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Peru, Trekking to MP, Lima - several questions

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Peru, Trekking to MP, Lima - several questions

Old Jan 8th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Peru, Trekking to MP, Lima - several questions

We are planning to visit Peru and do the 4 day Inca trail in mid May. The itinerary is pretty generic, 3 nights in Cuzco, the 4 day Inca trail, the one more night either in Cuzco, Aguas Caliente or Ollantaytomba Here are some issues that we are trying to figure out.

1) Lima - how much time should we leave for Lima at the end of our trip. Most of the time we plan to spend in Cuzco, MP, etc...Is one day, or half day actually, before our flight out enough for some basic sightseeing in LIma to get a sense for the city? We are leaning to fly in the morning from Cuzco, leave our luggage at the airport and taxi to the the center, explore and then come back for our evening flight back.

2) On the last day of the Inca Trail trek, the group will be coming back to Cuzco really late at night with the intent of leaving next morning to Lima. Alternatively, we can spend an evening and night at Aguas Caliente or Ollantaytambo instead of spending the extra night at Cuzco (we will be in Cuzco for three nights before the trek anyway). Any suggestions whether we should, and which of the two places is more interesting? Any suggestions for hotels, restaurants and things to do are appreciated too.

3) Trek operators. We are leaning to go with Peru Treks, they get pretty good reviews and their website is great. Any reason we should consider NOT going with them? They are also about $40-$50 cheaper...but not sure if they are cutting corners or just being competitive. Is there really a big difference between operators? What should we be watching out for?

4) Trek Questions - there is a classic Inca trail and then there some other alternative 4 day treks. Have anyone done the alternatives and can suggest why it would be more interesting or why to do it instead of the classic one? Should we buy and bring our own sleeping bags or get the ones the operator offers? Is it really necessary to hire the third porter to carry some misc staff...any opinion? We are pretty fit, but have not really done much hiking before, esp at high altitudes.

5) Day trips from Cuzco - what's the most sensible way to visit Sacred Valley and various points of interest from Cuzco? Do we rent a car, hire a guide w/car, take buses and explore on our own, or book a tour? We are leaning to do our own exploration but not sure if logistics of getting to and from without a rent a car are easy enough.

6) Any places, things to do that you enjoyed which are off the beaten path. What did you think were must see/do and what could be skipped?

These are kind of random things and issues we are dealing with right now...I'm sure we will have more questions later. Thanks for everyone's help.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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I would like to address your questions about the Inca Trail.

It is required by law that you go with a guide and porters. Your also need a permit for the Inca Trail, which your guide can arrange. However there are strict capacity limits and you need to book the Inca Trail ASAP or you won't get a permit for May. I booked in early 2008 and it was already too late to get a permit for the Inca Trail in May so I had to go in late June. Regardless of how old you are or how fit you are, you cannot predict how the altitude will affect you. You should spent at least a few days at that altitude before going on the trail. Coca leaves are helpful in preventing altitude sickness and ask your doctor about taking Diamox.

I see no need to bring your own sleeping bags as rentals are cheap. I recommend renting an air mattress also. It can be very cold on the trail so bring long johns and wool socks.

Some members of my group did the Lares Trek instead and I believe no permit is required for that one.

I would give Lima at least a full day and be sure to see the Miraflores district. Take a city tour if possible and see the cathedral.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Thanks PM...we are going to book this week.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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2) Ollantay is defintely a more interesting town than AC. If you have no plan to get up to MP again at the crack of dawn the next morning then I'd say spend the night in Olly and then take a look around the city the next morning.

3) I did the IT with Peru Treks in 2009. I have nothing but good things to say about them. Their guides, porters and cooks were all excellent. Try to learn some Spanish and talk with the staff during camp breaks. I'm sure you'll both enjoy the experience.

If using the public bathrooms on the trail is a concern for you then I'd look at some of the higher priced outfitter that'll provide their own bathroom tents.

4) I rented the sleeping bag, and it was fine. The foam "mattress" was too thin though, so supplement your own if you have one. I don't remember if thicker foam mattresses are available for rent or not.

Hiring a 3rd porter really depends on what you plan to carry with you on the trail. You *should* carry as little as possible. Ideally I would pack just a camera (and xtra batteries and disk), a change of clothing, a water bottle and the most basic toiletries. If you can hire a 3rd porter then I'd say "why not? Do it." That way the only thing you have on you is your camera and maybe your water bottle, and you'll have a much easier time getting up Dead Woman's Pass.

5) The easiest day trip to SV is to arrange your own transportation either through hiring someone recommended in this forum like Percy, David C. ,etc. or do it through a tour. It's actually very easy to take a bus from Cusco to and from Pisac and then take taxis from there to Salinas, Moras, etc., but of course it's always more convenient to have everything planned out for you beforehand by the guide.

Enjoy your trip. I kinda wish I could revisit Peru again
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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I would spend not more than a day in Lima.
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 04:09 PM
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Axel - thanks, this is very detailed response. Mush appreciated. We are def considering to stay in Olly now or prehaps just bight the bullet and go back to Cuzco. It will be a long day for us and the train will not get back to Olly until after 9pm. The next morning we need to fly to Lima, so we can spend more than a day there...and I guess it would not be much of a time to spend at Olly anyway. I guess we will try to se it during our SV touring.

Does anyone have any hotel reccos in Cuzco and Lima? I looked at the Andean Travel Web suggestions, and I guess we can find something there for 100-150 per night, but if anyone has some good specific suggestions...let me know...also what was you favorite restaurant or place to eat there?
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Old Jan 9th, 2011, 04:10 PM
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Alos as far as touring SV, sounds like Peru Treks offer a group day trip for $15 per person. Sounds pretty reasonable....anyone done it with a group?
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Old Jan 11th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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I would spend an overnight in Lima to ensure that you do not miss your international flight due to cancellation or delay.

I enjoyed staying in Barranco at Second Home Peru and at El Balcon Hotel in Cusco.

Personally I would not take a group bus tour of the Sacred Valley (you will probably spend most of your time eating and shopping). Taxis are not that expensive. You can also use public busses between places and taxis for short distances, or just hire a local taxi driver for a day. Perhaps you can find a few others to share the taxi with you and it will be virtually the same amount per person.

If you have a choice between spending the night in Ollantaytambo or Cusco, my choice would be Olly. This gives you time to explore the town. The next day you can hire a taxi one way to include touring of the SV on the way back to Cusco.
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 03:48 AM
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Thanks mlgb..good advice. We will skip the group tour. I will check out the hotels you suggested.
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 04:17 AM
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1. Always try to overnite in Lima at a minimum on the way back to see more of Lima and have some cushoin for my international flight.Usually stay in someplace nice like Hotel Antigua Miraflores which has free LIM pickup or
the Radisson Decapolis good upscale value nice ocean views
at good prices.www.mirabus.com.pe nice city tours or
www.limacabs.com for private tours.

2. Since you will have seen Cusco www.casa-andina.com SV
or www.apulodge.com in www.ollantaytambo.org best go for
sunset at the fortress there simply amazing.

3.www.perutreks.com best overall go with them.Classic
Trek best for first timers.Take Diamox to prevent altitude
illness #1 cause of bad trail experience.If budget is tight
www.incalandadventures.com Flavio gets good reviews here
from $300 or so.Be aware that many of the alternate treks
like Lares do not go TO MP so avoid those.4.always pack light
cheap to rent the bag do not do extra porters.

5. Hire a guide like Percy Salas to see the SV do Cusco Tours
He gets best reviews here or DIY cheaper hop a bus for a sole
or 2 what I usually do and bop around.Pisac market is AMAZING
particualarly on Sunday largest Inka market in the world.

6.Make more time if you can while you are down there pickup
awesome www.titicacaperu.com Colca Canyon and Nasca Lines
as well as Paracas/Ballestas Galapagos of Peru if you can.

There are lots of strikes and weather variables

www.insuremytrip.com always cheap wise so no worries.

www.travel.state.gov Peru for a heads up on safety

overall safe if careful, Peru is AMAZING!

Have a blast,
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