How many trails into Machu Picchu can you name? Surely you know the Inca Trail and possibly a couple of others, but did you know there are dozens of routes up to Peru’s ancient citadel?

Karina Oliva from PromPeru believes that Travel Advisors could really benefit from getting to know Machu Picchu’s various routes, especially now that permit restrictions are in place along the traditional Inca Trail.

During the recent PromPeru roadshow in Sydney, the Market Specialist told KARRYON that as it gets tougher for Advisors to guarantee their clients a spot on the Inca Trail, it’d help them to be able to offer other, equally as incredible routes that are easier to access and don’t require permits.

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The PromPeru & LATAM teams at a recent roadshow in Sydney.

“We would encourage Australian travellers to go off the beaten path and consider other options for reaching some of the highlights.”

Karina Oliva, PromPeru Market Specialist

Karina continued saying that a fair few Aussie Advisors are also lacking knowledge on Peru’s offering beyond Machu Picchu, which is a shame because there are “many unique experiences on offer throughout the country” from deserts, rainforests and world-famous cuisine.

Read on for more of our chat with Karina:

 

Peru’s popularity among Australians grows every year, where do you think this curiosity for the country comes from?

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Of course Machu Picchu is a key driver for many Australians visiting Peru. However, we know they are also attracted to the many unique experiences on offer throughout the country.

We like to say that Peru is many destinations within one – from exploring our varied landscapes – desert, mountains, Amazon rainforest, interacting with local communities, to discovering ancient and mysterious archaeological sites and sampling some of our world-famous cuisine, there’s definitely a lot in this country to be curious about.

 

How many Aussies is the country attracting every year?

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Australia is one of our strongest international markets with over 40,000 visitors a year. But of course, we are always happy to receive more Australians!

 

What are some of the more popular spots for Aussies to visit when they’re in Peru?

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Like Peruvians, Australians love their food! So, naturally many Australians are taking the time to stop in Latin America’s gastronomic capital – Lima – to visit some of the world’s best restaurants which are located here.

Aside from Cusco Machu Picchu, they are also increasingly staying longer to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, the fascinating floating islands of Lake Titicaca, as well as the Amazon rainforest. Many people don’t realise that 60 percent of Peru’s landmass is made up of the rainforest, and there are many fantastic jungle experiences to be had here.

 

Which locations within Peru do you wish more Aussies would take time to see?

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If you get to the north, Karina recommends visiting Chiclayo. Image: Giancarlo Revolledo/Unsplash

We would encourage Australian travellers to go off the beaten path and consider other options for reaching some of the highlights – for example; we know the ‘classic’ Inca Trail is incredibly popular. However, it is becoming harder to guarantee a spot on it when the client wants due to permit restrictions.

We suggest that Advise familiarise themselves with alternative routes to Machu Picchu, such as the Salkantay, Lares, Ausangate or Choquequirao treks. These don’t require permits and so are easier to access within a short timeframe compared to the Inca Trail. There also alternative destinations for trekkers such as Huascaran National Park.

The typical southern circuit (Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca) as well as the Amazon is, of course, a fantastic start for Australians visiting Peru.

However, we also encourage Australians to also consider the northern regions if they have a little more time – the area surrounding the city of Chachapoyas for example is abundant in natural and historic sites, such as the Gocta Falls (third tallest waterfall in the world), as well as Kuelap – a pre-Incan fortress that has received increased attention since a cable car system was installed in 2017 to make it easier to reach.

The regions surrounding the northern cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo are also an archaeology lover’s dream – sites there include places such as Chan Chan – the largest pre-Columbian citadel made entirely of mud bricks and the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum. It is a fascinating trip to the past because visitors will be in the same place where powerful civilisations lived hundreds of years ago.

 

Are there any misconceptions about Peru that could be holding Aussies back from visiting?

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Peru is home to six Relais & Châteaux products.

We feel there is still a misconception of how difficult Peru is to get to or to get around when you are there – this means that many people see Peru and South America as a ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of trip. In reality, Lima can be reached with just one stop from Sydney or Melbourne (via Santiago), so it is closer than Europe and many destinations in the USA.

Additionally, travelling within Peru is also incredibly easy – the flight network is very well developed, and there are now direct flights between many key destinations. The country is not that large, so most major destinations can be reached within 1-2 hours flight time.

Also, we would like to highlight that Peru has many luxury offerings – for example, in a recent Travel & Leisure survey of the top 100 properties worldwide for 2018, two were in the Sacred Valley and one in Cusco. Additionally, we have 15 Virtuoso properties and six Relais & Châteaux products.

 

What are some of the challenges Travel Advisors might have in selling Peru to the clients?

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There is still a lack of awareness and education of just how much there is to discover outside of Machu Picchu – many Advisors are not confident in making these recommendations.

That is why earlier this year we created and released a Travel Advisor training program to help them with some of these challenges and increase their knowledge. They can click here to sign up to this training.

 

What tips do you have to help Travel Advisors sell more trips to Peru?

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As above – join the training program and learn more.

 

Have you been lucky enough to visit Peru recently?