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Peru: 10-14 days mid June with possible stop in Bolivia. Have ?'s

Peru: 10-14 days mid June with possible stop in Bolivia. Have ?'s

Old Mar 4th, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Peru: 10-14 days mid June with possible stop in Bolivia. Have ?'s

Its time to go abroad again so now I must turn to my Fodors family once more.
Ok so myself and maybe a friend...or alone is going to do do peru. Im a photographer so really want to see this in my life. Im flying in and out of Lima sofar but that may change if I can make it to Bolivia. Points of interest, which a friend of Peruvian ancestry suggested are:

Lima - see the city and surroundings (1-2 days)
Ica - sand surfing and vineyards (2-3 days)
Nazca - Fly over and see the lines. Maybe spend a day in town. (1-2 days)
Cuzco - Macchu Pichu(3-4 days) some amazon also.
Puno - see the city and surroundings (1-2 days)
Arequipa - see the city and monastery of Santa Catalina (1-2 days)
Extra but REALLY want to see: Salar De Uyuni Desert in Bolivia (1-2 days)

Big Questions:
How easy/what methods should I make it to each of these areas? Bus/Train/Plane?
Is there anything in addition to these that I should see?
How many days should i section off for each?
How should I pack? What to bring and what to avoid when packing?
Average cost of meals? Average cost of tours? Average cost of transportation?

Accommodations - Im looking for reasonable, safe and secure. Im a guy and my friend (or lack there of) will be as well. What type of accomodations exist and what should we be looking to pay?

Itinerary Map I made- http://oi45.tinypic.com/119pc2e.jpg

Thanks in Advance
scheme00 is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Take the bus south from Lima to Ica, Nazca, and Arequipa. On the way, consider a trip to the Paracas Peninsula and the Islas Ballestas ("the poor man's Galapagos")that can be done from Pisco or Paracas on the way to Nazca. Nazca doesn't really have much to recommend it. From Arequipa, you can fly to Puno (Juliaca) or to Cusco. A train runs between Puno and Cusco that is supposed to be really neat--booked it once then decided to stay in Cusco. These are all quite easy. The bus is cheap--particularly the local buses; flights aren't terrible: just found flight Arequipa--Cusco for $226.00 one way.

You'll want more time in and around Cusco than anywhere else, as it's a very special place--four days is probably about right (including an overnight trip to MP staying in Aguas Calientes--you'll want to see dawn at MP. Be sure to reserve as I think they've cut down the number of people admitted to MP each day Go from there to Manu National Park for a taste of the Amazon, but it's either Puno and possibly Bolivia OR Manu--you don't have time for both.

When in Lima, visit the National Archeological Museum in Lima--two or three hours there will introduce you to the Pre-Columbian cultures of Peru.

As to what to pack--warm clothes (it's cold in the mountains), sun hat and sunscreen for Cusco/MP. Take along some glucosamine sulfate-in fact, I'd start taking it about a month before you leave, as it is good for altitude sickness.

As to what else to do, the north coast and central mountains around Huaraz have some really spectacular pre-Inca archaelogical sites. However, your itinerary in the south is probably all you can do in the time you have.

Look on Tripadvisor for places to stay and read the comments. Last time I was in Cusco (about 8 years ago) a very nice single hotel room with breakfast could be had for about $25.00/nite--just checked TripAdvisor and prices for basic accomodations now look like between $30 and 50). Lima is a lot more. The coast is somewhere between, although Pisco looks like it's pretty inexpensive just now.

Also one tip on what to avoid: in Arequipa, everyone is going to want to talk you into going to Colca Canyon. Don't do it. It's a two day ride (overnight trip); very inexpensive, but not much payoff for the money. You don't have enough time. The Monastery (Convent) is worth it--very interesting place.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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I think with the level of questions you have, a guidebook would serve you well. Since this is the Fodor's site, I'll put in a plug for the Fodor's guide to Peru. (I've also worked on the book.)

If you're a U.S. citizen, you'll need a visa to go to Bolivia to the tune of $160. Is that worth it to you for essentially a one- or two-day jaunt?
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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I thought the visa was $135? Did they raise it like the other countries in SA?

If not, now is the time to go! I think any photographer would love to see La Paz and the Salar de Uyuni. In fact I would readily drop all the extra days in Ica and Nazca (one day each is enough)and substitute Bolivia.

If you have not yet bought international tickets you might fly in to Lima, fly to Cusco, take the bus or train to Puno, then take the lake transfer via Copacabana and Sun Island. (I used Transturin which has a larger vessel, see http://www.transturin.com/)

There are daily flights La Paz to Uyuni via Amaszonas (puddle jumper). The flights can be booked online, they do fill up ahead.

Kanoo Tours is an agency in La Paz that has online booking for transfers and some tours in Bolivia. www.kanootours.com

The big Bolivian travel agents are Crillon or Transturin.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Trip report from 2011

http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...e-nov-2011.cfm
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 07:13 PM
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When the U.S. raised its visa application fee to $160, Brazil and Bolivia immediately raised their visa fees for Americans and Chile and Argentina immediately raised their reciprocity fees for Americans to $160. Paraguay didn't increase its visa fee immediately, but they now charge Americans $160 too.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 10:53 PM
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I don't think so Jeff. You might want to check that.
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 06:21 AM
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You're right, mlgb. It's $135. I'm sorry.

I'll still ask the same question: Is it worth a $135 visa for a one- or two-day trip?
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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I wouldn't pay it just to go to the other side of Titicaca, but La Paz and the Salar are unique and spectacular. I think OP needs more than two days for the excursion, though.
Have you been, Jeff? If not a trip is in order!
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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You guys have dropped a wealth of information. My itinerary is about complete and thanks for your advice. I will be saving bolivia for another excursion as I dont beleive i have the time nor funds.

Thanks
Scheme
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Old Mar 6th, 2013, 07:34 PM
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Absolutely. I've been to all those places. I agree. Bolivia warrants more time.
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