Monday, January 25, 2016

Travel Inspiration, Words of Wisdom

There is something magical about words that are put in just the right order to inspire a kind of wonderment. A well written essay can inspire change, and a speech a riotous protest. However, one of my favorite set of words comes in the form of travel quotes. So for your travel inspiration I have compiled Valencia Travel Cusco’s top 10 favorite travel quotes! 

10.  “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

9. “Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'” – Lisa St. Aubin de Teran 

8. As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.” – Margaret Mead 

7. “Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” – Kurt Vonnegut

6. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

5.  “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca 

4.  “Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley 

3. “Our Nature lies in movement; complete calm is death.” – Blaise Pascal

2. “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

1.“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

I hope you enjoyed these quotes. Life isn’t interesting living in only one place, so I hope 2016 is full of movement for our readers! If you have a favorite travel quote I hope you share it in the comments, or post in on our Facebook page. Wander on friends!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Always a Peruvian Party

If you spend any amount of time in Cusco, you will notice the significant amount of parades and fireworks. Peruvians are a festive and lively people, taking any opportunity to celebrate. No matter what month you choose to travel to Peru, you will be able to experience a holiday of some kind. Cusco especially is a great place to be to witness these traditional festivals. For your reading pleasure I have compiled a list of common celebrations in Cusco and around Peru. Enjoy!


New Years January 1st

Peruvians love fireworks. This is especially evident on New Years. For many days leading up to New Years, there will be stalls and shops where you can buy fireworks to use in the streets. On New Years in Cusco, many gather in the Plaza de Armas to watch the fireworks show that goes off at exactly Midnight. This is an amazing experience, but be careful! With fireworks going off all around you might sustain a couple burn holes in your clothes. 

Adoracion de Reyes Magos

This, like many festivals in Peru, is a Christian celebration. It is the celebration of the three wise men, and includes parades.



Brasil isn’t the only country with a Carnival! This is especially big in Cusco where the locals will dance around Yunsa tree, and the city will be full of water related pranks! You may get a bit wet, but don’t worry! Its rainy season in February, so that would probably happen anyway.


Semana Santa

This is a holy week in Peru. It takes place the last week of lent, and includes many parades and processions, especially here in Cusco.

Senor de los Temblores

This event takes place on Easter Monday and includes a parade with the mounted images of The Lord of the Earthquakes.


Cruz Velaccly

This is a Traditional Andean holiday which celebrates the image of the Holy Cross.

Corpus Christi

Another traditional holiday, a procession with the images of many holy Christian saints makes its way through the city to the main Cathedral located in the Plaza de Armas.

Festival de la Cerveza Cusqueña

In case you didn’t know, people from Cusco call themselves Cusqueñans. Cusqueña is also the name of a locally made beer, and in May there is usually a festival to celebrate this local treasure. The dates of this festival can vary. 

Inti Raymi 24th

This traditional holiday entails a traditional ceremony at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman near Cusco. You can but tickets in advance if you wish to attend this cultural event.

Fiestas de Quillabamba 25th-29th

This festival takes place in Quillabamba and celebrates the anniversary of La Convencion. It usually included music, beauty pageants, and motocross competitions.

Independence Day28th-29th

This is a great day to be in Peru! National pride and Peruvian flags are everywhere. If you are in Lima, you can experience the 21 cannon salute. The actual Independence Day is the 28th, but festivities go for 2 days.
Nuestrsa Senora de las Nieves 5th  

This celebration of “Our Lady of the Snows” includes food fairs, traditional dance, parades, and in some places they even have bull fights.

Senor de Huanca 14th 

This day is all about a pilgrimage from Cusco to the stone sanctuary of Huanca to receive blessings from the shrine. It takes about 4-6 hours of walking to arrive.


In October the people of Cusco celebrate their truism and all that it does for the local economy with a week-long festival. Dates on this vary.

Dia Imnmaculada Conception 8th

This is an important religious holiday for Peruvians celebrating the Virgin Mary and her immaculate conception. Like many other holidays, not many business are open, and there are processionals through the city of Cusco. This might be a good day to check out one of the beautiful cathedrals the city has to offer.

Christmas 24th-25th

If you have to be away from home for Christmas, then Cusco isn’t a bad place to spend the holidays. At exactly midnight on Christmas, there are beautiful fireworks in the sky to celebrate the arrival of this special day. This is called Noche Buena, and in Peru Christmas Eve is actually more important than Christmas day. There are also beautiful markets that pop up around Christmas Eve where you can buy your loved ones a present. The entire city is filled with an almost electric excitement, and everyone is in a celebrating mood.  

Peru is a beautiful place with a unique culture. On any normal day you can experience something different from back home. However I would strongly encourage you to make an effort to experience some form of festival or celebration, especially in Cusco. There’s a strong possibility that afterwards, you might not look at parties the same way again! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Local Delicacies

So you have a little time in Cusco before your big trek to Machu Picchu. You don’t have a lot of time, but you want to make sure you get in some of the little cultural experiences before you’re off on your next adventure. How to you prioritize all the different options?

In this blog post, I have complied some simple cultural food and beverage options to try in Peru. 


The first on I have listed may make our vegetarian friends cringe a bit, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you about Cuy. Cuy is guinea pig. Yes, the same kind of guinea pig you had when you were a kid, and probably named fluffy or whiskers. Far from a pet, cuy is a local delicacy in Peru, served crispy and whole with all body parts still attached. So if crispy rat sounds appealing to you, check it out and make sure to get a picture to freak out your friends back home. You can find cuy being sold ready to eat in and around the local markets, and in many different restaurants that serve local Peruvian food.


After your traditional meal you may be thirsty and want to wash your meal down with a refreshing local beverage. Number two on our list, Pisco Sour, is the perfect choice. The origins of the Pisco Sour are not completely known, but most believe that it originated in Lima Peru in the early 1900's. The common story is that the recipe we now know was created in a bar in lima by English Expat Victor Morris in the 1920's, but some believe it was around even earlier than that. What we do know for sure is that the Pisco Sour has been around for more than 100 years, and usually contains Pisco, lime juice, sugar, and egg whites. If you like other kinds of sour drinks like whisky sour, odds are that you will enjoy this beverage!


Coca leaves, not to be confused with its white powdery by product, are a traditional medicinal regularly consumed in Peru. When you first travel to Peru, you may notice that it’s a bit harder to breath, you may be a bit lightheaded when you walk up hills the first few days. Peru is at quite a high altitude, (about 11,000 feet.) Before there was modern medicine, there was coca leaves. So if you want to prepare to trek the Andes, make sure you start and end your day with a steaming mug of coca tea, and to have some coca candies in your purse.


Chica is a drink almost as old as Peru. Created by the ancient Inca, chica is a fermented corn drink that tastes a bit like sour beer. You can get a towering mug of this alcoholic beverage in traditional chicherias around the city, sometimes with some traditional food, and many people sell it in large buckets outside the plazas and markets. You can also buy other kinds of chicha like quinoa, beat and strawberry in juice form. Tred carefully! A couple soles worth of the original yellow liquid might be enough for even the most seasoned drinker. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


While Cusco is a must see city, and the starting place for many on their journey to Machu Picchu, there are so many other wonderful towns to visit. Many cities in Peru retain their original culture and many original Inca structures. One of such city is called Pisac and is located at the entrance to the Sacred Valley.

Traveling to Pisac is simple, conveys leave from Cusco about every twenty minutes, and it takes around an hour to get to Pisac. The conveys leave about when it’s full, and only costs only about 8 soles or so, depending on the tourist season.

There are many things to see and while you are visiting Pisac. Here are a few examples:

Pisac Market

Filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, you will find everything you need for a healthful snack, meal, or supplies for your next hike. The market is located in the main square (Plaza Constitucion), and sprawls halfway across the town. It usually is opens in the morning, and is available most of the day. It  includes many handmade crafts, and other things that would make great souvenirs! This is a great place to stop and do some shopping, especially if you are looking to get gifts for friends and family back home, or looking to stock up on fresh fruit for you next hike. Make sure you check what day you are going however, because the market is only open three days a week.

Pisac Ruins (Citadel)

I would argue that the most important place to visit in Pisac is the Pisac Citadel. Located high above the valley floor, the Citadel provides beautiful views of patchwork green fields, and of the city of Pisac far below.  High above the valley, the people shops and animals look like mere toys.

Before climbing however, make sure that you are physically prepared. It isn’t the hardest trek in the world, but nor is it the easiest. The traveler must take into account the higher altitude. Perhaps give yourself a couple days in Peru to acclimate, or indulge in some coca tea or chew a couple of coca leaves, as this is a natural remedy for altitude sickness.

If you do endeavor to undertake the Citadel, make sure you get to the top so you can visit Templo del Sol. (Temple of the sun) Located near the top of the ruins, Templo del Sol is built around an outcropping of volcanic rock and is carved into the shape of a “hitching post” for the sun.

 Restaurants and Coffee Shops
There are several restaurants in Pisac, and a few where you can enjoy fine dining. There are also a couple of restaurant where you can get quality vegetarian and vegan dishes. At high tourist season however, you may be waiting a while for a table. But while you wait, perhaps you can get a biscuit and coffee at one of Pisac’s cozy little coffee shops. Most of these include free Wi-Fi, so you can upload our latest adventure photos while you have a cup of your favorite hot beverage.

In addition to all of these attractions there are also little shops with artisanal crafts, beautiful churches and little tiendas to enjoy a glass of chica. (A traditional Inca fermented corn drink.) Whatever your reason for heading to the Sacred Valley, make sure you take the time to stop at the beautiful city Pisac to enjoy the local food, culture, and sights.