Explore a food market with a legendary Peruvian chef, be transfixed by the passion of the tango in Buenos Aires, go deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle and wonder at the spectacular national parks in Patagonia with Trafalgar’s choice of 11 action-packed South American holidays.
It’s a mistake to think that all there is to Peru is the magical, mysterious Machu Picchu. The Lost City of the Inca is, of course, a standout and never fails to disappoint, but there is so more to this land of hidden treasures – and its intriguing people.
WEAVING A TALE
If art, history, engagement and spot of retail therapy are what you seek, the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco should be on the itinerary. High in Cusco, a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site in the Andes, Nilda Callañaupa, a Quechua weaver, has made it her mission to ensure the tradition of weaving does not disappear from the planet. If the patterns disappear, all will be lost, says Callañaupa.
In the Andes, weaving is more than an art form – it is the stuff of life, with the traditional patterns holding the keys to the stories of the mountain people. But that is not going to happen anytime soon, thanks to Callañaupa’s efforts to unite the local weavers and bring them to the attention of travellers on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Through Trafalgar and TTC’s partnership with TreadRight, travellers can learn all about the ancient techniques of weaving first hand and help support its preservation.
RIGHT ROYAL DINING
Discover why Peru’s cuisine is wowing the world with chef Ignacio Barrios (below), who works in Peru’s capital, Lima.
Barrios, who has worked with many of the most awarded chefs in Lima and is highly regarded, will introduce you to the City of the Kings’ best produce markets, show you how to cook like a Peruvian, then provide a feast of Peruvian dishes. How do aji de gallina (spicy creamed chicken) and lomo saltado (sirloin, onions, tomatoes and fries) sound for starters? Can there be a better way to be welcomed to Lima with this Be My Guest experience exclusive to Trafalgar?
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
Imagine it. An entire museum to yourself. More specifically, the Larco Museum in Lima, which is home to the world’s most extensive collection of pre-Columbian artefacts. Everything you can imagine, from exquisite one-of-a-kind jewellery to more utilitarian pots and pans, are on display in this beautiful 18th-century mansion. But you won’t be jostling for space with crowds as the museum stays open late for Trafalgar guests.
And if you have any questions about what you’ve seen, the museum’s owner, Dr Francisco Diez Canseco, will answer them over dinner in the museum’s cafe.
Highlights of Trafalgar’s 10-day In the Footsteps of the Incas, include city orientation of Lima and Cusco, a scenic drive through the Sacred Valley, iconic train journey aboard the Vistadome train to the wonder of Machu Picchu.
A Farewell Dinner and after-hours museum visit is included on Trafalgar’s In the Footsteps of the Incas Holiday.
By South America’s imposing standards, Ecuador is a small country but it delivers big rewards for those who make the journey. Hidden gems abound. How could they not when you’re talking about a country split in two by the mighty Andes with almost half shrouded in jungle? Explore the bustling capital of Quito, visit market towns such as Otavalo, see the incredible Amazon jungle and more.
The Amazon Me to We five-day extension takes travellers deep into the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle to the home of the Quechua people. Once there, participants might find themselves ploughing farmland, planting crops or digging trenches for water systems for the village on the Rio Napo. What they do depends on what the community needs at that time. The trip is organised and run by Me to We Trips, a social enterprise established by Canadian brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger in the hope that travel would inspire others as it had them.
The brothers were barely teenagers when they first travelled internationally to volunteer. It proved to be a life-changing experience. Back home in Toronto, they encouraged family and friends to join them, initially in building schools in India, Nicaragua and Kenya, and then in We Charity, with its mission of empowering communities to lift themselves out of poverty through holistic, sustainable development. It is estimated that over 20 years, the brothers, with a little help from their friends and travellers, have facilitated change in the lives of more than a million people in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Interestingly, the brothers were mentored by fellow Canadian Je Skoll, producer of the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
For their efforts, the brothers have been awarded the Order of Canada, the Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award and the World’s Children’s Prize as well as numerous other awards and doctorates. Me to We is supported by TreadRight Foundation, a joint sustainability initiative of Trafalgar and its parent company TTC, treadright.org; we.org
DID YOU KNOW?
Ecuador invented the Panama hat, a UNESCO World Heritage cultural icon. The name comes from the port from which the hats were shipped in the 19th and 20th century.