Independence day holiday set to up hotel and transport rates

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Independence day celebrations around July 28th are expected to bring record numbers of Peruvian tourists to popular destinations within the country. In particular, many of Lima’s estimated 9 million residents will use the holiday to get out of the cold and grey winter weather and travel to the provinces.

Destinations popular with Peruvians include the Junín region, Cajamarca, Lambayeque and Ayacucho, as well as the destinations popular with international tourists. Prices for transport and accommodation will skyrocket over the holiday, returning to normal at the beginning of August. Travelers are advised to book ahead so as to ensure accommodation over the holiday period.

Machu Picchu entrance fee may rise to $100

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Peruvian tourism minister Mercedes Araoz today discussed the measures that may be put into place to preserve Machu Picchu, including further entry controls and the construction of a cable car system, in association with UNESCO and the World Tourism Organization.

“We have to administer the entry system and the administration of tours, as well as the opening hours,” she said, at a ceremony to mark the site’s election as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.

She added that her ministry is working alongside the private sector on several projects, such as the installation of viewpoint at strategic locations and new tour routes around the site.

She ruled out any increase to the entry price for the site, which currently stands at around US$38 for foreigners and $17 for Peruvians, saying “there is no reason to increase the cost of visiting Machu Picchu, and no technical study that suggests any price increase”.

On the other hand, Cusco’s regional president Hugo Gonzalez has suggested a substantial increase to the entry price, which is already significantly greater than that of any of the other sites elected as ‘wonders’. “Foreigners are already spending at least $1000 on their flights and accommodation, so they can afford to pay more for the main reason they came here.”

Gonzalez suggests free entry to residents of the Cusco region, a reduction to $10 for other Peruvians, and an entry price of $80-100 for foreign tourists. Including other fees and standard transport to the site, this would bring the total cost of visiting Machu Picchu from Cusco to around $200.

Weather forecast

Peru’s meteorological service SENAMHI has forecast drizzle and low temperatures in Lima this week, with dense fog in the mornings.

Fog is expected to dissipate by 9am in regions away from the coast, while seaside districts such as Miraflores can expect it to remain until noon.

Coastal areas will not see the sun this week, while there is a possibility of some faint sunshine in other parts of Lima.

The southern mountains, and Puno region in particular, are expected to be prone to extreme low temperatures, as harsh as -27°C (15°F).

Loreto strike in force

The 72 hour regional strike in Peru’s jungle Loreto region has started, with road blocks on the Tarapoto-Yurimaguas highway and closures on all levels.

The strike, called by the local government in response to new taxation laws concerning the area, is estimated as having a 90% impact on the region’s commercial and official activities including the departmental capital of Iquitos.

Hospitals, markets and some public transport operators remain functional.

Despite widespread protests, the situation has been described as “peaceful”, with no injuries or damage to property reported.

Juan Diego Flores receives Peru’s highest honor

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Today Peru’s President Alan Garcia awarded the order of the Sun of Peru at the level of the Grand Cross, the nation’s highest honor, to Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flores.

The ceremony took place in the Gilded Room of the Palace of Government, where the president recognized Flores for his outstanding contributions to Peru’s worldwide image. The tenor is thought of as among the world’s greatest classical singers, vaunted by many as the successor to Luciano Pavarotti.

The order of the Grand Cross of the Sun of Peru is the nation’s highest honor.

Peru’s economic risk hits new low

Peru’s economic risk rating dropped on Friday from 1.00% to 0.97%, as calculated on the JPMorgan EMBI+ rating. This is the first time in the nation’s history that its rating has dropped below 1%.

The Emerging Markets Bond Index Plus is a rating of the difference in value between a Peruvian government issued bond and an equivalent bond issued by the US treasury, so is an accepted measure of the probability that a country fail to meet its obligations. A low rating means that the country is seen as “safe” by international investors.

This drop in risk is likely to encourage a large number of international financiers who only consider investing in countries with a rating of under 1%.

Peru’s international credit score is given as BB+ by two of the three main agencies, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s – just one step away from the top level ratings in the A category.

Many analysts consider it likely that Peru will reach the “investment level” soon, which is expected to result in a flood of foreign investment. A risk rating of under 1% and a credit score of A are the key components necessary for this to happen.

Peru-Brazil joint expedition: Amazon is world’s longest river

 A joint Peruvian-Brazilian expedition has declared that the Amazon is the world’s longest river, stretching 6,672km (4,145.8 miles) from the Mismi mountain in Cuzco, Peru, to its mouth into the Atlantic in Brazil – compared to the 6,671km (4145.2 mile) length of the Nile.

While no hydrologists doubt that the Amazon is the world’s largest river in terms of flow, drainage basin, ecosystem and global impact, there is still debate over which river is the longest.

Egyptian officials have yet to recognize the Peruvian-Brazilian findings.