Which country: Costa Rica, Brazil, or Peru?

Old Nov 21st, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Just to throw in a counter argument - Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail (or other trails if you prefer) are getting more and more restrictive by the year. You might want to hike one of the treks while you can. For example, I climbed the ruins of Chichenitza (spelling sucks I know) when I was 15, and when my friends went this year, everything was roped off. I loved hiking the Inca Trail - seeing ruins without anyone else around along the way (I went in low season). Then, you can do a boat ride down the Amazon to some Amazon jungle lodges. I didn't have time for that, but my cousin said it was amazing. Of course, everyone loves Costa Rica, but if you'd like to add some culture to your trip, Peru could be a neat trip (and cheaper).
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 08:54 AM
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Venice, is Peru really cheaper than Costa Rica?
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Well, at least according to my experience. But maybe there were just better mid-range options?

We stayed a few nights at Kuychi Rumi in the Sacred Valley. Perhaps it can be equated with the non-coastal tourist areas of CR. It is the area near many of the Inca ruins, and where you start the Inca Trail. We had a really nice 2 story 2 bedroom 2 bath cottage with kitchen, dining area, fireplace, and garden for $90 a night. There were only perhaps 6 cottages on the property and we received very personalized service. And that was one of the most expensive options in the area. I suppose there was a slightly more "upscale" option that had more cottages, a spa, and a pool, and that was $150 a night, still significantly less than Xandari.

We had a private driver take us to all the Sacred Valley sites on our own time for $60 for the day.

We also stayed in Cusco for a few nights at Hotel Marqueses. It is a converted colonial mansion, with a dining area in the courtyard, in addition to an inside dining area. We had a large room with a balcony, tv, large bathroom, breakfast, internet, taxes, airport transfers for $90. They also had rooms for half that but we opted for the bigger bed. This was maybe an upper-mid range hotel. I'm not sure if it is comparable to Don Carlos or to Grano de Oro, but it certainly included more for the priced. The "luxury" hotels were $90-$215 a night, except for one ultra-luxury hotel that was much more, but it is an Orient-Express hotel and member of the Leading Hotels of the World.

We stayed near Lake Titicaca at the 2nd nicest hotel - the Casa Andina Private Collection, with a balcony and view of the lake and cable tv (good since my husband had altitude sickness and spent a lot of time in bed) for $110 a night including taxes and breakfast (a delicious hot and cold, with omelette station, etc.). It had a nice fireplace in the lounge area with views, and a dining room with views, etc. I think the nicest hotel in the area was $200 a night.

We hiked the 4 day 3 night Inca Trail with Andean Life for $350 each, including tent, porters to set up and break down tent, 2 guides for our small 9 trekker group, all meals cooked for us and served in a dining tent, transportation to and from the trail head/end, entrance fees to the trail and to Machu Picchu.

We did a semi-private full day tour of the Uros Islands and Lake Titicaca with 1 other couple for $50 each, including meeting local families, boat ride, lunch, etc. A similar tour was also available with a slightly larger group and slower boat for $18 each.

But I guess I can compare better after returning from CR.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 01:05 PM
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W !!
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 01:11 PM
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Is Peru cheaper than Costa Rica.?

In my opinion ,Yes.

venicegirl:

The Mexicans cannot spell it either so they call it "Chicken Pizza"

The Sacred Valley is beautiful from Pisac to Machu Picchu.

I do not think you will get a tour guide in Costa Rica for $60.00 a day.

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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Wow, good to know. I always envisioned Peru to be expensive. Hmmmmm..... now you've got me thinking.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 04:06 PM
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You can totally go - I see flight specials all the time to Lima.

Internal flights are on par with internal flights in CR, but with normal bigger planes, not prop planes. Cheaper if you book them on LAN's Peru site (in Spanish), rather than the site facing international travelers.

The Sacred Valley was beautiful. My favorite part was hiking through salt flats of Moras and ruins of Moray without seeing more than 2 or 3 other tourists, because we didn't go on a regular tour. We also went to a fancy, yet inexpensive restaurant in Urumbamba recommended by Kuychi Rumi owner that we never would have found on our own. With our private driver, and just exploring on our own, we definitely got a glimpse of how the native people of that area really lived (stark difference compared with the city folk, and extreme difference from big city folk, like Lima).

Treking the Inca trail (in November of last year) we had only 9 trekkers - all from elsewhere besides the US. Our tour guides were great, and led the tour in English. We'd often be the only people at the ruins along the way, and the climate and vegetation changed along the way. All our camp sites had gorgeous views. The hike was easier than I thought it would be - just a little challenging the 2nd day, but I am in good shape, and was taking diamox for altitude sickness. At the beginning of the first and end of the 3rd day you can buy sodas and candy at stands from locals, which I thought was weird, but my husband was happy to get his coke-zero fix.

Machu Picchu is amazing, and the hike to Waynu Picchu for an amazing view of the ruins is also amazing. Just really neat to learn about a civilization in such a gorgeous setting.

The Uros reed islands on Lake Titicaca were really, really neat too. Something completely new to see, and people still live on them. I would skip Taquile Island though, not worth the extra time, and make your trip to Puno short, as Puno, is pretty depressing. Or you can stay overnight with a local famliy on an island further out in the lake.

And if you're a nature nut, my cousin loved the Amazon Rainforest trip where you go by boat down the river and stay in a river lodge.

BUT - just so you are aware, these are two very different countries - Costa Rica is much more of a tropical destination (I think).
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