Peru - please help!

Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 03:05 PM
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Peru - please help!

Hi Everyone,

We are torn between choosing a trip to Europe and going to S.America in 2008. Prices are a concern, although we would like to do both if we have a choice!
We have done a few independant trips to western europe, but have never been to South America. I'm looking into going to Peru (Lima, Cuzco, Sacred Valley, MP) in summer/fall. Hotel prices in Cuzco, Machu Picchu town look very reasonable, however some of the tours I looked into seem to cost a lot.. Have any of you taken budget tours to Peru using tour companies? How reliable were they? What are typical prices?
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 03:17 PM
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A few more details - we are looking to do a short 1 week trip. And looking to stay in clean, safe hotels. Not really looking for luxurious stays; as long as the accommodations are clean and are in safe areas, that will work well for us!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Do you want to do a group tour for the social aspect of being with a group? Because if not, planning a trip on your own is extremely easy and inexpensive. For a week, I'd recommend:
Assuming late arrival in Lima, spend the night, then early flight to Cusco
Two nights Sacred Valley (preferably Ollantaytambo)
Train to Agua Caliente for MP, one night there
Three nights Cusco
(alternatively, two nights Cusco and last night in Lima)

Hotels are, as you've seen, very reasonable. Food is also quite inexpensive. We hired a private guide for our transfers and tour of the Sacred Valley. He was great. We ended up paying less than with a basic budget tour such as Intrepid or Gap.

We had a little more time than you (and went to Lake Titicaca), but for a week, the above itinerary would be great.

If you want a tour group, I can recommend Intrepid/Gap based on a trip with them to Eastern Europe - lots of independent time, basic budget hotels, local transportation. Advantages to both tours and going on your own - I've enjoyed it both ways - depends on what you want. But if it's concern over being able to do it on your own, don't worry - Peru is as easy (or even easier) than Europe.

Check out my report if you'd like to read all the details of our October trip. Just type Karen and Julie in the search box and it will come up. (Tons of details.)
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Thanks Karen. To your question, the main reason we are looking for a tour group is for the ease of touring. And we were not sure how safe it is to travel there.
But from your post it sounds like indepedant travel is not that difficult in Peru. I will check the tour groups you have mentioned as well. Thank you again!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Independent travel is very easy, safe and affordable in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and MP. And private guides are very affordable by US standards. There are a lot of threads on the subject. Here's a start:

I highly recommend a day trip to Ica to see the Nazca lines. You can do the trip from Lima:

And here are a couple of other posts on Peru:

Lima (Lima can be a bit overwhelming if you are not used to traveling in developing nations..highly recommend you hire a guide or book a mini-group tour through your hotel:

One day:

Three days:

What to wear:
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Our 24 year old son took a trip to Peru with G.A.P. and was extremely pleased. This included hiking the Inca Trail. Please let me know if you want further info.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 04:37 PM
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I just got back from my first trip to Peru (and South America) last night. I loved it!!! I have been a routine traveler to Europe and was hesitant to venture to South America, but now I am sorry I didn't go earlier. I usually travel independently, but since I was a bit hesitant about Peru, I booked a small group tour through Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and was extremely happy with the tour. I did more adventuring with the tour than I would have on my own and learned a lot more about the culture of Peru. The group was only 13 people and the cost was very reasonable. The local guides were excellent. I went on a 5 day trip to the Amazon - which was amazing - then spent a week in Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu. Also spent a few days in Lima between trips and flew over the Nazca lines. An incredible trip!
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 06:35 AM
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bookmarking - thanks!
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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 02:43 PM
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In June of this year, I went to Peru for the first time and booked my trip through South American Vacations --

My friend and I opted for the "Incan Odyssey and Lake Titicaca", 10 Days/9 Nights. We really appreciated the itinerary as it was NOT a fully escorted tour and included some time & meals on your own. Rather than being a large group that moved enmass and led by the same person, we'd be "handed off" from one city/location to the next.

For example, we were met at the airport and taken to our hotel (evening arrival). Our first morning in Lima was on our own -- we visited Huaca Pucllana and the Rafael Larco Museum. After lunch on our own, we then returned to our hotel for a 2:00 pm City Tour. The tour lasted 3 hours and then dinner was on our own (we'd already made dinner reservations at Astrid & Gaston). For us, this trip had the right amount of "hand-holding" as well as time on our own. And as it turned out, when we were with our "group", it was just the two of us with two other guys -- 20-something twin brothers from Chicago.

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Old Dec 4th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Hi there!! we just came back from Peru a week ago and this is our last posting. I hope you find something interesting there.

10 things you might want to know and do in Peru

1.if You spend a whole day in Lima then go to the Museo de la Nacion or take a day trip to CARAL, the oldest urban settlement of the Americas.
2. There is a Place called Pumamarka in Cusco Area, this is an off the beaten track horse riding or hiking alternative for those people who want to experience a day without tourists in crowded Cusco.
3.If you couldn’t book in time the Inca trail hike and you have heard and read a bunch of negative things about the Salkantay tour then take the Vilcabamba-Machupicchu Tour. It is simply amazing!!! Wow!!
4. Downhill mountain biking is a great thing to do when taking the tour above. It is safe, fun and full of adrenaline.
5. If you like exotic foods. Then, go to T’ipon, visit the beautiful arqueological site and eat GUINEA PIG. aka “ CUY”. Meat eaters will love it.
6. Read something about Peru’s history and always question your tour guides. Try to make them state their own point of view of the things they say. We found out that some of them seem to be reciting a book they read.
7. Rafting in the urubamba river is fun but it is necessary to remind the tour operatos of their role as river protectors. There is a lot of garbage floating along the river. So, as a tourist do your part to help cleaning the river. Lead with the example, people there will love it.
8. There is a beautiful place to stay in Cusco that has a beautiful terrace, cheap nice clean rooms and a super nice management. Its name
9. Learn some Spanish and a lot of quechua to get to know and interact with the people from the countryside of cusco.
10. Take some clothing that you don’t use anymore to give it away to the people that you will encounter along the way.

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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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wow...thats a lot of great information. Thanks!
Just curious - how much do 1 week budget tour to Cuzco and MP typically cost? I am now more inclined towards independant travel, but that's only because its working out much cheaper than using tour companies. If we find a tour company thats only slightly more expensive than what we would pay if we traveled by ourselves, we would very much like to go on an escorted tour. Please help!
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