Seeing Purple: The Lord of The Miracles Festival in Lima, Peru

October is Mes Morado (or purple month) in Lima, Peru, and the faithful dress from head to toe in purple as a sign of their devotion to El Señor de los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles).

A group of women called "saumeadoras" carry incense as they follow the procession of Peru's most revered Catholic religious icon through central Lima

This Christ figure, known for its miracle-working powers, is housed in the Church of the Nazarenes, and thousands of purple clad worshippers come to pray and make offerings during the month of October. There are several processions on different dates in October, including a 24 hour long procession which is one of the largest in all of the Americas annually. Tens of thousands of the faithful dressed in purple tunics, sing hymns and pray as they accompany a huge two tonne litter which bears the painting of the Christ from the church of Las Nazarenas. The smell of incense and the steady beating of drums add to the solemn atmosphere as the procession winds its way along the narrow, purple clad streets of Lima.

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The origins lie in colonial times, when a slave drew an image of Christ on a wall. The wall with the image stayed standing despite an earthquake which destroyed all the building and many around it. Thus, this image has since become one of the most venerated in South America, and the church of Las Nazarenas was built around it.

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The whole of October is classed as Purple month but key procession dates are October 18th, 19th, and October 28th. How are you celebrating this festive time in Peru? We’d love to hear!

World Earth Day Celebrations at El MaPi Hotel, byInkaterra

Our guests had a wonderful time celebrating World Earth Day at El MaPi Hotel last week. See below our highlights from the day. The children staying with us helped our hotel team to plant trees and seeds in the gardens of the hotel. By educating the younger generation, we hope that they will understand and continue to help towards a healthy future for our planet.

Save the world - Plant a tree

World Earth Day Celebrations

Planting a tree in the hotel's grounds

World Earth Day Celebrations

A Chinese Proverb

A Successful Birding Rally Challenge

What a magnificent week it has been in Peru. The first Birding Rally Challenge was a great success with the winning team from Louisiana State University, nicknamed the ‘Tigrisomas’, identifying 493 species of birds! The challenge, co-organised by Promperu & the Inkaterra Association (ITA) saw six non-stop bird watching days across Lima, Puerto Maldona do, the Inter-Oceanic Highway and Machu Picchu. The UK team – The Forest Falcons – came a close second, narrowly missing out on being crowned the winners by just three species, finding 490 birds in total.

Birding Rally Challenge Results

The competition brought together six teams from five different countries, spotting 649 species of the 700 that can be found in the Tambopata Amazon reserve, all the way along to the iconic Machu Picchu in Cusco where the competition came to a close. Many of the birds that were spotted had never been seen by many members of the teams that were taking part, making it a truly unique experience for all.

On the Amazon River: A Birding Paradise

The event was a tremendous occasion for both Peru and Inkaterra to showcase a very unique experience that enabled visitors to see the vast wildlife that can be found in Peru. As mentioned in the recent article by El Comerico, leader Jordi Sargatell from the Tramuntana team said “Peru is the best country in which species can be seen so close you can almost touch them”.

So closes a very successful first Birding Rally Challenge, with the promise of another in the first half of 2013. Peruvian Vice Minister of Tourism announced another challenge will be on its way in the Northern lowlands of Peru next year.

The Birding Rally Challenge

Inkaterra: Winner of the LATA 2012 Award for Sustainability

It was celebrations all round this week, as Inkaterra was recognised for the third consecutive year at this year’s LATA Awards in London. This year Inkaterra were awarded for their efforts towards Sustainability.

The awards recognise and reward members for their excellence in areas including sustainability, customer service, innovation and promotional success while encouraging travel to the region. The annual awards are highly regarded amongst the Latin American travel industry and seen as a true reflection of the companies who go above and beyond on a day-to-day basis while working in the region. Nominations come from LATA members, all specialists in their field, who are asked to put forward the company or individual, that they think are most worthy of an award in the specific areas. A panel of judges appointed by the LATA committee then decide on the winners.

Since 1975 Inkaterra has been leading the way in eco-tourism and sustainability in South America. Their mission seeks to achieve excellence in eco-tourism and conservation, continually evaluating the real cultural, social and natural values around us whilst creating authentic experiences for their guests. Inkaterra promotes Scientific Research for the Conservation of Ecosystems and Natural Resources funded by Ecotourism, as a replicable model for local communities; offering authentic experiences, capturing, disseminating and educating about the culture and nature of Peru.

LATA Chairman, Chris Pickard, said: “It is always an honour to present these awards to the most deserving members, who really have shone out as leaders in their area of expertise, particularly companies such as Inkaterra that are achieving excellence year after year. These winners inspire and encourage others to follow in their footsteps and highlight the very best that Latin America has to offer.”

Inkaterra are delighted to receive this award and look forward to continue to lead the way in their sustainability efforts in Latin America.

Staff Q&A: Alan Huisa, Interpreter Guide at Hacienda Concepcion byInkaterra

 

We interviewed Alan Huisa – environmental interpreter specialising in nature and birds.

Could you give us a brief biography of your life and career so far ?

Well, I´m 29, my parents are not originally from the region but from the coast. I was born here in the city of Puerto Maldonado, where I also grew up.  I started to work as a tour guide when I was 19. I studied three years to become a environmental interpreter, specializing in nature as well as birds.

How did  you start working for Inkaterra ?

I always wanted to work in this company, and the first time I tried I got the job. They did different tests and interviews  I had to compete with many other guides as well.

What are  the most  special places in Peru in your opinion ?

I think Peru has too many places to visit, it´s hard to tell it. Definitely the jungle around Hacienda Concepcion, the mountains and the coast of the north where there is incredible surfing.

4 years working with Inkaterra Hotels are enough to discover a lot of secrets in the area. Which is your favorite spot at each of the Inkaterra hotels? What would you most recommended to Inkaterra visitors?

My favorite place is Hacienda Concepción, byInkaterra, because I work where I grew up, in my home region!

I  think every place of Inkaterra,  in the mountains and the jungle are unique in the world. Each Inkaterra hotel is wonderful – the canopy walkway at Reserva Amazonica (also available at Hacienda Concepcion) is particularly interesting for birdwatching.

What can guests expect to discover and learn from you on a guided tour at the Inkaterra surroundings? What is the most demand tour by visitors to Inkaterra?

Besides nature, people can learn and become aware of how important Amazon rain forest is for the whole world. At Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica the spectacular Canopy Walkway, and nearby the beautiful and solitary lake Sandoval are most in demand.

What made you so passionate about mammals? How is the passion combined with the interpreter guide role at Inkaterra? Is Peru a perfect place to enjoy and learn about mammals?

Learning about the behavior of animals is so interesting and exciting! I think that doing both things  makes me feel a lot better. I always think that my country is one of the few places in the world where one can do this.

What is your favorite part of working for Inkaterra?

I think is a serious company and is very related and committed with conservation and social responsibility.

Cocktails at El MaPi – Machu Picchu Pueblo

If you’re in downtown Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu and the surrounding area, why not pay a visit to the buzzy, hip cocktail bar at El MaPi hotel byInkaterra? We have great atmosphere and a delicious range of cocktails using fresh Peruvian fruits and spirits. It’s a great place to meet fellow travellers and lovers of Peru!

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