Tag Archives: Lima

Over The Andes

Journey into Peru’s wild and ancient north where misty mountains plunge into unexplored jungle, ancient ruins lie empty and the once-powerful Inca empire envelopes you. Around every cobble stone corner there are surprises waiting to be discovered.

Our bus from Lima climbed high over the Andes to the Huánuco, once a key Inca settlement on the road between Cusco to Cajamarca. The city is known for the nearby Temple of Kotosh, one of Peru’s oldest Andean archaeological sites and La Danza de los Negritos, a celebration in remembrance of the slaves that were brought to work in the surrounding mines.

After dipping into the jungle, we emerged in the laid back town of Chachapoyas. For centuries it was the base from which the Spanish explored and exploited the Amazon. It is nestled in ethereal cloud forest and filled uncharted ruins. From Chachas it is a two hour drive to the famous ruin of Kuélap.  This grand citadel is perched on a limestone mountain. Only twenty or so years before the Spanish arrived (and burned it down,) it was conquered by the Incas.

The next part of the journey was a real test of nerves. From Chachapoyas we climbed high up a narrow, foggy road and over Black Mud Pass (12066 ft / 3678m).  There were no guard rails just a sheer three kilometer drop to the Rio Marañon below.

Happy that we survived the journey we settled into the colonial metropolis of Cajamarca. Little remains of the Inca city, except for the massive room the Spanish forced the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa to fill with gold before they killed him and melted it down.  The havoc the Spanish wreaked on the region is on prominent display in Cajamarca. It was always on the back of my mind during the jubilant carnival festivities that overwhelmed the city in the following days. The crazy carnival in Cajamarca turns into a giant water fight.  We warmed ourselves by soaking in the city’s thermal baths, the same natural baths where Atahualpa was relaxing when the Spanish arrived in Cajamarca.

The Northern Highlands are a paradise for anyone seeking Peru’s beauty, unique culture and history without all the crowds.  Cloud forests, waterfalls, jungle covered ruins, bustling markets and the Peru’s fascinating past all await those who aren’t afraid to head off the beaten path.

Recommended listening – LA DANZA by NACIÓN EKEKO

A Taste of Lima – Exploring South America’s Culinary Capital (Video)

Lima is a city of contrast and food. The Peruvian capital features an alluring mix of people and food from the Amazon, the Andes and the Pacific coast. Follow Walker as he explores Lima’s diverse neighborhoods in search of the tastiest food Lima has to offer. 

Lima: South America’s Culinary Capital (Pictures)

South America’s Culinary Gem

by Walker Dawson


In the eyes of foreigners, Lima often plays second fiddle to Cusco. Sure it has horrendous traffic, and it’s unsafe in parts, but most Limeños (people from Lima) love their city. And what’s not to like? Bohemian neighborhoods that once housed Peruvian writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa are perched on rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, spring like weather occurs all year around, and welcoming locals will quickly become your best friend. Ultimately, when it comes to singing Lima’s praises, it’s all about the food. Spicy, fresh, organic and raw, Lima’s cuisine is one of the best in the world. It’s gastronomy is a synthesis of everything that is Peru; it takes its ingredients from the Amazon jungle, the high Andes and the Pacific, blending it together with Peru’s multi ethnic make up. The largest number of Asians in Latin America reside in Peru, adding to the flavor of many dishes; Afro-Peruvians, Quechua and Aymara natives, Spanish, Italian and Germans have contributed as well. If you come for one thing, come for the food. 

Most tourists give Lima a day, maybe two. They see the somewhat uninspiring streets of Miraflores and then they leave, claiming that Lima ‘isn’t that interesting’ or ‘it’s just a big city’. But that’s their loss. Lima is hot, chaotic and in your face, but it’s also beautiful, cosmopolitan and incredibly diverse. Skipping Lima for the tourist shops of Cusco or the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu would be to miss arguably the most important part of the country; it would be missing Peru at its most sophisticated, contemporary and progressive. While Cusco and Machu Picchu look towards Peru’s past, Lima looks towards its future.

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

From Lima to Rio: The Interoceanic Highway (Pictures)

I traveled for three days on a section of the Interoceanic Highway from the Pacific Coast of Peru to the Brazilian Amazon. The highway continues to São Paulo, Brazil, over 3,900 miles away. The highway spans three time zones, and is the first to cross the entire continent of South America. Many have called it one of the greatest construction projects in Latin America since the Panama Canal. Since its completion, the Interoceanic has raised Peru’s GDP by 1.5% a year. However, the highway has had many detrimental impacts on the local people and environments. The remote Peruvian Amazon was once five to seven days from Cusco Peru by truck. But now the trip takes less than 9 hours. Illegal gold mining and logging has increased exponentially in the last 5 years and residents of Puerto Maldonado, a dusty, frontier boom town, have expressed their concern about the benefits the highway promised to bring.

I asked Malena, a women who worked at the Tarapoto Hostel how the Interoceanic has changed the town. “It hasn’t brought more jobs, it’s actually taken them away,” she replied. “Miners and other people like that just come here, take everything away, and destroy the nature we have here,” Malena added. “The highway has also brought in a lot more delinquency and crime.”
The impact of the highway is being felt especially hard in the remote regions of the Amazon where 15 tribes have been displaced. The Interoceanic now runs through the heart of their homeland, bringing diseases, disrupting wildlife habitat, and ruining their sustainable lifestyle. The Amazon, one of the worlds great ecosystems, is still rich and plentiful, but for how much longer will it remain?

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

Pan Pipes and Ping Pong

Sampling a Traditional Peruvian Meal

by Nick Neumann 


LIMA, PERU

We met a friendly Limeña while watching the 49ers game at an American sports bar in Lima’s upscale neighborhood of Miraflores. After chatting for a while, Yirka invited us over to her house on the weekend for a traditional Peruvian lunch. So on Saturday morning we met at her house in the outskirts of Lima and headed off to the local market to buy ingredients for Papa a la Huancaína, while grandma prepared the cuy (guinea pig).

Lima Lunch 6 We started off by buying Queso fresco, yellow pepper for the Huancaína sauce and lots of potatoes, of course, followed by onions, tomatoes, and avocados for the salad.  Produce in Lima is always extremely fresh and delicious, grown on small family farms in the highlands or in the jungle. There were many jungle fruits that neither of us had ever tried before. The friendly fruit vender let us sample a grenadine (a delicious, sweet passionfruit), a dragon fruit and a juicy golden pineapple.

IMG_7214After a quick juice break, we took a detour to the shamanistic section of the market. There are lots of weird things for sale in this part, including dried llama fetuses, dead frogs and snakes, hallucinogenic cacti and piles of coca leaves. The llama fetuses are buried under the foundations of many Peruvian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama. 

IMG_7374We arrived back at the house and Yirka began preparing the Huancaína sauce and cooking the potatoes. Although the dishes name is derived from Huancayo, a city in the Peruvian highlands, it has become a staple throughout the country. 
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 The cuy, a traditional food of Peruvian Andean people, was in the oven. Grandma had prepared it simply with a stuffing of various Andean herbs and put it in the oven for about six hours. There isn’t much meat on their tiny bones, and their giant buck teeth are a bit off putting, but they are pretty tasty.
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After thoroughly enjoying lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon playing the pan pipes and ping pong with her family.

nick2 copyGrowing up in downtown San Francisco surrounded by tourists, hobos and crackheads gave Nick a unique perspective on inner city living. His diverse upbringing conditioned him for a globetrotting life of urban adventure. After traveling extensively through South Asia, he kicked it with Maasai warriors during a four month stay in Tanzania, majored in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and recently spent seven months backpacking around South America making documentaries.