365 New Species Found in Peruvian National Park

February 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

The park contains seven macaw species including red and green macaws.

From Global Animal

Hundreds of species never before seen in a Peruvian national park have been found during an inventory of the Amazonian forests there, according to a conservation group.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today the discovery of 365 species previously undocumented in Bahuaja Sonene National Park in southeastern Peru. More than a dozen researchers inventoried the park’s plant life, insects, birds, mammals and reptiles. The species found are known to exist elsewhere, but have never been seen inside Bahuaja Sonene.

The discovery included 30 undocumented bird species, including the black-and-white hawk eagle, Wilson’s phalarope and ash-colored cuckoo. The survey also found two undocumented mammals — Niceforo’s big-eared bat and the Tricolored Bat — as well as 233 undocumented species of butterflies and moths. This expedition was the first time that research of this scale has been carried out in Bahuaja Sonene National Park since it was created in 1996, according to the WCS.

”The discovery of even more species in this park underscores the importance of ongoing conservation work in this region,” said Julie Kunen, WCS director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs. “This park is truly one of the crown jewels of Latin America’s impressive network of protected areas.”

Bahuaja Sonene National Park contains more than 600 bird species including seven different types of macaw, more than 180 mammal species, more than 50 reptiles and amphibian species, 180 fish varieties and 1,300 types of butterfly.

Some of the 233 new species of butterflies and moths! Photo Credit: Carlos Sevillano

Since the 1990s, the WCS has been working in Tambopata and Bahuaja Sonene Parks in Peru, and Madidi, Pilon Lajas and Apolobamba Parks in neighboring Bolivia. The Greater Madidi Landscape of Bolivia and Peru spans more than 15,000 square miles of the tropical Andes and is considered to be the most biodiverse region on earth.

The past decade saw a boom in new species discovered in the Amazon. On average, a new species was discovered every three days from 1999 to 2009, according to the conservation group WWF.

Beaches of Northern Peru

December 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

As summer starts in South America, those from the cold Northern Hemisphere are often looking for a place to warm up and enjoy the beach.  The Galapagos Islands is home to many wonderful beaches.  Yet if you are looking to discover the ideal beach destination on the South American Continent I would suggest the beaches of Northern Peru.

If you are traveling from Ecuador to Peru by road as you depart Guayaquil heading down the Pan American Highway.  It takes approximately 3 hours to reach the boarder. The boarder crossing is fairly easy.  First you need to stop at the Ecuadorian Immigration Office in Huyaquillis for your departure stamp then cross the boarder and make a stop at the Peruvian Immigration Office in Agua Verde.

The first city you will reach after crossing the boarder is about 5 minutes away, Tumbes, the regional capital.  Tumbes has a number of hotels, mangrove tours where you can see crocodiles and an airport offering flights to Lima.

As you travel south of Tumbes it is striking the difference between the topography from the Ecuador and Peru.  The highway through Ecuador is lined with miles and miles of banana plantations, yet once you pass Tumbes you will be delighted by the scenic vista of miles and miles of pristine beaches, small beach towns and the blue waters of the open ocean.

The white sand beaches, almost always-clear skies and relaxed atmosphere of the beach towns of Punta Sal, Zorritos, Los Organoes  and the surf Mecca of Mancora dream destinations.  The region is known as the birthplace of Ceviche and seafood is a must do when visiting the beaches of Northern Peru.

You can reach the beaches of Northern Peru on a short flight from Lima to Piura, Tumbes or Talara.  Piura also has a flight from Santa Rosa, Ecuador (the Machala area).  Private Car transfers can also be arranged in advance from Guayaquil.  However most visitors to the region take one of the international busses traveling between Ecuador and Peru making a stop en route to Southern Peru.

Marcahuamachuco – Machu Picchu of the North

December 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

From Huffington Post

With Machu Picchu reaching at least one million tourists by the end of 2011, perhaps it’s time for another archaeological site to attract the masses.

The Global Heritage Fund (GHF), an international conservancy for endangered cultural heritage sites in developing countries, has selected Marcahuamachuco as a second new conservation and community development project in Peru.

Marcahuamachuco was the most important Pre-Incan city in the Peruvian Andes, considered by many to be the “Machu Picchu of the North” and the “Jewel of La Libertad.” International organizations are working with the local government to make the site one of Peru’s leading tourist attractions.

The “Machu Picchu of the North” is set atop the nexus of three mountain valleys at over 10,000 feet (3,200 meters), overlooking satellite sites and the rivers below. Celebrated for its massive castillo(castle) and unique circular double-walled archaeological structures that predate the imperial expansion of the Incas and the Huari, Marcahuamachuco was constructed between 400-800 AD and became northern Peru’s most important political, economic and military center, according to the GHF.

John Hurd, the project’s leading heritage expert, was impressed by the archaeological site. “What first struck me was that it was breathtakingly transparent, it really was public, it was built to impress,” he says in the video.

Luis Alberto Rebaza, the mayor of Huamachuco province, which has 150 000 residents, calls the site’s tourism potential “the great opportunity of my people,” reports News24.com.

Archaeologists hope to find clues in burial sites found behind thick walls in an area of the complex called the Castle where priests or nobles may have been buried, reports News24.com.

Restoring the ruins will be challenge because locals still live within the archaeological site. Marcahuamachuco is considered endangered and faces accelerating threats as the ruins degrade from grazing of livestock, lack of conservation, weathering, plant growth and the continued unchecked effects of natural elements on the ancient structures, according to the GHF.

Still, Marcahuamachuco still has potential to be one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the northern highlands of Peru, relieving pressure from the already over-exploited ruins of Machu Picchu and providing a source of economic development for the locals.


Northern Peru is an upcoming star in Peru Travel.  Home to spectacular beaches and significant archaeological sites.  A new road makes a Marcahamachuco a three and 1/2 hour drive from Trujillo.  Trujillo is home to the adobe city of Chan Chan and the Moche Temples including the Temples of Sol y Luna.

6.9 Earthquake Hits Coast of Peru

October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake rattled Peru’s central coast on Friday, sending thousands of residents of Lima and other cities into the streets. There are no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the quake was centered 32 miles (52 kilometers) south of Ica (north of Nazca), and about 180 miles southeast of the capital Lima.

RPP radio reported that there was widespread panic but few reports of serious damage from the coastal city of Ica. The area around Ica was badly damaged in an August, 2007 earthquake, killing more than 500 people and injuring more than 1,000.

An official with base metals miner Southern Copper Corp. said that so far there was no news about any damage. Its mines are located in the southern regions of Peru, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The earthquake did not prompt a tsunami alert; however it was felt in differet parts of the country, which include Arequipa, Huancavelica, Cusco, Huanuco and Ayacucho, among other regions, as well as in Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.

UNESCO To Inspect Machu Picchu

October 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

This year was the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s arrival at Machu Picchu reintroducing this archaeological site to the world.  At the peak of summer with thousands of people arriving each day officials began turning away visitors for the first time.

Peruvian officials determined that 2000 people per day could visit the site without causing damage to the citadel or interfering with the quality of experience visitors experienced.

Susan Baca, the Ministry of Culture announced on Monday that a UNESCO delegation would be arriving in January to assess the situation and confirm that Machu Picchu is safe at the current level of tourism.

There are currently 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Peru including Chan Chan, Chavin, the City of Cusco, Historic Center of Lima, Historic Center of Arequipa, the Nazca Lines, the Sacred City of Caral - Supe, Huascaran National Park, Manu National Park, Machu Picchu and Rio Abieso National Park.

Ancient Kingdoms of Northern Peru See Increase in Tourism

September 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Peru is a fascinating country with much to offer.  Combining a trip to Peru with a Galapagos Cruise is tour favorite.  This year was the 100th anniversary of Machu Picchu, yet when traveling to Peru there is far more to discover.  This year some 1.15 million tourists are expected to visit Peru’s northern La Libertad region this year, a 10 percent rise compared to 2010, the regional office for trade and tourism predicted on Saturday.

Trujillo, the capital of the department, is known as the ‘city of eternal spring’ because of its privileged weather and festive atmosphere. It was inhabited by the ancient Mochica and Chimu civilizations.  There are several fascinating places to visit near Trujillo including  mud-brick citadel archaeological site of  Chan Chan.   A regional favorite, Chan Chan was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in 1986.   Other important archaeological sites such as Huacas del Sol y La Luna (Temple of the Sun and the Moon) and the El Brujo archaeological complex.

Many visitors enjoy discovering the many archaeological treasures of Peru and make a circuit combining Nazca, Lake Titicaca, Cusco and Machu Picchu to the South with Trujillo and Sipan to the north.

New Limits Set for Machu Picchu and Inca Trail

July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham an event that seemingly triggered such an influx of tourism that for the first time tourists have been turned away from the Lost City of the Incas when the citadel reached maximum capacity.  Additionally this week also saw the announcement by Peru’s Minsitry of Foreign Trade an Tourism (Mincetur) on the results of the Limits of Acceptable Change and Carrying Capacity of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.  The carrying capacity is measured as the maxiumum number of people who can visit the site at the same time without causing significant damage, destruction of the monument or the reduction of quality of visitor satisfaction.

“After a hard technical work we have concluded that Machu Picchu can receive up to 2 million visitors each year,” said Peru’s Deputy Tourism Minister Mara Seminario.

However, Seminario noted that a proper management is required to implement the new capacity, and this will allow easing the flow and arrange the time of visits, as well as improving the infrastructure and implement a series of improvements.

The deputy minister added that the survey methodology carried out by consulting firm Candes and financed by World Bank’s Vilcanota project shows that the Effective Carrying Capacity, that is, the maximum number of visits that a monument can have at a specific moment, is 2500 visitors.  The Inca Trail is limited to 500 permits per day – the permits are measured by number of people beginning the Inca Trail that day including guides, porters and visitors.

Machu Picchu New Routes and New Restrictions

July 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

huyana picchu

Tourism authorities in Cusco announced yesterday the opening of a new path in Machu Picchu.  The new route which will be under evaluation for the next 15 days will permit visitors to view the Incan Walls and natural landscape of Huayna Picchu.

The hike three-hour hike which is restricted to 400 visitors a day will operate beginning at 6am each day. Depending on the evaluation by the Management Unit of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary (UGM) the new route may become permanent.

The new route is expected to help elevation the problems presented by the influx of tourism.  The Master Plan of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu and UNESCO recommends a maximum of 2,500 visitors per day.    This  week as Machu Picchu celebrates its 100 year anniversary tourists have been stranded on the bridge located at the main entrance to the city when the site exceeded the 2,500 person capacity.  The authorities are working on a solution to the problem.

Huayna Picchu the mountain overlooking Machu Picchu is a popular day hike for those visiting Machu Picchu.  The mountain is home of the Temple of the Moon one of the three major temples of the Machu Picchu Area. The current route allows 400 visitors a day and permits are usually gone early in the morning.  The new route will double this amount.  Authorities have also announced that they are increasing the admission to Huayna Picchu from S/.14 to S/.150.

Machu Picchu Celebrates 100 Years Rediscovery

July 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

This month has been one of celebration in Peru, it was 100 years ago that Machu Picchu was rediscovered and brought to the worlds attention.  Machu Picchu is a 15th century Incan city created of stone structures built in the Andes Mountains of Peru.  The Incans had abandoned the site prior to the arrival of the Spanish and the site was never discovered during colonial times.

In the early 1900′s Hiram Bingham had traveled to Chile as a delegate to the first Pan American Scientific Conference.  On his way home a local prefect convinced him to stop and visit the pre-Columbian city of Choquequirao. Bingham was inspired with the idea of finding other undiscovered Incan cities, and returned to Peru in 1911 with the Yale Peruvian Expedion and was led by local guide Melchor Arteaga to Machu Picchu, a site which was forgotten by all but local people.

Bingham would return to Machu Picchu in 1912 and 1915 with the support of Yale and the National Geographic Society.  His “discovery” enchanted the world.  Bingham would late become the basis for the character “Indiana Jones”.

Today Machu Picchu is a UNESCO world hertiage site, one of the 7 Wonders of the New World, and one of the most revered archaeological sites in the world.  To celebrate the rediscovery Peru has set aside a month of celebration including the redesign of the 10 sole note which now features Machu Picchu on the reverse side.

Over a million people visit  Machu Picchu each year, in an effort to showcase the need for conservation the citadel is closed today except for a select 700 visitors .

Machu Picchu artifacts returned by Yale to go on display July 5

June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu by Yale Professor Hiram Bingham.  Bingham was not a trained archaeologist, in fact at the time he discovered Machu Picchu he was a lecturer for the University.  His life’s focus changed when in 1908 he traveled to Chile to attend the First Pan American Scientific Congress. On his way home from the congress he traveled through Peru where he met a local prefect who convinced him to visit a Pre-Colombian site - Choquequirao known as the sacred sister of Machu Picchu.  The site so impressed Bingham that he returned to Peru in 1911 with the Yale Peruvian Expedition in search Vilcabamba the Lost City of the Incas.  

On July 24, 1911 he was led by locals to Machu Picchu a site which had been largely forgotten.  Bingham returned twice and excavated thousands of artifacts: ceramics, tools, jewelry and human bones.  After a legal dispute between Peru and the University the items have been returned to Peru and will go on display at  Casa Concha in Cusco starting July 5.

Peruvian Culture Minister Juan Ossio made the announcement Thursday after talks with Victor Raul Aguilar Callo, rector of Cusco’s San Antonio Abad University (UNSAAC), which owns the recently restored Casa Concha in the city’s downtown. Casa Concha, a 16th century mansion in Cusco, will be the new home for the artifacts, as well as the site of the collaborative center between UNSAAC and Yale.

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