2 weeks in Peru/Chile

Old May 24th, 2016, 08:13 AM
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2 weeks in Peru/Chile

I am looking to travel to South America from the States during mid to late July or late July to early August (haven't set dates yet).
My original plan was to visit solely Peru, but I have had several friends travel to Chile and they couldn't recommend the sights enough.

Only issue is I only have about 10-14 days total. Therefore, only 5-7 days in each country.
I know this isn't enough time to fully experience everything, but it is the only time I have and I would like to make the most of it.

While there are many things that I would love to see, I am hoping to get any suggestions/tips for putting together an itinerary for my trip.

For Peru, Machu Picchu is definitely something I want to see. How long should I plan on being in Cusco? Are there any tours going from Lima to Cusco you'd recommend?
What else is doable in Peru within this time frame? Sacred Valley? Lake Titcaca?

For Chile, I am not as much interested in Santiago. I was considering Valparaiso. I would also love to see Torres del Paine, but the weather during the season I'm traveling doesn't align.
Any place in southern Chile that would compare? (Think views of mountains, lakes, etc.) Or should I just stay with the Atacama desert, as it is nice this time of year? I know doing both is impossible with the time I have.

Other things I should mention: I will most likely be traveling solo. I am a 25 y/o female, not interested in partying. Prefer the views and experiences.

Apologize for the long post, it will be my first time to South America, and I need all help I can get. Thanks in advance!
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Old May 24th, 2016, 10:19 AM
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I don't know that I would add another country with that amount of time.

In Peru you can easily fill the time just with Lima (Barranco neighborhood has an arty feel like Valparaiso), Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. From Cusco you can also make a side trip to the jungle.

I would fly from Lima into either Cusco or Arequipa, work your way around, and end with several days in Lima.

If you start in AQP the direction is
Arequipa
Chivay/Colca Canyon (via tour or 4M Express)
Puno (Lake Titicaca)
Cusco by bus or train
Sacred Valley
MP
Fly back to Lima.

In the reverse direction you fly Lima to Cusco, but go to the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo is nice) to start your stay.
Lima
Ollantaytambo
MP
Cusco
Puno (Lake Titicaca)
Chivay/Colca
Arequipa
Lima

Each place is worth a few days.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 10:24 AM
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Tour agency for Titicaca is All Ways, titicacaperu.com

To do Colca Canyon, I booked through Giardino Tours. The first night I stayed in their Mama Yaachi, then was dropped off for a second night at Killawasi Lodge in Yanque after seeing the condors.

I liked Giardino because they are not a pool tour company.

I didn't use guides for Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley, it's very easy to self-guide as it's a big tourism center and there is lots of printed materials and English speakers.

I don't know your budget but my favorite hotel in Barranco Lima is http://www.3bhostal.com/
For transfers and tours both in Lima and the Sacred Valley you might try taxidatum.com, which you can reserve on the internet ahead of time. Very reliable.
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Old Jun 9th, 2016, 06:58 AM
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Thank you so much for your reply!
I know that trying to squeeze two countries in that short amount of time is not recommended.

To note, I had not originally planned on doing Colca Canyon or Arequipa simply because of time constraints. In Peru, my main interest is seeing Machu Picchu, and I was thinking of Lake Titicaca, and passing over to Bolivia that way. I think this would be much more practical. I have excluded Chile since it is not the right season to travel to the destination I had in mind.


With that being said, (if applicable) could you advise?

I am worried about altitude sickness in Cusco and was thinking of traveling straight to Ollantaytambo or somewhere similar as soon as I landed to help with this, but any tips would be helpful.

Thank you so much, @mlgb!
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Old Jun 9th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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Yes, if you want to go to MP first, then going straight to Ollantaytambo is a good strategy. From there you can catch the train to Machu Picchu.

One thing to mention re Bolivia is that if you are a US citizen you need to get a visa which is now $160 (not $135 as previously reported). I liked Bolivia very much and you can take a bus from Puno (L. Titicaca) or fly between Cusco and La Paz. (Peruvian Airlines I believe has one daily flight and is probably your best option as they are nonstop). You will have to decide if the expense and time make it worthwhile, but I liked Bolivia a lot.

http://boliviala.org/us-citizen-visa-requirements/
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Old Jun 14th, 2016, 05:23 AM
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This is incredibly helpful, thank you so so much!
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Old Jun 14th, 2016, 07:54 AM
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One nice thing about Bolivia is that the prices are generally very low, so you very quickly make up the cost of the visa. Also remember that it will be cold, but dry, in the Andes.

Try to get the maximum time away, I know you won't regret it.
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