Enjoy the Diversity of Peru
The Incan city of Machu Picchu high up in the Andes is not Peru’s only attraction. Other adventures here include sailing down the Amazon River…hiking through tropical rainforest…and visiting Lake Titicaca--so big that there are small floating islands within its great expanse. You should also take a stroll through the preserved Spanish colonial city of Arequipa (the “White City”), found in a land of volcanoes, hot springs, canyons and deserts. The diversity and intensity of the landscape here will take your breath away. The city of Cuzco is the center of Quechua indigenous culture in the Andes and is also worth a visit.
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- Population: 29,849,303
- Capital City: Lima
- Climate: Varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; frigid in Andes
- Time Zone: GMT-5
- Language: Spanish, Quechua
- Country Code: 51
- Location: Western South America, bordering Ecuador and Chile
Martine Rheaume was 52 years old when she left everything behind in Boston to start a new life in Cusco, Peru, as an English teacher with no prior experience. Three years later, she has more friends than ever before, a dream job with more work than she can handle, and a renewed passion for life that only living in Latin America can give you. “I landed in Peru with only ‘mañana’ and ‘gracias,’ but six months later I was speaking Spanish and had an active social life,” she says. Originally from Montreal, Martine has traveled extensively all her life, fueled by her strong interest in ancient history. It was this that ultimately led her to Peru.
A populace that appreciates art, a local government that supports artistic endeavors, and a network of galleries to show your work…these are key ingredients for artists choosing a place to live. Surroundings that inspire creativity, whether through architecture, natural beauty, or indigenous influences, are also important. Finally, affordable accommodation and studio space are vital as well. A place where you can live well on a little income and concentrate on your work. Fortunately, even as artists get priced out of metropolises like New York City and Paris, other cities have stepped in. These havens can be found around the world. And even if you’re not a painter or sculptor, these cities are great for those who love and appreciate art…not to mention perfect places to sample new styles and snap up unusual pieces at bargain prices.
If you dream of a place where you can live a cosmopolitan lifestyle in a gorgeous setting, yet pay rock-bottom prices for everything from food to rent, Cusco—Peru’s most historic city—is unbeatable. This 500-year-old colonial gem reminds some folks of Florence, Italy, with its abundance of domed churches and ancient, pedestrian-only cobblestone streets. But it offers a quality of life and price point that is unheard-of in Europe. And the expat population is growing by leaps and bounds. “It has definitely gotten more populated recently. A lot of that has to do with the popularity of the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and the local culture,” says Scott Englund, who has lived in Cusco for the last four years with his wife and their two daughters.
For Olley Ollerenshaw, living in Cusco’s historic artisan district of San Blas has allowed a childhood fantasy to come true. “I’ve always been interested in maps of the world, maps of all kinds. Maps are symbols of adventure as well as functional tools, and for anyone like me who grew up daydreaming about visiting exotic places, maps hold a special allure,” says Olley.
The couple explored Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, and Nicaragua. As their trips were part of a search for a new home, it made sense to stay awhile and get beneath the surface of a place. Ellen explains, “Extended stays make sense financially, giving us time between trips to recoup the cost of moving about.” But after three years of having no permanent base, they realized that it was actually this roving retirement lifestyle that suited them.
Douz, in south Tunisia, hosts the International Festival of the Sahara on October 1. Taking place at the gateway to the great desert, the event was founded as a camelracing festival in 1910. But you can expect horse races, poetry contests, and Bedouin weddings, as well.
The bright Andean sun is bursting through the cloud cover and slowly breathing fresh life into this bustling mountainous region. The waitress smiles pleasantly as she pours me sticky, black Peruvian coffee. I pause for a second and savor the aroma before taking a big gulp and wash down the pastry that I’ve just eaten. I’m in Cusco, Peru, the historic and spiritual heart of the Inca Empire and a designated World Heritage Site.
Sitting alongside the banks of the River Garonne in southwest France, the red-tile-roofed city of Toulouse hosts its annual Flamenco Festival from April 1 to 15, with local venues filled with music and dance throughout. Another marathon-length event to consider begins its 18-day run in Jaipur, India, on April 2.
As I watched my fiancé fall off his surfboard for the hundredth time, my pancakes arrived. Warm and fluffy, they were so big the edges drooped over the sides of my plate. But my server was very sad and apologetic. There was no maple syrup left…anywhere in town. I’d just have to make do with the mango spread—made in-house from local, naturally-harvested fruits.
John Brenner, a Minnesotan in his late 50s, was traveling in South America looking for a new place to live. The next leg of his trip was from Bogotá, Colombia to Lima, Peru. He was joined by three others, also Lima bound, whom he had met in the Bogotá hostel where he stayed. After an all-night bus ride they reached Ecuador’s border, where they crossed on foot. Once in Ecuador the four had a stroke of luck.
We’ve all seen the phrase “new and improved” countless times. It’s on everything from cereal boxes to cosmetics. No doubt someone in a lab somewhere tweaked the latest wrinkle cream and declared it new and improved. I think I should have a “new and improved” tag on my life—it has certainly had some tweaking in the last few years!
This has been quite a year. It started in January with a weekend in West Virginia riding all-terrain vehicles on the Hatfield & McCoy Trails…hand-feeding black bears…and dancing to bluegrass music. In February I drove a reindeer sleigh through a winter wonderland in Roros, Norway. I kept myself warm by sampling aquavit along the newly developed Aquavit Trail around Trondheim.
My former attorney colleagues and I used to joke that there were three kinds of closing arguments you could make to a jury: the one you carefully prepared, the one you actually delivered, and the one you wish you had given. Few things ever happen as planned. Nevertheless my “life” plan (the one I carefully prepared) was to practice law until I retired at 65; then I would pursue photography and maybe make a little money on the side.
The Red Carpet Antiques Festival in Lyon, France, on October 3 sees traffic brought to a standstill as a vast red carpet is rolled out on Rue Auguste Compte, a route lined with antique stores. Live music and a food fair accompany the all-night festival, as shoppers browse the spectacular window displays.
I’ve always been one of those people who won’t settle for “ordinary.” Sure, I have done my share of everyday things…but if I can find a way to step beyond the run-of-the-mill, you can bet I will! One of the ways I left “ordinary” behind was with my career. I spent many years working as a tax accountant—I knew there had to be a better way to spend my time.
In 2008 I moved to Cusco, Peru, the gateway to the spectacular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. For 25 years, I had dreamed of living abroad, exploring ancient cultures, and possibly opening a business in tourism.
In 1971, I spent seven months traveling around Latin America…from Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. At some point, pressed among a crowd of Indians at the back of a dilapidated bus, I was traveling from Ayacucho to Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes…an endless two-day ride. Holes and stones in the dirt road shook the bus…
Sometimes a dying business leads to a new life. It did for Tom Boylan from Denver. “Now I have this incredible sense of freedom that I can do what I want, go where I want and enjoy life how I choose,” he says.
Walking the world and taking other people with me has given me an amazing lifestyle and a good part of my livelihood. When you live—or travel extensively—in a foreign country you get to know the places to go, the people to meet, and you make connections
I’ve made a business out of leading groups of people on walking tours and the year ahead is looking good. I am going to visit two wonderful regions of Colombia where English-speaking tourists are almost non-existent. Then there’s a trip to the Ecuadorian Andes that incorporates stunning vistas and a shopping extravaganza at indigenous markets. Following that, I’ll enjoy a magical walk in Peru on Inca trails that aren’t under the spotlight of big tour companies. The plan is to extend that trip to explore the Nazca region, famous for the figures etched in rock only visible from the air. I turned 60 a month ago and will celebrate my 40th wedding anniversary this month.
I first visited Arequipa more than 20 years ago. Since then, Peru’s “white city” has lingered in my memory. I vividly recall the taxi drive into town from the airport back then. The day was warm, dry and sunny, and I saw the perfect cone of El Misti rising in the distance. Alone on a vast plain, the volcano dominated the skyline of the city’s Spanish-colonial heart.
Take to the streets in Santiago, Chile, from January 3 to 20 for the Santiago a Mil international theater festival. You’ll find large-scale spectacles like “the noise of colors” extravaganza, a forest of paper giraffes, and outdoor performances of Romeo and Juliet.
Begin your holiday season in earnest in Mexico City with a huge Christmas Market running throughout December. In amongst the stalls, piñatas and ice rinks you’ll find the world’s tallest Christmas tree. In Europe, Christmas markets large and small brim with handicrafts, mulled wine and seasonal fare, but Germany is king of them all.
I squeeze the brakes of my handlebars and skid to a stop at the edge of the plateau overlooking Peru’s Sacred Valley. More than 2,000 feet below us is the Urubamba River. A small town nestled on its banks was our destination for the evening. My wife and I were at the start of six weeks of unpaid leave from our jobs to travel in South America. That brief moment in time epitomized what we were seeking.
Europe’s buzzing boho center, Berlin, bursts into life this month with the Carnival of Cultures. Thousands of performers will take to the streets and stages of the German capital to entertain over a million revelers. The party starts May 25.
On the Cover This Month… Surrounded by picturesque farms, orchards and towering mountains, Vilcabamba is a place people visit and don’t want to leave. The climate is perfect—spring all year round, the local expat community well established and welcoming, and the cost of living is low. The town’s central square is the ideal place to […]
There are many ways to profit from the big boom in the emerging markets. And you’d be surprised how easy some of them are for North American investors.
I had to crane my neck to look up at the snake god. Nearly 15 feet tall, the cobra-shaped stone was almost brushing the roof. I was in Naag Mandir, a Hindu temple about 10 miles outside Labasa, on the Fiji island of Vanua Levu.
Easter is the most important holiday of the Christian calendar. And in Spanish speaking Roman Catholic countries one day just isn’t enough.
We survey 194 countries in our annual Quality of Life Index. How do we decide which of them should be on your radar screen for retirement? With an eye firmly on places where your dollars are likely to stretch, we send a scout to take a look.
Five hundred years ago, when the Spanish Conquistadores were exploring Venezuela and Panama, they discovered extensive pearl beds off the coastline.
When my wife Merri and I first arrived in Ecuador in 1997, one U.S. dollar bought about 3,000 Ecuadorian sucres. Then Ecuador’s currency took a disastrous nosedive. Within a year, 7,000 sucres equaled one greenback.
I discovered this unpleasant fact on last year’s jaunt to Peru, where I holed up in Lima’s venerable Country Club Hotel. This colonial institution—vastly improved, by the way, since my last visit to San Isidro more than 20 years ago—overlooks a charming golf course, but the rigors of my travels had taken away all desire for even the simplest of swings. Instead I took to having a late breakfast in my spacious quarters (the eggs Benedict are perfectly comme il faut), rereading Shackleton’s Arctic hardships, and gazing wistfully over the fairway.
My French friend Etienne doesn’t drink alcohol. He never had a drinking problem, he just saw the harm alcohol does–car crashes, destroyed marriages, early death, and so much unhappiness. So he decided not to drink.
From the ancient Incan cities to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, from the miles of sandy coastline to the jagged peaks of the Andes–Peru is a diverse, exciting, and historic country. Here you’ll also enjoy one of the lowest costs of living in Latin America–with property prices to match. Watch your numbersWhen asking for […]
From the ancient Incan cities to the depths of the Amazon rainforest, from the miles of sandy coastline to the jagged peaks of the Andes, Peru is a diverse, exciting, and historic country.