Spring Break Trip to Peru in Mid-March!

Old Jul 29th, 2016, 02:38 PM
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Spring Break Trip to Peru in Mid-March!

Hi all,

After planning numerous trips to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the Caribbean, I am finally planning a family trip to South America for Spring Break 2017. While I would love to be able to go to both Peru and Ecuador, I do not think that we have enough time based on some of the itineraries I have read. Before I start to seriously research, I have a few questions...

1) The only time we have available to go is mid-March. Though I have talked to a Peruvian who goes home yearly said the weather will be fine, she lives in Lima. So, I wanted to check with those who are familiar with the weather in mid-March who travel to Cusco and Machu Pichcu. Will the weather be okay? Unfortunately, our summer plans are already firmed up, so Spring Break is it.

2) We will only have about 9 days, including flights. So though I would love to go to at least one town in Ecuador, I am assuming we should spend all 7 free days in Peru, right??

3) If weather is going to be an issue in Peru, the other countries in South America that I am interested in other than Ecuador are Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Should I consider one of these instead? Again, for a first intro trip to South America, Peru is my first choice and I would only consider another country if weather will be an issue.

Thanks for your advice in advance.

Take care.
Lolazahra is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2016, 04:16 PM
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March is not the best time weather wise for Cusco as it is the rainy season in most of the Andes but I really wouldn't be put off by that. Plenty of people do travel at that time of year. As long as you go prepared for wet weather and don't want to go too far off the beaten path. We have been in May (high season) and November ( low) both were OK.

http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/tips/weather.html Has some decent info on weather.

For a first trip to South America I would definitely suggest Cusco and the sacred valley as there is a huge amount to pack in in a relatively small area. Seven days will be enough to explore all Cusco has to offer ( which is a lot!) and spend some time in the Sacred Valley with of course, a side trip to Machu Picchu.

MP can either be done as an overnight trip or, as your time is limited, a day trip from Ollantaytambo.

To get used to the altitude I would suggest flying into Lima and transferring immediately to Ollantaytambo which is at a lower altitude and better for acclimatisation. Spend a night or two there, get the train to MP and then back to Cusco, exploring places like Moray, Maras and Chinchero along the way.

If the weather turns out to be a real issue for you then I would consider the far south and Patagonia which should have good weather - although a week is not really enough time.
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Old Jul 30th, 2016, 04:40 PM
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Peru is a phenomenal destination for a first trip to South America and was indeed how I started with the continent two years ago. In addition to Crellston's suggestion, I would suggest a couple of days in Lima; it is worth longer but a day or two should do with the time you have.

If weather is a concern for Peru, then I would highly recommend Brazil. With about 7 days, you could spend about 4 or 5 in Rio and the rest in nearby Paraty. Rio is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Whatever you choose, I am sure you will want to return.
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Old Jul 30th, 2016, 04:59 PM
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Thanks guys,

Crellston, thanks for the detailed comments. I think your suggestions make a lot of sense based on our time limit. I'm afraid about the rain though. I am not a rain person. It puts a damper on things for me. I'm fine with sporadic showers that end quickly, but I'm not one to want to easily go on with the show when it's raining all day.

Patagonia has always been on my list. But I need to read more TR's to see if we can make it work with our timing....

Any thoughts on the other countries I mentioned?

tripplanner001, thanks for your input. Brazil is on my list too, but I'm not sure I want to experience it with my kids first. I have a girlfriend leaving today with her two kids, so maybe I will change my mind when she returns. We will see. I will keep looking into Peru and reading TR's on the other countries too.

Thanks!
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Old Jul 30th, 2016, 06:42 PM
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You're welcome Lolazahra. Perhaps take a look at the other areas of Peru, which is likely to be drier in March; you could start in Lima and then go down to Nazca, Arequipa, and the Colca Canyon. Of the other places you mentioned, if you do decide on Argentina, I can say that Iguazu Falls is well worth a visit and is a short flight from Buenos Aires.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 02:17 PM
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Mid March is roughly when the rainy season starts to taper down, I think. But it can really rain hard when it does.

Weather patterns get whacked when there is El Niño though, rain where/when it shouldn't shouldn't and drought where there should be rain.

If you cannot be flexible I might postpone it a year til you can go in summer, and spend more time there. There is lots more to see in Peru as well as adjoining countries. 3 Weeks is not too much if you have it!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 07:58 AM
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mlgb,

I think you are right. I do not want to force it and regret going because I'm rushed and have a cranky family due to the rain. It's too important a country to short change.

I'm still committed to at least getting a taste of Latin culture somewhere. Been thinking Buenos Aires/Iguazu Falls and have peeked on the Central American forum, re: Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Any thoughts?
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 09:06 AM
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Antigua Guatemala is wonderful, heavy on the culture. Post on the CA forum and hopefully hopefulist replies.

Costa Rica heavy on the wildlife.

I would say no to Buenos Aires.

Cartagena Colombia might be another choice, but it is very hot! The old town reminds me of Pirates of The Caribbean.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 10:11 AM
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March is NOT a good month for a first trip to Rio, as it is likely to be fatiguingly hot and humid for seeing the sights. Nor would I want to experience it for the first time with a crush of Olympic tourists, as your friend is apparently doing. Try for June or July for less heat and humidity and less possibility overcast skies for the heights in Rio.
An initial trip to Brazil should perhaps take about 3 weeks, maybe in December, and include cultural gems like Rio, Iguacu falls, the charming Colonial gold-rush towns in the spectacular mountains of Minas Gerais state, as well as time in the African heart of Brazil, the colorful city of Salvador, and surrounds, with unique music and food and beaches, and culture and architecture. (Paraty is minor beside both the Pelourinho and the towns in Minas.)
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Check for low water times at Iguacu. Ideally you would see the falls from both sides, both parks (Brazil and Argentina), and visit the Bird Park (where you can be in a house-sized cage with macaws approaching, among other adventures), take a boat ride under the falls, perhaps visit the dam, which needs about 3 days with travel in/out, but note that a visa is needed for Brazil by those with certain passports, including U.S.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 03:21 PM
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It is rare that I disagree with mlgb but I would definitely consider a BA / Iguazu combo. The falls truly are one of the natural wonders of the world and I think March would be a good time to visit. Iguazu needs two days a full day for the Argentine side and half a day for the Brazilian side.

Plenty to do/see in BA including maybe a side trip to Tigre delta by train or Colonia deal Sacremento over the river in Uruguay or maybe an estancia.

Just spent a week in Cartagena and really liked it, although 3-4 days would be enough to see everything. As mlgb points out, it was REALLY hot. It may be worth considering combining with a few days in Bogota.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2016, 03:55 PM
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I'm just not sure how much children would go for Buenos Aires, it's a big, flat, noisy city.

It was also thinking re more trouble flying there, and then to Iguazu, for such a short time frame (I'm assuming you're coming from North America).
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Old Aug 25th, 2016, 10:24 AM
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Hi there,

Just want to share some thoughts about your concerns.
I live in Cusco, and as many people say above, march is still a rainy month in the highlands. not as rainy as in January or Febraury, but with few chances of sunny days. On the other hand, places like Machu Picchu are less crowded and prices are more affordable than during peak seasons, so in terms of budget and visitors it might be a good idea to come in March.
Regarding your timr, 9 days might be enough to visit Lima, Cusco & even the Lake Titicaca, many options are available.
hope that this can help a little and you can have a wonderful stay in Peru.
Regards
Ramiro
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 10:13 AM
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As tripplanner said, you should also consider other parts of Peru: the desert south of Lima has some of the driest climate in the world, so you could visit Nazca for the Nazca Lines, see the Islas Ballestas for birds and wildlife, Arequipa, the huge sand dunes at Huacachina and of course spend a few days in Lima without having to worry about rain.

Peru really has a lot to see and do, and I suspect airfares there will be much less than to Argentina.
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