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Going to Peru in September - what tips can you give me???

Going to Peru in September - what tips can you give me???

Old Jun 27th, 2002, 07:45 PM
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Going to Peru in September - what tips can you give me???

My husband and I are going solo (without tour group) for three weeks to Peru and are trying to keep the schedule flexible in case we want to stay longer/or not in a particular place.

Will travel the southern area (Nazca Lines, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Puerto Maldondado - not hiking the Inca Trail, but will stay at Aguas Calentia a night or two to see MP at dawn).

We have tickets, hotel in Lima for first couple of nights (they'll pick us up at airport), some tours company information for specific sites/places, domestic flight schedule, and recommendations for hotels in other places we'll be going. Also, have immunizations lined up.

We'll take hiking boots, sneakers, sandals, moleskin, flashlights, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, fold-up ponchos, fleece jacket for higher altitudes, ATM card, Spanish/English dictionary, travel guide, some pages printed from the internet, usual over-the-counter medications, hats, sunglasses, shorts, T-shirts, and a couple pair of long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

I feel like we've done extensive reseach, but does anyone have tips as to items taken that were invaluable, or places, events that you're glad you didn't miss? Or just other valuable info?

Thanks in advance.
Old Jun 28th, 2002, 05:35 AM
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i know i'm not offering any advice , but i'd be very grateful if you'd share some of your info with me.my fiance and i are doing a similar thing but starting with a tour in ecuador, down to lima and then making our own way to the other sites you have mentioned. i would specifically appreciate any info on domestic flights, or where i can get the info, as i cant seem to get ANY from here in australia.
Old Jun 28th, 2002, 11:30 AM
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I'll share, of course, what information I have:
Aero Continente seems to be the main domestic air provider in Peru. Their web site is:

Also, LanPeru is another domestic air provider:

Also, the Peru train system web site is:

I've gotten great recommendations for Lima Tours:

Let me know if I can help more.

Old Jul 1st, 2002, 06:58 AM
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What Karen wrote is true, also LanChile flies into Peru, In Ecuador, we took Taca (taca.com), to get to Lima,new planes excelente service, we also took Tame Airlines to fly Cuenca back to Quito, flies daily. we got to Cuenca by land with bus to Banos, then a taxi took us to Riobamba, what a deal, 15$
for the two hour ride but we had so many stops on the way to watch the volcanoes, pick so ash from volcano etc etc, guinea pigs for lunch.... he helped us to find a hotel there in Riobamba (do not expect to much there)
we took the train as far as we could, beautiful ride, do not miss it! then the bus arranged on the train, to get to Cuenca, we stayed at hotel Milan,

when booking plane tickets, try to be at their offices, on the net you can get all rates, in Quito: we stayed at casa sol, on Calama street in new Quito
very clean, new rooms for $30/room or you can find cheaper hotel on same st. for $10 / room with cable t.v. (news)
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 03:57 AM
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thanks so much for that information. a great help.
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 08:44 AM
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We were there in early May and here is what I learned...
1. Take the pants that have zippers and can become shorts. The mountains can be cool early and late while the sun is hot during the day. We went serching for them in Lima after an excursion and saw them on people.
2. Have lots of individual sols. You give them to the people you take pictures of or see the inside of their home and for lots of other minor things. We were always in need of a sol or two.
3. Travellers checks slow you down! Most places do not want to accept them or there might be a line....
4. Stay few nights in Lima. The real Peru is out of the city. Lima is more or less just a city that grew too fast!
5. In Cusco eat on the balcony of Bagdad Cafe so you can watch all the people in the square. Good place to drink the local beer!
6. Do not tell the street peddlers, "maybe" or "tomorrow". They will hunt you down and be relentless.
7. Take a bunch of older clothes you want to get rid of and leave in the hotel after you are done wearing them. It leaves room for your goodies you bring home.
8. Buy what you like. You will come home and wish you had bought more of the wonderful handicrafts from such an incredible country and from such memorable people.
Have fun, wish I were going back in September. My favorite country, besides the USA!!!
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 03:23 PM
E.T. Wilbur III
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My brother and I make it to Peru every 4-5 years. The Nazca lines are a cool idea, but the only way to see them is by air. Hire a chopper & fly over. From the ground thy just look like dirt roads and are not very exciting. Takes a long time to get there too. If I were you I'd opt to see the Nasca lines by air, zip over & do Titicaca & then head north. I would recommend coming up with a few days that you could fly to Iquitos, at the mouth of the Amazon. It truly is a frontier town. Feels like being transported back to the 1800's here. Do not preschedule a tour into the jungle, but, rather, go to the Plaza de Armas and book a tour with one of the agencies there. Better rate & cooler stuff to see. The Amazon basin is amazing. The zoo in Iquitos is quite amazing too.

When you are in Cuzco, just go hang out in the Plaza de Armas in the evening. The beggers will bug for a little while, but then leave you alone to soak up the truly Latin American ambience.

If you have not already booked a tour through the Sacred Valley, Sacsaiwoman & such, wait until you get to your hotel & ask them to set you up. Be forceful with the tour director. Tell them you do not want to be taken from mercado to mercado, but want to see the ruins. You'll get loads of chances to see mercados anyway.

While in Cuzco, you have to have to eat Cuy (guinea pig). It is a delicacy there and is quite good. Tastes alot like rabbit. But even better is the tales you'll tell and the photos you'll show of you eating what could be Junior's pet. Quite a laugh riot! Also try to eat saviche (raw fish cooked in lemon) while in Lima. In Iquitos, go to a little restaurant on the west side of the Plaza & try the parilla platter. They'll fix you up with alligator, boa, perana, javelina & other wild meat indigenous to the Amazon Basin.

WHile high up in the mountains (Cusco, Machu Picchu) & such, buy a bag of coca leaves from some kids. It is not illegal. It does not get you high. It will not get you fired due to a failed drug test. Chewing the leaves or drinking the tea (mate de coca) will help with the altitude sickness & really made the aches & pains of traveling much better. Just make sure you despose of all leaves before getting on the plane to come home.

Don't take Travelers' checks. Major pain in the butt.

Have a great time! We're gonna try to make it back this Novemebr, which is early spring there & very nice. Feel free to enrich the poor people there, but make sure you save enough to pay the exit tax. The first time we went there we had given all our money away & had to borrow the $6 to get out of the country! (lol- pretty funny)

If you have any further questions or if I can be of any help, please feel free to email me- [email protected].

Good Luck & God Bless!
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 07:23 PM
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Here is some background info on the political situation in Peru:

For the full story here is the link:http://www.public-i.org/story_01_071201.htm

U.S. Military Aid to Latin America
Linked to Human Rights Abuses
By The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists*

Few Americans know it, but the United States is currently embroiled in the biggest guerrilla war since Vietnam. Hundreds of American troops, spies and civilian contract employees are on the ground in Colombia and neighboring lands, helping to coordinate a $1.3 billion counterdrug program that will probably continue for many years. It is a bigger U.S. commitment—in personnel, cash and risk—than the previous leading post-Vietnam counterinsurgency campaign, the 1980s war in El Salvador.

The perils of picking the wrong bedfellow in such a fight are nowhere more apparent than in Peru, where a government that worked closely with U.S. intelligence for a decade collapsed in scandal in 2000.

The ICIJ investigation found evidence that the CIA, after years of working closely with Montesinos,
the lead figure in the scandal, might have intentionally undermined him after discovering in 2000 that he was the middleman in an arms deal that sent 10,000 East German-made assault rifles from Jordan to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym FARC.

When news of this deal was publicized, Peru’s Congress ousted President Alberto Fujimori, who then fled to Japan.

Montesinos, after eight months in hiding, has recently been returned to Peru to face an array of charges, including murder and drug and arms trafficking.

But the implications for U.S. policy were remarkable. The United States’ main Peruvian asset in the drug war was revealed to be arming the FARC—its main enemy in Colombia.

Death of missionary and her infant
The fall of Montesinos led to investigations and jailings of many intelligence and military officials with whom the United States worked closely during Fujimori’s 10 years in power. Yet the U.S.-Fujimori era truly crystallized on April 20, when a missionary and her infant died over the Amazon at the hands of a Peruvian air crew, flying an old U.S. fighter plane directed by U.S. radar. The United States had provided the tools and the information that enabled this tragedy—then looked on with horror, like a latter-day Dr. Frankenstein, when its creation got out of control."

Go to the link for the whole story.
Old Jul 3rd, 2002, 05:08 AM
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Thanks, everybody, for your very helpful information and advise! I may be contacting you directly as we get a little closer. Can't wait 'til September!!! I'm soooooo excited!!!
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 06:03 AM
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great information guys, i too am heading there in late sept. and this stuff really helps. thanks for those links karen.
Old Jul 6th, 2002, 07:55 AM
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We were in Peru in February, here are my tips....

1. Flights are cheap and much faster than buses (ie a flight from Cusco to Arequipa takes about an hour - the bus trip about 14 hours!)Flying means you can see alot more in your time there.

If you do take buses, it is generally worth it to pay a bit extra and go on a tourist bus. This means you will have, at maximum, the same number of passengers as there are seats on the bus and generally an onboard toilet. On the local buses people will often buy standing room tickets. It can, and does, get hot and airless and on the bendy roads people get sick.
And there are not many toilet stops (ie on the Arequipa to Nasca trip there was only one stop - it is best to train your bladder!)

That said - it is fun travelling on local buses, just not on hot bendy roads for 10 hours with people throwing up!

2. Going solo is great fun. We spent 3 months in South America on our own and had no problems.

3. You will be hassled by people trying to sell you things, or have you eat at their restaurant - particularly around the main Plaza in Cusco (actually around pretty much all main Plazas!).

"Una otra dia" - "another day" does work, and as you haven't specified which other day, they don't track you down to make good your promise!

4. If you want a view - eat at a restaurant over looking the plaza in Cusco. But you will pay about 10 times the amount that you will pay if you go to any of the restaurants in the streets off the Plaza. Calle Plateros has some good choices. Food in Peru is good and plentiful and generally embarassingly cheap.

5. Spend a couple of days getting used to the altitude at Cusco before going to Machu Picchu. We had come from Bolivia and were acclimatised - but met quite a few people who were stuggling. You can't enjoy scrambling around Machu Picchu if you are out of breath and have a raging headache!

6. At Nasca you will be mobbed by touts trying to sell you accomodation, flights over the lines and trips to see the cemetary and aquaducts. Some are very shonky! They promise the world, and don't deliver. Some of the english speaking guides are just reciting by rote.

We tried three different outfits. The best by far (and as it turned out - the cheapest) was Nasca Trails run by Juan Tohalino Vera. As well as Spanish, he speaks English, German, French and Italian! He has a modern airconditioned mini-bus (you will appreciate the airconditioning in Nasca!) They are located on the main square and if you ring first, they will pick you up from the bus station - at no cost. Telephone in Peru is 034 522858. There is a website on their card - but I cannot get it to work. nazcalinesperu.com. One of the best guides we came across in South America.

7. If you are trying to save space - I got by with just boots and tevas (sandals).

8. Souvenir T-shirts are cheap.

9. Watch out for paying for Alpacca sweaters when it is just brushed lamb's wool (still very nice - but just know what you are buying)

10. When you are in Lima - the best museum is Museo de la Nacion. It has a really good overview of Peru and Peruvian cultures up to the Spanish conquest. The explanations for the exhibits are in Spanish and English. (Makes the visit a lot more enjoyable when you are not struggling to work out the Spanish!)

11. When you are in Arequipa, if you have the time, it is worth going to see the Museum with the frozen child sacrifice Mummies. It is really interesting. The museum is named after the main Mummy - I think her name is Julia? It is opposite the Monasterio de Santa Catalina.

Have fun! South America is a magic place with really friendly and helpful locals.
Old Jul 8th, 2002, 03:51 AM
Ann Young
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We spent 12 days alone in Peru last year and had a wonderful time. Make sure that you stay at the Presidente hotel in Agues Calienta. It was wonderful, reminded us of Frank Lloyd Wright. Also, make sure that you check your ATM card with your bank. Ours did not work in Peru, it has worked every other country we have been in. they guarenteed us it would work and it did not! what a hassle getting money with our Visa. Also have lots of one dollar bills. In Cuzco, we could have used them to purchase most items with. The crafts are wonderful and cheap. This is the first time ever in 30 countries that i bought something extra to carry home my purchases and wished i had bought more. If you need help email me. Ann
Old Jul 14th, 2002, 08:34 PM
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We went to Peru 3 years ago, 2 years ago and for the third time we're going in 12 days. We're very excited about it. Everytime we go we have a great time. In Lima having fun is cheap. There is a bus called el bus parrandero. It's a small tight bus and they play music, everyone is jumping and dancing while the bus is moving. You have two choices of food(included in the price). They stop to eat. I know one of the choices is pollo a la brasa, which is peruvian rottisserie chicken. Then finally they drop everyone off at a peña which is like a nightclub but with folklore performances(entrance included in the price). It's fun because everyone dances to the folklore music.
In Lima food is delicious. You gotta try anticuchos, ceviche, parihuela, lomo saltado, jalea de mariscos-it's my husband's favorite. There is a fast food chain rest. called Bembo's. Check out www.bembos.com.pe. Try the hamburguesa peruana. It has fried sweetpotato and thin sliced red onions with lemons and seasoning on it. You gotta try it.
We went to a restaurant in Lima called La Rosa Nautica. It is expensive compared to restaurants there but regular price for U.S restaurants. The lobster (al whisky) was good. Chupe de camarones, which is a shrimp soup was also good. You gotta have the Pisco Sour. My husband and I thought it was very romantic at night. You gotta walk a long way on a pier. The lighting is minimal. The white foam waves splash against the rocks. At the end of the pier is the restaurant. Thru the windows all you see is the waves splashing against the restaurant.
There is a district called Barranco. Tell the taxi driver to take you to El Puente de los Suspiros. I think it's nice to walk and watch the sunset. It faces the ocean. Next to it there's the Plaza Municipal de Barranco, and very close is the Museo de la Electricidad. You can take a short drive on a trenvia from the times when people used to get around by train in Lima.
Another nice place to take a walk on and watch a sunset is La Punta. It's on the beach and it has old colonial houses (casonas). Security is tight there because the navy has its base there.
LarcoMar is a nice open mall to go to if you go with kids. They have arcades, movies, icecream shops, restaurants. And it's on a cliff facing the ocean. Check out www.larcomar.com.
In Cuzco I went to a really good restaurant called Jose Antonio. You can order from the menu or you can pay $16 for the all you can eat buffett. The food is top notch and they have live performances. In Cuzco I went to other restaurants where they had live performances but Jose Antonio's were much more profesional. The musicians, the dancers, etc. At the end of the performance the dancers pick some people to dance with them onstage.
In Cuzco I stayed at a hotel that was a 500 year old building. It used to be a convent. I had a private bathroom, hot water, phone. Very clean hotel, clean rooms, very helpful receptionist and with breakfast included I payed $30 a night in July of 2000. It was 2 1/2 blocks from Main Square. They picked us up at the airport and they offered us a guided tour to all the ruins. Very economical, very good guides, good comfortable buses. Pick up and drop off at the hotel everyday. The name is Hostal Colonial Palace. Phone number is 084/232151.
This time I will go to Trujillo, the tomb of the Lord of Sipan in Chiclayo,Nazca, Paracas, the Islas Ballestas, Ica city and of course Lima. These places are new to me, if anyone has been there before and has advice I would appreciate it. I can't wait to be there in 12 days!!!!!!!!
Have fun on your trip.
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