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TRIP REPORT: Bolivia and Peru

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Myself and 3 friends just returned from 12 days in Bolivia and Peru. For those who are interested, here are some highlights:

La Paz is a wonderful city, but altitude sickness is to be taken seriously. TAKE IT EASY. Rest the first few days. Our tour guide took us hiking to Chacaltaya (15,000 feet) the day after we arrived, and we were very sick afterwards. (thus we do not recommend Potosi tours)

In La Paz we stayed at the Hostal Republica one night, NOT very friendly people at all. Then we moved to the Residential Rosario -- EXCELLENT PLACE. And their restaurant, The Tambo Colonial, was fabulous. Another fun section of La Paz is down by the university/alliance francaise.......

Peru was amazing. Everything you have heard about Machu Picchu is true. Get a reserved seat on the train to make your life easier. And don't waste the money on the lunch at the hotel on the mountain, it's really a tacky and tasteless spread. Back in Cuzco, we had a spectacular meal at the Inca Grill in the plaza, the owner attended high school in Massachusetts and is very friendly. The pears baked in port wine is the best dessert I had on the trip! We stayed at the Hostal Cristina, friendly place, nice people.

Do yourself a favor -- fly to Peru from la Paz instead of taking the bus and/or train! It is only one hour in the air, cheap fare. Plus, I have heard horror stories about Puno, and people being raped and robbed there. We are very grateful that we flew.

Lake Titicaca was lovely, although Copacabana was a complete muddy dump. The Hotel Copacabana was creepy -- seemed like the owner was lurking in the shadows everyhwhere we turned. Instead, stay at the Residential Rosario in Copacabana. Looks nice. And Isla Del Sol was so beautiful, one of my favorite spots. Also, the bus ride from La Paz to Titicaca is scenic and pretty, despite Copacabana itself being pretty gross.

Cochabamba is nothing special, my apologies if I am offending those people who raved about it. The tall statue of Christ was cool for about ten minutes, then the rest of the time we were there was boring. We stayed at the Hostal Central, where the people who ran it were cranky and stingy. Not the best part of our trip.

Sucre, Bolivia, cannot be missed. Delightful, delicious, gorgeous. Clean, pretty, lovely. Can't rave enough about it. The Hostal Sucre is the best! So pretty. And eat at the Bibliocafe, a very fun and tasty spot. And the Restaurant Suiza next door was good too. Walk up to the Recoleto, enjoy the view.

As far as safety, we had no problems. Nothing was stolen, but remember to lock up your passport and tickets in the hotel safe when you leave for the day. Things can get stolen from your room.

The weather was lovely. Sucre and Cochabamba were warm, La Paz could get cool, and Peru was warm. Pants and long-sleeveed shirts sufficed. With a sweater at night.

The food was excellent. I never got sick from either the food or the water thank god.....and my feeling is that life is too short to not enjoy oneself. We were all paranoid about eating this or that thinking, "Will it make us ill?" then we just relaxed, ate well, and everything went beautifully.

A wonderful trip, a lifetime of memories. Feel free to email me directly with questions.

Kate

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