CUSCO, PERU – Many visitors to Peru arrive in Cusco excited to make the journey to Machu Picchu. The city is often considered the launching pad for those making the trek (or train ride) to the world-renowned site; however travellers are often pleasantly surprised to find that Cusco is a destination unto itself and warrants several days of exploration.


Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the city was once the capital of the Inca Empire and a complex urban centre. When the Spanish invaded in the 16th century, baroque temples, monasteries and manors were built on top of the existing city, uniquely preserving it. Cusco has a timeless feel juxtaposed with modern amenities. Visitors will discover colourful markets and textiles, narrow cobblestone streets, grand cathedrals, curious llamas and traditional festivals here, all while enjoying the comforts of a top hotel and some of the country’s best restaurants.
Here are some suggestions of things to see, eat and drink in Cusco (beyond Machu Picchu):
  • Sacsayhuaman fortress: Located on a steep hill overlooking Cusco, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman keeps watch over the city below. Huge stones (some of the largest used in any building in prehispanic America) are fit together tightly without any mortar. Sacsayhuaman is also home to the annual Inti Raymifestival – the Inca festival of the winter solstice and new year held each June.
  • San Blas neighbourhood: The San Blas district of Cusco is a steep and picturesque climb from the main square. Narrow cobblestone streets lead visitors up past artist studios, quaint shops, restaurants and bars. The San Blas church is located in a small plaza near the top and is worth a visit. A Saturday market is also held in the square and filled with local artisans selling their wares.
  • San Pedro Market: Cusco’s main open-air market is filled with vendors of exotic fruit, flower merchants, fishmongers, butchers and herbalists. Visitors can see some of Peru’s nearly 3,000 varieties of potatoes here, have lunch with locals, or sample a variety of fresh squeezed juices.
  • Cusco Planetarium: The Inca people were serious about studying the night sky. In fact, Cusco’s main streets are designed to align with the stars at various times throughout the calendar year. The Cusco Planetarium introduces visitors to Inca astronomy and provides the opportunity to stargaze through telescopes.
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Piuray: Perhaps the highest elevation stand-up paddle boarding in the world, excursions on Lake Piuray in the Sacred Valley provide a different perspective of the Andes. SUP Cusco offers a variety of paddle boarding tours including: SUP Basic, SUP Yoga and Sunset Paddles.
  • View roof decorations: Ceramic sculptures known as Torito de Pucaradecorate many roofs throughout Cusco. Usually ceramic bulls with crosses and/or flowers, these decorations are said to honour Pachamama (Mother Earth) and bring happiness, wealth and fertility to the home. The arrangements and design of the sculptures vary from home to home and make for an interesting self-guided “roof viewing tour”. This decorating tradition is one that pre-dates the Spanish. In Inca times, the decorations would have included llamas without any Christian symbolism.
  • Pachapapa: One of Cusco’s top-rated traditional Andean restaurants, Pachapapa is located in the San Blas neighbourhood and is one of the best places to try whole roast cuy (guinea pig).
  • Chicha: Operated by one of the country’s most celebrated chefs, Gaston Acurio, Chicha is the place to sample a modern take on regional and Andean cuisine while sipping a Pisco sour on one of the restaurant’s tiny balconies overlooking the street below.
  • MAP Café: The Larco Museum is home to pre-Columbian art. It also houses MAP Café, which serves contemporary Peruvian fusion cuisine such as alpaca, ceviche and lomo saltado.
  • El Parador de Moray: This restaurant opened in 2012 and has since become a favourite with travellers in the Sacred Valley. Located about an hour from Cusco overlooking the Moray terrace ruins, what used to be a hacienda in the foothills of the Andes is now one of the most picturesque and gourmet places to dine on traditional Andean cuisine.
  • Pisco Museum: Museo del Pisco sounds like a museum, but it’s really more of a bar that honours this Peruvian spirit (much like a brandy). The walls display photos showing the Pisco making process while bartenders serve up a variety of cocktails crafted with house-made infused Piscos made with fresh ingredients like strawberry or ginger. You can also opt for a Pisco tasting that offers four varieties to sample (much like a wine tasting).
  • Chicha from a chicheríaChicha is an Andean beverage made with corn that can be either fermented or unfermented. Several chicherías (similar to pubs in Canada) can be found in Cusco selling a variety of chichas often accompanied by small dishes (called picantes). Drinking chicha is part of Peru’s national heritage – Spanish missionaries banned the beverage when they invaded, so now drinking chicha carries cultural meaning as well. The following are a few varieties of chicha (each region has its own special recipe):
    • Chicha blanca (unfermented): made from white corn, usually with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top;
    • Chicha morada (unfermented): made from purple corn with a deep red colour;
    • Chicha de jora (fermented): similar to beer with a light pilsner taste;
    • Chicha picante (fermented): Made by adding a squeeze of lemon and dash of hot pepper sauce to chicha de jora.


The cool months of Fall are approaching and that means stimulated appetites. And what better way to satisfy culinary desires, or the quest for something new, than on a trip to Hong Kong for their tantalizing food celebrations? Fall visitors can indulge in the region’s four-day Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival or stay longer and enjoy even more during the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Month.

Organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and title-sponsored by China Construction Bank (Asia), the CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will be held at the Central Harbourfront Event Space from 22 to 25 October. The excitement will then extend until 30 November, when the whole city will celebrate the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Month.

It all kicks off against the stunning backdrop of Victoria Harbour, where food and drink from around the world will be shared and celebrated. Around 340 stalls will show and share their offerings, all divided into themed areas to help participants find just what they fancy or to sample something new.

In the Country Pavilions wine dealers and experts from 21 countries and regions around the world – including famous Bordeaux – will share secrets of their delicious wines, while the Discovery Zone experts will offer something new for the festival: whiskies and craft beers. And the Cheering Zone will no doubt be especially popular with its sparkling wines and champagnes.

There will, of course, be food as well as drinks. The Tasting Room will demonstrate wine-pairing meals with master chefs, while two new zones – Star Avenue and Gourmet Trails – will present masterpieces from Michelin-starred and other award-winning Hong Kong restaurants. On 24 and 25 October (Saturday and Sunday), chefs from Michelin restaurants in France and Hong Kong, together with award-winning chefs from Hong Kong’s “Best of the Best Culinary Awards”, will present exquisite feasts in the Tasting Room. On the same days, in the afternoon sessions, the renowned Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel will showcase its classic afternoon tea in the Tasting Room. In addition, there will be around 100 food booths offering such delights as barbecued specialities, scrumptious appetizers and sweet treats.

Indulging the appetite is not the only pleasure to be found at the festivals. There will be live music and entertainment on the Main Stage and areas of alfresco seating where it will be possible to kick back and relax under the stars.

On officially launching the event, HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam said: “The CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival is the largest outdoor food and wine event in Hong Kong. We are delighted to stage the largest-ever event this year, with more new zones to present wines from more than 20 countries and regions and a wide range of food selection. The event venue will be specially decorated as an urban garden, in order to create an appealing setting for food and wine tasting.”

During the Wine & Dine Month following the four-day Festival the celebrations will widen across Hong Kong. There will be wine-themed tours, cellar visits, wine appreciation classes, cooking classes with master chefs, street carnivals and parties with dancing and entertainment, special menus and offers in restaurants and hotels all around the town. Everyone will wish they could be in more than one place at one time!

All the details together with ticket information can be found at

A funny thing about Reunion island in the Indian Ocean is that it is completely surrounded by water, but it is known more for hiking and adventure tourism. This video will show you a bit about the topography so you can see why!

Trace TV is presently shooting a series of six sequels, all dedicated to the amazing variety of how one can keep fit when visiting Reunion Island.

The six episodes are moderated and presented by well-known Edmee Cherdieu d’Alexis who spent two weeks on the island as part of the filming which will end in a gala on Sunday, June 14.

Themes covered range from Zumba to Segway driving, to horseback riding and paragliding, and from canyoning to mountain biking. Part of the team introduced will be two of Reunion Island’s tourism ambassadors, Audrey Dardenne and Stephanie Thazar, who will no doubt get the crowds out on Sunday for the final gala farewell session which will also be filmed.

The Trace TV channel is screened on Reunion Island and also in over 140 countries, while Trace Sports TV reaches some 163 countries around the world through syndicated broadcasts.

The Fitness Island program will hit the screens from October onwards, no doubt giving Reunion Island tourism a major boost for the adventure niche market.

Source: Reunion Island Tourism (IRT)

Tourists and journalists currently on Reunion Island could be considered the luckiest travelers in the world. Not only are they witnessing the an answer to the biggest mystery in modern aviation (MH 371), but Saturday morning 9.50 am local time a fantastic scene unfolded after Piton de la Fournaise erupted.

Tourists are lucky. Yes, it’s safe for tourists. Visitors should get ready to see something that is like a once in a life dream. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook already is having its own eruption with tourists and locals posting some of the most amazing photos. Tourists visiting this piece of paradise have a lot more than tropical beaches to write home about.

Reunion volcano, Piton de la Fournaise is known worldwide for its high activity. The volcano erupted for the third time in 2015.
It is also one of the most studied volcanoes in the world, monitored closely by the international scientific community.

The Piton de la Fournaise is indeed one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is possible to observe volcanic activeties safely by following the instructions issued by the Prefecture and the gendarmerie.

It is safe to view, but local authorities are setting some ground rules and view points. Luckily the best position to watch is the Reunion National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Reunion tourism board is explaining to eTN how to get to the view points?

A spokesperson for the tourism board said: “The eruption is visible from the parking area Pas de Bellecombe, but the closest point of view is at the Piton Partage.

Allow about two km walk from Pas de Bellecombe, 30 to 45 minutes to access the perspective.

The National Gendarmerie and the National Forestry Office (ONF) is responsible for ensuring the implementation of these security measures on the site.”

Where on Earth is Reunion Island?

Cyrille Barrieu, marketing and communication manager of the Reunion Island Tourism Board explains it.

“Reunion Island is a French overseas department. It is a small island in the southern Indian Ocean, just off the east coast of Madagascar and only 45 minutes from Mauritius by air. One can fly direct from Paris, Marseille, Bangkok, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Rodrigues, the Comores, Madagascar or Johannesburg.

La Reunion is also not just a typical island destination, offering more than just rest and relaxation – Reunions inhabitants hail from ten different countries and the native Creole culture is blossoming on the island, it is an outdoor and adventure mecca, boasts a plethora of land-living and marine wildlife, and the creative and artisanal offerings are out of this world.

From lunar landscapes to clear blue lagoons and lush tropical forests, French-Indian Ocean Island Réunion is the ultimate travel and tourism destination.


The administration of Reunion Island has given advance notice that another eruption of the famous Piton de la Fournaisse may be imminent and if so, visitors to the island will be able to enjoy a unique spectacle, that of a volcano eruption but from a safe distance and with nothing to worry about except getting the camera settings right.



In recent days, the Piton de la Fournaise has been subject to close observation, and over the past 24 hours, the OVPF has recorded not only an increase in the number of earthquakes but also of increasing intensity and a persistent deformation at the summit of the volcano. According to the prefecture of La Réunion, an eruption is, therefore, likely to take place in the near future.Visitors to Reunion Island can expect another fiery spectacle

Image via

Under these circumstances, the Prefect of Reunion decided to implement alert phase 1 which suggests a probable eruption on April 29, 2015 starting at 6 pm. Public access to the upper part of the enclosure of the Piton de la Fournaise, either from the path of Pas de Bellecombe or from any other path, and the helicopter landing on the rim of the crater, are now prohibited until further notice. The National Gendarmerie and the National Forestry Office (ONF) are the responsible organizations to ensure the implementation of these security measures at the site.

This volcano, which appears on the list of the most active in the world, is one of the most studied and monitored by the international scientific community and the volcano observatory of Reunion Island. Walking on the slopes of this sulfuric fire-breathing “dragon” is an essential activity for visitors to the island, and adventurers in search of intense adrenalin-raising adventures should do not hesitate to consult the specialist tour operator on the island for suggestions on the volcanic theme. Those on the island at the right time may be lucky enough to watch the fountains and glowing lava flowing down the slopes of this basaltic volcano as it spits fire and flame. And should it even happen that the lava rivers meet the Indian Ocean after crossing the road, this is considered the ultimate spectacle one can think of when visiting Reunion Island as the waters of the Indian Ocean are caused to boil and evaporate from the intense heat when the two elements meet.

Source: Reunion Island Tourism (IRT)