Peru Itinerary and Advice

Old Jan 25th, 2013, 08:44 PM
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Peru Itinerary and Advice

Hello! My mom and I are in the midst of planning a trip to Peru from May 18 - June 4. I have a tentative itinerary planned out, but would love some advice.

- Lima: May 18-19
- Arequipa: May 19-21
- Colca Canyon: May 21-23
- Puno: May 23-25
- Cuzco: May 25-29
- Ollantaytambo: May 29-June1
- Lima: June 1-4

My questions are as follows:
1) I feel like I have too many days in Lima at the end - should I allocate one more day to a specific place?
2) Taking the InkaExpress bus appears to be really popular - should we take it from Arequipa - Puno and also from Puno - Cuzco?
3) Is it possible/advisable to do Colca Canyon ourselves? Or would it be beneficial to find a tour for those 2-3 days?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 12:34 AM
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There is a lot to see in Lima but given the total time you have in Peru the time you have allocated does seem disproportionately high. I would add a couple of days elsewhere, probably in the SV an Ollantaytambo would be my preference as it is a great base for getting around and a beautiful town that is even better one the day trippers have departed.

No Macchu Picchu?

make sure you include all the main places in the SV, Pisac is especially impressive. Chinchero is great at sunset.

The Inka Express is a great way to get from Cusco to Puno with many stops at some interesting sites along the way. I found the constant commentary irritating at times but an iPod solved that problem and the scenery is incredible as you cross the altiplano, like another world! I am not sure the Inka express runs from Puno to Arequipa or vv but the bus we took was comfortable and again, the scenery was amazing.

We didn't make it to Colca partly because we were so impressed with Arequipa itself. There are lots o operators around the main square and it seemed a easy enough to organise tickets to Colca independently or with a tour. As you have limited time, I would be inclined to think about getting a tour ( not something I would normally advocate).

Have a great time it is magical part of the world which left such an impression that am heading back there later this year.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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Thanks for your thoughts! I may add another day to Ollantaytambo just as a base to get to the sites/ruins nearby.

We will be doing Machu Picchu for a day via train (one night in allocated in Ollantaytambo might be spent in Aguas Calientes).

As well, is it necessary to take some sort of day tour around Arequipa? I'm also usually hesitant to take tours because of a few mediocre experiences, but I do like having someone explain different sites to me and the history behind it.
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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I think your itinerary is basically okay. Yes, maybe I'd drop one day from Lima and add it to Ollantaytambo, depending on what you want to do there.

In an ideal situation I would have said add more days to Arequipa, Chivay or Puno, but then you'd lose the Sunday in Cusco to visit the Pisac market. The 25th you will be on the bus (Inka Express) all day, so the 26th Sunday is the day to spend in Pisac.

I would do an overnight tour to Colca Canyon from Arequipa. Then if you want you can spend the second night at a hotel that isn't part of a tour. I did this using Giardino from Arequipa, they use their own van (not a pooled tour) and own hotel (Mama Yacchi). After we did the condors the first morning (getting up at 5 am), we had lunch in Chivay and I took a taxi to Yanque where I had a night at Killawasi Lodge (wished for two nights, actually). The next day I took the 4M Express bus (not Inka Express) from Chivay to Puno. The tour company in Arequipa booked me that ticket. You leave at about 1 pm and arrive at about 6 pm-ish (it's already dark). You can ask your hotel in Puno to send a driver for you to the Puno bus station, or the guide on the 4M bus can show you where the safe taxis are waiting.

http://www.giardinotours.com/

No, you don't need a tour of Arequipa. The sites are all in the center of town, and there are guides at the two major museums (you must have one to see Juanita), they are optional at Santa Catalina monastery. There is a great little map of Arequipa that you can get with all the buildings shown in 3-D. (First photo in my album below) Lots of casonas that you can just wander around and visit. I'd skip the Cathedral btw. I also enjoyed the San Camilo market, best visited around 9 or 10 am before it gets too busy.

https://picasaweb.google.com/kiwifann/Arequipa

Is it possible to fly to Arequipa on the 18th? Or do you arrive at midnight? That would gain you the day there.

For your Puno leg the best agency is Allways travel. You don't save much by just going down to the docks.

http://www.titicacaperu.com/

As far as Lima, I recommend staying in Barranco neighborhood, I love the staff at 3B Hostal. Second Home Peru is also nice (and just a little splurge).

http://www.3bhostal.com/
http://www.secondhomeperu.com/
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Old Jan 26th, 2013, 10:08 PM
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Fantastic advice - thank you so much, I really appreciate it!

I arrive in Lima at 9:30am on the 18th, but the next flight out of Arequipa (searched through Expedia) is 4:30pm. I'm not sure I want to either hang out at the airport all day or not.

I'm now planning to add a day to Arequipa but only spend one night in Colca Canyon instead of two (through Giardino tours) so that I still make it to Cuzco in time for the Pisac Market on Sunday. However, I've heard that the market is really open every day, although not as large as on Sundays - is this true?

I'm also going to add a day to Ollantaytambo and then only be in Lima from June 2-4, which should be adequate.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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I would try to keep that second night in Colca Canyon, it will help a lot with adjusting to the altitude in Puno (Chivay is at something like 3600 meters, even higher than Cusco).

If you travel from Puno to Cusco on the 25th, you will be able to go to the markets on Sunday the 26th. You shouldn't have any downtime for altitude adjustment coming from Puno.

There are smaller market days in Pisac but the Sunday is when the mayor from the outlying villages visit, which makes it worthwhile. I go mainly for that and the locals selling vegetables, not for the tourist tat stalls.

Are you up to take the 5:30 am flight to Arequipa? That would give you the better part of the next day to sightsee.
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Good idea - if I take the 5:30am flight to Arequipa I'll be able to have at least 2 full days there before heading to Colca Canyon.

How many days would you recommend is necessary for a tour of Cusco and the Sacred Valley? Ideally I'd like to have a guide for a day in each place (+ an extra day for Machu Picchu), and then have the next few days to ourselves to roam around, hike some ruins, and go back to some places the guide brought us that especially caught our attention. I'd like to be able to specify exactly which days I'd like to have a guide
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Old Jan 27th, 2013, 04:43 PM
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I think a week is fine, and between Cusco and the Sacred Valley it's easy to get around (less than 2 hours from one end to the other). It's just Aguas Calientes/MP that requires planning because of the need to book the train. Some people spend the night in Aguas Calientes, just in case they want to go back up in the morning.
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 07:56 AM
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Hi mlgb,

What did you think of the Giardino bus vs. the 4M Express bus? If I take Giardino from Chivay - Puno it's $50 and the 4M is $45. Not a big difference so I will probably go with the safer/more comfortable one
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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I didn't realize that Giardino ran to Puno? Are you sure that they are not just putting you on the 4_M bus (or someone else) and adding a fee?

I took both of them and liked both, if this is really Giardino with their own guide and not an outsource I might pay the extra $5. But I also wouldn't hesistate to take 4-M.
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Yes, I believe Giardino runs to Puno. On their website there's an option to include a transfer to Puno city after lunchtime (at around 1pm). I also emailed them and received 2 different quotes from their typical tours and a tour with the additional connection to Puno.

Thanks for all your help!
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 06:49 PM
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I took them from Arequipa to Colca Canyon on the tour, and then when I continued on to Puno all they did was book the 4-M bus for me. The bus leaves at around 1 pm.
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Old Mar 4th, 2013, 12:26 PM
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We are going to galapagos 8/7-4 days on the Pinta staying one night at the finch bay hotel on santa cruz. going on to macchu picchu. One night in Lima then 2nts at Inkaterra hotel. 2nts. Monestario hotel. with all the side trips arranged by Latour Isramworld. Have any of you used them and what suggestions do you have about the altitude and sites to see?
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Old Mar 17th, 2013, 08:51 PM
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Hey NC1990! im trying to plan a trip to peru as well for a similar amount of time- what does your final itinerary look like?

thanks!!!!
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Old Apr 16th, 2013, 06:21 AM
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Hi NC I think you can consider to take some day and visit ten city of ica it's about 4 hours south from Lima 12 hours north from Arequipa is on ur way to Arquipa it might get better food than Lima, like organic fruit depending on where u stay you might also like to do sandboaring and take a ride trough the desert it's really fun and if you like wines and wanna try the original pisco ica is the place, let me know if I can help you with something else have a nice trip
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 12:11 AM
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Well luis it seems that you perhaps run a lodging in Ica?
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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Hi guys sorry for the inconvinience I am new on this forums that I didn't realize That i couldnt advertise I apologize
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