Just back from Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands

Old May 28th, 1999, 08:18 PM
  #1  
Al
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Just back from Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands

If you have questions about going to Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Guayaquil, and the Galapagos Islands, send them along. Will give you the benefit of our experiences. Just returned...so memories are fresh.
 
Old May 31st, 1999, 01:25 PM
  #2  
Rajesh
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Hi

ref: your message at fodors

Planning a trip to peru in July. 10 days. Researched Lima - Cuzco - Lake Titicaca - Lima - Air trip over Nazca. Sounds reasonable?

Also, any recommended train trip, boat trip to Lake Titicaca from Cuzco, a flavour of the Amazon (lodge etc.)

Any info most welcome. Thanks in advance.

Ciao

Rajesh Sharma
New York
 
Old Jun 1st, 1999, 01:44 PM
  #3  
cp
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Rajesh-
I was there a few years ago. There is a train that runs between Cuzco and Puno, a town located on the shore of the lake. If memory serves, it was a jolting, 10 hour ride, albeit a very scenic one.
In Puno, or rather on the lake, there is an ancient culture called the Uru that inhabit a grass, man made island. However, it seems like they only exist as a tourist curiosity. I didn't feel like I was seeing something authentic, just a sham for tourists. Actually nothing about Puno really seemed nice.

Al- curious about your trip to Macchu Picchu. Did you stay overnight? If so, where? I stayed in the concrete bunker-like hotel in Agua Caliente at the bottom. I'm curious to find out about the other accomodations there.
 
Old Jun 1st, 1999, 02:12 PM
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Al
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cp: we stayed at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, within a few steps of the train station in Aguas Calientes. Once one enters its grounds, one is transported to a jungle Shangri-La -- bungalows with all amenities (sorry, no TV), gardens, birds, little streams. Great food, excellent service. Very clean. The sound of the roaring Urubamba River lulls you to sleep. The only place we saw that would compare for atmosphere would be the Las Ruinas Hotel up at Machu Picchu itself. From the Pueblo, it was only a short walk down to the main bus lineup and then a 30 minute bus ride up to MP itself. Highly recommend the Pueblo.
 
Old Jun 2nd, 1999, 12:34 PM
  #5  
cp
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How cool! I think they had just finished building that place when I passed through. I was wondering what it would be like.
I'm curious as to what the rates are like and if they have a webpage.

Thanks!
 
Old Jun 3rd, 1999, 07:15 AM
  #6  
Al
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cp: we were on a package tour and have no idea about their rates. I would look for a web site because it is part of a chain of hotels in Peru.
 
Old Jun 19th, 1999, 10:27 AM
  #7  
Ncano
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Transport between Lima and La Paz? AA has promotional flights into Lima. Our ulimate destination is La Paz. Any recomendations on efficient surface travel between the two?
 
Old Jun 27th, 1999, 02:26 PM
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Alison
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I'd be interested in hearing about your trip to the Galapagos Islands. I am in the planning stages of a trip there next February/March. Did you take a tour? Which one? For how long, and did you find it long enough? Any feedback/info you can provide would be most appreciated!
 
Old Jun 29th, 1999, 10:40 PM
  #9  
Al
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We were on a tour of the Galapagos Islands and stayed aboard a 100-ft., steel-hulled motor yacht for one week. It carried a crew of nine and about 20 passengers. Arranged with Klein Tours, out of Quito. Total package arranged by Overseas Adventure Travel, Cambridge, MA. The islands are filled with birds and animals, and you see them up close. The islands themselves are dry, barren, volcanic, severe, rocky, covered in most places with scrub plants. Quite ugly. The islands were Ecuador's most severe penal colony in the 19th century. Only a couple towns -- single-street places right out of "Moon and Sixpence." No drinking water to speak of. They ship tanker-loads of water over from the mainland. But the wildlife is unbelievable -- they are unafraid of man and you can walk right up to nesting birds and basking sea lions. The tortoises are off-limits due to the need to protect them so they have a chance to regain their numbers. Feral goats, pigs, cows, horses, etc. compete for food with the wildlife, and bounty hunters shoot these pests on sight. Some of the islands are off-limits. You can only go ashore accompanied by a licensed and highly-trained naturalist. You walk only between the painted stakes. You stay only on those paths or you are in deep trouble. You never are allowed to be alone; the guide accompanies you everywhere. Great trip, but once is enough, thank you.
 
Old Sep 17th, 1999, 02:44 PM
  #10  
Lisa Lau
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I'm going to do the Inca Trail next month and will also be going to the Galapagos. I have some hesitation about booking a cruise with a local Ecuadorean company called: galapagosislands
Green Planet
Robles y Amazonas
Edif Calixto Proinco, Oficina 303
Telephone: 5932 526 266 / Fax: 5932 527 590
Do you happen to know anything about them? Are they legal, legit, andy recommendations?
If I don't book with them here, how hard would it be to book a cruise in Quito for the dates that I would like? Is it cheaper to do that?

Any information or insights would be gratly appreciated. -ll
 
Old Sep 25th, 1999, 01:48 PM
  #11  
Cora
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We are going to Galapagos in February. Would love an artinerary for going to Galapagos, and then if anyone stayed in town before hand.

Is it safe?

Inexpensive?

Any good hotels?

Thanks!
 
Old Sep 25th, 2000, 12:22 PM
  #12  
Ernie
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Did you find Macchu Picchu too touristy?
 
Old Feb 21st, 2001, 12:50 PM
  #13  
Susan
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Hi,

Would you recommend the boat/yacht that you were on in the Galapagos Islands - Kleintours? Was it the Coral 1 or 2? and did they allow folks to scuba dive from it?
Thanks, Susan
 
Old Feb 22nd, 2001, 04:00 AM
  #14  
man
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Hi Susan:
You need to find some more recent information than from May 1999 and I wouldn't count on too objective opinion from a travel agent
 
Old Mar 26th, 2001, 04:39 AM
  #15  
Jonas
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Hi guys, planning a trip to Peru in May too. First major trip but trying to keep it budget. Anybody knows how much to fly from Lima to Cuzco? Also, are the Galapagos Islands worth visiting?
Thanks
 
Old Jan 1st, 2003, 10:44 AM
  #16  
Frieda
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I am thrilled you had a wonderful time. I will be going with my husband in February. We will be spending about 4 days in Quito, 5 days in the Rain Forest, 11 days in the Galapagos and we will be going to Atavalo. Any suggestions?
Thank you.
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 07:30 PM
  #17  
Susan
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I spent 2 weeks in Peru and Bolivia in June a few years ago so have some comments on some of the questions I have seen here:

We hiked the Inca Trail - recommend doing the one day longer hike (I think its 4 vs 3 days). There were a lot of tourists at Machu Pichu but we didn't really see other groups along the trail and since we arrived before sunrise to see the sun rise over MP, we got some time before many of the tourists got there. Don't know anything about hotels since we were camping along the trail. Much better to book the hike when you are there - about a 90% savings. Our 4 day hike was $70 all inclusive.

2. Train to Puno. Whomever called it a 10 hour jolting ride was right! We originally wanted the 3rd class ticket but got talked into 1st class. Thank goodness b/c as it is I was on the verge of throwing up when we got there. Yes, Puno unappealing but good stepping off for Titicaca. The reed island was fake and touristy BUT was once real so was still cool to see on the way to Tequile Island which is very nice.

3. Bolivia - went to Copacabana, Isle of the Sun, La Paz. Isle of the Sun is really great! No electricity and you can stay in people's homes w/ candles and they make great food and you can hike. We got there via bus (bus from Puno to Copa and then bus to La Paz). For return we booked on local airline (Aero Peru?) from La Paz to Cuzco. Reasonably priced.

4) Other notes. A) We went to the Amazon for 2 days -hour flight from Cuzco and then a 3 hour boat ride down river to naturalist camp. Very cool. Rajesh - I might be able to dig up the lodge - I spent my birthday there!
b) We are very experienced travelers and my friend got everything stolen in La Paz - someone threw water on him and within 10 seconds he realized it was a distraction and by then they had cut his pants and everything was gone. Was a holiday in Bolivia so everything (including embassy) closed and I had just left b/c I had to come home a day early so nightmare. Be careful.
3) This is very random but our hotel in Cuzco arranged for someone to pick us up. Turns out he has his own travel biz and we arranged a bunch of side trips through him (Amazon, local Inca sites). Then we saw his name listed in one of our guide books! He was really good - will see if I can find name and will post.

I'm considering Galapagos so now want to pick your brains ....any recommendations for a naturalist trip- perhaps where you can volunteer at a nature center?

THANKS and Happy Travels!

 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 01:08 PM
  #18  
ellen
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Some random additions to the above.I was in MP and Galapagoes in March 2002.At that time, the splendid MP Pueblo Hotel was $160+ per room, the same as the crummy Hatuchay Towers. Be sure to see MP before noon when the daily train arrives. We had it all to ourselves and it was wonderful. The hike to the Sungate is spectacular and can be done by anyone in reasonable conditon. We very much enjoyed the Galapagoes cruise; some in the group thought 6 days was too much. If you go to Ecuador, save your money for the leather goods and, MOST IMPORTANT---both countries want crisp, new, untorn, unwrinkled American dollars. Ellen
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 05:16 PM
  #19  
Susan
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Found the guide I mentioned 2 posts ago:

Romulo Castillo (22-6858). Recommended in Lonely Planet and we had a good experience with him.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2003, 03:04 PM
  #20  
Lynda
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Just returned from a one week Galapagos trip and it was wonderful. We were on the "Santa Cruz," which is booked thru Metropolitan Tours (who I must say were great). You can contact them at www.metropolitan-touring.com. They have both 4 & 7 day tours. The food was excellent as was the staff. If you want to scuba, you have to do that when you're on the island of Santa Cruz (I think they arrange it, I didn't go). Otherwise it's snorkeling every day. I swam with turtles and iguanas and rays. It was fantastic. The ship holds about 90 people and was well organized with very good naturalists.
In Quito we stayed at the Hilton and were very satisfied. Even had good, reasonably priced food in their restraunt. We normally will not eat in a hotel, but tried it one night and were impressed. Full massage for $30. Trip to Otovalo market was a waste of time, other than the scenery along the way. See the same things in Quito at the market in the park.
 

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