This Christmas and New Year, what could be better than making the most of the Holiday Season and vacation period than going to explore the Inca wonders of Peru? During the peak of the Inca Empire, it stretched from the center of Chile to the south of Colombia with the vibrant city of Cusco as its capital. The Inca Capital of Cusco is a joy to explore with its charming cobblestone streets, impressive surrounding Andean vistas and perfectly preserved colonial architecture. In the artist district of San Blas and near to Cusco’s main square of Plaza de Armas is the lovely and luxurious Inkaterra La Casona Hotel. We were fortunate enough to speak with Luisella Garmendia, the Resident Manager of the hotel to find out about Cusco during the end of year festivities.
♦ Please include a brief introduction about yourself, your position and Inkaterra La Casona.
My name is Luisella Garmendia and I’ve been the Resident Manager of the Inkaterra La Casona Hotel in Cusco for the last 4 years. Inkaterra La Casona is a 16th Century mansion, considered a National Monument, which was occupied by the first Spanish conquistadores, Diego de Almagro and Simon Bolivar. In 1999 it was acquired by Inkaterra, and went through a 2-year period of careful renovations to preserve the original style and architecture. In 2008 it was inaugurated as the Inkaterra La Casona Hotel with 11 suites that all have the original walls and are decorated in a contemporary style with comfort and quality as the main focus.
♦ Why do you think that Cusco is the perfect place to visit for Christmas & New Year’s Eve?
Cusco is the perfect place to visit because it has a magical energy that attracts visitors to spend their end of year vacations here. Also downtown Cusco becomes a center of celebration that entertains thousands of visitors with events organized by the Municipality of Cusco such as firework displays and the traditional Santuranticuy Crafts Fair that takes place annually on the 24th December in the central Plaza Mayor. If you visit Cusco for Christmas or New Year’s Eve you’ll also be able to enjoy live music performances in the central square as well as many other spectacular events.
♦ Do you have any special celebrations going on or near your hotel during Christmas & New Year’s Eve?
We have prepared a unique program that allows you to enjoy the festivities especially in the magical city of Cusco. The celebration begins at 6.30pm with an informal cocktail where guests can enjoy some quality time with a glass of chilled champagne, exquisite canapés and musical accompaniment performed by a duo from the region while you also soak up the festive hotel atmosphere. We then invite our guests to join in with our traditional and festive dinner featuring a special menu to celebrate the end of the year.
♦ What is your stand-out Cusco memory at Christmas or New Year’s Eve?
It would be welcoming in a New Year and sharing in the New Year’s celebrations with people from all over the world in the main square of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas.
♦ How do Peruvians celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
Christmas is a big celebration in Peru during which families gather around the ‘pesebre’ (nativity scene) prepared that day to receive the Baby Jesus. The churches in Peru are all decorated for the Holidays and many have competitions for the best nativity scene. New Year’s on the other hand is more of a gathering with friends.
♦ What is the Christmas and New Year’s Eve activity you would recommend to people staying at Inkaterra La Casona?
To participate in the celebrations held in the Plaza de Armas and surrounding streets as well as taking in the atmosphere at nearby restaurants, bars and hotels.
♦ What advice would you give to travelers coming to Cusco during the Holiday period?
Make sure to book early so that you’re not disappointed as the Holiday period has peak occupancy levels.
♦ What is Cusco like to visit during Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
During Christmas and New Year’s, Cusco has plenty of offerings with lots of atmosphere and activities to be enjoyed.
♦ What will you be asking from Santa Claus this year for Christmas?
This year I will be asking for health and well-being.