Peru fans (16 nights)

Old Sep 30th, 2018, 12:11 PM
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Peru fans trip report (16 nights)

Wanted to take a trip in September. We’re semi-budget travellers so were looking for an inexpensive country. I was thinking along the lines of Budapest.

I wanted to use frequent flyer miles but didn't have enough for 2 round trips to Europe.

Then I noticed that the mileage requirement went down for Peru in mid-September so I decided to go to Peru, instead.

At this point in the planning I knew very little about the country except that Machu Picchu was there. After booking the ticket for a 16-night trip, I started watching a lot of YT (youtube) videos. I knew I wanted to go to MP and Lima. I didn’t want to take long bus trips and I didn’t want to try to see too much.

I was considering a trip to the jungle but the high price of the jungle lodges discouraged me, as did the thought of slogging through mud, shooing mosquitos away.

Came upon videos of the Callejon Huaylas area and got intrigued by Laguna Paron and Laguna 69. I realized Caraz was closer to the 2 Lagunas then was Huaraz. I also read that it was a much more laid back town, so I decided to book in Caraz.


Flew AA from JFK to Lima via Miami.

1 night spent at Lima Airport waiting for flight to Huaraz in the morning.

4 nights Caraz (got there by taxi from Huaraz airport (actually in Anta.) for 100 soles.)
  • Day Trip to Laguna Paron, by taxi.
  • Day Trip to Canon del Pato, by Combi going to Huallanca, and private Combi coming back to stop for pics.
  • Day Trip to Laguna 69, by taxi.
1 night Lima (arrived early and left late so had most of 2 days in Miraflores. Also flight to Cusco was cancelled so actually spent another night in Lima courtesy of airline. )

3 nights Ollantaytambo (turned into 2 nights thanks to cancellation of flight from Lima)
  • Day trip to MP
  • Day trip through sacred valley (Moray, Salineras, Chinchero) on the way to Cusco

4 nights Cusco
  • Day trip to Rainbow Mountain.

3 nights Lima (Barranco this time.)

More to come...

Last edited by Governator; Sep 30th, 2018 at 12:58 PM. Reason: update
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 07:40 AM
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Lima airport and Caraz

We arrived at Lima airport around 8PM and stayed overnight at the airport for a 5 AM flight to Huaraz. I wasn’t going to pay $150 for the airport hotel for a few hours. We had to go the next morning because the flights to Huaraz are only 3 times a week and I wanted to hit the ground running.

When we first got to Lima airport, I got some soles out of the ATM. I’m glad I had a bank account that reimburses ATM fees as most ATMs in Peru charge the equivalent of about $6, and I used the ATMs frequently on the trip. After getting some money we went to the food court to try some Sangucheria, it was time to start using my spanish which I would define as ‘Simple Broken One Tense Spanish’ (SBOTS). Still this little ability to speak would prove to be very useful as the trip went along.

Along with a couple of sanguches I bought some chicha to try. The airport food court was not the best place to get an intro to this kind of meal, as it was not so good. The sandwiches were a bit skimpy and the chicha was too sweet. We would, at a later date, eat at Sangucheria Chinita, near Lima Centro, which was much better.

After eating we looked for a spot to ‘bed’ down. We found a fairly quiet corner near the massage store where just one or two families were laying down. We used a blanket that we ‘borrowed’ from the international flight to lay down on at the airport. I later found out that that other Peruvians (Peruans?) are not shy about joining you within a few inches of where you laying .

I also found out that it’s not so easy at my age getting up and down off a hard floor. I didn’t get much sleep and basically killed time by walking around the airport while my wife slept with her legs on top of our stuff. Walking around I saw that there were people all over the airport doing the same thing.

By the way regarding our stuff, on this trip we decided to use backpacks and daypacks. I used my old Lowe Alpine 40 (super durable.) I had bought my wife an Osprey Fairview 55 (the one made for women.) Really the only time on the trip however where we were happy to not have a rolling bag, was in the streets of Ollantaytambo.

I had some concerns that my LC Peru flight would be delayed or canceled as it didn’t show up on the board initially. But lo and behold we left on time. A small propeller plane holding maybe 100 people, maybe 60% full.

After a short flight we landed at Huaraz, and deplaning, I knew we were in for something special as I could see the massive mount Huascaran from the tarmac. The air was crisp and cool.

While waiting for our bags in the small terminal I picked a driver among many to drive us to Caraz. These guys spoke not a word of English and with my SBOTS I managed to get a price of 100 soles and I also checked the guys car which looked fairly new.

It would be the last nice car I would ride in until we were ready to leave 4 days later and I had the same guy pick me up in Caraz to drive back to the airport. He was very prompt when I asked him to pick me up at 5:30 am on a Saturday to the airport, and a nice fellow. I think I still have his number on my unlocked phone if anyone is interested.

On the one hour drive to Caraz, passing the locals in their traditional dress, the low adobe ‘hacienda’ style houses, the dogs and other animals, the mountain scenery, I turned to my wife and said ‘this is a real adventure.’

In Caraz we stayed at Los Pinos Lodge, a good choice as it’s quiet, not right in the center of town, but a short walk to town. From the front porch/terrace of the hotel there’s a beautiful view across the adjacent plaza to the mountains. It’s next to an old church which added to the visual interest.

We arrived at the hotel to a locked gate and a scary looking barking dog, but a sweet older woman came to the gate to let us in. She spoke no english but told me in spanish that the dog doesn’t like hats, so I took off my orange baseball cap and made friends with Rocco, I think he’s a Shar Pei. When I told the woman (sorry I can’t remember her name) I only speak poquito spanish she told me I would learn while there. One word that I learned a few months ago from the song ‘Despacito’ (slowly) comes in handy as in ‘Si Habla usted despacio, peudo entiendar’ if you speak slowly I can understand.

The woman showed us to our room, an upgrade to a nice big room with a garden with lounge chairs and big picture windows. She explained to me that the ‘precio’ price was ‘mismo’ the same. The room was very comfortable. I think she gave us the upgrade because the hotel was pretty much empty this being September.

Staying in Caraz would turn out to be a good decision because we got this nice hotel and it’s closer to two of the places that I wanted to go to, Lake Paron and Lake 69. The town of Caraz was lovely and peaceful, as well, as opposed to staying in Huaraz which I imagine is tourist central. We hardly saw any other tourists while in Caraz. The center of course, had a nice treed plaza with an old spanish style church. Unlike some other towns the plaza wasn’t crawling with tourist vans and was a very nice place to sit and enjoy an ice cream. Caraz by the way is famous for ice cream and is nicknamed Caraz Dulzeria (Caraz the sweet.)

More to come..

Last edited by Governator; Oct 3rd, 2018 at 07:45 AM.
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Old Oct 4th, 2018, 05:14 PM
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Caraz, Lake Paron, Canon del Pato, and Lake 69

Looking back, the 4 days in Caraz and the day trips we took from there turned out to be some of the most enjoyable times we had.

The town itself was very pleasant and we had pretty good meals at La Terreza like chicken brochettes, loma saltado, fried trucha, all at a very reasonable price. They had very good ice cream as well and excellent chocolate cake. We also ate one night at Cafe Rat where we had a vegetarian pizza and a delicious wine which I’m trying to find since I got home called Quierolo Santiago Tannant. We had very good empanadas and cafe con leche at a little bakery next to the plaza, I don’t remember the name. I was surprised the cafe con leche came with a full glass of warm milk and a cortada on the side to pour into the milk. I actually liked it that way.

The hotel was very nice and we were greeted each morning by the same very nice woman that didn’t speak any english, yet we managed to communicate. The breakfast at Los Pinos was very good with a nice spread including yogurt, honey, a homemade granola, some home made fresh berry jam, breads and cakes , tamale, cheese and meat slices. As if that wasn’t enough she would also cook up reveulto with tocino (scrambled eggs with bacon.) We didn’t need to eat again until dinner. We also sat out on the terrace one day and had a conversation with the owner Luis who told us the history of the house, built by his grandfather who was a teacher.

I enjoyed sitting out in the garden outside the room while I was preparing to head out each day. The weather was sunny and beautiful, although the air was very dry.

We told the desk that we wanted to go to Laguna Paron and they got us a cheap taxi to take us there, for something like 100 soles. The car had seen better days, but he got us there. I could have chosen to go with the owner’s 4 wheel drive vehicle but that would have cost much more. Going from Caraz instead of Huaraz we were able to get there before all the tour groups coming from Huaraz arrived, so for most of our hike on the north side of Lake Paron we had the whole lake to ourselves. The hike was spectacular with beautiful views of the deep blue lake with the 3 20,000 foot jagged snow capped mountain peaks at the end of the lake.

They say those mountain peaks inspired the Paramount Pictures logo. By traveling with a private car we also had as much time as we needed at the lake to walk to far east end, where all 3 mountain peaks come into view. It was a spectacular day.

The next day we took a collectivo to Huallanca and drove past the Canon del Pato. The road was very interesting with only one lane that runs through tunnels cut in the rock. When I say one lane I don’t mean one in each direction, I mean literally only one lane that has to handle 2 way traffic. Because there is one lane if 2 cars are coming in opposite directions through a tunnel, one has to give way and back up. Next to the road were long drop offs to the river. Traveling is fun but mucho risky. On the way to Huallanca the driver was asking me in spanish, if I wanted a private ride back. Somehow I communicated that I would look for him after we spent some time in Huallanca. We walked around the small town, there were no other tourists. We took pictures of the river and stopped in at a small restaurant attached to a hostal. The sign outside said HOY CUY, so we decided to give it a try. We got some nice fried guinea pig with potatos and a bottle of coke. The other people in the restaurant were drinking Inka Cola. I tried Inka Cola earlier and didn’t like it at all. My wife says it looks like urine (no offense to Peruans who seem to love it.) The Cuy was tasty though you don’t get a lot of meat. We of course took pictures of the little critter to post on facebook. One of our friends who saw the post exclaimed with dismay “i had a guinea pig as a pet”. After the Cuy meal we walked around and took some more pictures.

We then ran into the guy who drove us there and offered to have him take us privately, We just had to pay the cost for 4 persons. He made stops on the way back to Caraz so we could get some good pics of the canyon and the waterfalls in it. When we got back to Caraz we went straight for some ice cream at La Terreza. 2 scoops for 3 soles, can’t beat it. Sat and enjoyed it in the plaza in front of the old Spanish church. It seemed all the locals sitting in the plaza were also having ice cream.

My wife who is a runner wanted to do some training for her upcoming Chicago Marathon and she tried to run outside the hotel, around the little plaza there (different than the town central plaza de armas.) However the presence of so many loose dogs scared her and she decided not to run. She got bit as a child and has a fear of dogs. I told her the dogs won’t bother her as long as she doesn’t look them in the eye. It’s my theory that loose dogs like that have an inherited sense to not bite people as their anscestors that did bite probably wound up dead. I wonder how these dogs all look different as there seems to be a lot of breeding going on in the streets.

Our last day in Caraz we took a day trip to Laguna 69. Being as it was a 2 or more hour drive away, and the driver would have to wait a long time for us, they initially told me it was like 250 soles to get there. Eventually however the older desk woman got someone to take us for around 170 soles. This trip was truly one to remember.

The trip to the Huascaran national park was very interesting seeing all the local people and their animals and their houses and farms and the scenery. I actually saw a big herd of sheep crossing our path at an intersection when we passed through a small town. They swept by so quick it was like a blur. At one point on the dirt road the driver the stopped next to a farm where there was a local with her colorful cape and high hat and her young daughter tending the field up on a rise beside the road. He called out to the woman 'Señora perrita saca' and the kid came running down to swoop up the puppy in the road while the mother kept on working.

When we got to the trailhead there were many people there who had come from Huaraz in groups. Those people had to leave Huaraz at 3:30 in the morning, whereas coming from Caraz we were able to enjoy breakfast and leave at 7:30.

The walk up to the lake took us through a glacial valley passing streams, lakes, cows and sheep. Snow capped peaks in the distance. The views were beautiful all around us. We came to a part when we had to go uphill on switchback paths. When we got to the top of that I thought we were close, but we passed Lake 68 and had a lot further to go. As the crow flies the distances are not great, but walking up another set of switchbacks it was truly difficult. At those high altitudes my heart was racing a mile a minute and I was questioning if I , 5 days shy of 65, should continue on. I told myself to take my time and that if I didn’t do it now, I never would, so I plodded on. After the last set of switchbacks when we were getting closer, I just kept pushing on taking a lot of rests to let my heart slow down. We started to see people heading down, mostly young folk, but they encouraged me, ‘ solo dias minutos , senor’.

When I got to the top I was very happy and was greeted by a lovely deep blue mountain lake with a waterfall coming from the glacier behind it spilling into the lake. There were also a few small avalanches on the the other side of the lake. The walk down was a lot easier although still a long way. Near the end my wife got a very bad headache and we had also run out of water. On the trip out of Huascaran she swallowed a couple of advil without water and that helped. The hike actually took us 4 hours up and 2 down. When it was over I felt very satisfied that I had done it. Probably the oldest person there that day. On the ride back the driver was playing a kind of andes music on his radio, where the song never seems to end. it has accordion and children yelling answers to the main singer. I kind of like it.

More to come (probably)... Please excuse the spelling errors, I’m using a Mac typing in google docs and I’m not sure how to right click to see the spelling corrections.

Last edited by Governator; Oct 4th, 2018 at 06:02 PM.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 01:44 AM
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I set up a YouTube channel to share my videos. ‘Vic and Anna Travel is Fun’. I really like the compilation video Anna did with her iPhone titled ‘2018 Peru 16 Amazing Days’. If you watch that one, watch it from beginning to end, it gets better as it goes along.if you watch the other videos you may want to skip past the driving parts. This is my first crack at doing something like this and a little rushed so the editing is not that thorough. All videos other than the one Anna did were shot with my GoPro 6.
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Old Oct 5th, 2018, 01:34 PM
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Huaraz to Lima

The day after the Laguna 69 hike we were going back to Lima early Saturday morning, staying one night then flying to Cusco Sunday evening where we would immediately taxi to Ollantaytambo. Day trip to Machu Picchu was scheduled for Tuesday morning, afternoon admission, evening return. This would give us almost 2 full days in Lima and a rest day in Ollantaytambo. I had bought the train and MP tickets online myself, nothing on this trip was done with a guide or group.

The reason I had scheduled the Monday rest day was because I had read about the unreliability of LC Peru airline. As it turned out LC Peru was just fine both getting us to and from Huaraz on time without a problem. However it was good we had the rest day, because when we went to the Lima airport Sunday night to fly to Cusco, we found out the flight was cancelled by Avianca. They put us up in a 5* hotel the Delfina and gave us free dinner there as well. We flew to Cusco, instead, Monday morning on time for our Tuesday MP trip.

Vicente, was the driver who took us from Huaraz airport to Caraz, and I was glad I took his card so I could call him to take us back to Huaraz early Saturday morning. I felt more comfortable going in his new car rather than the old cars that were driving us around on our day trips from Caraz. I communicated with Vicente completely in spanish as he spoke not a word of English. I wanted him to pick us up, at first, at 5:00 AM for a 8:00 flight but he convinced me that 5:30 AM was early enough. When we went out in the early morning I was a bit concerned that maybe we miscommunicated something and that he might not come on time. I was already formulating back up plans, but, promptly at 5:30 I saw the headlights of his car coming in the darkness. Good old Vicente.

We got to Lima early and I used the one of the official taxi desks to get a taxi to the hotel. It’s funny when you approach those desks there’s always a crowd of people hovering near the entrance to the desk area and you think you’re going to have to wait a while, but they are all drivers waiting to get fares and it is quick to get a taxi as all the taxi booking companies are anxious for your business. The fare to Lima was only 60 soles about $18. We got to the IBIS Larco hotel early and had to wait to get checked in. To kill time we decided to indulge in their pricy buffet breakfast. I wanted to go out to save money, but the desk lady discouraged me saying there was no place reasonable for breakfast around, after all this was ‘Miraflores’. We took our time eating breakfast with our bags at our feet. I got my money’s worth there eating a lot and having multiple cups of coffee. I also had a brief conversation with one of the busboys who spoke pretty good english. One thing I didn’t like that the IBIS did was to charge my room in USD without asking me. That exchange cost me a couple of bucks. I also lost a little because I forgot to use the CC that had no foreign transaction fee. After that I always made sure to tell whomever everywhere to charge in soles and to use my no foreign fee CC.

I kept pressing the desk lady to get us checked in asap and we finally got our room at around 11:30 am. On the way to the hotel we saw the malecon and Annas eyes lit up as it looked like a good place to go running. After checking in, although we were pretty tired, we headed straight to the malecon. On the way I found a bike rental place and got a bike for only 10 soles. So we spent the next few hours, Anna running, me biking on the malecon. We got to see the kissing statue at love park and took some pictures there then continued north. The bike path was mostly two way but It was strange when I came to one point on the bike path where there was a one way sign in the road, and no path apparently to continue in the direction I was going. I took a chance and rode against the one way, but there were not many bikes up at that part of the path. We really enjoyed that malecon.

After we were done exercising we went back to the room to rest awhile then we went out to Punto Azul for our first ceviches. We had to wait for a while at the restaurant as it is very popular. We both had the mixed ceviche, with the Punto Azul sauce. Anna loved it, I however wasn’t too crazy about it as the portion was very large and I didn’t really like the tougher fishes in the mix (octopus I think.)

While we were resting at the hotel, before going to dinner, I took a walk over to the pharmacy to see if I could buy something for a cough and something to help me sleep. The pharmacy clerk (pharmacist?) sold me some pills that I didn’t know what they were. When I got back to the hotel I looked it up and was surprised that I had bought 10 pills of generic klonipin over the counter. I mused that the people of Peru could self medicate like this. Not wanting to get addicted I went back to the pharmacy to return the klonipin and bought some over the counter ambien instead.

The next morning we went out again, Ann in her running outfit ready to run. We walked up towards Kennedy Park looking for some coffee shop the desk clerk told me, about but never found it. Ann was anxious to run so we separated and she took off for the malecon. I went walking to look for Barranco, but never really found it. I did pass through what appeared to be some exclusive neighborhood of postmodern houses. We met up later and after checking out of the hotel, before returning to the airport we had an early dinner at the Larcomar mall at Bonbierre. Ann had a delicious surf and turf pasta for about 38 soles. I had a pasta dish as well. We had a table by the window with a nice sea view. Of course in Lima, at that time of year the sky is always grey.

We got our taxi to the airport and there were a lot of people there. Having gotten there pretty early though, the line for Avianca wasn’t too bad. I was glad we had gotten there early, when I found out our flight was cancelled. We promptly taxied to the Delfina in San Isidro, Lima, showered and rested and went for dinner courtesy of Avianca. We had a an early flight the next morning to Cusco on Latam so after calling Booking.Com to make sure my Ollantay hotel wouldn’t cancel my room, we retired early.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:09 AM
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Lima - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu

So due the cancellation of the Sunday evening flight to Cusco we had to get up very early Monday morning to make a 6AM flight. I’m always nervous before a flight and hardly got any sleep.

The flight went off without a hitch and when we got to Cusco, I had to figure out how to get to Ollantaytambo. I knew I could taxi straight there from Cusco airport, but I figured I’d save money by taking a taxi to Cusco and the bus from there to Ollantaytambo. Apparently, the taxi driver, who already overcharged us, had other plans. When we got to the area where the bus leaves from, he parked around the corner and told us to wait. Rather than pointing us to the big bus that I wanted, he was trying to get us to go in a specific collective, apparently he had a deal with that guy. I didn’t wait around and got out of the car to find my own transportation. Still not knowing where the bus was, and with drivers around us trying to get us to go with them, I settled on taking a 4 seater collective taxi, privately for the 2 of us (rather than wait for 2 more people) for a fairly reasonable price, 60 soles if I remember correctly.

When we got to Ollan, the taxi couldn’t go further than the square and we had to walk to the hotel. This was one time when the backpacks were useful as the streets are cobbled and have water channels running down the middle. The town seemed pretty mellow, the first thing I noticed in the square was a young foreigner woman in some kind of loose hippy dress having coffee. Asking directions along the way we found our hotel, Iskay. The hotel was very moderately priced and had a shared terrace in front of our room which was facing the big Ollantaytambo archeological site. I could see people walking around on it. The two workers at the hotel were Renato and his sister. The sister had a young toddler and she was always chasing him while tending to her job simultaneously. Both, Renato and his sister were very friendly and spoke good english. Since we were responsible to pay for the previous night even though we hadn’t used it, we were able to have breakfast. Breakfast was already over, but they kept it open later for us. It was the usual, meat, cheese, granola, yogurt, eggs, etc. The room was kind of small, but I liked the ambience of the place and for the price, I'd recommend the hotel.

Being as we were both very tired, we decided to just hang out at the hotel. I sat on the terrace looking at the ruins, and figured I was no better off walking on them, looking at them was enough. I conversed for a while with Renato, an interesting guy who was, himself, a world traveller. After resting up , we walked around town a little , checking out the market, trying on and buying hats for the MP trip, taking pictures of the locals (trying to shoot around the hoards of tour groups and busses.) There are a lot of traditionally dressed locals in Ollantaytambo. It's a small but photogenic place. We had some hot soup at a place on the square before going to dinner later. It really hit the spot what with the coughs we had picked up on the trip.

The hotel gave us a recommendation for a restaurant in town. Usually, I take those recommendations with a grain of salt, because from experience (in the countries), they are sometimes trying to send you to a friends place. However, we did go and we were glad, as it turned out to be one of the best restaurants we went to on the trip. The name of the restaurant was Chuncho. We got there in time for a happy hour, getting very creative cocktails. The food we had was perfectly prepared and absolutely delicious. Gourmet food at diner prices ( little more than $30.)

The next day we went to Machu Picchu. The trip was perfect, we had interesting seat mates across from us on the train in both directions. Going we sat with Walther and his girlfriend a late middle aged couple. Walther reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie co-character with his jolly round face , white beard and the professorial, enthusiastic way he talked to us and to his girlfriend while making her take notes of his observations. On the return trip we sat across from an Aussie expat chemist living in Santiago travelling with her daughter and her geologist husband.

There’s nothing more I can say about MP, that hasn’t already been said. It’s a fascinating site in a magnificent setting. Well worth the time and effort to get there. It is expensive however, between train, admission and bus up to the site, probably spend close to $500 for the day. Loved it, but wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t love it as much as the Laguna 69, and upcoming Rainbow Mountain day trips. But it was great, awesome, etc. etc...

When I was planning the trip, I had read and it was in the back of my mind that someplace doesn’t take Visa cards and that I should carry also a Mastercard. I had forgotten what place that was and forgot to bring a Mastercard. When I went to pay the $48 for the bus up to the site from the town, I was told they don’t take Visa, oh yeah. Luckily I had some US money stashed in my wallet and used that to pay. It was still a little early for the afternoon admission to MP, but we went to the line for the bus, anyway. Oh what a line, we probably stood on it for an hour and a half. Or rather my wife stood while I found a place to sit in the shade. Coming back down from MP the line was the same, very long. When we got back down to MP town, I had booked my train back to Ollan a little too late, so we wound up spending a few hours knocking around town. I didn’t want to spend a lot for dinner so I asked someone where there was Pollo place. While trying to find that we found the main drag of restaurants that runs up a hill away from the train station. We listened to some street music, bought souvenirs. Then I saw a restaurant I recognized from one of my guidebooks, Indio Feliz I think the name was, and decided to eat there. The owner of the restaurant is French. Most of the people coming in were with tour groups. We were able to get a table for two because we go there just before the rush. The owner took notice of us and asked where we were from. The food was pretty good, not as good as Chuncho. We walked around some more and came upon the area where the locals seem to hang out, on that street was a nice new recreation complex and soccer field. At least some of the MP revenue is being put to good use.

To be continued.. (interesting how my report has not drawn one reply. Being boycotted by the Fodors SA 'experts', I suppose. No matter, I'm enjoying writing it for myself. As the Peruvians say 'tranquillo'. )

Last edited by Governator; Oct 6th, 2018 at 06:29 AM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 05:52 PM
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I just lost a bunch of writing because on Mac which I’m not used to, a swipe to the right sends page into never never land. So I’ll just sum up.
  • After MP stayed one more night in Olanta
  • Found english speaking driver to tour us through sacred valley on the way to Cusco.
  • Sacred Valley
    • Saw Moray, Salineras, Chinchero
    • Bought hat and scarf for me and woven cross body bag for Anna at Chinchero, following a yarn making demo.
    • The scenery of the sacred valley is beautiful to the point that i could just hold my camera out the window of the car and blindly take a beautiful picture. I took a few of those.
  • Cusco
    • Stayed at inexpensive Hotel Golden Inca.
      • Very clean and comfortable but about 20 minutes walk from historic area
        • Used taxis to get back and forth to hotel, only 5-6 soles.
      • Had asked for high floor as it usually affords a nice view, but in this hotel high floor meant fourth floor walk up. The hotel was already up on a hillside and we suffered a little with altitude when at hotel.
      • Some hotel staff wear outfits resembling a doctors green operating togs complete with cap that ties in the back, and they offer you oxygen when you’re struggling to get up to your room.
      • Cusco is a beautiful city
        • Toured around beautiful central plaza, market, san blas
        • Took taxi to Qenko and walked down to Sacsaywaman.
        • Ate at
          • Kintaro , Japanese udon soup and katsu chicken, 25 soles lunch special. Soup good for cough I had.
          • Inkazuela for delicous stews including alpaca stew.
          • Makhaila Indian buffet, good and only 15 soles a person.
          • Took out nicely spiced Pollo and papas one night from place near hotel when Anna wasn’t feeling well. Bought 2 portions, 1 would have been enough.
          • Ate at Organik restaurant, good vegetarian food, also nice views of Cusco from the hillside street that it's on.
      • Took a day trip to Rainbow Mountain, used same driver that brought us to Cusco. Paid 300 soles (plus tip, LOL). Worth it to me so as not to have to get up early for group tour.
        • Rainbow mountain day trip was a highlight of the whole trip, possibly the best thing we did.
          • 2 ½ hours drive to get there, scenic.
          • Once there chose to take horses up to top. You sit on the horse while a campesino leads the horse. This cost 60 soles per person. Horses cant go completely to top so have to walk some. A bit difficult due to 5000 meter altitude. Saw the beautiful rainbow mountain, layers of rock of differing colors in an arc shape.
          • We walked down instead of taking horses. Absolutely gorgeous views in the valley going down, got some great pictures. Never knew such a beautiful place exists up in high valleys of Andes. I’ll post a link to my pictures.
          • I had mixed feelings about Cusco, it was a very beautiful city with a lot to do, but with the altitude effects we were feeling at the hotel there, I was happy to leave. We spent 4 nights there.

Last edited by Governator; Oct 6th, 2018 at 05:56 PM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:32 PM
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Lima (for second time.)

This summary technique is easy so I’ll stay with it and finish up my report.

When I planned out my itinerary I booked everything in advance except for these last few days in Lima before going home. Having already seen Miraflores, I decided to book something in Barranco. Found good reviews for 3B Barranco so booked there, was happy I did.
  • 3B Barranco BnB
    • The reviews said to ask for a room away from breakfast area so I did and got room 208, second floor all the way in the back.
    • Hotel is very nice, it’s called a BnB but to me it was more like a boutique hotel.
    • Very good staff.
    • Most expensive hotel of my trip, but no regrets.
    • Hotel in lovely, artsy, hip Barranco neighborhood, though a bit far (9-10 blocks from center.
    • On last days started using local bus, 50 centavos (15 cents USD ) to get to Barranco plaza and back. Just hold on and get yourself into a seat quickly as bus moves quickly. Bus runs one way on San Martin corner of hotel and the other way on Grau, the other corner of hotel.
  • Sight seeing
    • Walked around Barranco a lot saw Puenta Suspiros and Barranco Plaza numerous times. Upon hotel owners recommendation desk staff told us about some back streets of Barranco which most tourists probably don’t find their way too. Very charming area, colorful low colonial houses, a different church, good graffitin including one of the Beatles on Abbey Road.
    • Took a taxi to Centro to see Plaza de Armas, San Martin Plaza, Had first Pisco Sours a Hotel Bolivar. From there went to Larco Museum for Inca artifacts, pottery, erotic art sala.
    • Took a taxi to Huaca Pucllana had Piscos Sours at adjacent restarant/bar. I like that drink, like a liquid lemon merengue pie in a glass. From there we walked to the Mercado Indio. Bought some empanadas from a cart on the way. From there, not realizing how far it was, we walked all the way to the Larco Mall. Then took a bus back to Barranco.
  • Eating
    • On hotels recommendation ate at Canta Rana twice for excellent Ceviche.
    • Isolina , had one of those gourmet for the price of diner food experiences. Short ribs, chicken sweetbreads, papa relleno appetizer, chicha for me, lemonade for anna.
    • Ate at a Chifa Chung Yion restaurant recommended by hotel, mistakenly ordered too much food so took some back to hotel and warmed up and had for dinner the next night as well.
    • Went to Ayahuasca for drinks and had a (terrible cold small) pizza there.
      • When I posted on facebook , someone asked me if I took an ayahuasca trip. I replied that the only trips I take these days are on planes and broken sidewalks, LOL.
    • Had coffee at Tostaduria Bisetti, not sure what all the rave is about.
    • Had coffee at Cafe Verde. Took nap there after we checked out waiting for late flight to Miami.
  • Going home
    • Traffic to airport Sunday evening was horrendous. Driver is very skilled to not bump other cars. I had no soles left for tip so I gave him $2 USD tip on top of 55 soles ride. He was surprised but happy.
    • At the airport, I saw a line for the elderly, the guard stopped me at first but a ‘tengo seisenta cinco anos’ got us on that short line. So check in was a breeze.
400 + views, not one reply , not sure what to make of that. LOL

Last edited by Governator; Oct 6th, 2018 at 06:57 PM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2018, 06:57 PM
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Pics from Rainbow Mountain

Pics from Sacred Valley
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Old Oct 19th, 2018, 10:36 AM
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I don't know how I missed this wonderful report as it was posted. Thank you for sharing!
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Old Oct 19th, 2018, 06:49 PM
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Marigross, My pleasure. Thank you for the feedback!

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Old Dec 31st, 2018, 05:41 PM
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I am curious why you picked Caraz, Lake Paron,etc for the trip. My wife and I are going the MP via the Inca Trail in June of 2019 for a total of 7 days and wanted to find something else to do in Peru in addition to a couple of days in Lima before going to Cusco. Arequipa looks interesting as well as Sacred Valley. So any comments would be useful. Thanks.
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Old Dec 31st, 2018, 06:16 PM
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I missed it too. Fun to read. We ran into some dogs as well on a bike ride near Cuzco. I’m glad we were in a group. They looked somewhat unhappy to see us.

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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 05:15 AM
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Nice pics of the Rainbow Mountains. It makes me wish i had allowed more time in Cusco so that I could fit it in. Unfortunately it looks like I have missed the boat on that one.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dhoffman14 View Post
I am curious why you picked Caraz, Lake Paron,etc for the trip. My wife and I are going the MP via the Inca Trail in June of 2019 for a total of 7 days and wanted to find something else to do in Peru in addition to a couple of days in Lima before going to Cusco. Arequipa looks interesting as well as Sacred Valley. So any comments would be useful. Thanks.
I wanted to get a little off the beaten path so decided against doing the gringo trail, Nazca lines, Lake Titicaca, etc.
I was thinking of going, to the Amazon jungle but the lodges there seemed very expensive and I decided I'd rather walk in the mountains instead of slogging through the jungle.

We love to hike and see areas of great natural beauty. I started watching YouTube videos where I came across videos of Lake Paron and Lake 69, places that seemed to be popular among the young travelers from South American countries.

I decided to I wanted to go there and it turned out to be a great decision as we loved the trips to both of those lakes. The hike to Lake 69 was very strenuous but very beautiful and rewarding. Lake Paron didn't involve hiking to get to, but we hiked next to it and it was breath taking.

The advantage of staying in Caraz over Huaraz is you can get to Lake Paron earlier before the crowds arrive; we had the place to ourselves for a few hours. It's also easier to get to Lake 69 and you don't have to leave very early in the morning, from Caraz. Granted you'll have to find a driver to take you to the trail heads and it's a little more money than going with a group from Huaraz, but it wasn't too much money and it was worth it. Caraz itself is a very nice quiet town and not overrun with tourists.

Overall I would say that going to Caraz was a home run and we're so glad we got to experience that part of Peru, rounding out the other wonderful things we saw there.

You can get a good idea of what Caraz, Lake Paron and Lake 69 are like by watching the YouTube channel I set up after the trip. There are a lot of other Youtube videos about those places posted on other channels, although many are in Spanish.

These videos are not edited and are a little lengthy as I didn't originally intend them for YouTube, but you may enjoy them.

My favorite video is the short 4 min compilation video, of the whole Peru trip, that my wife made

You might also enjoy my photos.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Last edited by Governator; Jan 2nd, 2019 at 04:40 PM.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by xcountry View Post
I missed it too. Fun to read. We ran into some dogs as well on a bike ride near Cuzco. I’m glad we were in a group. They looked somewhat unhappy to see us.
Thanks. My theory on dogs in foreign countries that rely on tourism, is that the ones that bite don't survive very long. So I just give them ample space, don't look them in the eye, pick up a rock just in case and don't run.

Last edited by Governator; Jan 2nd, 2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by shandy View Post
Nice pics of the Rainbow Mountains. It makes me wish i had allowed more time in Cusco so that I could fit it in. Unfortunately it looks like I have missed the boat on that one.
Thanks. I think Rainbow mountain has only become popular recently, so it's not surprising you might have missed it. However it was fantastic and along with Lake Paron and Lake 69 was super enjoyable, scenic and memorable. It was also very interesting to see the campesinos who live up there, in the high plains.

Last edited by Governator; Jan 2nd, 2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old Jan 4th, 2019, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for a great report. The 4 minute video says it all.
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Old Jan 5th, 2019, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Treesa View Post
Thanks for a great report. The 4 minute video says it all.
@Treesa, Thanks so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it!

For anyone else who watches the 4 min Peru video, if you can, play it in another browser window and view it in full screen with sound on.
Watch it from beginning to end as it gets better as it goes. I guess the music has something to do with it but it gives me chills when I watch

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Old Jan 13th, 2019, 08:55 AM
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Thjank you for this. I am just beginning to research Peru, and this gave me lots to think about.
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