Peruvian Jewelry Showcases Sodalite

by admin on September 13, 2011

In Peru, there are longstanding handicraft traditions that inspire up and coming artisans. Even those that create modern designs often use a bit of the traditional motifs and materials that are so important in Peruvian culture. Bird and llama motifs, native Peruvian stones and shells, carved gourd and huayruro seeds are all common in Peruvian jewelry. The native stones like royal blue sodalite are found in both classic and modern pendants, bracelets and earrings. The deeper the hue, the more prized the sodalite is. Master silversmiths create perfectly fitting settings to accent the natural stones in their Peruvian necklaces, and women choose them not only for the color, but also for the metaphysical powers sodalite is said to possess. Many believe it is a calming and healing stone, and that it can open the channels of communication. For this reason, it is said to be a stone for writers and those who speak publicly. The necklace pictured here is an example of a classic Peruvian sodalite necklace design.

Luxury Ships Cruise the Amazon

by admin on August 24, 2011

Many people would love to travel down the Amazon, one of the most mysterious and intriguing areas of Peru. But with the wild terrain comes mosquitos, dangerous animals and the risk of getting lost or injured miles away from civilization. These deterrents keep most travelers away from the world-famous river and rainforest. However, a company called Aqua Expeditions is now offering luxury cruises aboard five star ships. Each trip is complete with guided excursions, upscale cuisine, and panoramic views of birds, pink dolphins and the surrounding jungle. The company’s first ship set sail three years ago with twelve suites. The newer ship has sixteen suites, a terrace jacuzzi and a gym. The ships are even equipped with air conditioning for the hot jungle nights. The combination of luxury and remote wilderness is one that will surely impress even the most well-traveled guests.

New App for Peru Travelers

by admin on August 2, 2011

A new iPhone and iPad app has been designed specifically for travelers in Peru. “Do Peru” is a resource with information on over 100 of the top places and things to experience while visiting. Available in the iTunes store for $3.99, Do Peru includes color photos and descriptions in English. It can be the perfect substitute for a guide book while packing lightly. Just be sure to check with your cellular service provider to avoid unnecessary charges while traveling abroad. If you won’t be using your phone in Peru, you can still use the app as a way to prepare a list of things to do on your upcoming trip. There are many travel apps from companies like Trip Advisor that can help with planning, choosing hotels, and comparing prices, but this app in particular is a great way to educate yourself about all that Peru has to offer.

Peruvian Quinoa

by admin on July 19, 2011

Quinoa was domesticated in the Andes between 3000 and 4000 years ago. The Incas viewed it as sacred, and referred to it as “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains.” Today, health-conscious people around the world are rediscovering this ancient grain and its outstanding nutritional benefits. This “super food” contains a significant amount of the essential amino acid lysine, which sets it apart from rice and wheat. It is a great source of vegetarian protein, and it is naturally gluten-free. Years ago, quinoa was considered a food for the common people, and would never be served in a formal setting, but with its newfound popularity, you’ll see it on the menu of high-end restaurants both in Peru and abroad. Quinoa is yet another great export we can enjoy from Peru. This amazing grain has many uses in cooking – it is the perfect base for pilafs, hot or cold salads, soups, and stews. It is also a healthier substitute for rice in any dish. Mix it with nuts, berries or honey for breakfast. Add it to a mixture of vegetables, lemon juice and olive oil for a light lunch. Season with onion, garlic and your favorite spices to create a tasty side dish for dinner. Follow this link to buy authentic Peruvian Quinoa online.

Thrift Store Shopping Trend Grows in Lima

by admin on July 14, 2011

Americans can find good deals on a variety of items while shopping in Peru, and now fashionistas with a flair for vintage finds have two new options for shopping in Lima. Antik Vintage in Miraflores specializes in giving vintage clothes alterations that bring them up to date with today’s fashion standards. Peruvian bloggers love the treasures at Antik Vintage, and the store’s popularity is also spreading by word of mouth. Las Traperas is a pop-up fair filled with vintage styles for both men and women, promoting reducing, reusing and recycling. The next fair will run from July 16th through July 24th in Barranco. Both of these options bring vintage style to Lima, and give travelers a new place to find unique souvenirs during trips to Peru.

Peruvian Huayruro Jewelry

by admin on June 28, 2011

In Peru, huayruro seeds are an important cultural symbol. If you walk into any Peruvian market, you will see Huayruro Jewelry, keychains, and decorations. All are meant to attract good fortune and ward off negative energies. The seeds have been used as good luck charms for centuries. You may see a cab driver wearing a simple huayruro bracelet for protection on the road, or a woman wearing an intricate Huayruro Necklace as not only a special good luck charm, but also a fashion statement. Many Peruvian artisans are creating new Huayruro designs everyday, mixing a cultural tradition with modern style. This Huayruro Pendant is a unique accessory and gift idea.

Asparagus and Quinoa from Peru

by admin on June 21, 2011

Did you know that most of the asparagus and much of the quinoa in the US comes from Peru? Try this recipe for Lemon Quinoa with Asparagus and Feta from CookThink to bring the two together. You’ll need 2 cups of quinoa, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 shallot, minced, 3 pounds of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 8 ounces of feta, crumbled, and the juice of 1 lemon. First, cook the quinoa. Then saute the shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. After about five minutes, add the asparagus and thyme and cook for another eight to ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add a tablespoon of water halfway through to steam the asparagus. Remove from the heat and add quinoa, feta, lemon juice, and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. This is a healthy side dish and can also be served as a salad. Quinoa is a super food, and asparagus has its own list of health benefits. The lemon juice and feta also add taste and texture to this dish.

The L.A. Times is compiling a very interesting list of facts about Machu Picchu leading up to the 100th anniversary of its rediscovery on July 24th, 1911. Arguably the most well-known landmark in Peru, Machu Picchu is a breathtaking reminder of the Inca Empire. Sometimes called “The Hidden City,” “The Lost City,” and the “City of the Clouds,” Machu Picchu was left untouched until 1911 when Yale Professor Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it during his travels. It was built sometime during the 15th century, and abandoned sometime in the 16th century. No one knows for sure why. Many artifacts taken from the site in 1911 were  in Yale’s possession from that point on, and were only returned to Peru this year. Many people feel that the artifacts are now where they belong, and they will be displayed in a museum in Peru. We’ll be following the updates from the L.A. Times as their list of Machu Picchu facts grows. It is a fascinating place, and truly one of the great wonders of the world.

Pisco Bars in Lima, Peru

by admin on June 13, 2011

Many travelers who visit Peru want to try the national cocktail, the Pisco Sour. Living in Peru recently featured a list of the top five pisco bars in Lima. Cala Restaurante and Lounge in Barranco tops their list, with creative pisco cocktails and a beautiful view of the Pacific ocean. Aside from perfect Pisco Sours, Cala also offers drinks like “El Verdecito,” a frozen cocktail that features fresh spearmint and Pisco Italia. Other bars that received a spot on the list include Pisco Bar, El 550 Kriollo Gurmet, and Astrid & Gaston, all in Miraflores, the most upscale section of Lima. El Bar Ingles in San Isidro is also mentioned. Although these spots may be the most trendy places to try a Pisco Sour, you’ll find this popular drink on almost any menu. It’s up to you to decide who makes it best.

Peruvian Nacar Artisan Jewelry

by admin on June 1, 2011

In Peru, Mother of Pearl is called Nacar. The shells are collected and polished just as they are in other parts of the world, but the Artisan Jewelry in Peru is especially fascinating. Each piece is handcrafted with attention to detail, by artisans who have usually trained since they were very young. In Peru it’s much more common to find a completely handcrafted piece of jewelry, because traditional handicrafts are still an important part of the local culture. Whereas other countries have become so industrialized that virtually all jewelry is mass-produced in factories, Peru has maintained its old world charm and artisan markets. There you’ll find Peruvian Stone and Shell Jewelry, Gourd Jewelry and Huayruro Jewelry. The most exquisite designs are handcrafted from .950 sterling silver, like the Peruvian Nacar Pendant in the photo.