuous brunches, hearty lunches, decadent dinners, Cloud-Forest coffee and regional wines. Belmond trains are available for exclusive charters and extraordinary group events.
Intrepid travelers can head to the spectacular landscapes, astonishing archaeology and welcoming hospitality of the Peruvian cloud forests. These off-the-beaten-path destinations experience a constant presence of moisture and mist, creating cloud forests that support some of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems. Ideal for adventurous nature lovers — you can spend your days hiking through dense forests while searching for birds, amphibians and large mammals. These destinations are usually set at higher elevations and may have inclement weather, so be sure to bring rain jackets and solid hiking boots. For the best cloud forests (and a few remote archaeological finds) head to the towns of Tarapoto, Chachapoyas or Moyobamba.
Get to Know: Susana Chao, Senior Director, Operations
Years working in the meetings and events industry: 30
Something travelers might find surprising about Peru: Those who are unfamiliar with Peruvian cuisine may not know that it has been voted top cuisine destination of the world 6 years in a row. Those who have experienced the variety of cultural influences (Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese) that make up Peruvian cuisine completely get why they keep winning. There is something for everyone: steak, chicken, seafood, pasta and a huge Asian population, so some incredible Chinese restaurants. Two of the top 10 restaurants in the world are in Lima, Peru: #6 Central and #7 Maido.
One meal or dish we must have while in Peru: The ceviche is hands down the best! Many Latin countries have their versions but, Peru has it perfected! It is served with either potato or sweet potato and Inca corn. Delicious!
For those who are more daring, “anticuchos” are grilled marinated beef heart skewers. Incredibly tender and perfect with a Pilsen, Cristal or Cusquena (peruvian beers). Make sure to add a few dabs of Peruvian Aji (green hot sauce).
Tips for traveling like a local in Peru: If you’re adventurous enough to attempt driving in Peru, make sure you lay on your horn as much as possible. I joke that Peruvians must think blowing the horn makes the cars run faster. Despite all the horn blowing though, you rarely see any traffic accidents. They might be on to something! Anyway, if you’re a light sleeper you may want to pack ear plugs.
Top 3 things we must see or do in Peru: Well, besides the obvious Machu Picchu:
Surreal spots or views that take your breath away in Peru: Cuzco, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. To get to Machu Picchu you have to fly into Cuzco. It takes at least one day to get acclimated to the altitude. Cuzco is stunning! I recommend spending a couple of days there sightseeing and trying different restaurants. Then, take the three hour glass ceiling train down (10K feet) to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo). Here, you can catch the bus to Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes is a quaint town with many bars, restaurants and hostels so, spend at least a night there if you can! You will walk/hike a lot in Machu Picchu but, it’s 100% worth the effort. The beauty, coupled with trying to comprehend how this ancient civilization was able to create such intricate and massive structures is mind boggling!
One thing we need in our suitcase when traveling to Peru: If you go to Machu Picchu, take bug spray and wear long sleeves and pants. The mosquitoes there are no joke! They’re actually not even mosquitoes. They are sand flies and bites can last for weeks with no relief form itching. Be warned!
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