Too much for 16 days in Peru?

Old Sep 14th, 2009, 07:25 AM
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Too much for 16 days in Peru?

Hey Fodorites:
I am trying to plan our December trip to Peru and am concerned I am trying to cram in too much for one trip (although "cramming it all in" is actually our preferred travel style).

I want to do the following during our 16 days:

Machu Pichu - The ruins and surrounding tourist sites
The Cordillera Blanca - trek/overnight of short (3 days or less) duration
Nazca Lines
If possible I would like also to go to Lake Titicaca.

My concern is that geographically these places are pretty spread-out and our budget is not going to permit a lot of in-country flights (we're probably limited to one roundtrip).

We don't mind riding a bus as long as it is safe and reasonably clean. We've used buses for long trips around Mexico --those were great, if anyone knows if Peruvian buses are similar, let me know.

I thought the itinerary would look something like this, please comment:

Days 1-4 Get to and trek in the Cordillera Blanca
Days 5-8 Activities near the Cordillera Blanca (considering Trujillo or Chiclayo)
Days 9-12 Machu Pichu and surrounding areas
Days 12-16 Ica/Lima/Nazca lines

Is there any way to fit in Lake Titicaca/Puno?

Does this look like a geographically reasonable itinerary so far?

All suggestions would be most welcome.
schlegal1 is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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16 days is reasonable for the southern gringo

trail including Titicaca...adding the north is not

Your problem is you are trying to cram the north

in there with a trek too much travel time

would probably give up the north

pick up Arequipa/Colca and Titicaca

Trek from Cusco or Trek Colca Canyon

every bit as nice as the north

much easier to do in the limited time you have.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Example: Lima to Cusco on the bus is 20-24 hours. Do you have that kind of time to be taking long bus rides? I think your proposed itinerary is possible only if you fly everywhere. Even then, it seems rushed to me.
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Old Sep 14th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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I am not sure how you are allocating your travel days. But most people spend one entire day getting to Peru.

Day 2 early morning you could fly north to Chiclayo. Maybe spend a day there on the archologcial sites and get a feel for the country. Then day 3-6 spend trecking in the Cordillera Blanca area. The bus from Chiclayo to Trujillo is 3 to 3.5 hours. Lima is another 8 hours from Trujillo. The buses are fairly nice. They recline and have movies. Costa del Sur even has some beverage service.

I would spend the time flying to Cusco. They seem to run about $117 each way.

The bus from Lima to Paracas - Nazca can be done all in one very long day (leave Lima at 4:15 am and return 11:30 pm)

The only real reason to go to Nazca is to fly over the lines. There isn´t much else to see except dusty desert town.

It all depends on what you enjoy doing.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

Diane, I appreciate the assessments of time. I was thinking that the in-country flight that we spring for will probably be the Lima-Cusco leg, especially since Jeff gives an estimate of 20-24 hours. Even if we had that kind of time for a bus ride, I don't have the stamina to stay on a bus more than 8-10 hours. I accounted for a travel day in my planning so actually, you make my crazy itinerary seem possible. Certainly wouldn't include Titicaca, though.

qwovaidis--thanks for the re-worked itinerary suggestion. We had initially thought about a Colca Canyon trek but my husband got really revved up about the Cordillera Blanca. We may need to re-think that--especially since he's also keen on seeing the Nazca lines--we need to prioritize out "must-sees"

Basically, I think we are either going to need to redo our budget to include more flying (that plan would also have to include finding a rainbow, its resident leprechaun, and enough savvy to get his pot of gold) or we are going to have to restructure our itinerary to exclude the Cordillera Blanca.
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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If we eliminate the Cordillera Blanca and just do the Gringo trail, it seems like 16 days is plenty of time to enjoy a trek in Colca Canyon.

Can anyone recommend a good outfitter? (Jeff, I'm looking in your direction because I think you used OX in Guatemala and so did we--we would love a rec. for trekking in Peru with a company that is equally competent and safety-oriented).

Here's my revision. Am I spending too much time in some places and not enough in others?

Day 1: Arrive Lima 8:35 pm (overnight Lima) - Don't think we'll actually spend any time in Lima unless there's a compelling reason offered here.
Day 2: Bus to Paracas boat tour to Islas Ballestas.
Day 3: Bus to Ica (or can we do this after we see Paracas on Day 2?). Remainder of day in Ica
Day 4: Day in Ica, travel in p.m. to Nazca
Day 5: Early AM, Nazca flight, bus to Arequipa
Day 6: Arequipa
Days 7-9: Trekking in Colca
Day 10: bus to Puno
Days 11-12: Lake Titicaca
Day 13: Bus/Train or Tourist bus to Cusco???
Day 14-16: Cusco, Machu Pichu, Sacred Valley
Day 17: Depart
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Oh, and part of this trip falls over Christmas so that could be a problem...thoughts?
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Old Sep 15th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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It is certainly easy to go from Paracas to Ica on the same day. It is about 90 minutes by bus. Also it has much a wider and nicer hotels. An extra $20USD a night can get you a lot here. The Paracas boat tour to the Ballestas starts about 8:00 and is over by 10:30 which is the next bus south to Ica. They have these things timed to an art. From Ica to Nazca it is another 3 hours if you aren`t behind a semi truck. You can catch the morning bus the following day to Nazca. That would depart about 9:30 am and get into Nazca about 1:00 pm. You can do an afternoon flight and if possible take the overnight bus to Arequipa. I haven´t ridden that leg myself so I can comment on time.

I would use the day you pick up by not splitting Paracas and Ica by flying into Lima the day before your international flight. Flying out of Cusco can be very capricous due to the weather. A little 15 minute rain shower delayed the whole airport by nearly an hour. Plus you have to navigate Lima´s check in system. A half day in Lima can be quite pleasant down by the Pacific. December should have sunny weather so you can relax on the beach or have dinner at LocaMar plaza.
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Old Sep 16th, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Diane - Thanks for the terrific input. I really appreciate it. And I will follow your advice r/e getting to Lima day before.

On the Nazca flight--I thought it was better to go in the a.m. than p.m. because of risk of fog?
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Fog? No. There isn't enough mositure in that valley to even come up with a wisp of fog.

Afternoons are more windy than mornings which is why some people prefer an early flight.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 06:04 AM
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ah, Thank you --we are tweaking the schedule and think we'll probably do a morning flight.

After consulting with some guides we are also thinking about cutting the Ica/Paracas portion of the trip in order to concentrate on the trek and Machu Pichu. This makes me a bit sad as I don't want to miss out on those things but it probably makes sense.

We are really going to go low budget on our accommodations and don't want to spend more than $40/night on average. I may need to head to Thorn Tree forums to talk about hostels but if anyone has a rec. on a hostel or a website about them, I'm all ears.

Still looking for recs on a guide company in the Cordillera Blanca. Would love suggestions.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 03:46 PM
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For lodgings in Ollantaytambo, try KB Tambo.
http://www.kbperu.com/kbhotel.html

I got lucky in Cusco with Hostal El Balcon, they discounted heavily because it was off season (I went in January).

You might give them an email and see what they quote you. It's a great location and good value even without a discount.

http://www.balconcusco.com/en/

BTW my reserves were made by email and it takes a few days to get back responses. Neither place asked me for payment to reserve, just asked that I confirm closer to the dates that I was really arriving.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 05:11 PM
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In Peru you can get cheap hostal around 20 USA for two person nice clean not problem for that for menu we spent 3 dolares each we use. WWW.AXELTOURS.COM
You can travel on your own not problem here You are some help

Day 1: Arrive Lima 8:35 pm (overnight Lima) -
Day 2: Bus to Paracas boat tour to Islas Ballestas. if want to make the tours to the Balestas Island at 08.00 a.m have to take te bus it's leave around 03.30 a.m. Cruz del Sur
the tours to Ballestas Island is from 08.00 a.m to 10.00 a.m. after that can go to Ica 60 kms from Paracas in Ica don't need to be longer so same day go on to Nasca 2 hrs 1/2
Day 3: Overflight to the Nasca Lineas p.m. Go to Arequipa
Day 4: Arrive in Arequipa
Day 5: Arequipa / Chivay 4 hrs 150 kms
Days 6-Chivay / Colca Canyon
at 13.30 p.m Chivay / Puno daily bus
Days 7: Lake Titicaca
Day 8: Bus/Train or Tourist bus to Cusco???
Day 9: Cusco City and it's ruins
Day 10. Sacred Valley of The Incas
Day 11, Inca Trail Machupicchu 4 days
Day 14, Arive in Machupicchu
so my friend Yu have coule days free for relax shopping I hope
this information help You or drop us on line. [email protected]
Day 17: Depart
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