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A Digital-Detox with Inkaterra

When was the last time you went without checking your emails or phone?  We live in a world where we use our mobile devices on average every ten minutes, so when we do have a break, we find it difficult to completely switch off.  In today’s technologically advanced world, even on holiday mobile phones are often close at hand, be it for making calls, reading work emails, or tweeting about the weather.

Increasingly, more of us are craving a complete switch off from the digital sphere, in an environment of inspiring natural beauty. And where better to get your ‘Digital Detox’ than within the realm of the Inca Gods at Machu Picchu, or to the beat of the Peruvian Amazon Jungle? Like an entire continent in a country, Peru astounds visitors with the diversity of its landscapes. From jaw-dropping terrain to glaciated Andean peaks, the only device that you will need on a trip to Peru will be your camera.

The Amazon River at Inkaterra Amazonica Reserva

A ‘Digital-Detox’ at Inkaterra will bring you right back to nature. With no signal available, you can relax and de-stress whilst staying at the Reserva Amazonica Lodge, waking to a symphony of tropical birdsong; ending your days by lantern light and falling asleep to the sounds of the Amazon rainforest. Explore the rainforest garden and learn to identify native plants, tress and orchids, while spotting rare species of birds.

Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is another serene retreat to escape from fast-paced lives. The timeless spirit of Machu Picchu awaits, along with local excursions to tea plantations, or discovering the largest orchid collection that is open to the public. The ancient land of the Incas make you forget about your busy life as you learn about the incredible history and tales of the Inca Tribe. Days at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel end with an Andean eucalyptus sauna, followed by a star-lit plunge pool dip. A perfect end to a digital-free day.

LaCasona - Interior Patio

Restoration Project – for the love of history at Inkaterra La Casona

A stay at Inkaterra La Casona in Cusco is akin to stepping into a history lesson, as La Casona is one of the finest remaining examples of a 16th century Spanish Colonial mansion in the city of Cusco.  Built between 1585 and 1700, its authenticity still shines through even after undergoing a series of renovations.

After acquiring the house in 1999, Inkaterra has restored La Casona to its full glory.  Launched as an 11 suite boutique hotel in March 2008, Inkaterra seamlessly merged the old with the new, incorporating both Spanish Colonial style and ancient Inca civilization, with contemporary décor and exquisite antiques.

Officially designated a Historical Monument by the National Institute of Culture, this land was once part of the Warakos Academy –the training ground of the elite army of the Incas. The mansion has had some famous inhabitants too, as it was home to don Diego de Almagro, said to be the first European discoverer of Chile. It was also the residence of Captain Francisco Barrientos and don Juan Alvarez de Maldonado. But the most known figure to have inhabited the site was Simon Bolivar, “El Libertador”, who resided at the property in 1825, after his final victory in the battle of Ayacucho.

Guests at Inkaterra La Casona today can still enjoy a genuine, historic atmosphere which highlights the mansion’s past and every step has been taken to ensure its heritage is retained: the original internal structure has not been altered and the frescos have been carefully preserved. There are of course a few more luxuries to be enjoyed today: open plan suites feature iPods, plasma TV’s, DVD players, an open fireplace and even a therapy table for in-room massages. There’s also plenty of open communal spaces including terraces which are just perfect for relaxing with a drink after a day’s exploration around Cusco.

Cusco

Cusco a contender for one of the New ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’

Amazon Rainforest Receives Recognition

Encompassing 1.7 billion acres and the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the world, the Amazon Rainforest has been recognised as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. A 120 kilo plaque, stating that the Amazon is officially one of the wonders of the world, can now be found in Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the capital of the Loreto Region.

Now vote for Cusco as one of the new ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’

The city of Cusco, home of the Inkaterra La Casona Cusco Hotel, has also reached public acclaim. It is currently ranked as the top contender to take the crown of Favorite City in the New ‘7 Wonder Cities in the World’. Lima is placed in the 15th position as the other representant of Peru in the 21 finalists for best City.

Cusco, the old capital of the Inca Empire, was declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of the Humanity in 1983 and it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Peru.

To help Cusco become one of the New 7 Wonder Cities in the World, you can vote here until 7th of December 2012, when the results will be published.

Explore Cusco with Inkaterra

Celebrating Cusco – 10 travel ideas for your next holiday

Congratulations to Cusco which recently received recognition as the Best Latin American City 2012 in Mexico, Central & South America by Travel & Leisure Magazine. To celebrate, we have compiled our top ten local attractions that you should visit on your next trip to this amazing city.

1. Take a tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Plaza de Armas, home to more than 300 paintings, carvings and sculptures. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the City of Cuzco in 1983.

2. Visit the Sacsayhuaman, a fortress dedicated to the Sun cult and one of the most impressive Inca constructions. Located just a 10 minute drive away on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, the Sacsayhuaman is also where the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated every 24th of June.

3. Located right next to the Inkaterra La Casona in Plaza Nazarenas and well worth a visit, is the MAP Museum – Peru’s only museum dedicated to the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures. You can also visit the house of the Inca Garcilaso Museum, birthplace of the Inca author Garcilaso de la Vega, which was converted into the Regional Historical Museum in 1946.

4. Explore the Koricancha Temple, dedicated to worshipping the sun. It’s the most sumptuous temple in the Inca Empire. The Temple of the Sun is located in the southern part of the city of Cusco, just a 7 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.

5. Also close by to the Plaza de Armas is San Blas, one of Cusco’s most picturesque and famous communities. The area, known as the ‘artisan district’, is home to some of the most artistic families of the city.

6. Why not venture outside Cusco for a day and explore Zona X: an amazing network of tunnels both natural and artificial. Explore the idyllic area and enjoy the impressive views of Cusco and the valley, or book a horse parade tour around the north of Cusco.

7. Visit the Sacred Valley, also known as the Urubamba Valley, where the new Inkaterra’s Hacienda Urubamba Hotel will open in early 2013. Visit the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, one of the most ancient occupied human settlements in America which showcases the best example of city planning done by the Incas. There are plenty of tours to the Sacred Valley and tickets can be bought from Plaza de Armas.

8. Keep your Sunday morning free to explore the local culture in the Pisac Market. This, the biggest market in Cusco, can be found in the Sacred Valley, just by the UrubambaRiver and is the perfect spot to sit and relax with a coffee and watch the locals go about their business.

9. Known as the Square of the warrior, the Plaza de Armas has been the scene of several important events in the history of this city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Enjoy the best of Peruvian food at a restaurant here – it’s one of the most popular lunchtime destinations in Cusco.

10. After a busy day of sightseeing, there’s nowhere better to relax than on our terrace at Inkaterra La Casona. Centrally located, enjoy beautiful views of the Plaza Nazarenas as you sip a Pisco Sour, the most famous Peruvian cocktail.

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The Tea Processing at Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

The variety of tea in the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel are two: Tea of India and Gold Tea, although each type of tea has a different taste, smell and visual appearance. The tea processing for each of the different flavours consists of a very similar set of methods.

At Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel we cultivate our organic tea free of chemicals so our guests can appreciate quality organic tea. This is the process we take:

We harvest the leaves when the new shoots begin to grow. The collection lasts about a day and new outbreaks are started.

Then they are placed in the dryer. Wilting begins and is intended to soften and make pliable sheets to roll them without breaking them.

The leaf age guideline must be between 25 and 30 days, since this determines the quality in the production of tea.

The damp tea leaves are then rolled to be formed into wrinkled strips, by hand or by using a rolling machine. This rolling action also causes some of the sap, essential oils, and juices inside the leaves to ooze out, which further enhances the taste of the tea. The rolled leaves are placed in a ceramic bowl for a period of 12 hours with a humid atmosphere and a constant temperature of 22 grades.

Drying is the process which aims to stop the fermentation at the desired time. A loose drying process produces a tea high in water and can run the risk of mildew. A strong or long drying process removes the tea aroma, making a large amount of insoluble substances in the leaf.

When completed the process of drying of leaves, the last stage is the selection. The tea leaves are passed through sieves of different sizes that fall in different degrees. The ranking is based on the appearance and leaf size, not the quality or flavour.

Whilst staying at Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, make sure to experience these sensational aroma teas, whilst emerging yourself in the timeless spirit of the LostCity of the Incas.