Travel within Peru: need help

Jul 11th, 2010, 05:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 44
Travel within Peru: need help

Hi! Here's my Peru itinerary. I need help with a few questions on travel within Peru.....

Day 1: Arrive in Lima
Day 2: Lima
Day 3: Pisco-Paracas/Islas Ballestas
Day 4: Ica/Nazca
Day 5: Arequipa
Day 6: Arequipa
Day 7: Puno/Titicaca
Day 8: Puno/Titicaca
Day 9: Cuzco
Day 10:Cuzco
Day11 -Day14: Inca Trail/MachuPichu
Day15: Cuzco-Lima
Day16: Depart Lima

1. Are there early morning buses from Lima-Pisco/Paracas. I'd like to take the Islas Ballestas cruise the same day. Also, do I need to make these reservations (bus and the island tour) in advance?

2. Is it worth (and safe) spending a night in Ica and then traveling to Nazca the following day for the flight over Nazca lines?

3. How (and how long) is the bus ride from Nazca-Arequipa?

4. Puno-Titicaca: How do I arrange a stay with a local host family on Lake Titicaca?

5. Puno/Juliaca to Cuzco: What's the best way to travel? Bus/ train or flight? I can see only Lan flights from Juliaca-Cuzco. Are there other options?

Thanks! Your comments have been very helpful so far!!
Nina3500 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 12:51 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,337
Cant help with 1,2 & 3 but the best way to arrange a stay on one of the islands on Titi is to book a tour which includes a stay with one of the many TAs in Puno. Alternatively, you could just get a boat tour from the dock and arrnge accommodation on arrival at one of the islands. It was our intention to do this and is pretty straightforward, but , unfortunately, my wife got sick on the day so we returned the same day.

We got the Inka Express from Cusco which is a lux bus that stops at many of the sights along the way. from memory it takes around 6-7 hours inc. the stops and lunch. We booked direct at the bus station in Cusco but any TA in town will book seats for you. In Sept we had to book 3 or 4 days in advance. It was an enjoyable trip with some amazing scenery as we crossed the altiplano (so the day is certainly not wasted) but the incessant commentary by the guide got very wearing after the first few hours! (take an iPod).
If you take a flight you will miss some great sights and landscapes. The train is probably quicker but is a lot more expensive.

A few photos of the bus journey and Titi:
crellston is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

good info on your route above...have done it several times VIP seats best leave from early AM
no need to reserve but you can if you like...

2.Better to go on to Nasca stay at the
or the Hotel of the Nasca Lines the 2 best do your flight
when calm the early AM the next day not from Ica..

3.10-12 hours afternoon bus best after you fly the lines to take the fast boat to Taquile

from the dock at Puno set up your own homstay but

for agents who do this...

4. best touristic bus to Cusco

lots cheaper than tourist rip off lan Private Collections best hotels

Puno Cusco SV...have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
oops should have been #5 above...

per Crellston's excellent advice

consider Acetazolamida to prevent altitude illness

before Titicaca easy to get sick up there Peru
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 07:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 18
Hi Nina, I like your planned route and may do something similar. My question to you is - which month are you planning to do this?
Another poster suggested that April/May is better than September (which was my original plan). I had looked at a Peru-for-less website but their quote is close to $2500 pp without airfare and hotel in Lima (both on arrival and before departure) - that seems to be very expensive to me. Can you post approx. how much you are budgeting for this trip? Are you doing it alone or with another person or group? Are you flying from US or Europe? We are in Denver, Colorado and airfare seems to be 800 to 900 pp. I would like to be able to do it in less than 6000 dollars for the two of us. Is that possible? Or am I looking at substantially more (which is what the website is quoting)? My wife speaks Spanish and we have done trips to Panama and Colombia on our own. Right now I am leaning on doing it on our own - the concern I have is availability of hotels in various places (we had a huge problem In panama one time and had to drive almost 200 miles to get to a hotel - every hotel we called was booked and we ended up paying $200+ a night for two nights). Also what is the phone system in Peru - is it 3G - I would like to be able to buy a chip there and use my cellphone in Peru for any travel arrangements that we may need to make. Also, how about carrying your own laptop? Are there wi-fi areas e.g. starbucks around? Thanks all for any help - once I plan it out (in the next 3 or 4 weeks), I will post my plan (with rough costs) to get your feed back.
motu is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 09:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 44
Thanks everyone for excellent recommendations. And thanks crellston for the photos. It looks pretty. I checked out Inka Express. It does seem like an infinitely better alternative to flying LAN.
Is there much to do in Pisco/Paracas other than to get on the boat to Islas Ballestas? I'm not sure if I should just head straight to Nazca after Islas Ballestas. And then fly over Nazca lines next AM. Any suggestions?
Nina3500 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 44
Hi motu. I'm planning to do this in October. I'm not doing this through any tour group. I will be flying from the US. I'm budgeting slightly less than the price you've listed. So far, it seems doable and a DIY trip to Peru seems a lot more fun!

I'll leave it to the other veterans to answer your other questions.
Nina3500 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,696
I know that it is possible to buy a chip for the right kind of unlocked cellphone (but I can't tell you what type that is).

I don't recommend traveling with a laptop. It makes you a theft target. Internet cafes are pretty easy to find in the major cities and even smaller towns, and are very inexpensive.

Your itinerary is quite well traveled, so you will do well to book as far ahead as possible for lodgings.

Recommend staying in the Sacred Valley over Cusco if you are not hiking the Inca Trail.

Good lodgings in the $100 per night or less range. Don't wait to book these as they are very heavily booked (even in low season). My experience with smaller lodgings is that they are pretty good with cancellations with enough notice.

Lima: Second Home Peru (Barranco neighborhood)
Cusco: El Balcon, Rumi Punki
Ollantaytambo: El Albergue, Apu Lodge, KB Tambo (upgraded rooms)

I'd also like to suggest considering the north coast of Peru if you have time, eg around Chiclayo and Trujillo, there are some amazing adobe pyramids. StarPeru has cheap return flights. Or you can try a night bus! Good hotel in Chiclayo is the Garza.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 13th, 2010, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 18
Thanks mlgb.
I have an unlocked GSM phone that I have used before in Colombia (bought a chip (SIM card) locally and filled it as and when we needed more minutes). It worked very well and I will use the same phone in Peru.
Basically any cell phone that has a sim card for phone service (mine is T mobile) can be used in many countries that have GSM system (I am no expert but this is my understanding). You must however unlock it first (US has cell phones that are usually locked by the service providers to typically work with just one carrier - there is a simple process to unlock it and the unlocking codes are provided by your carrier (they will explain how to do the whole thing once you contact them). Also its very easy to buy an unlocked phone to begin with (I only buy unlocked phones since I found this out).
Still gathering info before finalizing our trip. Will make a note to book hotels as soon as we have a plan. Thanks for all the help so far.
motu is offline  
Jul 13th, 2010, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,696
Hi motu, when I was sharing a taxi on the way from Lima airport to the city, the other passenger asked the driver to stop at a gas station where she bought the chip. I'll bet all of the taxi drivers know where they are sold. A little sign language and gesturing should get you there.
mlgb is offline  

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