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i'm only in peru for 14 days, what should i do? help!

i'm only in peru for 14 days, what should i do? help!

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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i'm only in peru for 14 days, what should i do? help!

I am going to Peru in May. The problem is..i will only be there for 14 days or so. My friend and I want to do the 4-day hike on the Inca trail. We,also, would like to go the the jungle/rainforest...but is there enough time for us to do so? if so, which city should we go? we'll be in cusco...so, is there a place that isn't far from there..and is relatively cheap?

if we don't go to the rainforest, what should we do..where should we go? for anyone who has ben to peru...what did u like the most? what was most breathtaking and exciting?

thank you so much!
smj265 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 04:25 AM
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Arequipa/Valle del Colca
and
Cuzco/Inca Trail

Or

Ica/Paracas
and
Cuzco/Inca Trail
CarlosSandoval is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Cusco is just a short flight to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the Madre de Dios region, where you'll find several jungle lodges.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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Hi,

I wrote this post on Fodors about 2 1/2 years ago, but probably still somewhat helpful. We unfortunately didn't spend any time in the jungle, but hopefully some of the other information is helpful.

Date: 08/16/2004, 02:16 pm

Hi,

I'm not sure if you already have things sorted out, but I put together a little play by play for a friend of mine after we got back from our trip in September 2003. This is what I had written before (I would suggest booking before you go):

We did our trip for the most part day by day except for the hike to Machu Pichu which you need to book 2 weeks in advance because of them needing to get your passes on to the trail, etc. We had no problems on our adventure and were happy with all of the agencies we booked with.

We flew into Juliaca, the airport closest to Lake Titicaca, about an hour away. We spent our first night in town just taking it easy and getting used to the altitude, which was rough for the first couple days. We went out the next morning (8 AM) to an overnight tour of the islands of Lake Titicaca and booked the trip with an agency called Edgar Adventures in Puno (054-353-444). It cost about $15 US and was well worth it as we stayed with a family on one of the islands. The tour was led with an English speaking guide and we were with a group of about 14 people. After we got back from the island tour get in about 5PM, we took the evening 10:30 PM "tourist/royal class" bus to Arequipa in Southern Peru ($15ish US). That trip took 4 1/2 hours or so (our tourbook said 10 hours, but they have made significant improvements on the roads. That was plenty of time in Lake Titicaca as Puno is a dumpy little town and the highlight definitely being the time spent on the islands - a one night stay was plenty as well on the islands.

The main reason we went to Arequipa was to see the condors out at Colca Canyon, but were surprised at how cool the city felt. It had a very old European feel to it as it was rebuilt by the Spanish in the 1600's. Arequipa has this cool monastery called Santa Catalina and the Museo Santurios Andinos (had several frozen Incan mummies) both worth visiting. We stayed 3 nights in Arequipa and were able to arrange a day trip to Colca Canyon, but that took some difficulty. Most are 2 day trips and in order to cram it into one day, our trip left at 2 AM and returned the next day about 6PM. The canyon is pretty large and inspiring and it is really neat seeing the condors fly overhead, but I don't know if I would call it a must do in Peru. I'm really glad that we went here, but if you were short on days or trying to decide between going here and going to the jungle lodge it would be tough decision. We stayed at a hotel called La Casa de Melgar (054-222-459) in the center of Arequipa which cost $30 a night. You can find much cheaper hotels, but this one was highly rated and is a restored 18th century mansion which was pretty cool.

We flew from Arequipa to Cusco on a flight purchased two days beforehand for $45 - flying within Peru is really cheap and you don't have to book in advance really (I don't think it makes it any cheaper). We spent one night in Cusco before heading on to hike the Inca Trail and didn't have a problem with the altitude (it is 3,500 feet higher than Arequipa, so we were a little worried about it). We became acclimated at Lake Titicaca and I guess Arequipa was high enough was to keep us acclimated - not quite sure how that works. But I would recommend at least two nights before hiking Machu Pichu as the acclimatization can be tough - bad bad headaches. All the nights we stayed in Cusco was at a hotel called The Ninos Hotel (084-231-424) - which is run by a Dutch family whom a bunch of the proceeds from the hotel go to help the needy children of Cusco. It was a really nice place and $30 for a double room. But again you can find places for cheaper, but we liked their mission as well as the place was really clean with a private bathroom. We had four nights in Cusco (1 before the hike and 3 after) which felt about right. There are a ton of ruins that you can visit all around Cusco, but after a while you start to get ruined out. Especially after hiking Machu Pichu as you see a bunch of cool ruins along the hike.

We booked our Inca Trail hike with SAS Travel and I highly recommend using them. They were awesome. The hike ended up costing about $300 with the cost of SAS plus the porter and sleeping bag rental - all which I suggest. It was worth the little bit extra not to have to worry about lugging all your stuff during the day. I did quite a bit of research on which agency to use based on the guide book and cost and SAS Travel was highly recommended and one of the least expensive. We were the only Americans on our trip which was also a plus - group was made up of Australians and British for the most part. Everything is included in the price - great food, tent, train back from Machu Pichu to Cusco... We only have very very positive things to say about them. Our guide on the hike was Julio Ruben Aragon Acuna, goes by Ruben, (independent contractor of SAS, but usually works with SAS). He was an amazing guide and I would contact him and let him know when you are coming and see if you can jump on one of his trips. His email address is [email protected] and phone number is (051-226-306). We did the 3 night and four day hike which is the way to go - I wouldn't suggest taking the train both ways because part of the whole experience is hiking the trail. There is also is a two day hike as well but again I would stick with the traditional 4 day hike. On a side note buy a poncho and a walking stick for the hike (both can be purchased the day of the hike).

We stayed one night in Ollantaytambo after the hike (train stops there on the way home from the Inca Trail hike) just to get a feel for one of the ruin towns outside of Cusco. I don't think you necessarily have to stay there as there isn't a whole lot to see besides the ruins nearby. We enjoyed it as it is a cute town, but it can be visited from Cusco (as well as a bunch of other ruins in a day trip). The day trip from Cusco ( which we didn't do) which stops at a bunch of ruins is a long trip (I think leaves at 9AM and comes back around 6 PM) but it assures a good guide at every place you stop.

After Cusco, we flew to Lima for the night and spent the next day shopping for CD's and going to a couple museums. You can easily skip Lima as it is a pretty big gross city. We had initially thought of flying there and then taking a flight over the Nasca lines, but that flight was fully and pretty expensive ($240 US per person). The only other way to see the lines is by taking a bus there which is a long trip from any of the major cities in Peru. Once you get there you can take a 45 minute flight over the lines. Well that's a bit more on our trip, let me know what I can expand on. Here's a quick recap of our trip:

Lake Titicaca - Two nights
Arequipa - Three nights
Cusco - One night
Inca Trail - Three nights
Ollantaytambo - One night
Cusco - Three nights
Lima - One night

We didn't make it into the rainforest, but we met others that went whom loved it. We spent some time in the jungle in Belize and Guatemala so we decided it would be ok to leave it out of this trip to Peru. But that may be something that you can add on or mix into your trip.
bulamrpaul is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2007, 05:49 PM
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My favorite thing was going dunebuggying and sandboarding on the dunes in Ica and then flying over the Nazca lines. Tell the tour company you want to skip the museum (so not worth it) to give you more time at the dunes (sooooo worth it). The dunebuggy company is owned by an American woman and her Peruvian husband.
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