Travelling The Peruvian Way

Dense jungles, glacial peaks, giant sand dunes, long sandy beaches and a peek into the lives of the Incas – Peru has so much to offer that you will be spoilt for choice
By Charu Sharma

Whether your idea of a holiday is to rejuvenate with an offbeat spa treatment at an über luxurious property, get a dose of ancient history, witness rare flora and fauna or get your adrenaline rushing with adventure sports, Peru startles with its variety. Home to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the South American country, with its wild and vast topograhy, is an ideal holiday destination.

Spa Sojourn
Established as a prominent destination on the world’s wellness map, Peru has an amalgamation of some exciting and interesting luxury spas that combine the classic spa experience with a mystical Andean approach that takes you into a world of rejuvenation and wellbeing. Take, for instance, Unu Spa at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel that has a unique Andean sauna in which stones are heated in a candle-lit eucalyptus hut adjacent to a spring; a session in the sauna gives your skin a natural glow. At Unno Spa at Aranwa Resort & Spa, Sacred Valley, Andean herbs and salts are used on a heated natural stone bed soaked in aromatic oils – a unique and invigorating way to get a taste of local therapies and let nature work its wonders on your skin. Focussing on the philosophy of natural healing, Spa Samay at Las Casitas del Colca, Colca Canyon uses herbs grown in the adjacent garden and greenhouse for treatments. Visit the spa to let the locally produced herbs refresh your mind and body.




Mountain High
When in Peru, the most classic and challenging hike is up to Machu Picchu, taking the same ancient route that the Incas took and passing through stunning Andean scenery and lush green Amazon rainforests. Climb the 1,500 steps to the citadel to explore the Inca ruins before you end your trek at the Sun Gate. Make sure you make reservations for this four-day trek in advance, since the Peruvian government has limited access to 500 people a day because of environmental concerns. In case you miss the Inca trail, you can opt for the Salkantay trek, which is an alternate route to Machu Picchu. Easier and less-crowded than the Inca trail, this trek connects the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu. Try this off the beaten track trek to satiate the adventure lover in you. Another alternative to the Inca trails is the Lares trek which is shorter in distance, but higher in altitude. Starting at the village of Lares, north of Cusco, this trek will also give you a closer look at the indigenous Quechua people.


Flora & Fauna
Peru is home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna. Take a boat tour of Islas Ballestas, also known as Peru’s Galápagos Islands, to witness some rare wildlife. During the two-hour tour, you will see the ancient Paracas Candelabra geoglyph, sea lions, colonies of the Peruvian booby and the pelican, Humboldt the islands’ arches and caves. Besides exotic flora and fauna, Peru has a variety of superfoods such as Maca, Cacoa and Lúcuma. Maca grows in the high plateaus of the Andes and is popularly known as natural Viagra. Cacoa is a great source of antioxidants and contains magnesium and iron. Growing in the coastal Andean valley, Lúcuma has high nutritional value and is used as a powder in smoothies and desserts.




Eclectic Blend
If adventure junkie looking for an adrenaline rush, Peru has so much to offer that you will be spoilt for choices. Dare to fly from the canopies in Máncora and Cuzco, go kayaking on the River Cañete in Lunahuaná or enjoy sandboarding and buggies at Sarapampa (Lima), Camaná and Acarí (Arequipa). You can also try rock climbing, rappeling and canyoning in the Andes to satiate the adventure lover in you.