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Trip Report Peru Trip Report & Reviews (Lima, Sacred Valley, Manu, Cusco)

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We went to Peru April 20-30 and really enjoyed our time there—the food, scenery, sights, and people all make the country an exceptional place to visit.

Lima:

Peru Star Hotel- nice rooms and location, helpful staff

Lima tip- bring a notebook for writing down addresses for taxi drivers.

I read a lot before our trip that made me apprehensive about Lima, particularly with regard to taking taxis. We were cautious in Lima (we generally avoided wearing our cameras around our necks) but, generally we felt safe. We found it refreshing to be in a cosmopolitan city in South America with so few visible tourists. We spent three days in Lima and felt like this was a perfect amount of time and, in fact, I recommend spending this amount time in Lima if you’re foodies like us since Lima appears to have many of the country’s best restaurants (for restaurant recommendations, check out my blog, http://bloggingsouls.wordpress.com)

Pisac:

Following the advice of many Trip Advisor posts, we decided to spend our first night in Pisac rather than Cusco. Its possible this helped us acclimate, but we had Diamox and the only potential effect of altitude sickness I felt was getting winded more easily in Cusco. I suspect the night in Pisac wasn’t necessary for us.

Casa del Conde- this hotel received really positive reviews on Trip Advisor and I’m not sure why. The room was so-so, the grounds nice but didn’t strike me as out of the ordinary for the Sacred Valley, the hotel is not easily accessible except by mini-taxi, no one came to the gate when we rang at the front gate (we were let in by the hotel’s mini-taxi driver), the proprietor was nowhere to be found in the morning when we were looking to check out (I had to ask one of her staff members to get her), she requested payment in US dollars but didn’t tell us in advance and when I paid, her assistant pointed out all the flaws in the bills we gave (guess they’re strict about this in Peru but, again, she should have told us this in advance), and the taxi she called for us charged twice what most taxis charge for the trip from Pisac to Cusco. The only highlight of this hotel was the breakfast.

Sacred Valley:

Based on a post on Trip Advisor, we arranged a day trip of the Sacred Valley with Henrry Caceres (henrrycq@gmail.com). I definitely recommend him—he’s an excellent driver and a licensed tour guide (though he speaks primarily Spanish). He was also super nice and helped us transport our luggage to our hotel in Pisac down a dark, long dirt pathway.

SV tip: Dress in layers as the temperature and wind conditions vary by location!

Inca Trail/Machu Picchu:

Llama Path- we did the 2-day, 1-night Inca Trail/Machu Picchu Trail package and our guide was great and the one day Inca Trail was perfect for us.

Inca Trail tip: Garbage can't be thrown out along the Inca Trail so bringing a plastic bag is a good idea.

Aguas Calientes:

El Mistico Hostal- pretty bare bones hostal, would not recommend

Manu Cloud Forest:

Inkanatura- We did the 3-day, 2-night Manu Cloud Forest trip. I was really looking forward going to Manu and while I enjoyed the overall experience, I was disappointed with the bird- and wildlife watching aspect of the trip. I’ve gone on numerous bird-watching excursions in Latin America and the Caribbean and have never paid so much for such a disappointing bird-watching experience. While I understand that you can’t always count on birds being present, I think our guide was at fault for deciding that we should go along with the two other lodge customers on their ride to the boat which meant we didn’t get back to the lodge until 3pm and we had very little time do any birdwatching. That being said, the lodge itself is nice and the ride to and from Cusco scenic.

Manu tip: Bring portable toilet paper with you as there may not be restrooms for long stretches en route and returning from Manu

Cusco:

Hotel Andenes al Cielo- nice rooms, good location.

Cusco Planetarium- informative, liked the Roberto Bernini-like astronomy professor, but it was freezing when we went outside to look at the stars through the telescope!

My blog (http://bloggingsouls.wordpress.com) has more details on our trip, along with
photos and restaurant reviews.

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