Category: Peru Destinations.

In Peru Destinations, I’ll write about places I’ve traveled to in Peru, and offer some travel tips too!

PROSOYA

The little village of PROSOYA, a co-op project for boys, situated just a few kilometers from Huancabamba, about a twenty-minute walk along a dirt road that passes between lush green fields, and steep tree covered hillsides.  The project for girls is outside of Oxapampa.

PROSOYA is an ONG, or NGO, (Non-Governmental Organization) that was started by German settlers to the area some 150 years ago.  It is a self-sustaining school of 689 Hectares or 1,702 Acres that takes in students from all over Peru, but particularly ones that are in extreme poverty, or have come from other walks-of-life that need a helping hand to learn some Life Skills.

Skills learned at PROSOYA include; Agriculture, Carpentry, Fish Hatchery, Mechanic, Bakery, Beekeeping, and Restaurant, also housing is on site for students and some staff.

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Below is the main office, with a gift shop that sells the honey and coffee produced by PROSOYA.

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The restaurant where meals are prepared and served by and for the students.

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A bust of the PROSOYA founder.

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Some of the living quarters for students.

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Quito Quito Fruit – solanum quitoense, is a subtropical perennial plant from northwestern South America, and named after Quito, Ecuador that makes a very tasty juice or ice cream flavor. Below the fruit is new growth, and will turn an orange color when mature.

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Coffee production area.

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Plants for health, such as aola vera and other herbs.

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Area for growing fungus, mushrooms.

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Beekeeping.  The boxes are made in the carpentry shop.

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Fish hatcher with trout, below.

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One of the holding ponds packed with trout.

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Map of a nature trail that passes through the jungle to a lookout point.

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The dogs were eager to join me on the trail.

Dogs

The dense vegetation in the high jungle is a testament to the determination of the first German/Austrian settlers in the area.

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Huancabamba – Pasco, Peru

To travel from Oxapampa to Huancabamba it is necessary to first go to the taxi stand, and hire a driver to take you there.  It’s a fairly short drive winding through the countryside, but there could be delays from road construction, or the occasional cattle drive along the way.

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Below is the main park in the town of Huancabamba.  Following the road around past the gas station (left in the picture) will take you toward Pozuzo.

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An unmanned tourist information center next to the park.

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The little hostal/hotel where I stayed in Huancabamba.  It was very simple, and basic room, with a bed, small tv with just a few channels, and a bathroom with warm water.

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The bodega below the hostal, offering basic food, drink, and hardware supplies.

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A hillside planted with pine trees.  Pine makes the soil acidic and after a couple of plantings, the soil may become useless for farming.

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Huancabamba is a small, simple town as seen below from a distance.  Surrounded by moutains, valleys, lush jungle vegetation, and coffee plants.

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Coffee beans drying in the sun on a sports pad.

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Cage free; free-roaming chickens and roosters abound in the area.

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Taking a walk along the road from Huancabamba to Carolina, I happend upon a colorful butterfly.

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The two parakeets below were someone’s pets, sunning themselves on a ladder.

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Toys 4 Smiles

Posting about giving isn’t something I would normally do, but in order to spread the word about Toys4SmilesLasVegas.org a non-profit 501(c)(3), so I must.  Passing through the airport in Las Vegas on my way to Peru, and time to kill, I spent a few hours at the USO (United Service Organizations) while waiting to check my bags and process through security.

On a shelf, there were wooden toys, stuffed animals, and dolls that were donated for service members by local Las Vegas businesses.  The USO volunteer staff told me to help myself, but I didn’t have much room left in my bags, so I only took one wooden toy.  On Christmas Day, I headed to downtown Lima to cover the protests, and took the beautifuly hand crafted wooden toy with me to give away.

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He was shy and reserved.  I didn’t receive a smile in return, but I figure it’s not a normal occurance to have a gringo approach, and be handed a toy.  Nonetheless, I think he liked it, and should have many years of enjoyment out of it.

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Toys 4 Smiles Las Vegas.Org is in need of donations, weather it be with your time, materials, or cash.

Yanesha

While in Oxapampa, I was looking at the various tours Hostal Cruz offered and decided on Tsachopen (Sa Sho Pen) The Yanesha People are located near Oxapampa at the edge of the biosphere reserve in the high jungle of the Amazon.  The lady at the tour desk said there was a minimum of four people to do the tour, so I set out on my own, first with a moto-taxi, and then hired a taxi to take me there.  It turned out to only be a few kilometers away.

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All the pictures I had seen were of the Yanesha People in their traditional dress, back dropped by the lush vegetation of the Amazon.  I thought it was going to be like in Iquitos, meeting an ancient tribe out in the jungle – the real deal.  Pulling up in the taxi, there were a row of semi-modern houses, and a large bamboo structure for events where many of the Yanesha artisans sell their crafts.  The taxi driver and I were greeted at the door of one home by Charo, who was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, then went back and changed into her traditional dress, before proceeding to show me her handicrafts.  It wasn’t what I was expecting, but an adventure nonetheless.

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Charo uses natural plants, coffee, and beans to create the natural colors in the clothing she makes.

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Below is a hand-made braclet that I purchased from Charo, and will be for sale.

Project Andina buys direct from producers, growers, and artisans to help support communities on a local level, and foster entrepreneurship.

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The Yanesha people are an ethnic group of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.  Located in three regions of Peru, with a population of about 7,000.  Their website.

Oxapampa, Peru

Getting There:

Flights: There are flights twice a week from Lima to Oxapampa, in the department of Pasco, but its $300 USD each way.  By far, the most economical transport to the region is by bus, around ten hours trip time.

Buses:  Four bus companies make the run each day, traveling only at night.  This is because the road is heavily traveled during the day by logging and mining vehicles, and excessive traffic just passing through Lima.  It’s much faster and safer at night.  All buses leave Lima between 7pm and 8:30pm and arrive in “Oxa” about 6:30am.

  • La Merced – Blue Bus, located in the La Victoria district of Lima, Block 15. La Merced is an OK bus, but others are preferred.
  • La Molina – Pink and Grey Bus, also located at Block 15 of La Victoria
  • Labato – Green Bus, located in La Victoria, Block 21, Good Company
  • Movil Tours – Located on Javier Prado, just two blocks from Cruz del Sur bus terminal. It is a bit more expensive, but awesome service.  It is the only bus line of the four that offers 180 degree seats.  Since the busses travel at night anyway, it is a great time to sleep.  On my trip to Oxapampa, I took Movil Tours.  Going, I opted for the lower deck of the double decker bus, which was 80 Soles ($25) and the seats were a comfortable 160 degrees. I purchased the ticket on their website, and left the return trip open ended not knowing when I would travel back…. On the return trip, I tried the 2nd floor with the 180 degree seats for 110 Soles ($34). Definitely the way to go for a good night’s rest.  If sleeping isn’t your thing, both upper and lower seats offer a tablet style screen with movies, music etc.

While most are sleeping, the route to La Merced, and Oxa winds over the Nevado Ticlio Pass at 4,818 meters (15,807 feet above sea level) The tracks of the highest railway in the world are located at the foot of Ticlio peak.  The bus is heated, and the altitude is hardly noticible just sitting.

Upon arrival at the bus terminal in Oxa, there will be small moto-taxis or Tuk-Tuks as they are called in India, for 1 Sol.  They can take you to your hotel, or to the taxi stand for onward travel.

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What’s the best time to go to Oxapampa?

Climate: Average monthly weather in Oxapampa, Peru

On average, the temperatures are always high.  Night time lows are cooler though.

  • Oxapampa has dry periods in May, June, July, August and September.
  • On average, the warmest month is October, just in time for Octoberfest!
  • On average, the coolest month is July.
  • February is the wettest month.
  • July is the driest month

Typical of most towns, there is a main square lined with restaurants and hotels, as well as small tourist shops.   Oxapampa was founded as a German/Austrian community in the 19th century, which shows in much of the architecture throughout the city.  Its primary staple is ranching and coffee.  Oxapampa is located in the (Selva Alta) or High Jungle area where the mountain foothills meet with the jungle._DSC0261

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Above: Half Timber style architecture.

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I stayed a couple nights at Hostal Cruz, on the main square.  It was clean, with spacious rooms, gift shop, and offered tours.  My main reason for traveling to the region was to meet with a coffee producer in Huancabamba.  I actually stayed in Oxapampa on my way back to Lima.  This is my first post in a series however, because Oxa is the first stop. Hotel prices range from the cheaper hostal to over $100 per night at the Egg Resort.

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The little booths are used during special events and festivals.  Hotels will fill quickly during festivals and concerts.

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Andean woman passing through the park.

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Mopeds and motorcycles are numerous, and a main form of transport for many people.

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Woman taking a break on her D’Onofrio Ice Cream Tricycle.

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Rustic table and stools.

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The church by the main square.  In older photo’s this church was covered with white siding.

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Oxapampa is a launching point into the Biosphere Reserve, and the Yanachaga Chemillen National Park, to see Flora and Fauna.  Much of the Reserve is closed off to human traffic to protect wildlife. Pictured below, a beautiful butterfly in a box being sold at a tourist shop.

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RUPAC

 

Machu Picchu limeño – The Machu Picchu of Lima

 

The trip began in Lima, at the ZBUSS terminal, (Zitabus) at Jr. Julian Pineyro 440 – Rimac – Lima. There is also another terminal at Plaza Norte. Cost: Monday –Friday 7 Soles, Saturday-Sunday 8.50 Soles. DNI, Passport required.

After two hours of Jackie Chan fight scenes playing on the bus TV, we rolled into the city of Huaral, located north, in the state of Lima. We took a taxi a short ride near the Mercado (market) where fresh juice, fruit, and water can be purchased. There were several taxi drivers on the sidewalk and haggling over prices, (around 30-35 Soles each person). Luckily we had a couple from Huaral in our group, and they took us to the Tourista Terminal a short walk back down the road. There a couple of vehicles were hired as we had nine people in our group, for 25 Soles each. (Contact info: Jose Rafael P. Claro: 997277583 Movi: 995729290, or 7252578) Jose can haul up to 7 people, 6 comfortable plus gear on top, and can pick up/drop-off at the bus terminal if arranged ahead of time.

Matucana

For this day trip, my friend Gino and I traveled three hours by bus from Lima, passing Chosica, to the little mountain town of Matucana, which sits at 2389 meters, 7841 feet above sea level, and offers five different hikes or areas to visit. For this outing, we chose the hike to Antankallo waterfall, a short 2.6 km hike with an elevation gain of 361 meters, 1181 feet at the falls.

The trail is well groomed with some trashcans at the midpoint, and the falls. At one point, I rounded a corner and met three ladies from Lima on their descent, wearing flip-flop sandals, and flats. Not much foot protection, but it’s an easy to moderate hike, depending on your personal fitness level. After living in Lima for four years at near sea level, an altitude adjustment was a minor concern.

Matucana is a quiet town, where everyone was very friendly and talkative. Besides hiking, it’s a great place to purchase farm fresh milk, cheese, and butter without the hormones and antibiotics. Un-pasteurized, un-radiated, and I lived to tell about it.

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Lovely fellow-hikers from Lima on the trail.

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