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Contents This Way Peru




On the Scene


Lima and the North Coast


The Northern Amazon 34 The South Coast


Cusco and Machu Picchu


The Altiplano


Cultural Notes






Dining Out


The Hard Facts





Inca Trail


Lake Titicaca Fold-out map

Peru Lima, Arequipa Cusco, Machu Picchu


Th i s Wa y Pe r u Echoes of the Past

Images spring to mind of bowlerhatted Indians in traditional dress, and the majestic, ridge-top Inca city of Machu Picchu. Looking closer, you will be astounded by the vast wealth of history, culture, scenery, wildlife, adventure and experiences that Peru has to offer. The archaeological treasures reflect some of the world’s oldest and most refined civilizations. Echoes of the past resound all over the country, in the many Inca and pre-Inca archaeological sites, in the colonial buildings, and in the daily life of the Peruvian people. Legends of buried gold and lost cities abound. Once remote and hidden ruins are discovered regularly, challenging existing theories about the country’s history. The unexplored regions undoubtedly still hold many secrets. Peru lived through centuries of uncertainty and turbulent change before Spanish fortune hunters invaded and conquered it in the 16th century, and since then it has continued to suffer from endless political and economic turmoil— and what seems like an unfair share of natural disasters. The larger cities may have adapted to the modern way of life, but for

most highland and Amazon Peruvians, their existence continues much in the same way as it has for centuries. Many ancient traditions remain intact, pre-Hispanic religious beliefs and rituals dictate the patterns of the daily routine, shamans are consulted to cure all manner of illnesses. The calendar is sprinkled with frequent festivals featuring vibrant music and theatrical dance; country markets and a colourful cuisine are central to the family and the community. Geographical Extremes

Peru is the third-largest country in South America, with an area of 1,285,215 sq km (496,095 sq miles). With over 28 million inhabitants, it is the fourth most populous. It borders Ecuador and Colombia in the north, Brazil on the east and Bolivia and Chile in the south. A narrow belt of desert, 2400 km (1500 miles) long, runs almost all the way along the Pacific coast; just inland are the high Andes mountains, giving way to the deeply ravined and heavily forested eastern Andean slopes and the vast jungles of the Amazon basin. The Pacific coastal region is broken up by fertile river valleys, 3

T HIS W AY P ERU with just a few permanent water courses flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11 per cent of the country’s area and is home to more than 52 per cent of the population. The cold Humboldt current is the major influencing factor in the coastal climate. It gives rise to a blanket of sea mist, known locally as garúa, which shrouds the coast from May to November. The cold surface water moving in from the ocean keeps the prevailing winds dry as they pass over the cool land surface, creating an arid, sandy coastal environment; some parts of the coast have not had rain for

100 years. Except where it is irrigated the land is barren, but the cold Pacific waters are one of the world’s richest marine environments for plankton, krill, fish and the birds that feed on them. Lima and the other coastal towns have the greatest racial variety of any part of the country. Many of the people living here have European roots, some are black descendants of slaves brought in to work the cotton and sugar cane haciendas, some are of Chinese or Japanese descent, and others are Andean Indians and mestizos (part-Indian), many of whom arrived while fleeing the

terrorist violence in the highlands during the 1980s and early 90s. Heading east from the coast, you’re soon climbing above the garúa and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers about a quarter of Peru’s territory and is inhabited by half the population. It contains dozens of snow-covered peaks and volcanoes, including Huascarán, alt. 6,768 m (22,206 ft), the highest mountain in the tropics. The western rim of the Andes forms the continental divide, with east-flowing rivers carving deep canyons and flowing to the Amazon. The valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal sys-

T HIS W AY P ERU tems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today. The high puna grasslands such as the Altiplano, near Lake Titicaca, are


Cusco, Trips from Cusco, Longer Excursions, Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Around Machu Picchu Cusco is the gateway to the Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. A fertile agricultural area, the valley was one of the first and most important regions to be settled by the Incas, and has many key sites to explore. At its southern end is the busy market town of Pisac with its tremendous Inca citadel. Downriver is the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, beyond which lies the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You can also reach Machu Picchu by train, one of the most memorable rail journeys you could ever take. Ideally, plan to spend three or four days in Cusco getting used to the altitude and taking excursions, and if possible stay overnight in or near Machu Picchu.

Cusco The streets of this most visited city in Peru are lined with cafés, pizza and pasta restaurants and craft shops, interspersed with travel agencies. Tourism is now the main source of income for its 350,000 inhabitants, but Cusco is also an important market town, The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, at Ollantaytambo.

with products to sell and trade brought in from the highlands and the jungle. With many churches and museums, astounding survivals of Inca stonework and Spanish colonial architecture, not to mention the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuamán and the Inca sites of Tambomachay, Puca Pucara and Q’enqo, there is plenty to keep you busy in Cusco, and the nightlife buzzes all week long. If you are arriving from sea level, take it easy for a few days until you are acclimatized to the altitude, 3360 m (11,024 ft). Plaza de Armas

The conquistadors built on the foundations of the royal palaces that surrounded this square, and here and in many of the surrounding streets, the Incas’ interlocking stonework and trapezoidal doorways can be seen. During colonial times, the square was the scene of executions, including that of the last Inca, Tupac Amaru. The cathedral, built between 1559 and 1654, stands on the site of Inca Viracocha’s palace, on the northeast side of the square. Some of the stones came from Inca palaces and others from the fortress at Sacsayhuamán. At the 49


coca was used by the Inca nobles as a mild narcotic and offered to the gods during religious ceremonies. Common District

Beyond the terraces, a large central plaza, used for gatherings, separates the eastern utilitarian part of the city, known as the common or popular district, from the ceremonial and religious neighbourhood or royal sector. The stone work in the common sector is of inferior quality. The most impressive construction is the Temple of the Condor. Viewed from the front, the walls form the wings of this majestic bird and the head is the carved rock on the ground. The large niches around the temple were for holding mummies of important Incas. Above the Condor temple, a small cave known as Intimachay was probably a solar observatory, as the window is aligned with the point where sun rises at the winter solstice. Another remarkable building contains two shallow carved stone circles in the floor. They could have been mortars for grinding grain, but more likely had an astronomical purpose, for observing the movement of the sun or moon. Huayna Picchu towers above the ruins of the splendid Inca city.

Royal Sector

The first of sixteen connected fountains or baths is just below the Temple of the Sun (El Torreón). This principal fountain has the finest stonework and was of great ceremonial significance— the Incas venerated water. Anyone preparing to enter the Temple used the house next to the fountain. The Temple of the Sun itself is a remarkable construction, built around a sacred stone carved from the bedrock which forms its foundation. Niches in the interior walls were used for ceremonial objects and idols. The windows are aligned in such a way that the rays of the sun fall on the sacred stone at sunrise on the summer and winter solstices. Beneath the temple is the Royal Tomb. Although no bodies were found there, Bingham gave it the name because of its location. The highquality stonework and intricate step carving suggest ceremonial use. Higher up on the hillside, on the west side, is the Temple of the Three Windows and the Principal Temple, separated by the Sacred Plaza. The first, its three large windows facing the rising sun, contains a small stone carved with the step design found in many Tiahuanaco and Inca sites. The steps symbolize the past, present and future, the Inca vision of 69 the universe.

INDEX Agriculture 77 Alpaca 83 Amantani 76 Arequipa 7, 42–46 Ballestas Islands 38 Cahuachi 42 Cantalloc aqueducts 42 Caral 9 Cayma 46 Chan Chan 29 Chaucilla cemetery 42 Chicha 58 Chiclayo 7, 29 Chilca 63 Chivay 47 Colca Canyon 7, 46–47 Condor 47 Corpus Christi 81 Cusco 7, 49–54 Easter Week 80 El Niño 77–78 Huacachina Oasis 39–40 Huanchaco 26 Huayna Picchu 70–71 Ica 38–40 Inca Trail 7, 60–65 Iquitos 34–35 Juliaca 73 Leticia 35 Lima 21–24 Llactapata 63 Llullucha valley 63 Lomas 42 Machu Picchu 7, 64–70 Máncora 33 Manu Biosphere Reserve 7, 55–56 Moche people 28 Moche temples 27–29 96 Nazca 7, 40–41

Ollantaytambo 58–60 Paqaymayu 63 Paracas Peninsula 37–38 Paracas Reserve 7, 38 Paredones 41 Phuyupatamarca 64 Picanteria 45 Pisac 57–58 Pisco 39 Pizarro, Francisco 15 Puca Pucara 55 Puerto Maldonado 56 Pumamarca 60 Puno 74–75 Punta Sal 33 Putucusi 71 Q’enqo 54–55 Qoyllur Rit’I 80–81 Quipu 78–79 Runkuracay 64 Sabandía 46 Sacred Valley 7, 57–59 Sacsayhuamán 54 Sayacmarca 64 Sicán 32 Sillustani 74 Sipán 29–31 Sports 79 Tabatinga 35 Tambomachay 55 Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone 7, 56–57 Taquile 7, 75–76 Titicaca, lake 7, 73–76 Trujillo 7, 24–26 Túcume 32–33 Uros Islands 75 Warmiwañusca 63 Wayllabamba 62–63 Wiñayhuayna 64–65

GENERAL EDITOR Barbara Ender-Jones LAYOUT Luc Malherbe PHOTO CREDITS cover, pp. 9, 44, 51, 59, 66, 75 pp. 1, 4–5, 16, 20, 25, 28, 31, 36, 40, 47, 78, 83 p. 35 CORBIS/Sitton: p. 2 CORBIS/Stadler: p. 27 p. 52 p. 55 p. 67 Kathy Jarvis: p. 62 MAPS JPM Publications Copyright © 2009, 2006 by JPM Publications S.A. 12, avenue William-Fraisse, 1006 Lausanne, Switzerland Web site: All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publisher. Every care has been taken to verify the information in the guide, but the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors that may have occurred. If you spot an inaccuracy or a serious omission, please let us know. Printed in Switzerland Weber Benteli/Bienne – 11137.00.5045 Edition 2009