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Help! Travel times are wreaking havoc on my plans for Peru and Bolivia !

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Jan 7th, 2018, 08:57 AM
  #21
 
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We stayed at Colca Canyon Lodge. I was sick as could be from something I had eaten and a touch of altitude sickness so I didn't have a chance to enjoy the beautiful setting & surroundings as much as I would have liked. What I remember most was wonderful staff taking care of me and a nice place.

I remember reading crellston's excellent blog when he was in Lima & thinking it sounded as if it had changed and wishing it had been like that when we were there.

We ran into "who knows why?" festivals in Cusco and Arequipa and they were fabulous. I would definitely try to be there for a Full Moon Festival.

If you're concerned about steep hikes, you might want to be sure to check on Pinkuylluna. As I recall it was a very steep climb to it -- maybe half hour or so.
Sacsayhuaman is right outside Cusco and easily visited from there. Tipón which is about 10-15 miles outside Cusco is fascinating and well worth the trip to see it. The Incas were just amazing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipón
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:20 AM
  #22
kja
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Once again, thanks so much! I will definitely plan to be in Cusco for the festivities.

@ crellston: Somehow, I hadn’t made the connection between altitude sickness and sleeping altitude. Duh! I’m glad to know I should be OK with Kuelap, and the only night bus I now expect to take is not at altitude – it’s the one from Chachapoyas to Chiclayo. I was intrigued by Taquille, but read that one must climb about 500 “breathlessly steep” steps to get to the part of the island where there are people – I’m not sure I can plan on that! I look forward to re-reading your Peru blog and am very heartened that you think I have the makings of a great trip – I do, too!

@ yestravel: Thanks for your warning about Pinkuylluna! And now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll take another look at Tipon. Too bad about your time at Colca Canyon – feeling unwell can really take the air out of an experience, although I’m glad your remember the staff for their care.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:41 AM
  #23
 
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There was a festival when we were in Puno that changed my impression of the people a bit. Those folks know how to party. You could live where we live for a couple of hundred years and not see people having that much fun.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:50 AM
  #24
kja
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@ xcountry: Sounds risky! That could drastically change my ability to survive my day-to-day life. ;-)
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Jan 7th, 2018, 11:27 AM
  #25
 
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Another warning I forgot to mention..

If the "garua" has arrived (varies from year to year but May is possible, reconsider going to Caral.. probably the scariest drive I've ever been on, in the fog with the usual Peruvian "make a a new lane" and zero visibility.

The fog in Lima is one reason I like to go in our 'summer' since I don't like heat and humidity combined.
As May goes on the coast should get less foggy and the Andes should dry out, but every year is different and unpredictable.

Re altitude, Ayacucho and Chachapoyas are not especially high (I think not over 9000 feet) and if you are flying abd sleeping there, I think you are not likely to have major issues. You will get delivered to the top of Kuelap with little effort. Leymabamba is also not especially high (7200-7300 feet). Going up to Revash is difficult however, whether on horseback or foot. The museum in Leymabamba is a gem and if don't mind moving often there are some good lodgings right at or across from the museum. Casa Mallqui can be difficult to book but it's worth a try, and across the street is the somewhat splurgy Kentitambo (my bird guide's favorite place to stay in North Peru). Getting betwen Chachas and Leymabamba can be challenging if you don't go on a tour (which usually includes Revash) but I think you can handle it.

After Puno, I think Yanque/Chivay is the most difficult spot to acclimate...Arequipa isn't really high enough to do much (plus you go over the high pass on the way there which sets a lot of people off). The rim is about the same elevation as Cusco. There isn't a nearby alternative like Ollantaytambo or even Aguas Calientes (lower still than Machu Picchu).

I think I would plan my itinerary around the Cusco (or other local area) celebrations and putting Puno after either Cusco or Chivay should be about the same effect. In Puno, if you have issues at night you can ask for oxygen..don't hesitate.

I don't know if the transfers work out as well going Cusco-Puno-Chivay-Arequipa vs the other direction, but I think that way is slightly easier as far as altitude adjustment.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 11:56 AM
  #26
kja
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OMG, I want nothing to do with being in a moving vehicle on a road in zero visibility! Frankly, I'm a bit nervous about some of these roads in the best of weather. Thank you very much for that warning -- I will definitely keep it in mind.

According to wikipedia, the garua is most likely in July through September. Is it common in May?

I had been thinking of taking a tour from Chachapoyas to Leymabamba, but Casa Mallqui and Kentitambo both look wonderful! Do you think hiring a taxi or car & driver would be worth considering?
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Jan 7th, 2018, 12:49 PM
  #27
 
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Because they are in different provinces, that used to be a problem...there are not many independent taxis with licenses for both, from what I understand.

You could ask around the plaza at tour agencies in Chachapoyas (some are a little sketchy..like the lady at Hostal Revash), or contact the two lodgings for advice (Kentitambo is more responsive). The museum is outside the town center...probably a little too far to walk with much luggage.

In downtown Chachapoyas I liked La Casona (new owners and new prices to match). Possibly they can help if you message them on their Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/CasonadeChachapoyas/

I know crellston had a place in Chachapoyas that he liked also. It's probably a little early to get into lodgings but I know from experience that Casa Malqui is difficult.


My nightmarish ride was in October.. May and October can go either way but May has better odds than June!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 01:05 PM
  #28
 
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Oh got it wrong re May..it should be less foggy earlier in the month, with things starting to get worse as you enter June.. It's funny but Lima's May-June-July-Aug-Sept are quite a bit like coastal California in "summer" ( eg June gloom yet no rain). Coastal Peru is unique climate influenced by cold ocean water adjacent to a desert.
Lima Easy is a great website for all things Lima (although not 10% up to date). It says garua can start in May. More of my recent trips have been in October which sees the beginning of outbreaks of sun (but still can be cold at night). And definitely can still have fog days..Think San Francisco.


http://www.limaeasy.com/lima-info/th...limate-in-lima
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Jan 7th, 2018, 02:04 PM
  #29
kja
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Oh, interesting about the taxis! I wouldn't have thought about people needing different licenses for different provinces. I'll definitely contact those hotels, and some of the hotels and agencies in Chachapoyas. And I'll look into La Casona, too -- thanks!

I know there are no guarantees in these days of climate change, but am relieved that May should generally not be too bad for the fog. Most of my time near the coast should be in early to mid-May, so I'll wish for the best and have back-up plans in mind. And I'll also "think San Francisco" -- I love San Francisco!

Looks like a great website -- thanks!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:19 PM
  #30
 
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We have visited Lima a couple of times in May and have always had blue skies and no garura. Of course, these days it is anyone’s guess what the weather will be up to!

In Chachapoyas we stayed at Hotel Posada Del Arrerio which was pretty good.


Hostal Revash seemed to be the main place to organise tours but I found them way to pushy so we looked around some more. We found Chachpoyas Backpackers and booked our tours with Jose There. We would probably have stayed there if we had found it first.

Jose worked with the archaeologists on the Kuelap excavation/ restoration and was a great source of info. He showed us a documentary film of the works and histor6 of the place which was an excellent introduction.

Re altitude. Here is a link to the revamped U.K. NHS website containing detailed info http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advic...nd-travel.aspx

It now has a scoring system to determine whether you have AMS which is a novel idea!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 10:07 PM
  #31
kja
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@ crellston: Thanks so much! This information will prove incredibly helpful, and I greatly appreciate that you have taken the time and energy to track it down the details of you time in Chachapoyas for me. And I am especially grateful for the NHS link.

With such wonderful advice and support, I am sure to have a wonderful trip!


I'm about to return to my workaday life, hoping to continue my research in the evenings and maybe, just maybe, begin actually making reservations over the upcoming holiday weekend. Additional comments and suggestions are, of course, welcome!

Gracias, one and all!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 10:29 PM
  #32
kja
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** Another Thought **

If I skip Puno this trip, with the idea that I could (perhaps) include Lake Titicaca on a subsequent trip to Bolivia, then I could add a night somewhere and still get home (if all goes well) in my ideal time frame of a month. (My current plan includes one more night than I would prefer.) I'll be giving that idea some consideration in the next week, and will, of course, welcome reactions from all of you!
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Jan 7th, 2018, 10:55 PM
  #33
 
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Skipping Puno for now is an option.

By land, there are a few weekly direct 4-M buses Cuzco to Chivay. That's a more mountainous route but I thought 4-M was excellent. I would avoid that as a night bus. Even if Cruz del Sur does it then,
I wouldn't want to miss the scenery plus less safe at night.
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Jan 8th, 2018, 04:29 PM
  #34
kja
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Thanks again, mlgb! I'll look into the options, and will plan on sticking to daytime buses in that part of Peru.
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Jan 9th, 2018, 11:42 PM
  #35
 
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Another thought - given a choice of the Peruvian (Puno) side of the lake and the Bolivian ( Copacabana) , I much preferred the latter. Most people seemed to go that way overland from Peru, as we did, probably because it is a bit of a dead end, but there is no real need to as it is only a 4-5 bus ride from La Paz and the bus passes right through El Alto where the airport is situated so you could easily fly in elsewhere ( Rurrenabaque for Madidi NP) . That bus ride is pretty impressive in itself so no harm I doing it twice.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 12:09 AM
  #36
kja
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Thanks, crellston! That’s the kind of information that I was considering when I raised the question, so I’m very glad that you are pointing to some of the same issues, if from a different angle.

As I’m looking at it, if I persist with my decision to defer Bolivia for another trip (as I am currently inclined to do), maybe deferring ALL of Lake Titicaca for that later trip might make sense. I’m still on the fence. From what I’ve learned so far (and I have NOT yet completed a due-diligence search) routing from the Colca Canyon to Puno and then to Cusco / the Sacred Valley seems easier than routing directly from the canyon to Cusco and the Sacred Valley – IF I actually spend a night or two in Puno. And even if the Uros Islands are a bit Disney-ish, I admit that I’d still like a glimpse….

OTOH, skipping Puno could give me 2 nights with which to play, IF I can find an efficient transfer from Yanque to Ollantayambo (or near there)… but I’m not sure that such a transfer exists….

But maybe I’m missing some obvious options? I’ve certainly been known to do that!
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Jan 10th, 2018, 12:27 AM
  #37
kja
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I've also been known to ramble. Sorry! ;-)
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Jan 10th, 2018, 04:33 AM
  #38
 
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I actually did all of Arequipa-Colca-Titicaca-Bolivia as a separate trip, in November 2012.

Started in Arequipa (after an overnight near the Lima airport).

I returned back thru AQP with time in Lima at the end but you could easily go back from BO instead.

The 4M express bus/van is likely the only way to do Cuzco to Chivay in one day.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 04:46 AM
  #39
 
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I don’t think there are any transfers from Yanque to Ollantaytambo. I did read somewhere that Peru Rail were running trains from Ollantaytambo to Arequipa but is suspect that would cost as much as the rest of your trip put together!
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Jan 10th, 2018, 09:28 AM
  #40
 
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Perurail offers once a week, a 3 day/2 night guided tour from Cusco to Arequipa (not including a transfer to Colca Canyon) for approx $3000 USD (not a typo).

Not exactly efficient but I'm sure it's very nice!

There is no way to get to Colca without some overland travel (shortest route is from Arequipa).

To get to Yanque from Chivay where the 4-M bus has their stop is about a 15 minute taxi.

I would assume you'd leave from Cusco after spending a night there. On 4-M Express it's a full day bus.

Note the high elevations for the overland routes to Colca Canyon...Patapampa (approx 16,000 feet) for the route between Chivay and the main highway between Puno and AQP (so you get to do it twice!)

Between Cusco and Chivay it's a few hundred feet less (maybe 15,500).

4-M does advertise that they have oxygen on board. But many people don't tolerate Patapampa Pass well (even those living in Arequipa). You don't spend long there and the guide advised anyone not feeling well to stay on the bus and rest.

Most of the travel agents will put you on the 4-M bus between Puno and Colca Canyon. Between Arequipa and Colca, some of them use pool buses, some have their own vans, and some may give you a taxi transfer option.

I used Giardino from Arequipa (they have their own lodge on the other side of the canyon, Mama Yacchi). I had them end my tour with them in Chivay and then spent night 2 at Killawasi. Took a taxi back to Chivay and then 4-M onward to Puno (which Giardino booked). I did write up the Boliva part of the trip....

https://www.fodors.com/community/sou...e-nov-2011.cfm
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