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Peru on a shoestring.

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Feb 4th, 2014, 02:09 PM
  #1
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Peru on a shoestring.

Hello everyone!

I am going to be in Peru for 5 weeks at the very beginning of June 2014. I have plans on trekking the Santa Cruz trail near Huaraz and am wondering if I should wait till I get to Huaraz, acclimatize, then walk around and find a good company or buy the package before hand? I was also wondering how much it would roughly cost me if I were to wait? I heard you can get some pretty sweet deals that way. I will also be doing some sort of amazon trip, either in Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. I am looking at the cheapest possible way to do this, I have looked at Eco Amazonia and they offer trips at a decent price. Has anyone been with this company or can recommend me something else? Lastly, I plan on traveling to Lake Titicaca and visiting the Uru people. Is it worth my time and money to go down there? I heard its a giant tourist trap...

Hope anyone of you can help!

Cheers,

- Jonathan
PerrittMoungaloa is offline  
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Feb 5th, 2014, 07:17 AM
  #2
 
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"Lastly, I plan on traveling to Lake Titicaca and visiting the Uru people. Is it worth my time and money to go down there? I heard its a giant tourist trap..."

That made me laugh. We found our brief trip out to the islands to be somewhat like a tour of Disneyland. It did seem contrived. But I think most people here have really enjoyed their trips on to the lake.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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First, congratulations on wanting to go to Huaraz. It's a very interesting area. As you want to do it on a shoestring, I'd wait til I get there to book anything. Stayed at a comfortable hotel in Huaraz within walking distance of downtown for 21 soles/nite including breakfast! Now, that's a shoestring.

Take the bus from Lima to Huaraz. When I did that, I had no problem with altitude sickness, maybe because of the gradual ascent.

When you get there, look around the city, which has a "Wild West" flavor to it, then check out a few of the local travel agencies. Although we didn't trek when we were there, my experience both in Huaraz and in Peru is that it's almost always less expensive to wait. If there's only one of you, you might be able to find a trek by going around to the agencies the nite before as they may need to fill a place and will give you a deal, particularly if you let them know you're shopping.

There are a few other very interesting things to do around there: Chavin de Huantar, Huascaran, to name two.

Did the Amazon out of Iquitos with http://www.explorama.us/ and stayed at Explornapo Lodge. Very good, well organized and informative company that I recommend. One piece of advice about the Amazon: go during the dark of the moon if you want to see animals, and I guess that's one reason you're going. When the moon is full or near full, they all lay low because there are lots of hunters in the jungle (and I don't mean of the human variety).

Haven't been "down" to Lake Titicaca so can't help you with that. I've heard some bad things about it, so unless I were going to Bolivia, I'd probably skip it.
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Feb 7th, 2014, 11:52 AM
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You could also go to Iquitos and shop around. I had prebooked with explorama, but I met two guides who were interested in guiding me in the one day I was there before leaving for the Amazon. One was even in Lonely Planet as a good guide! I was there in July, which is almost equally high season with June, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone.

Again, booking in country is much, much less expensive, and if you're on a shoestring and have the time, which you do, is the way to go.
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Feb 7th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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If you wait to book a guide in Iquitos I recommend getting the approved guide list from iPeru at either the airport or in town.

Not all guides are reliable. Iquitos is another town with a wild west feel, like Huaraz.
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Feb 8th, 2014, 11:57 AM
  #6
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Wow. All of this is SOO helpful! Thank you soo much for all of this info! Also, when did either of you travel to Peru? I know when these sort of things catch on, it could get harder for me to book it day of.
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Feb 10th, 2014, 10:17 AM
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Iquitos 1999. Huaraz 2005. Neither of those places is on the tourist circuit (this is the first post I can remember on this forum that asked about Huaraz) and I don't think you'll have a problem booking in either, I've never had a problem even in Cusco in high season (not Inti Raymi but shortly after).

Second mlgb about the wild west feel of Iquitos--maybe more like wild east: Shanghai back in the day, as they're both ports. While I don't know how much tourist habits have changed, but when I was in those two places, few Europeans or Americans went to either place without a specific reason for going. Do get the approved guide list--Iquitos in particular struck me as a place where it would be easy to get ripped off.
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Feb 10th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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I was in Iquitos in 2010, and Huaraz in 2012.

It is true that they are not on the typical group tour circuit, but there are plenty of tourists going to Huaraz for trekking and general backpacker traffic. In addition, there are Peruvian tourists, and catering to this group are full day group tours to Chavin, Pastoruri glacier, and to Yungay/Lake LLanganuco. These group tours are not really for trekkers. When you get off the bus in Huaraz you will be accosted by agents trying to sell you tours. It is better to go to the center of town in the morning and shop around.

Trekking season is during the dry time of year, approximately May to September.

There are all levels of tourism from Iquitos, including high end cruises and lodges, as well as ayahuasca tourism. I used Amazonia Expeditions to spend a few nights at their lodges along the Tahuayo River.
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Feb 14th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #9
 
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Oohhh Huaraz! I really want to go there! Can anybody recommend me somewhere decent to stay there? I don't need fancy but I don't want rats & cockroaches! Ha! I grew up in the snowy Rockies and I need, absolutely need to see some snow in the Andes! Also what's a good time of the year to check that area out?
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Feb 17th, 2014, 07:09 AM
  #10
 
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Retrocanada--Look on Tripadvisor or booking.com. Couldn't find the place we stayed years ago, but there are a lot of decent looking places.

The best time to go is dry season, which is June and July.
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Feb 18th, 2014, 06:17 PM
  #11
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mlgb-My husband has toured with Amazonia Expeditions a handful of years back and loved it! Unfortunately, I don't have that much money to spend. I think he paid some where around a grand CDN.

Does anyone know of any great lodges or tours companies to go with in either Iquitos or puerto maldonado ?
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Feb 18th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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If you don't have a big budget it may be better to go to Puerto Maldonado. The lodges around Iquitos mostly require a boat transport to and from (several hours each way). Gas is expensive. I think I paid that amount as well.
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