Green Gold, Peru
In Peru’s rural communities, travellers can still find the Inca’s ways.
Green Gold, Peru
By Guido Van Es,
Founder @ Responsible Travel Peru
Ten thousand years of history can be traced back to the country Peru, part of what was formerly called Tawantinsuyu; Empire of the Incas. Peru represents diverse landscapes that gave shape to an enormous variety of physiognomies, languages, cultures and species of flora and fauna; that up to today still lead to new discoveries. Thanks to the Inca’s agricultural engineering, they were able to make the best of these diverse landscapes and expand their culture and civilisation throughout the Andes until the Spaniards came. Those Conquistadores might have taken Peru’s gold and silver, but the real wealth of Peru; its “green gold”, is still strongly in Peruvian hands. Nowadays, the country’s famed variety translates into one of the world’s most renowned cuisines and the Spanish capital of South America, Lima, into the gastronomic capital of the Americas.
In Peru you'll travel back in time, using modern means of transportation as well as your own two feet like the Incas and their ancestors. Hiking through the Nazca desert, where ceramics are still found between the sand, mummies still lie in their graves and water still runs through the millennial irrigation tunnels, one certainly connects deeply with Peru’s history.
Once in the Andes, the modern Peruvians in rural communities still keep up with old traditions of farming on terraces, breeding llamas and alpacas and wearing traditional clothes with figures referring to the pre-Incan cosmovision. They receive travelers in adobe houses with modern comforts but ancient hospitality and the ever-present Peruvian cuisine. Ancient trails once threaded by the Incas still lead to Machu Picchu today.
Present and past perfectly intertwined in a country so rich that traveling is a rewarding experience for travelers seeking to go local, to learn, get inspired and transform.
Walking through the sand of the Nazca desert, a little stone gets into my sandal. I look down and see it’s not a stone: it’s a piece of ceramic. I bend down and find myself surrounded by pieces of funerary ceramics from hundreds or thousands of years ago.
The beautiful village of Coporaque is a fixed part of most of our itineraries. When an earthquake struck their region, our travellers and us joined forces to support their recovery and enable the families to offer their services to travelers from around the world again!
When I first ate in one of Peru’s finest restaurants, I didn’t realize how good the Peruvian cuisine is in comparison to the rest of the world. Accompanied by a two famous Dutch TV personalities, one a foodie and one a chef-cook, I was dining at Maido: for many years a World Top-10 restaurant.
Check this enormous bean-like fruit! It's the Pacae and it indeed looks like a dinosaur's snack: prehistoric, rugged, tough and.. well... big! But what's most intriguing about the Pacae is its role in pre-Incan history. Read on to learn how this fruit brings you back in time.
When people say Peru, most people immediately think “Machu Picchu”. However, besides ancient buildings, Peru also has one of the best kitchens in the world. The vegetable which they are most renowned for is the potato, which originates in Peru and was spread to the rest of the world by the Spaniards.
In the center of colonial Cusco you will find the main square, commonly better known as the “Plaza de Armas”. It is surrounded by colonial buildings which serve as an example of how profoundly the Spanish conquistadors impacted the city. The plaza did however already exist long before the Spanish conquest.
A particular feature of Peru are the colorful and curious hats people wear. Travelers will notice that the style of these intricate hats often changes from one region to the next. Sometimes, locals can still tell which village somebody’s from just by looking at their headwear.
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