Friday, January 20, 2006

Bart's Travel Guide Reviews II: Footprint Peru Hand Book

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Footprint Peru Handbook is original in its kind as it focuses on information and not storytelling.

It has more up-to-date info on the things you actually need in day-to-day travel, most of it presented in a factual way rather than using endless pages of interesting but not-really-necessary info.

From a tour operator point of view, I need to know as many facts as possible in order to prepare, quote and carry out the tours we offer to our public. The Handbook is a great source of information in this area, as I don't have to read around the stories, but get the facts presented in a direct way. Due to the inclusion of much better maps and a very serious work at updating the info accurately, the latest edition is a big improvement, and one of best single guides on Peru currently available.

If you decide to visit the awesome Manu Reserve in the Amazon Jungle, fly over the mysterious Nazca lines, or If you hike the Inca Trail on your way to Machu Picchu, this guide is a must as you'll find all the data you need.

As a matter of fact, if you decide you're going tojust Cusco, I'd advice to get this guide instead of a Cusco-only one. You'll find all you need in Footprint Peru Handbook for sure.


Monday, January 16, 2006

When traveling touches your heart.....

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Dear fellow travelers:

Today I'd like to tell you two travel stories that ended in something even more special than unforgettable memories and amazing pictures.

These are the kind of stories that reflect how much getting in touch with new cultures and realities can put your life in a whole new perspective.

These are the stories about two foundations dedicated to help Peruvian’s poorest children.

Both were born during some of my trips through Peru. Those travels begun as any journey does: like a brand new book with blank pages waiting to be filled with new experiences. But the journey never ended and instead evolved into beautiful initiatives which proof that any of us can make a difference if we really want to.

These are the stories of Paz Holandesa and Pasa la Voz.

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Paz Holandesa, was founded 19th august 1999 by Mrs. Marjan van Mourik and Dr. Daniel Paz y Geuze.

In december 1998, Marjan van Mourik was on holiday in Peru and happened to get in touch with the 'street children's'-project of in Cusco. In June 1999 she returned to further learn about the needs and possibilities for starting a project on her own. It appeared that the Lions lub in Cusco just had kicked of a programme aimed at the lowest social classes of the people in and around Cusco. For this programme they were looking for medical teams that could possibly help out. When back in Rotterdam, Marjan discussed the possibilities to support the efforts of the Lions Club in Cusco and encountered an unexpected and spontaneous enthousiasm.

The Academic Hospital in Rotterdam was more than willing to help with expert knowledge as well as by sending medical teams to fix the job in Cusco. Dr. Daniel Paz y Geuze is helping his country Peru already for a long time by executing operations on children from time to time. He also collects and ships medical tools and goods to help Peruvian hospitals. However, he was more and more looking for some kind of continuity and a more sructural and durable way of cooperating with local Peruvian hospitals in his home town Arequipa as well as in other locations in Peru. Marjan van Mourik and Dr. Paz understood eachother and all things fell in place: the foundation Fundacion PAZ-Holandesa became a reality.The foundation Fundacion PAZ-Holandesa is officially registered in The Netherlands as well as in Peru (please click on the link above-right for the English version)

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Pasa la Voz is peruvian slang for "Tell everybody" and is also the name of our second sponsored foundation, set up and led by a Dutch/Argentine couple; Liesbeth Kerstens and Martin Maleta.

In the city of Cusco, they cooperate with several other projects directed at working children. PLV offers a platform for information exchange between the children and teachers/group leaders of the various participating organizations. This way PLV creates a cooperation network for a variety of entities through the production and sales of a children’s street newspaper. The Dutch Foundation “Hoedje van Papier” (Paper Hat) supports PLV from The Netherlands in the areas of policy development, fundraising, collection activities and management support. PLV’s own website is under construction; I will inform you when it goes live!.

We at CAT Travel are very proud to support both Pasa la Voz and Paz Holandesa as sponsors and active members in some of their projects and are thankful to have the chance to give something back to Peru's amazing people.

Donations can be made in any of the above-mentioned websites. In case you want to know more about Pasa la Voz, please write to: Liesbeth Kerstens ( In case you want to know more about Paz Holandesa, please write to: Marjan van Mourik (

Have a great day!