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GrannyJoan Jun 22nd, 2007 12:36 PM

Questions about Machu Picchu & Galapagos Trip
We are scheduling a trip to Machu Picchu & Galapagos in August on small ship for 20 people. I have a few questions about the trip.

In August, will it be cold at MP, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Lima & Quito ... should I need more than fleece jacket? gloves? warm hat?

What kind of shoes are best to take for the boat trip and treks on the islands Galapagos? Seems I read that some take two pairs of shoes?

Is a walking stick allowed on the islands and would it be helpful in the lava treks and on the long walks? How streneous are some of these 2 hour walks? Is it steep? Reason I ask is I am recovering from broken back in January and walking is fine, but prefer not to fall.

Would you recommend snorkeling? Would you recommend purchasing a nice underwater camera?

Thanks for the help

-Granny Joan

Elizabeth_S Jun 22nd, 2007 12:49 PM

Hi - we did a similar trip in Jan/Feb of 2006 - can't answer your weather/time of year questions but here are a few other comments

- re shoes - the boat we were on (the Eclipse) recommended wet and dry landing shoes - wet can be just barefoot or Tevas and dry landing can also be the Tevas or a pair of sneakers/walking shoes. We were happy with that combination (in our case sneakers and Tevas)

People on our cruise had walking sticks.....which seemed helpful for them. The walks we went on weren't particularly strenuous as there is a lot of standing and listening (that might be an issue for your healing back - my husband was always looking for somewhere to sit while the group stood). The most strenuous hike we did was the stairs on Bartolome Island - some boats do the hike up to the Caldera on Isabela - that was a long slow climb but not too strenuous (we did it on horseback - meant we could go further)

YES to snorkeling - we actually had the most fun in the water - the sea lions are so much fun to be in the water with - it's not coral so there aren't a lot of bright colourful fish but there was always something interesting to see on our snorkeling trips. We didn't have an underwater camera and regretted it - just saw a nice Olympus this weekend that is waterproof to 10 metres.

Have a great time - what boat are you on?

LunadeMiel Jun 22nd, 2007 12:57 PM

I am from Peru and have traveled to Machupichu and visit Lima often. The winter in Peru is nothing like the winters we experience in North America. The winter in Lima particularly is mostly rainy, cloudy days. You'll need a light jacket but no need for a hat or gloves. Now in Machupichu and Cuzco, it does get cold in the mornings and nights, but during the day it is a lot warmer. You may need a warmer jacket for Cuzco. Have fun!

GrannyJoan Jun 22nd, 2007 01:58 PM

Thanks for the info on shoes and walking stick and snorkeling.

We will have a couple if not three opportunities to snorkel. I have only snorkeled once or twice in Bonaire and Trinidad. I am not sure that I would be able to get back in a boat if I had to go off shore snorkeling as I also have a weak wrist that was also broken in the Jan incident and do not have full mobility back in that hand yet.

We are looking at the Natural Habitat Adventure tour on the Letty. It is 11 days for GI about 7 of which are on the boat and extension to MP for 4 or 5 days, with only one nite actually on the mountain.

Thanks for info on the weather.

How about using a walking stick at Machu Picchu? is that necessary?

-Granny Joan

hills27 Jun 23rd, 2007 09:56 AM

Granny, you can certainly take a walking stick to MP. I've only seen a few on my two trips, but there are a few parts that can be steep or, if it rains, slippery.

hills27 Jun 23rd, 2007 09:59 AM

Also, I was in MP last August and a fleece was perfect. You'll definitely need it at night. During the day, I generally wore a long sleeve t-shirt and was perfectly comfortable. But keep the fleece with you, because as soon as the sun starts to go down, the temp drops dramatically. A hat is also a good idea, because the sun is strong during the day. On my feet, I wore trail runners because I like the extra traction, but tennis shoes will work just fine.

GrannyJoan Jun 23rd, 2007 12:44 PM

Thanks Hills for clothing and shoe suggestions. May get a folding walking stick and then it won't be such a hinderance to pack in my duffle bag.

Waiting now for confirmation on two hotels. If these dont come in, the trip will have to be cancelled as we really want to include MP with Galapagos.

When are you headed to Africa? Remember you from the African forum. We got back from MM in SA a couple of weeks ago and are trying to schedule another adventure this summer. If this one doesn't work out, may have to do a self drive to California wine country or train rides in Colorado.

Thanks for help,
- Granny Joan

hills27 Jun 23rd, 2007 04:59 PM

I leave for Africa in August. I can't wait. I need a vacation so badly.

Which hotels?

If you like nature, you may want to think about Hotel Explora in Torres del Paine (Chile) next winter. I think you'd love it.

gypsyluce Jun 23rd, 2007 06:54 PM

A fabulous hotel to stay at near machu picchu is the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel at Aguascalientes where the train line ends. Lovely rooms, grounds, gardens, food etc. Not at the site but spectacular scenery. You will love it. Tours in grounds are included in price, there are amazing birds, orchids etc.

GrannyJoan Jun 23rd, 2007 06:58 PM

Sol & Luna Lodge at Urubamba, Peru

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
known as Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel

These are used by the tour company we are trying to book with. Since it is about a month away, they had given up there block of rooms. Now it may be that they have none left. Should know Monday or Tuesday if they will have a room there.

We have done the Chile Torres del Paine and did love it.

I am sure you will be ready for Africa and certainly find it relaxing and beautiful.

- Granny Joan

GrannyJoan Jun 23rd, 2007 07:00 PM


Yes that is the hotel that we are trying to get room.

- Granny Joan

GrannyJoan Jun 24th, 2007 09:42 AM

Another question:

If we do go on a small boat and the checked luggage limit is one bag, how do you take along a bag of wetsuits, snorkels, masks, and fins? Did you pack all this with your clothes checked bag or were you allowed to carry a separate duffle for this sort of stuff?

We will have camera bag and possibly a small backpack of carry on stuff for papers, documents, medicines, etc.

Did you carry items needed for snorkeling or walks in backpack or duffle bag to the shore? Did they allow you to leave items such as this on shore while snorkeling? Were items such as cameras safe while snorkeling?

- Granny Joan

Tess_Durberville Jun 25th, 2007 11:44 AM


Just returned (Sat) from my first visit to Peru. During our 9 day stay, went to Lima, Sacred Valley (overnight in Yucay), Machu Picchu (overnight @ Sanctuary Lodge), Cusco & Puno (Lake Titicaca).

The places you'll be visiting in Peru can vary quite a bit in temps --- and by that I mean, it starts out cool during early morning and then by 10:30 a.m. the sun significantly warms things up and you're wearing your jacket wrapped around your waist.

As for MP, you should wear a LIGHT weight shirt during the day as it can get quite warm when you're climbing up/down all the stairs. The sun is strong -- good sunglasses along w/ hat having a visor are a must. OR, even if you don't have a hat or forget to pack it, there will be many opportunities to buy one. I bought my "MP/Cusco" hat during our travels thru Sacred Valley for 9 sol ($3 USD).

Definitely bring your walking stick for MP -- I only saw a few people w/ one, however, wished that I'd brought mine. I live in an urban environment in Texas (flat, VERY flat) and consequently, don't find myself walking on such uneven terrain. Additionally, with 1500 people trekking around MP each day, it stirs up quite a bit of the dry ground. The dirt & dust can make the stone steps a bit slippery. I walked slowly and very carefully -- again, I strongly encourage taking a walking stick for better stability.

LASTLY, I also suggest bringing along a nasal saline solution ("Ocean" or any of the generic brands) AND a simple saline or "tears" for your eyes. Nobody told me how much dust & dirt is kicked up in MP, as well as walking around in Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo, Chinchero). By the end of the day, we had a snootful of dust. A long hot shower helped to clear out nose/sinuses somewhat, but was glad to have other stuff. AND further with regards to this issue, my traveling buddy was so glad she opted to wear glasses and not her contact lens. In researching the trip, nobody ever mentioned this dust/dirt factor and it could be problematic if you are a contact lens wearer.

GrannyJoan Jun 25th, 2007 12:10 PM

Thanks Tess for all the tips on MP.

I am originally from Corpus and have lived in Ft Worth and Austin and now live in Idaho. We have acclimated to cooler temperatures and hilly country here. I will take a walking stick and thanks for the tips about dust and slippery areas while walking in MP.

- Granny Joan

yestravel Jun 25th, 2007 12:44 PM

I second the advice of Tess_Durberville on the saline solution and the contact lens. I wear contacts and went crazy with them due to the dust and dryness in Peru. I had read about the nose saline solution and forgot to take it and was sorry I had forgotten it. Aside from the dust, it is incredibly dry and the saline solution would have been helpful with that too. We saw quite a few folks with walking sticks in MP. Enjoy your trip!

hills27 Jun 26th, 2007 06:36 PM

When I know I'm going to be snorkeling, I usually just pack my mask and snorkel and maybe a rash shirt, but borrow/rent fins (wetsuit too, if necessary). Rental masks suck, but I don't care if the fins/wetsuit aren't ideal. I don't want to deal with bringing them.

GrannyJoan Jun 26th, 2007 07:20 PM

We couldn't get reservations in the small towns in and around MP for this trip, so we are NOT going this year. Seems that trying to book a last minute tour to MP and Galapagos is out this year.

Thanks for all the help and archiving it for future trip.

- Granny Joan

BillJ Jun 26th, 2007 07:57 PM

Granny Joan:
Shoes: I found two pair to be good. One pair would be a stout hiking shoe, like a tennis shoe on steroids, for dry landings and hikes. Check with a local outdoor shop. My wife an I both had a pair and they were essential for some of the hikes on Galapagos lava trails. That lava can shred a pair of regular shoes quickly.
The second pair is for wet landings and beach or short walks. It is canvas web construction with a protected toe and stiff sole. Brand name of Teva is mentioned here a lot. Can't remember what my brand name is, but the same outdoor shop had it.
I got by with just those two pair, using the hiking shoe during travel. My wife brought a nice pair of sandals she used for on board - meal time, etc.
Snorkel gear: We took our own masks and snorkels, as my wife's mask has corrective lens in it and mine fits perfect. She took her fins, I used the boat's.
We have full 3mm wetsuits and took them along. Most used the wet suits on the boat (2mm shorties). Wetsuits are needed as the water is generally 66 to 74 degrees when we were there in Apr/May. All the equipment on the boat was first class. Don't know about your boat, ours was the Linblad Islander.
Some hikes were advertised as strenuous and when so, alternative shorter "easy" walks were offered as an alternative. Our boat had walking sticks available for those who wanted.
HOpe this helps. Have a wonderful time.

hills27 Jun 26th, 2007 08:48 PM

GrannyJoan, what about Whistler as an alternative? I had a fantastic time there two summers ago, and we booked very last minute.

Nicci Jun 26th, 2007 09:14 PM

We just returned from an 8 days cruise in the Galapagos Islands last week. I broke my right foot at home 12 days before our cruise and went on the trip in an aircast(looks similar to a ski boot). I was able to complete 14 hikes using two walking sticks. I highly recommend bringing your own collapsible hiking sticks. There are small boulders and sharp lava rocks on many of the trails. The pace is not fast and not steep, although you may need someone to help you up or down some ledges along with the aid of the hiking sticks. I purchased mine from Target they are Eddie Bower for only $15 each. Much better than $100-200 from REI.

I also snorkeled 4 times which was the highlight of the week. It was offered 6 times during the week and sometimes you would have to choose between hiking and snorkeling. The playful sea lions blew bubbles an inch from our mask and played tug a war with a stick we found. We also enjoyed swimming with many sea turtles and watched marine iguanas eating algae off rocks about 1-2 feet under the surface.

You will love it!

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