Travelers to Peru often make it a point to stop in the city of Puerto Maldonado, considered the main gateway to the Peruvian Amazon. There, they’ll need to decide whether to continue on to Tambopata National Park or Manú Reserve, two tempting destinations famed for their abundant biodiversity.
Most travelers who visit the Peruvian Amazon do so by flying into Puerto Maldonado from Cusco, or by taking the bus along the Interoceanic highway, a 30min flight or a 10hr bus trip. From there, they’ll continue on to Manú National Reserve or Tambopata National Park by motorboat along the Madre de Dios River.
We recommend travelers reserve a day or two to spend in Puerto Maldonado before or after their jungle trip- and here’s our list of how to spend that time:
This Saturday and Sunday (May 14th and 15th), the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas will celebrate a festival in honor of its patron. Señor de Torrechayoc. And like many Andean towns, Urubamba celebrates its faith with a riot of dance and color!
During the time of the Inca Empire, Inti Raymi was one of the year’s biggest celebrations, and it continues being so today. Set in place by Pachakutec Inka Yupanki, Inti Raymi marked the winter solstice with a series of rituals and general festivities. Although banned by the Spanish after the conquest, it was revived in 1944, following a script based on the chronicles of Inca Garcilaso, which were written shortly after the conquest.
Up to the time of the Spanish Conquest, the people of Cusco venerated mallquis, the mummies of former leaders, adorning them with care and carrying them through the streets atop heavy litters on sacred days. Although the appalled Spanish banned this custom, it was retained through a simple solution: rather than abandoning the practice completely, the mummies were replaced with statues of saints and the Virgin Mary, giving birth of the modern Corpus Christi festival in Cusco. Thus, the colorful Corpus Christi celebrations of Cusco are as Andean as they are Catholic.