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Macchu Pichu in June

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Hi, We will be spending 10 days in Lima, Cusco, Macchu Pichu, and Lake Titicaca in June.
Any tips on packing, avoiding illness, restaurants or any advice that you have would be appreciated.
Thanks. Joan

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    Packing - because of the altitude it maybe quite warm during the day but really cold at night so I would advise dressing in layers. A fleece and thermals would be essential plus a waterproof jacket ( although I doubt you will see any rain in June). The sun is VERY strong at altitude so good sunglasses, sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat are must haves. Walking boots with ankle support are preferable if you are planning on doing any serious walking or trekking, otherwise any decent walking shoes/ trainers wiith good grip will do. Wheeled suitcases are a waste of time in Peru so a backpack is better.

    Avoiding illness - the biggest consideration is how best to acclimatise to the increased altitude. Most people will be affected to some degree but there is no way of predicting how much you may be affected as it is not dependent upon age, sex or level of fitness. Most will experience breathlessness on arrival in Cusco by plane, i also had bad headaches and insomnia for a couple of days.The best way to acclimatise is to spend a day or two at a lower altitude before going higher. If your schedule allows, I would go straight to Ollantaytambo ( which is lower than Cusco) from the airport and base myself there for exploring MP and the Sacred Valley.
    Obviously you should check with your doctor to make sure all your vaccinations are up to date for travel. I doubt you will need malaria prophylactics but I would take repellent. The food is excellent in Peru but it pays to take the usual precautions . We ate in a wide variety of places during two months in Peru from market stalls and camping to people's homes and expensive restaurants without any ill effects apart from when we stayed in Aquas Calientes for MP and I was really bad on the day we went to MP. Aquas Calientes is renowned for its incidence of food poisoning so take especially good care where and what you eat there.

    When travelling from Cusco to Puno check out the Inka Express bus service. It is more expensive than a standard bus but well worth the extra as it is a tour in itself. It takes around 8 hours and travels through some amazing scenery as you cross the altiplano. It stops at several places of interest along the way. Allways Travel is a good reliable operator for getting tours out on the lake but if you just want a boat ride on the lake you can just turn up at the dock on the morning.

    I can't really help with restaurants as it is a few years since I was there and things change. The food in Cusco is very good and varied with lots of options at all levels and Lima is probably the best place in Peru for eating out. Don't expect too much in Puno ( although the trout from the lake was excellent as I recall). Hearts Cafe in Ollantaytambo is a great place for whole food and vegetarian food and has the best food hygiene standards in the Sacred Valley - Sonia, the owner is a food writer!

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    I agree with most of what crellston has said, although I now travel with a wheeled suitcase (very lightweight polycarbonate Heys type)! I like the extra security from slashing, and the weather protection is strapped on top of a van or SUV. When I travel, I go directly from the station or airport to hotel in a taxi, so luggage type is not especially important to me. I pack lightly, just a few changes of clothing and minimal toiletries. You can buy a duffle bag to carry your souvenirs. Having laundry done is cheap.

    Walking around in Peru unless you are trekking, it's really best to carry as little as possible. I don't like to walk around with a backpack. Sometimes I use a tiny purse worn crosswise around the front of my body, with a bit of cash, sunscreen, and tp. Be especially careful not to put your bag down without putting a chair leg or your own leg through it, don't hang it on the back of a chair. I hide my money in several places under my clothing. If I must carry my passport, that is wrapped in plastic and also carried under my clothing. A jacket with an inside pocket is handy, as is a bandana or hanky you can put on top of the pocket. You often see recommendations to leave your jewelry, even wedding bands, at home. I wear a $5 cheap plastic watch.

    In Cusco I really liked Greens just off the Plaza for an upscale meal. They are not vegetarian, but if you are craving a salad after all those days of avoiding veggies it's a good place.

    I try to avoid buffets as much as possible.

    In Lima I eat ceviche a lot (the main meal at midday). Punto Azul and El Pez Amigo are two mid-range ones that are more oriented to locals (although I am certainly not the only tourist to ever have dined there).

    Dinner tends to run late and if you aren't used to that I'd recommend going for a sandwich or something lighter. At altitude such as in Cusco and Puno, avoid eating too much for dinner, and avoid alcohol. Switch from coffee to coca tea in the morning. Try to drink about two liters of water a day.

    Soups are really good in Peru, especially the highlands. Hearts Cafe does a nice quinoa soup, good choice for dinner at altitude.

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    I've been to Cusco & Puno several times with groups & stayed in lots of standard tourist class hotels.
    Hotels can be dimly lit, not centrally-heated, have few outlets & only 1 mirror.
    I always carry: headlamp, small magnifying mirror, 6 ft extension cord, Belkin travel plug adaptor & I ask for a space heater right away. Most homes are not heated either, so it's not unusual in Peru.
    I avoid eating too much Papaya (natural laxative) and when tummy problems hit, I take activated charcoal capsules (not the OTC diarrhea remedies which give me the shakes & the most horrible dry mouth)I also carry chewable acidophilus in my first aid kit.

    I used to suffer from altitude sickness the first day. Now I take DIAMOX,(by prescription from my Doc, or walkin to any pharmacy in Cusco) which works wonderfully. I arrive in Cusco at 11000 ft ready to go.
    Outside your hotel, be prepared to use toilets without seats. Especially in Lake Titicaca area. (I looked for an adult size folding potty seat, but so far, can only find the tiny ones with micky mouse. Maybe I'll design one for adults!)
    I try to avoid having lots of dangling bags & containers hanging off my body. I love cargo pants with big pockets.
    The most important thing? Carry lots of small tubes of sunscreen, not one big tube. I watched someone pull out their big fat tube of sunscreen while we were in the boat on Lake Titicaca and it went sailing in to the water. Enough said.
    Don't be fooled by cool temperatures. WEar sunscreen on every patch of bare skin.
    I love the tourist bus from Cusco to Puno. The ride through the highlands is beautiful and it stops along the way. Much cheaper than the train.

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    Hi Joan,

    In terms of restaurants Peru has amazing food and some fabulous restaurants to choose from. If you want an upscale dining experience in Lima head to Chef Virgilio martinez 'Central' Restaruant in Miraflores (http://centralrestaurante.com.pe/es/) The tasting menu is fabulous costs about $84/per person and takes you on a culinary journey through all the different regions of Peru. Defintiely worth the investment for a special treat!

    For some of my favourite Cusco restaurants check out: http://www.bestofcusco.com/placecategory/cusco-restaurant/
    and for Machu Picchu : http://www.bestofcusco.com/placecategory/machu-picchu-eat/

    In terms of packing for Cusco and Machu Picchu rainy season will have passed so you dont have to worry too much about wet weather. Days usually start off cold, warm up considerably around midday and then cool down again in the evenings. For packing info try this site: http://www.bestofcusco.com/what-to-pack-for-cusco-machu-picchu-and-peru/

    Happy planning!

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    What to pack - toilet paper! I read that and had Kleenex, napkins or something with me at all times. Only needed it twice, but that was enough to justify carrying it! We packed some snacks ( granola bars, etc) which I normally do not do, but most places were not overrun with snack bars and souvenir shops like places in the Us and Europe, so we were glad to have something in a pinch.

    My husband and son were each sick for a day, but I was fine. I am the only one who brushed my teeth with bottled water instead of tap and washed fruit (when I had it) with bottled water. So that may have helped. I am also the only one who doesn't eat meat, but the places we ate were clean and pretty mainstream, so I would think the meat would have been fine. Maybe I got lucky. I did drink coca tea (replaced half my coffee - there was no giving up coffee!) and drank lots of water. We also had some coca candy from the tour guide that was tasty and fun if nothing else.

    Our favorite restaurant was in urubamba - Huacatay, if you find yourself there. In Cusco we liked Pachapapa - REALLY heavy, cheesy wood fired pizza. Guess we were hungry that day! I got one with red and yellow peppers - yum!

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    Thank you all for your most thoughtful answers. Sorry for the long delay in getting back here. Life interfered. Any other comments or advice? Medications recommended? Joan

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    Advil or Tylenol for altitude headache (I prefer the Advil). I bring Pepto Bismol tabs and take a few every day as a preventative. It seems to work for me. Some doctors will prescribe Cipro for emergency use for diarrhea that doesn't respond to diet measures (not eating solids for a day, then rice and tea). You can also by Cipro OTC in Peru, a few tabs at a time, which may be cheaper.

    You can't do the Pepto if you may decide to take Diamox, since they are both salicylates.

    Of course check with your doctor is best, but they are not all travel specialists.

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