What?!? Peru's not in Europe?

Old Feb 24th, 2004, 04:50 PM
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Amy
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What?!? Peru's not in Europe?

But hey, at least it's not Italy or France.

Anyway, I was just wondering if any of you lovely European board people have info to share about your experiences in Peru; I did post in Latin America but it doesn't really receive the "business" that Europe does!

I'm booked to go in August and that seems a long time away right now, so I'd love to hear anyone's stories.

(I'm going to Machu Picchu area and the rainforest lodges near Iquitos, as well as a bit of time in Lima.)
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Old Feb 24th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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My mother is Peruvian and I spent just about every Christmas in the 1960s and early 70s in Peru. Fascinating country; I'm sure you will enjoy it. You will need to pack well as it will be warm and humid in Iquitos, cold and windy in Machu Pichu and cool and damp in Lima. In Lima, don't wear any jewelery (even costume jewelery) that you cannot afford to lose. My mother has had several necklaces just pulled right off of her neck.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 12:12 AM
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I spent New Year's Eve 1999 in Cuzco because I wanted to be in a mystical place for the millennium celebration. I had a wonderful time and absolutely loved Peru. Be forewarned though--until you become acclimated, altitude sickness can wipe you out.

If you have never experienced it, it is hard to describe. I was nauseated, dizzy, had a horrible headache, and couldn't walk in a straight line. Moreover, I felt like I was suffocating. I called the front desk at the hotel and they sent up an oxygen tank (they are accustomed to dealing with guests in my condition).

The effects of high altitude are apparently not related to age or fitness level. I met a buff 31-year-old man who was in just as bad a condition as I, while his 69-year-old mother was barely affected. So you may not suffer any negative effects at all. However, I wouldn't recommend hiking the Inca Trail upon arrival--plan to take it easy for at least the first couple of days.

Many people dismiss Lima as bland and uninteresting, but I enjoyed the few days I spent there. I also wish I had allotted more time for Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu.

I went to Peru at the tail end of a trip to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Peru was my favorite of the four, and I hope to go back some day. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 04:43 AM
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I was in Peru in November and absolutely loved it. I stayed at the Hotel Miraflores Antigua in Lima. It was charming with a really nice staff. We walked everywhere and had some excellent meals. If you do a word search for my name on the Latin America board you should turn up my recommendations.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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Amy: Peru is fantastic. There is no other way to put it. Lima is wonderful and shouldn't be missed. Tour only during the day, do not wander into narrow side-streets and be mindful of your belongings at all times. You can take a tour and have some safty in numbers. All that being said, don't miss the beautiful colonial architecture of this beautiful city.
We actually stayed in Miraflores a few miles away. Miraflores is a very cosmopolitan city with a couple of great museums and a fun cafe/restaurant scene. We drove to Lima on pretty good roads for day trips. If you do drive, observe all laws carefully. We were pulled over by an immaculately uniformed Colonal who entered our car and directed us to drive as he gave us instructions. Our Spanish is limited, so we had to ask him to repeat his directions as we drove and it was clear he was looking for a payment. We kept asking him what law we had broken. He just kept issuing directions and we kept asking him to repeat them. Finally, he waved us to the side of the road, exited and bid us good day with a salute as he walked away. Whewh!
Cuzco is (OK, here I go again) fantastic. The city is truly beautiful. Ancient history is all around you. Colonial Churches are actually built on the foundations of Incan Ruins. Consequently, the lower levels are still intact. Incan Ruins are all around the city and can be visited. The Indian Markets on the other side of the portals are fascinating. Don't be over there at night. There are good restaurants and cafes everywhere. If you are fortunate (we were), there will be a religous procession honoring some Saint or special day on the central plaza while you are there. They occur frequently.
From Cuzco, it is an easy drive on good roads out to the Urubamba Valley, the agricultural center of Peru. There are beautiful farms, a few wineries and a fantastic market at Pisac. This market is for Peruvians and features agricultural and meat products, artifacts and street food stalls. Not far from Pisac is one of the most beautiful hillside Incan Ruins in Peru. If you are not driving, you can negotiate with a cab driver near the central plaza in Cuzco and for about $25 (I am sure it is more now) and a tank of gas, he will become your driver for the day. He will take you out into the valley, to Pisac, to the ruins and wineries, wherever and wait while you tour. The views as you descend from the hills down into the valley are spectacular.
We took the train from Cuzco to Machu Pichu. Very comfirtable old cars and a very sceneic trip. Much of the trip follows the Inca trail. If you go this way, be sure to try the tomales sold by the natives at each train stop; savory and sweet. We had savory on the way up and sweet on the way back. They will come up to the train windows while it is stopped and you use finger language to order and they will do the same to tell you the price. They are warm and delicous. There will be many artisans selling there wares at the train stops as well. My daughter negitiated with a young man that had a beautiful handmade (of course) rug. As the the train started to depart, they came to an agreemant and my daughter told him to return the next afternoon and they would conclude their transaction. Sure enough, on the return trip he was there and ny daughter bought the rug.
Machu Pichu is majestic. We arrived in the early afternoon and stayed the night at the only hotel up at the ruins. This essentially gave the place to us alone in the late afternoon, evening and early the next morning. The stillnes, the views and the ruins are just awesome.
The rain forests near Iquitos are very interesting as is Iquitos itself. The markets that lined the main street through the town are very colorful and interesting. There are villages of shacks on stilts on the water where natives live their whole lives. Good restaurants and cafes are at the water's edge with views of the Amazon and the stilted shack villages as you dine. Remember, Iquitos is a frontier town. So, don't expect the height of luxery. But, the restaurants are pretty and the food good.
If you can, arrange to take a river boat down the the Amazon with Explorama to a couple of their jungle compounds. You will live in a grass shack with an open back wall, sleep in mosquito netting beds, lounge on hammocks on elevated bamboo walkways (the Amazon does flood) and you will have parrots, macaws, tapirs and monkeys for companions. You will eat in a large, common table, netted dining hall and the food is good if adventurous. You will have a guide assigned to you when you depart from Iquitos and he will stay with you for the length of your jungle stay. Our guide, Secondo, was a local and was able to get us into places we would otherwise not have seen. He took us to friends stilted huts (these are very large and have several rooms) made typically of bamboo. Cooking is done on an arrangement made of stones. Sometimes there is electricity. Some times there isn't. Their livestock, pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, etc. live in the area under the stilted shacks. These people appear to be very happy.
Secondo took us to a sugar cane distillery where we drank the brandy released directly from the copper tubeing. The owner shook out a couple of metal cups and drew the drinks. I hesitated as I looked at the cups, but than realized that any germ that could survive this almost wholegrain alcohol would be an exception indeed. Maybe it was the jungle, but it was delicous. Secondo inquired as to our interests and then he set up a program to see those things. We saw snakes, spiders, sloths, monkeys and poisonous frogs. The frogs are tiny and very bright red. The natives stew the frogs and use the liquid to dip the tip of their blowgun darts in order to stun their prey. Secondo took us to a native village where we tried using the blowguns. My daughter did very well getting near to the target. My dart fell off the end of the blowgun as soon as it excited. I keep telling everyone I am not as long winded as they think.
Peru was an adventure including our experience with Peruvian Airlines (another story, another time). We loved it. The people are kind and while not outwordly friendly, responded well when invited. The country is beautiful. We will go again. Have a great trip.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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This message is for both Amy and JoeGri :

First Amy : Peru is fantastic ! In March 1994, I did 4 weeks there starting off from Lima, then flying to Iquitos, then hiring a local guide and spending 10 AMAZING days in the Amazon (it was rough but a life time experience and learning so many things that I never dreamed of), flying out of Iquitos to Cuzco and then taking the tiny train to Machu Picchu (eating choklo con case). MP is breathtaking. We ended up staying the night (unplanned) in Acquas Caliente and then doing the mystical sunrise tour of MP, followed by climbing even higher to Waina Picchu. Great fun in Cuzco at the Crosskeys pub. You'll have to PM me for more info.

Joegri : This is amazing ! When doing our Amazon it was just 4 of us including our guide. However, for a large part of the trip we were with a US group with Explorama - and Segundo was the guide for them too ! I have photos of him. I traded the tee shirt off my back for a real blowgun and later for one of those hand carved paddles. Swam with the Piranha and the pink dolphins and saw masses of birds !
Did you walk the drawbridge ?
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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Britain has an underground tunnel to Peru, don't you know.
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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>Peru's not in Europe<
Hey,I Peru-se the Europe board nearly every day.
Sorry
JoeG
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Old Feb 25th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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uuhhhh
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i was inclined to let this disappear down the queue, but couldn't stop myself from replying.

there are reasons for separate forums;
- if you mix geography, people have to search for posts on their geographical areas of interest; and,
- if we all posted on the same forum, individual posts would potentially drop down the queue unanswered.

i'm sure some of you can think of more..
 
Old Feb 25th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Amy
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uhhhhh (or is that two u's and three h's?) so sorry for 'bumping this up the queue' again, but just wanted to say~

Thanks to all the lovely Europe posters who responded. I truly enjoyed your stories and the sharing of your enthusiasm. It's "travel talking" at its best!

Joe--Peru-se? oooooooooooo (that big sound that people make whenever they hear a pun that they wish they'd made first...)
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