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Peru, Buenos Aires or Elsewhere for a relaxing trip?

Peru, Buenos Aires or Elsewhere for a relaxing trip?

Old Dec 15th, 2019, 09:07 AM
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Peru, Buenos Aires or Elsewhere for a relaxing trip?

I've had a rough past year and I finally have a month (January) between starting a new job to travel somewhere. I really need this break. I just want to go somewhere and disappear for a while so i'm looking forward to this trip. I can't decide between traveling to Lima/Cusco or Buenos Aires. I don't want to spend too much and so my plan was to stay in not more than two cities or just one area of a country, and really experience the culture there. I want to go somewhere that will be rejuvenating, relaxing and would allow me to meet tons of travelers on days I want to be social but also allows me to retreat and be alone.

Peru interests me for the scenery, machu picchu, hiking is kind of out my comfort zone but it would be cool to try it, ancient ruins, and the history. There seems to be a unique quality about Peru.Buenos Aires (I would stay at Palermo) interests me for the great architecture, cafes/coffeeshops, European-like which is cool, cosmopolitan vibe meaning lots to do maybe. I don't know which option would be more relaxing?

Cons of both. Buenos Aires, maybe just like any major city, ATM situation, too hot in January, more expensive than Peru // Peru - would be going during a rainy wet season Jan/Feb, seems Peru involves more planning once you're there for tours/hikes etc

Any suggestions about which would be a good option? If any, any itinerary planning advice? I'm in a bind because I'm trying to leave for the first week of January, so flights are getting up there if I take longer to decide. I wonder if I should go with some other place entirely. I've been to Colombia already so I wanted to try something different.







Last edited by bluemoon25; Dec 15th, 2019 at 09:20 AM.
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Old Dec 15th, 2019, 09:13 AM
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I like Peru much more. There isn't any need for big planning if you aren't hiking the Inca Trail especially if you have a month. As January is off season, not that busy, you should be able to catch the train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo when the weather is good. I like Ollantaytambo which has its own ruins. However there aren't the range of museums that you might find in Lima. I do really like Lima but find it is too hot in January (I don't like hot/humid weather). Most inexpensive places don't have air conditioning since it's hot only a few months out the year. It doesn't rain in Lima, most years.


I would also find Buenos Aires too hot in January, and don't like it anyways. I don't think Palermo is especially attractive and am not a huge fan of Italian food or beef. If I'm going to suffer in the heat, I'd pick Lima which has excellent seafood and you can't even run out of museums in a month. Also find the Spanish spoken in Lima easier to understand to my ear. I think you might like the Barranco neighborhood. Maybe you could find an Airbnb in one of the new highrises there, but for your first few days there is a very welcoming small hotel, 3B , but sorry no A/C.
https://www.3bhostal.com/

Another city you might consider in Peru is Arequipa, there are plenty of museums and interesting culture. I think the weather will be milder but it also could get some rain (and be cold at night, so you'll want a hotel that has heat!) You can fly there from Lima.

Last edited by mlgb; Dec 15th, 2019 at 09:23 AM.
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Old Dec 15th, 2019, 04:07 PM
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Yeah, i'm learning toward Peru. I was also thinking that Buenos Aires/Palermo might get too much for me due to the hot weather. I also kind of feel like it is probably like any Westernized big city. I definitely want to go somewhere for the intresting culture. If I go with Peru, I was thinking maybe do 2 cities because, I really don't want to bounce around cities and flights too much for the trip. It sounds like Barranco and Arequipa are good to choose from and of course Cusco. Did you know out of Barranco and Arequipa, which has more to do if just choosing one of those? Maybe I can do Barranco or Arequipa for a few days and stay in Cusco for the rest of the month. I just hope Cusco has enough to do for 3+ weeks since i'm planning a month long trip. I'll check out the hostal you mentioned maybe I can yes, look into Airbnb at a highrise with a nice view or something.
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Old Dec 15th, 2019, 04:27 PM
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Barranco is a suburb of Lima. So as a big city there is more. Check flights, you might split Lima-Cusco- Arequipa. All 3 are interesting. Arequipa has especially nice architecture. You can also do a side trip to Colca Canyon from there.
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Old Dec 15th, 2019, 04:39 PM
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True, maybe I can do all three, starting with Barranco then Cusco then end on Arequipa. Maybe 1 week both Barannaco and Arequipa each and then 2 weeks in Cusco. I'll look into flights for that.
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Old Dec 15th, 2019, 09:49 PM
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I didn't travel in a relaxed style, but even so, you might find some useful information in the trip report I wrote about my time in Peru:
Praise for Peru Ė A report of my solo month in this amazing country

IMO, Lima has a lot to offer. Cusco would drive me crazy for that long, but that's me -- I suspect there are many people who would love a nice long, relaxing stay there. mlgb's suggestion of Arequipa is interesting -- it is a lovely place!

Good luck!
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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Mlgb and I agree on most things apart from Buenos Aires My wife and I spent a month there in an apartment in Palermo in December/January and have visited several times since. We loved it, but can understand why some may not. That said, I wouldn’t describe it as a particularly relaxing city, but few cities are. I guess it is what you make of it.

We have also rented apartments in Lima, Arequipa, Ollantaytambo and Cusco for similar periods. Also stayed at 3 B Barranco at Mlgb’s suggestion and loved it. Lima is IMO, not quite as sophisticated and cosmopolitan a city as BA, but has tons to do and see. Barranco is a buzzing, bohemian type suburb with easy access to other parts of the city. Lots of great restaurants and bars in a compact area and walking distance to the Malecon and a Larcomar Centre in the more well known Miraflores.

We were in Ollantyatmbo for Over a month doing some voluntary works and although it is a beautiful intact Inca village with arguably the most stunning ruins other than Machu Pichu, I wouldn’t recommend it for more than a few days. A day and you have seen it all. Cusco, on the other hand has lots going on, has great bars and restaurants and a huge number of places of interest to visit within a days travel.

Arequipa will likely see better weather and is a city I love to spend time in. Most visit just for the nearby Colca Canyon which is incredible but I have been there several times without going anywhere near the canyon. IMO it is a great city in which to spend some time just chilling out and wandering aimlessly.

Some more detail and photos of our time there in our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/peru/ which may provide an idea of what to expect in each of those places.

I think your plan of splitting your time with a couple of weeks or so in each of the three cities is a good one. Enough time to really get to know the places but not so long that if you don’t take to any place, it is going to be disaster.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 07:55 AM
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crellston likes steak (and bars I think) much more than I do! So that may explain our choices to a degree, different strokes for different folks as they say?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet, re Peru is the generally upbeat/friendly atttitude of nearly everyone, regardless of social class and whether they deal with tourists at a professional level (eg just observing everyday interactions, eg in parks, while riding on the combis or shopping in regular stores. I hope that is still the case, since its been a few years since my last visit. I found that to also be true in Colombia, BTW. Remarkable considering their difficult histories.

Argentina was a different story for me. A Brazilian who I met during Colombian travels said that she finds the people "cooler," "cold climate, cold heart" or something like that. I'm talking about casual encounters, not friendships, obviously. But I didn't spend a lot of time in bars, maybe alcohol helps loosen them up.

Another friend thinks there is an Anti-American bias in Argentina, while these are speculations I did find a different attitude there, than in other South American countries. (I've not been to the former Guyana colonies, Brazil or Paraguay, but have the rest of the continent covered). Peru, Colombia and Bolivia are my favorites. Peru is the easiest for travel, so a good one for relaxing.

Last edited by mlgb; Dec 16th, 2019 at 08:13 AM.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 01:45 PM
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I was thinking Buenos Aires might not be as friendly as other places too and now i'm realizing the hot weather and humidity would probably bother me a lot.

With Peru, i'm leaning toward it. I keep hesitating. I think because i'm unsure about the rainy season, whether Lima would be too overwhelming as a city since I was thinking of going there first before Cusco, and of course the altitude situation in Cusco.

I can't really think of anything else, if only there was a place similar to Peru, nice scenery, friendly, lot of travelers, with out the drawbacks.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 06:35 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by bluemoon25 View Post
IWith Peru, i'm leaning toward it. I keep hesitating. I think because i'm unsure about the rainy season, whether Lima would be too overwhelming as a city since I was thinking of going there first before Cusco, and of course the altitude situation in Cusco.
I certainly can't speak to how you would feel about the rainy season (but would encourage you to check weatherbase.com for historic climate data), but if I said anything to discourage you from Peru, I apologize -- I found it a delightful place! Yes, Lima is big and CAN seem overwhelming, but if your purpose is to relax and you aren't trying to fit a lot in, I don't know that it would be overwhelming. Stay in Barranco (which mlgb and crellston have already mentioned, and where I stayed on their recommendation) -- it has a nice neighborhood feel with pleasant stretches to walk / roam / people watch, good restaurants in a range of price points, and good access to public transportation. There's no reason to let the city's size or traffic jams disrupt a relaxing stay if what you seek is relaxation! And Cusco is a delightful place with lots to see and enjoy and again, if your goals is to relax and you are willing to give some time to getting used to altitude and to just taking things at your own pace, it really shouldn't be a problem. If you want a 3rd destination, Arequipa would, IMO, be a great choice

Originally Posted by bluemoon25 View Post
II can't really think of anything else, if only there was a place similar to Peru, nice scenery, friendly, lot of travelers, with out the drawbacks.
Are you limiting yourself to South America? If so, why? If not, is there truly no where else that you think might suit? We might be able to suggest other options, but I think we would need to know a lot more before just throwing out a string of place names.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I certainly can't speak to how you would feel about the rainy season (but would encourage you to check weatherbase.com for historic climate data), but if I said anything to discourage you from Peru, I apologize -- I found it a delightful place! Yes, Lima is big and CAN seem overwhelming, but if your purpose is to relax and you aren't trying to fit a lot in, I don't know that it would be overwhelming. Stay in Barranco (which mlgb and crellston have already mentioned, and where I stayed on their recommendation) -- it has a nice neighborhood feel with pleasant stretches to walk / roam / people watch, good restaurants in a range of price points, and good access to public transportation. There's no reason to let the city's size or traffic jams disrupt a relaxing stay if what you seek is relaxation! And Cusco is a delightful place with lots to see and enjoy and again, if your goals is to relax and you are willing to give some time to getting used to altitude and to just taking things at your own pace, it really shouldn't be a problem. If you want a 3rd destination, Arequipa would, IMO, be a great choice


Are you limiting yourself to South America? If so, why? If not, is there truly no where else that you think might suit? We might be able to suggest other options, but I think we would need to know a lot more before just throwing out a string of place names.
In that case, I do agree with a lot of great points you made about Peru. Lima can seem overwhelming, but yeah if i'm just there to blend in and relax, it might be okay and Barranco sounds cool and artsy. If I go with Peru, Arequipa sounds great too. I guess it can be overwhelming with going to 2-3 places, all very different, not being sure until I get there, how it will pan out. Oh true, getting used to Cusco altitude might not be so bad. But all of it together, I hesitate even though out of the other countries I thought about in South America such as Buenos Aires and Ecuador, it seems like the best choice. I guess I didn't know I had the energy to do all the trips, Macchu Picchu, etc. My original plan was to just go somewhere for a few weeks, stay in the same spot, and just kind of explore that idea but it's hard to find an area that's walkable enough and stay entertained for a month long stay.

Whether I have other places in mind than just South America? Yeah, I guess i'm not totally limiting myself to South America. It was my top choice because it's closer to the US (cheaper flight/accommodation), the interesting culture, and getting to improve my Spanish if just even a little. Not sure if anyone has any insight into other places on my mind such as maybe Azores in Portugal, like the Sao Miguel island, maybe getting a cottage by the sea, but it seems you would need a car. I thought about Tbilisi, Georgia, Croatia, Prague, like staying by water or old town area and relaxing there. But with those places, i'm not sure how friendly they are and if it would be isolating as opposed to Peru and something about the South American culture intrigues me.

I'm just so lost with all of this. There has to be some place that I don't have so many doubts about. I guess I'm looking for a place I can just get lost in the atmosphere, has lots to explore, that isn't too busy, can meets other travelers & relaxing, calm scenery, not too expensive of an area.

Last edited by bluemoon25; Dec 16th, 2019 at 08:01 PM.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 09:09 PM
  #12  
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OK, deep breath time.

Re: Peru: As with ANY location, going from place to place can be "overwhelming" or "an adventure." It will be what you make of it.

You don't need to have the energy to do anything you don't want to do. If you want to lie in a bed somewhere, that's your choice.

If you aren't committed to South America, you have a ton of options in Central America. I haven't been to Oaxaca, but think it might fit your bill. And despite some recent postings that weren't all that positive about it, I'd look into San Cristobal de las Casas. JMO.

And of course you have tons of options in Europe, ones that are eaasier to reach than those you mention. Sevilla / Malaga, Barcelona / Tarragon, Nice / Marseille, Naples / Salerno, Paris / Chartres, Athens / Nafplio ....

Honestly, I understand that you are recovering from a difficult year, but I think you need to do a bit more research and think more about why you might want to go somewhere, rather than all the reasons why you might not want to. JMO. I'm sure you don't mean to ask us to care more about your time than you do!

Good luck!

Last edited by kja; Dec 16th, 2019 at 09:13 PM.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
OK, deep breath time.

Re: Peru: As with ANY location, going from place to place can be "overwhelming" or "an adventure." It will be what you make of it.

You don't need to have the energy to do anything you don't want to do. If you want to lie in a bed somewhere, that's your choice.

If you aren't committed to South America, you have a ton of options in Central America. I haven't been to Oaxaca, but think it might fit your bill. And despite some recent postings that weren't all that positive about it, I'd look into San Cristobal de las Casas. JMO.

And of course you have tons of options in Europe, ones that are eaasier to reach than those you mention. Sevilla / Malaga, Barcelona / Tarragon, Nice / Marseille, Naples / Salerno, Paris / Chartres, Athens / Nafplio ....

Honestly, I understand that you are recovering from a difficult year, but I think you need to do a bit more research and think more about why you might want to go somewhere, rather than all the reasons why you might not want to. JMO. I'm sure you don't mean to ask us to care more about your time than you do!

Good luck!
All I have been doing is research! I'm not sure what you mean exactly about how I need to figure out why I might want to go somewhere. I have so many reasons why that i've listed. A trip like this is what I need, and I've been thinking about it for several months. I'm not asking anyone to care more about it. I guess I over-vented, and along with suggestions, hoped for some encouragement based on others' experience of them knowing about some of these places or can give some pointers.. Everyone can feel lost about travel. So I guess you mean I should have thought about it more of where I want to go rather than coming here since its not exactly a supportive type of forum. I get it. Honestly, I may have listed why I have not want to those specific places, but I didn't say I don't want to go somewhere. And then to use my difficult year and use that as a disclaimer to tell me that you understand and then tell me why I should have done more research. My gosh.

Last edited by bluemoon25; Dec 16th, 2019 at 09:37 PM.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 09:52 PM
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Seems a bit of miscommunication here.... I'm sure you've done research to narrow done your options and I'm sure the problem I'm having is with how you are describing it, not what you've done.

What I read -- not necessarily what you mean -- is "I'm thinking about this and that, and I'm confused and ambivalent." When we've given you information about these options, what I read in your responses is "I still don't know -- I'm confused and ambivalent." When I asked what else you've considered, I found your answer unclear about why THOSE places and not others.

I appreciate that it is unpleasant to be confused or ambivalent -- if I correctly understood either of those messages; I don't like feeling either or both, and doubt that anyone else does! I just mean that none of us can tell you what YOU will or won't like, and we can't send out an endless stream of comments about what you MIGHT like. Greater specificity about what you do / don't want would allow us to respond with greater effectiveness.

And just a head's up -- barking back is not a particularly effective strategy to elicit more helpful comments. Acknowledging the potential for misunderstanding when asking others for help is often a more useful approach. JMO.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
Seems a bit of miscommunication here.... I'm sure you've done research to narrow done your options and I'm sure the problem I'm having is with how you are describing it, not what you've done.

What I read -- not necessarily what you mean -- is "I'm thinking about this and that, and I'm confused and ambivalent." When we've given you information about these options, what I read in your responses is "I still don't know -- I'm confused and ambivalent." When I asked what else you've considered, I found your answer unclear about why THOSE places and not others.

I appreciate that it is unpleasant to be confused or ambivalent -- if I correctly understood either of those messages; I don't like feeling either or both, and doubt that anyone else does! I just mean that none of us can tell you what YOU will or won't like, and we can't send out an endless stream of comments about what you MIGHT like. Greater specificity about what you do / don't want would allow us to respond with greater effectiveness.

And just a head's up -- barking back is not a particularly effective strategy to elicit more helpful comments. Acknowledging the potential for misunderstanding when asking others for help is often a more useful approach. JMO.
They weren't endless stream of consciousness responses. I was responding specifically to each person's comment about their insight or suggestion about each place suggested. There wasn't any miscommunication. If you want to gaslight by saying that is what it was, that's your prerogative and you can say whatever or comment however you would like to. It was just my suggestion to show some understanding when someone feels unsure and show empathy instead of having a certain tone. No need to use words like "barking at you" because that wasn't my intention but to just point out the conversation is more productive if providing friendly insight rather than carrying a judgmental tone. If you don't want to help or as you said "care more than you do" than you didn't need to respond. If what i'm saying isn't anything you feel you can add to or you don't know what to say, then no need to say anything at all or be disruptively rude in the thread. That is all.
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Old Dec 16th, 2019, 11:08 PM
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OK , I am going to just ignore the last exchange and would suggest that you both just move on. Life is too short.

Re the relatively friendliness of Argentina, I find it to be a very friendly place and over the years and have met a number of Argentine people that have become friends an with whom I still keep in touch. I canít speak about potential anti American feelings there as I am English and one would have thought that if there were any "anti" feeling it would be anti british given we were at war with them not too long ago. Maybe it is the Donald factor in action.

Regarding the weather in Cusco. I have just returned from two months in the sunshine, blue skies and heat of South Africa to the grey skies, cold and short days of England. I can take or leave hot temperatures but I confess blue skies and sunshine do have an effect on my mood. Maybe I have SAD syndrome? Given you previous Beverly open comments about your reasons for travelling , perhaps sunshine and blue skies should be a prerequisite of yours destinations, or maybe itís just me?

The world is a big place and there are loads of places you could go with sunshine, blue skies and friendly people, but for somewhere close to home then KJA made an excellent suggestion of Oaxaca, Mexico. We spent 3 months in Mexico this time last year and loved it. Our original plan was to spend most of the time in Oaxaca but in the end we decided to travel around the country. It was one of te most enjoyable trips we have taken ( and we take a lot of such trips). The food was great, the sights and culture amazing and the people were the most friendly of anywhere we have travelled. We are already thinking about a return and I think mlgb is heading there next year. Obviously this is the wrong forum for Mexico but over on the Mexico & Central America forum there are some very helpful members who may have some ideas. Baldone was very helpful to me in planning my trip and I know MmePerdu regularly spends extended time in Mexico.

i would be very happy to spend a month in Oaxaca, a very user friendly city and great weather. Just a thought.

and yes, mlgb is spot on, I do love steak and have been known to visit the odd bar or three. There are some great Mezcal bars in Oaxaca!

Last edited by crellston; Dec 16th, 2019 at 11:10 PM.
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Old Dec 17th, 2019, 07:45 AM
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For weather information, I like the website weatherspark.com. I especially like the comfort and climate charts which show "muggy" "oppressive" and "miserable". You can click each chart for more info.

See for example
https://weatherspark.com/y/20441/Ave...eru-Year-Round

I admit to being a bit of a "weather baby" which follows from living in Southern California which (ahem) is nearly perfect year round, and generally low in humidity. I don't like sunshine that much, anymore (too much in my youth).

I am looking forward to Oaxaca in January. I will have a taste of mezcal but probably far more coffee and chocolate!
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Old Dec 17th, 2019, 05:58 PM
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@ mlgb: Great climate resource! Thx.
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Old Dec 18th, 2019, 10:37 PM
  #19  
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I regret that I misunderstood some of your comments (my misunderstandings, bluemoon25 -- I'm not blaming you; I'm assuming responsibility for those misunderstandings) and so I drew mistaken inferences about your interests and research. I offer my sincere apologies.

Please, allow me to restate a few things:
  • I'm sorry you have had a rough year and wish you only the best for the future.
  • Because I don't travel for breaks, I'm not in a good position to comment on places that might suit your particular needs, but as I tried to say in post # 10, I think Peru (Lima, Cusco, and perhaps Arequipa) could serve your purposes well.
  • If you are not committed to South America, from what you said, I think (as I said in post # 12) that you might want to consider Oaxaca, or perhaps San Cristobal de las Casas. But maybe not! Just options....
Please don't let the lapses in my judgment prevent you from seeking further advice here on Fodor's. IME experience, few people respond to posts on the South American forum, but most of those who do are incredibly well informed and generous in their input.

I wish you success in finding a place that provides the break you seek.
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