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itinerary suggestions for peru- 1 month trip?

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Hi

i'm planning a trip (fo two) to Peru in late sept/october, we have four weeks to travel.

My plan so far:

fly in to Lima (tips on what to do around Lima?), make our way to cusco maybe with a stop in between. from cusco we want to do a short 2/3 days trek (if possible to macchu pichu but it might be too late to book) and spend about 5 days in the Amazon.
After that we would like to see the Titicaca-lake area. Thereafter, it seems logical to go to Arequipa in order to take a flight back to Lima, but there might other options? Is it doable to see some of Bolivia from Titicaca in a few days?

Any suggestions on how to travel, what stops on the way we shouldn't miss and other tips and tricks are more than welcome! There are so many travel agencies, tours and possibilities that I almost dont know where to start.

Many thanks!

Marga

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    Hey there Marga,

    This is an awesome plan. Here are a couple of thoughts:

    1. You can either add Lima to the beginning or end of your trip, but there is a lot you can do in and around the city depending how much time you have. If you are only spending a day, I suggest a day tour to the historis center of Lima to see the Plaza de Armas and the Basilica Catedral and then the museums in Pueblo Libre. If you are staying more than one day, I would recommend making it up to the Caral-Supe ruins of the oldest pre-Inca city in the Americas. You can even travel south to Paracas (about 4 hours away) and visit the Natural reserve. The other thing is if you are going to head south, you can go sandboarding in Huacachina (a lovely oasis in the middle of the desert) and even travel to Nasca and check out the geoglyphs and other remnants of pre-Inca cultures.
    2. A 2 or 3 day hike to Agua Calientes and then up to Machu Picchu is doable. You would want to do the Salkantay or Lares Treks. These are typically 3 or 4 day treks with a guide and porters, but you have to take a bus or the train up to the actual Machu Picchu Mountain. The classic Inca Trail is the only trek that takes you to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu. Also, if you are traveling during May through September, you need to book way in advance because these treks book up fast. Also, you might want to spend a day or two acclimatizing to the altitude in Cusco. You can do this by trekking around the Sacred Valley, which is at a lower altitude.
    3. 5 days in the Amazon is great! Given your geographical location at the time, you could go to Puerto Maldonado in Madre de Dios near the Tambopata River. Personally, I would make a stop at Manu Biosphere. It isn't the easiest place to get to, but it is raw natural beauty at it's finest. You can also opt to go to the Tambopata National Reserve near Puerto Maldonado. Also really cool, and a little more easlily accessible.
    4. It is super easy to head over to Bolivia once you get to Puno/Lake Titicaca. You can take a cruise or a bus over to Copacabana. I personally would go with the cruise to check out the Floating Islands of Uros and Isla del Sol. :)
    5. I 100% think you should spend a couple of days around Arequipa. It is a lovely city with lost of history. The museum there has the Jaunita Ice Mummy, there is Yanahuara Lookout that has beautiful vistas of the surrounding volcanoes, there are lovely 18th century colonial mansions. Not to mention, the entire city is white because of the sillar. It is beautiful. Not only that, but Arequipa is the gateway to canyon country. You can take a bus to Colca Canyon, do some hiking, see some Wari Ruins, maybe do some white water rafting.

    This is a lot of info, but I hope it is helpful!

    Kathleen M., Experienced Peru Traveler

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    For Lima a great website is www.limaeasy.com I would probably NOT recommend that you take an entire day to visit Caral. I don't know if the travel agent above has actually done that trip. Unless you go on a weekend day, it's unlikely you will find a group tour (and even then, most are in Spanish). It can be a hairy ride if the coast highway is fogged in. Unless you are super in to archaeology, you probably aren't going to get more out of it than many other places you might visit in Peru or Bolivia.

    For detailed info on Peru, if you haven't seen it, check www.andeantravelweb.com Inside that site is a link to look up available permits for the two-day Inca Trail, and everything but one day in October is sold out. It might be sold out by the time you are ready to book. If you can't get the trek you want, you can also just do a day or half day hike (for example Pisac ruins) & there are several hikes within Machu Picchu itself. If you hike up to the Sun Gate, that is how the Inca Trail trekkers enter the site.

    One typical itinerary by bus (assuming you are okay with taking buses) is to go down the coast to Arequipa, then inland to Cusco. Eg
    very early morning bus down from Lima to catch the Ballestas Islands and Paracas (boat rides leave in the morning)
    Next to Huacachina for sand boarding,
    Then to Nazca (you can also visit some interesting ruins nearby)
    Nazca to Arequipa is about 8 hours by bus (there are no airlines).

    If you want to skip the above leg, you can fly Lima to Arequipa to start your trip.

    From Arequipa there are tours to the Colca Canyon by bus (allow at least a night), and you can continue on to Cusco directly from Chivay now (the bus company 4-M Express just started doing this). There are also buses from Chivay to Puno (Lake Titicaca) with the same company.

    All Ways is one of the better tour companies in Puno for seeing Lake Titicaca's Peruvian side (more interesting than the Bolivian side, and I've seen both).

    You have several options for getting to and around Bolivia.

    You can fly on certain days from Cusco to La Paz on Amaszonas Airlines. Or you can bus from Puno to La Paz in about half a day.

    La Paz is an amazing city which I really enjoyed.

    From La Paz there are options to fly to either Sucre or Uyuni. Or you can take a train/bus (or just a bus) from La Paz to Uyuni. If you are on a backpacker budget, you can look up prices on Kanoo Tours website (they have an agency in La Paz). The most common tour of the Salt Flats is to do a 3 day two night circuit which includes the southern lakes and volcanoes.

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