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Going to Peru - MP, Cusco, etc. should we go to Rainforest or Lake T

Going to Peru - MP, Cusco, etc. should we go to Rainforest or Lake T

Old Dec 26th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Going to Peru - MP, Cusco, etc. should we go to Rainforest or Lake T

Hi all, Getting great tips from this board (I am usually on African Board as that is our big trip coming up in Sept.) So, after Lima-Cusco-Sacred Valley-MP, should we go to the Lake Titaca (sp?)...or the Amazonica - being first trip,Amazon sounds good. Can anyone recommend? Has anyone done either after the MP experience. Having NEVER been to South America, I am a bit confused but all the postings seem to recommend the same circuit, Cusco - a day - sacred valley - 2 days (or 3), MP (we will stay at Inkaterra I know for that portion. But we are retired, have time so could spend another few days...Any recommendations? I thought the Amazonica Inkaterra sounded interesting, but a lot of posters recommend the Lake. Any and all suggestions are most appreciated. We were thinking late April, or early May. Any thoughts on that time from the experts?
Guides?? Should we wait and hire one in Sacred Valley? We had thought of renting our own car so we could explore at our leisure (do not do group tours) but is there a guide we can hire by the day? Or just get a great book to study? HELP. Thanks so much. I planned my entire African safari through Fodors experts and hoping I can do that with this board. I have read some excellent reports; only problems I cannot determine are how to get around before MP and where to go afterwards. Our budget is about 6-8,000 for both of us inc. air.
Thanks again, CC
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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I just made my first venture to South America in November. I choose spending 5 days in the Amazon prior to spending a week at MP/Sacred Valley. Therefore, I didn't go to Lake T. I loved the Amazon - it is so different from anywhere I have been and very different from other parts of Peru. I would highly recommend going to the Amazon. I did the trip with OAT Travel.
Martha
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Hi Mjnbrown, thanks for the input; have you a report on the trip, or could you share some of your highlights of the Amazon; things you did (5 days - enough time? not enough) Where did you stay - how did you get around, things like that could really help! Thx. Cc
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Why not do both? You can go to Lake Titicaca which is really worth a visit especially to the floating island and from there it is not far to La Paz which is an amazing city, especially the moon craters area. From there you can get some quite inexpensive trips into the Bolivian Amazon areas and the trips from Bolivia are much cheaper than the ones in Peru. I was in La Paz this year and had I had the time I would have done the trip BUT make sure that you have enough medications with you for that side trip.
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Old Dec 26th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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Hi LizzyF, So if I do all, is it easy to make all the arrangements via internet? I've never been to South America so you can imagine, this whole thing is a bit overwhelming and I've always done the research, booking,etc myself so I find myself glued to this computer! From La Paz no problem getting to Lima and onto Machu Pichu I gather. Did you submit a trip report?
Thank you so for your response! I would love to see both Lake T and Amazon while there! Cc
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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I went with OAT Travel - there were 10 people in the group in the Amazon. We stayed at 3 different Explorama Lodges - the first 2 were rustic, but very comfortable and the 3rd was the luxury lodge at Ceiba Tops. I think Explorama does a great job with their lodges. The food was excellent and the guide we had was also excellent. We went fishing for piranha (and I caught one) which they cooked up for dinner that night, walked in the canopy walkway, visited a local school, etc. A really excellent trip - I thought 5 days, 4 nights was a good amount of time.
Martha
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Hi - have a look at our blog for info about Lake T -

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...aca/index.html

We traveled independently using a local guide/driver - he booked some of our hotels and train tickets....we highly recommend him - his name is David Choque

http://www.cuscotoptravelperu.com/

Happy to answer any questions.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Hi Elizabeth.thanks so for the link. Did you hire David just for the time you were in Sacred Valley - he pick you up, or did you have a car? And then you went on to MP and returned back to Sacred Valley area and used a guide again. We are just trying to figure out logistics - we were told to fly to Cusco, self-guide through town, then hire one for all the areas around, staying somewhere like Olly... So would the guide drive back and forth from Cusco each day? I guess that is what I am confused about. I have never been anywhere that I have hired a guide outside of maybe one recommended at a hotel. So any input you can give me on the ins and outs of hiring guides would be invaluable.
Looked like a fantastic trip...and you looked good in all the pics!
Did you take the train to MP? Cc
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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Hi - just read your questions - a bunch of guests arriving for a Xmas do - will reply later tonight or tomorrow AM

Liz
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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I'll jump in till Liz gets back! I just topped my trip report for you in response to another question you posted - so you can read all about our adventures at Lake Titicaca (as well as the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Cusco). We LOVED LT - thought it was one of the trip highlights. Didn't go to the jungle, though, so I can't really compare. If you have the time, with your budget you could easily do both (if you're willing to stay in moderate hotels).
Many here recommend going first to the Sacred Valley after flying to Cusco and spending at least a couple nights there for an easier acclimation to the altitude. Sacred Valley is about 8,500 feet, Machu Picchu slightly lower, Cusco over 10,000 feet, and LT the highest of all at over 12,000 feet. That's the order we did it, and it worked very well.
Regarding logistics, it's easy to arrange everything on your own over the internet in advance. That's what I did. Booked some of my own hotels (including a transfer from Lima airport), then arranged for our guide Percy (found him on this board) via email. He then arranged some of the hotels we hadn't yet booked - plus our bus tickets to Puno (LT). I also booked our train tickets to Machu Picchu (Agua Caliente) over the internet and Percy picked them up for us. And for our overnight homestay on an island in Lake Titicaca, I used AllWays Tours - a local tour group that I booked over the internet. I think Liz's guide arranged all of that for them. (And Percy could have, as well, but I'd already booked that part.)
Transportation is easy - with or without a guide. Percy was quite flexible and picked us up when we wanted and took us to the places we wanted to go. But taxis are also quite easy to find. And I'm sure most hotels could get you a guide/car for the day if you don't arrange in advance. Detailed cost breakdown is in my trip report.
Food and lodging are quite reasonable.
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more.
Karen
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Oh, and regarding the guide, yes, he drove from Cusco each day to pick us up. It worked fine.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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I cannot remember if I did a trip report or not because I have been in S.A about 6 times and I know I have done a couple but don't know what on.
If you are going to Cusco I stayed at a really good B&B there which had a kitchen, included breakfast, clean, good bathrooms, comfy beds, close to town, very cheap internet next door and was owned by a couple who are travel agents ( office next door) and I have used him for most of my internal tours and tours to Bolivia when I have been there. I found him to be excellant and as he is Inca himself he is aware of what is and what is not interesting. He speaks excellant English and they collect you from the airport as well. I will try and remember the details of his B&B and if nothing else you could use him as your Agent. Will go off and post later if I find the information for you.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Here is the web site for the B&B and for the tourism agency owned by Carlos.
http://www.losaticos.com/
He has two B&Bs but I have only ever stayed in Los Aticos and in the down stairs bedroom. Go to the site and click on Milla Tourismo and you can get through to the tourism side of things. The trip that I got him to organize for me started in Cusco and we went by bus ( day trip) to Lake Titicaca. En route we stopped at a few places which were very interesting and lunch was also included in the fare. The hotels that he organized were very good and very cheap as well and we also went to Arequipa for several days, the canyon and Nasca lines before heading to La Paz. He also organized a driver for the day for a trip to the Sacred Valley which is much better than the bus trip because you dictate how long you want to stay and where. If his daughter still lives and works in Lima she will pick you up there and take you to your hotel if Carlos has organized the tour. Anyway have a great time as it is a special part of the World and an experience you will always remember. I am sure he will have all the information at his finger tips regarding the tours to the Amazon whether it be in Bolivia or Peru.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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We went to the Amazon before MP, and loved it! We booked thru www.perunature.com and stayed at Posadas Amazonas. We met a few people at the Puerto Maldonado airport that had stayed at the Inkaterra Amazonica, and really liked it. They all raved about the wooden platform in the trees built for wildlife viewing.

We did 3 days/2 nights, and could have easily stayed 1-2 more days.

We did MP and the Sacred Valley on our own. Our hotel arranged for us to have day guides of the Valley and ruins when we requested. We stayed at K'uychi Rumi in Urubamba (www.urubamba.com).

Plus, you will finds lots of 'guides' available for hire standing outside the gates of the various ruins if you wanted to go that route.
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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Thank you thank you, gracias! I now feel a bit more "educated" and can see my way doing this "myself" on internet with the help of all the sites and info youall have given.Will keep eveyone informed when I finally have an itinerary. To me April is just around the corner; I usually plan much farther out, so this one was keeping me up at night! Thx again all, Cc
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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Peru is pretty easy to do on your own. My wife and I and 2 daughters spent 12 days in September. We were on a budget. Stayed 2 nights in Lima
Miraflores, saw the church and central square in Lima. Flew to Cusco where there is much to see.(2 days) Took a cab to Olly with a 1 1/2 hour stop in Pisac ruins. Spent a night in Olly and took the train to AC. After MP returned to Olly, spent another night and negotiated a cab from Olly to Cusco with stops at the salt mines and Chinchero all for $20US ( we did tip him well). Then on to the jungle Posada Amazonas for 3 nights, very nice experience. I think with a good book you are fine. There are cabs everywhere. Just negotiate and check his tire tread! Now I am trying to plan a trip to Patagonia leaving next week, now that is not easy to plan!
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Old Dec 27th, 2007, 09:54 PM
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Hoyas, Patagonia is easy to plan and a fantastic destination. Don't do the cruise/bus trip for $150US between Bariloche and Chile over the Andes but take the bus which costs $15 and take seperate cruises on the lakes instead. Bariloche is my favourite place whilst the Moreno glacier is the most beautiful sight you can see. El Calafate is not much of a destination but it manages to grow on you after a few days. Local buses are really inexpensive so renting a car is not necessary - around Bariloche and the lakes that is.
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