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Elevation acclimatization, transportation, and lodging help!?

Elevation acclimatization, transportation, and lodging help!?

Old Apr 30th, 2016, 02:24 PM
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Elevation acclimatization, transportation, and lodging help!?

Hi guys,

I am a 27 year old single guy who will be traveling solo in southern Peru for approximately 2 to 3 weeks in the end of June 2016, probably a little into July. I am looking for advice on the best way to cover the following sites including the best ways to get from location to location, inexpensive accommodations and/or hostels, elevation acclimatization, etc. I am pretty hesitant about running with a guided tour. I think I can save money, time, and gain some freedom by not booking with a guide. However, I am interested in input related to which of these sites and activities would benefit more from traveling with tour guides rather than on my own (I know that obviously I need to pay for a pilot and excursion leaders with dune buggies and belly boards).

Here is my preliminary itinerary, in the order of travel which I initial saw fit (however, I realize that I may need to reverse the route):

--see the Nazca lines via airplane
--dune buggy and belly board on the sand dunes (I was looking into Huacachina)
--it would also be great to see the Cantalloc Aqueduct.  or Chauchilla cemetery and the Candelabra engravement as well
--Stay in Lima for at least a night but no more than 24 hours, really. I hear the food is pretty impressive
--Hang in Arequipo.
--Visit colca canyon
--Stay with a peruvian family at Lake Titicaca and perhaps do more there, too, like some water activities if there are any. Most importantly, though, is the cultural immersion.
--see macchu picchu, maybe hike up it. interested in hiking to Huayna Picchu as well, but this is not a definite.
--cuzco and ruins / sights around it
--sacred valley
--fly home, leave from cuzco.

I am willing to cut some of the more lax and less inspiring things out of this itinerary so that I don't need to stay in Peru for more time than I want, but ultimately, this is my ideal.

--As far as transportation goes, besides the flight I'll need to take from Lima to Cuzco, how would you recommend I get from area to area? I am actually interested in as specific as the modes of transportation can get because this trip has a lot of parts, hence, a lot of road time.

--As far as acclimatization goes, I know that it is recommended to rest for a day or two at certain places. However, besides Cuzco, I am not sure for how long I would need to rest, how many times, and between which cities.
Again, the above temporary itinerary is a route I thought was best. But I am definitely open to suggestions!

--I can either find hotels to stay in along the way, or I can stay at different hostels. Does anyone here have experience with hostels in Peru, maybe able to cite ones they'd recommend or avoid? Same goes for hotels in each area I would need.

--What do you guys think I should book a guide or tour for? If you are suggesting any, which, why, and what are some other important details?

I would like to finalize and book this trip as soon as possible.

Thank you guys, hear from you soon…!

shp403 is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2016, 03:17 PM
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I assume you are flying into and out of Lima, correct?

Really, you can do the trip in either direction.

One way is to fly Lima to Cusco, then immediately go to the Sacred Valley (which is lower than Cusco but higher than Machu Picchu). Most people do okay at that altitude (eg Ollantaytambo).

At this point you won't be able to hike the Inca Trail, even the short one, because it will be already completely booked. You can take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, and then the bus up to the "citadel". From inside the citadel, you can walk up to the Sun Gate (no extra ticket). If you want to try to hike one of the other two mountains inside MP you will have to see if there are tickets available and buy in advance on the website or from an agent.

After seeing MP, spend a few nights in Cusco. That will be a little higher in elevation.

From there you can go by bus to Puno for Lake Titicaca. There are regular buses (which are mostly pretty crappy unless Cruz del Sur is now running that route) or the Inka Express tourist bus.

Punot is pretty much the highest point of the itinerary, other than when you go over a pass between Puno and Arequipa.

From Puno you can take a 4M Express bus directly to Chivay, in Colca Canyon. You can either book a tour including the bus, or just the bus alone.

4M goes also between Chivay and Arequipa, over a high pass where you won't stop for very long (because it's so high).

From Arequipa you can go to Nazca, then to Huacachina, then back to Lima, all by bus.

Or you can do it in the reverse direction. When going from Arequipa to Colca Canyon, you'll feel the altitude. And again when you get to Puno. The rest of the trip will be all downhill...

For booking lodging a lot of places are on booking.com, or you can try hostelbookers or one of those types, or read guidebooks and book directly with hotels. I don't really suggest waiting to make reservations because June is practically the highest of the high season.

The better bus lines are Cruz del Sur, or Oltursa, or 4M.

One way to get an idea of bus schedules is to look on Go2Peru's website which has schedules of the ones most commonly used by tourists, but you can buy them at stations or online.

Often there are more buses than shown, especially along the coast from Nazca and Ica (Huacachina) to Lima.

You don't really need to hire a tour company, but around Lake Titicaca I'd recommend All Ways, titicacaperu.com

They can arrange your intercity buses, the boat in Titicaca and the homestay.

A hostel that I like in Ollantaytambo is KB Tambo, kbperu.com and they can also arrange transport.

This is a good overall info source for Peru

PS I like Lima a lot, but you don't have much time so I think just one day at the end will work for you.
mlgb is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2016, 11:38 PM
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Mlgb has provided excellent advice and has reall covered it all. We have done that trip one way - Cusco-Puno - Arequipa -Lima and return in a few days to do it in the other direction - Lima - Arequipa-Puno ..

A few additional thoughts/ comments. We chose Killawasi lodge in Colca. They get good reviews and will pick us up from Arequipa and drop us off in Puno over three days making it very straightforward.

In Cusco we are staying at Los Ninos . Nice place, centrally located and run in a very good cause - disadvantaged kids in the region.

Whatever you do take either Cruz del Sur or Inka express Puno- Cusco. We did a night bus one time and it was the journey from hell! Always pays to use the the best bus company you can and opt for eksecutivo/VIP/Cama class - well worth the small extra charge.

Allways travel as recommended above are excellent - they offer the standard tours but also tours to more remote, less touristy locations. They operate on a socially responsible basis and treat their host families fairly, unlike many operators in the area. If you are after "cultural immersion" make sure to mention it and they will provide the right tour for you.
crellston is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2016, 08:10 AM
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Good advice above. Unless you have a particular interest and enjoy spending more money than you have to, avoid being in Cusco around Inti Raymi, the winter solstice celebrated June 24, as this large celebration means lodging will be at a premium. You might want to go to Cusco just after that--I've been a couple of times in early July and hotel rooms were plentiful and relatively inexpensive.

While you don't need a tour company, think about booking a Sacred Valley tour in country. Good advice about going to Ollantaytambo when you first get to the Cusco area.

Re altitude sickness--my experience (on advice from a Peruvian friend) was to do little and eat nothing the first day at altitude. I had a bit of it and was given some glucosamine sulfate tablets at a pharmacy in Cusco my first time there; the second time, I was taking glucosamine for joint health and did not experience any altitude sickness. So you might want to try it. My experience has been that once you get used to the altitude, you won't have a problem again, so a day or two resting at Ollantaytambo should "inoculate" you.

I'd engage a local taxi to drive you to the Cantalloc Aqueduct and wait for you.

For the cemetery, you could also take a taxi--you could probably combine the two into one day, although this tour: http://www.mysteryperu.com/eng/co_ce...hauchilla.html looks pretty cost effective.

But as you want to see the Candelabra, and should see the Islas Ballestas in that neighborhood, go to Paracas north of Nazca--I took local buses between the two--and take a tour--inexpensive and fun. I think I saw more seabirds on one morning there than I've seen in the rest of my life.

!Buen viaje!
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Old May 7th, 2016, 11:08 AM
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Having just come back from a month in Peru and in some of the places you mentioned, just some thoughts: I swear by coca leaves. Chew them, drink the tea, don't eat them- put them against your cheek and suck the juice. Natives have been using them for centuries for good reason. I've done the Inca Trail, have just spent five days at extreme altitudes in Colca Canyon on horseback, the leaves were indispensable. I believe diamox or diomox is the medicine you can take for altitude sickness, friends may correct me on this, but I swear my this on all my high altitude climbs above 14k feet. Half a tablet twice a day. Check with your doctor, I used it for Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp, worked both times. Or not, just use the coca leaves.

Lots and lots and lots of hydration also helps with altitude sickness but above all, go down, before you go further up.

I third the Ollantaytambo. Take the time to walk the side streets, explore, it's beautiful. KBPeru which is online only has tours and adventures locally, run by a guy who should be back in Peru by the time you get there. I did a horse tour with them which was excellent. They do not have an office, so look them up online. I think it's KPPeru.com but they also have a FB page.

Booking.com was an excellent resource for all my hostels during this stay from very simple hostals to mid range. Beware the cancellation policies.

If you check my previous trip report under jhubbel for a trip I took to Peru in 2014 I have listed information for a home stay family on Lake Titicaca which I would highly recommend for you. Their phone number is listed, I loved my stay with them, they are simply lovely people and the island is magnificent. Very non touristy. I lucked out back then and promised I would spread the word for them.

While I honor that you're saving $, you might want to consider looking at Peru Adventures in Arequipa. This was an investment I made to go off the beaten path and get away from the touristed areas of Colca Canyon. It was worth every cent. Mind you I am an adventure traveller so I prefer a harder life on the road, so no heat and no hot water are not problems for me. What I saw and experienced were unbelievable. The operator delivered far beyond expectations. Just saying, it might be worth your while to inquire.

That said, the above come from travellers far more experienced than I, and with much broader knowledge. I have particular tastes, but hope the ideas are useful.
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Old May 7th, 2016, 02:05 PM
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All of the above are great recommendations.
I did the trek with Mountain Lodges of Peru. FANTASTIC. Highest alt on Summit day was 15,000' no Diamox needed. Coca leaf tea, and 5 Liters a day H20 if trekking.

Read these two before you go for certain: Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie and Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams.

onthebow is offline  
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