#1 12-2-2017 2:53 AM

Ranchero
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Peru Trip Questions

Hi,

I might have the chance to visit Peru this year, probably in the summer period. Because I'd have a limited time of 3 weeks, prolly 4 in the better case (less likely), I'd kindly ask for some advice/recommendations.

My focus will be on Lima (4-5 full days), Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley area, probably Puno and Lake Titicaca as well with Aramu Muru (the "stargate", which I'd like to see).

Secondary destination: probably I will add Arequipa to the list, but only if time allows.

I don't think I can add: the Huacachina Oasis, the Nazca Lines due to limited time.

So... here go my questions:


1) I am calculating to spend about 7-8 days in Cusco to visit the attractions around: Ollantaytambo, the Salinas, Moray, Pisaq etc.

Would this be enough for acclimatization?
Or am I exaggerating and it's not worth so much time?


2) Would it be better to fly to Puno from Lima, visit Lake Titicaca, then go all the way up (by train) to Cusco or the other way around?

Puno is at 3,800 m elevation, Cusco is at 3,400 m.

I would like to fly to Arequipa in the end. And, as I have researched, there are no more direct flights from the Titicaca area, but there are flights from Cusco.


3) Machu Picchu: I was thinking about spending 2 nights at Aguas Calientes and either visit Machu Picchu twice or... visit something nearby? Not sure about Putucusi, though...


4) Is Arequipa worth adding to the list? Or, should I swap it for the Nazca Lines?


5) Machu Picchu ticket:
-will skip the Inca Trail and will head to Aguas Calientes by train, stay 1-2 nights there to visit MP, preferably alone
-I would like to see Huayna Picchu as well and have the best time/weather for the experience. I know access to that peak is limited and that there are so many options for tickets.

Which are the best options and costs for tickets that you'd recommend?
(I've seen countless travel agency prices, but I'd prefer to just get a ticket and go alone)

When should I book the ticket? 4-5 days prior in Cusco or online months before?

What's the minimum price I can pay for a full MP ticket?

So far, I've found this offer interesting, but not sure, price is high at around 70 EUR:
https://www.getyourguide.com/cusco-l359 … position=4


6) I'd also like to stay 1 night in a town in the Sacred Valley/Urubamba Valley - which town is best for great views and also for a comfy old-style hotel? (so far I'm eyeing Urubamba and Yucay, but not sure, I might be missing out on something)


7) Titicaca area: I'd focus on the lake, the floating islands, Aramu Muru - anything else to see?


9) Likely period of travel: May-June-July  -  would you recommend otherwise?


10) Any other suggestions, advice?

 

#2 12-2-2017 7:08 AM

Toonsarah
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

It's some years since we went to Peru and I can't answer all your questions, but here are some suggestions and thoughts on your plans.

We liked Arequipa - the Santa Catalina Convent is beautiful and I was fascinated by the Ice Mummy Juanita which is displayed in the museum. It would make sense if possible to slot this in after Lima and before going to higher altitudes as it's it's about 1,000 metres lower. I'm not sure about transport options on to Puno from there as we incorporated a short tour, with a driver, taking in the Colca Canyon to see the condors and staying overnight to break the drive. You don't mention your budget but if it would run to such a tour, and you have the time, I would recommend doing so.

As well as the floating islands on Lake Titicaca, do visit Tacquile as the culture there is fascinating and the island itself is lovely. Day trips are available covering both. And we took the train to Cusco from there and loved the scenery en route - definitely the way to go!

In the Sacred Valley we stayed at the Sol y Luna (https://www.hotelsolyluna.com/) and it was one of my favourite hotels of the trip. This was over ten years ago however, though it still looks nice on the website. It's not a cheap option but as I don't know your budget ...

 

#3 12-2-2017 7:15 AM

milestx
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

On my two visits to Cuzco, I took a cab immediately from the airport down into the Sacred Valley, and spent the first couple of nights down there (lower altitude). Then, after visiting MP, I went back up to Cuzco and avoided altitude discomfort.

Note that MP is at a considerably lower altitude than Cuzco.

 

#4 12-2-2017 7:22 AM

ulis
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

For acclimatization have a coca tea ( agua de coca), quite helpful, for your other questions it’s to long ago that I have been there.

 

#5 12-2-2017 7:43 PM

NickelP
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

I was just in Peru for 3 weeks in September.

My personal opinion is that you don't need 4-5 days in Lima. I spent 2 days there and found that was enough. I would take the extra days and go to Arequipa as I spent 2 days there wished I had more time. I barely got around to seeing anything as I was a little bit sick the first day and then was taking the night bus to Cusco the 2nd day. I did the 2 day Colca Canyon trek in between the days and in hindsight didn't find it that great. The oasis everyone talks about isn't really much and just a touristy little area with swimming pools. The tour would have been better with time to explore in Chivay.

I skipped the lake so can't comment on it. I've heard people say the floating islands were awesome and I've heard other says it's a tourist trap and not worth it. The general consensus amongst most people though is that Puno the town is not much.

I spent 5 days in Cusco and loved it. I didn't get around much to the areas around it, just spending time in the city and eating much...much...food. I didn't have any altitude issues but that could have been because I had been in Arequipa and up to the canyon and as well I took the bus to Cusco. The salt mines were a pretty cool stop and only had a couple of hours in Ollantaytambo waiting for our train to Machu Pichu but seemed a cool little city.

I can't really answer the Machu Pichu questions as I did the Lares Trek so Machu Pichu was included. I would suggest that you go to Aguas Calientes the night before and get up and in the early line up for the Machu Pichu buses. It's already full by 6am but by 10 it's just packed (and we were there end of September which is starting to get quiet time). I'm not sure that you'd need 2 days there and there is really nothing in Aguas Caliente.

I went to Huaccachina and Paracas and while interesting on limited time both are OK to give a miss. Can't speak to the Nazca lines as the bus just stopped at the viewing tower for a run up and view.

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

#6 12-3-2017 9:38 AM

matthew
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

With 3 weeks, you'll easily be able to add in Arequipa to your itinerary.  I wouldn't count out Huacachina and Nazca either.  They're relatively close to Lima (6 hours), and with 4 to 5 days in Lima, you'll need something to fill your time.  I'd go for at least a day and night.  You can easily do the Nazca lines in half a day, and probably fit in Pisco too.  You don't need a lot of time in Huacachina either.

Puno is a nice stop off to see Titicaca.  I think flying there is a good idea, and then go back inland from there back to Lima.  If you start there, after your few days in Lima, it will help a lot for the trekking in Cusco.  You can also gage your time from there.  If you need the time in Cusco and surrounds, you'll have it; if you don't need as much time as you have planned (and personally, I think you've planned well, and on the generous side if anything), you can easily get to Arequipa by flight or night bus. 

Arequipa is a nice place to see, and has a lot to do in terms of rafting, canyon treks etc.  I did a couple of days there, and it was just about right for me, though I could have easily stayed longer.

 

#7 12-4-2017 5:34 AM

stefmuts
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

I really liked the ruins at Ollantaytambo, if my Inca trail hadn't gone sour I would have never known about them ...
I think Arequipa is well worth adding to the list, and I would try to fit in the Nazca Lines (half a day would be enough to do the flight over the lines)
I doubt you get to visit MP alone :-) but make sure you get the first ride up.
People doing the trail are probably already there when you arrive but it's not going to be crowded yet
The floating islands on Lake Titicaca might be considered a tourist trap but I liked it. I did the overnight stay at Amantani island, same thing but also very nice 
I visited Peru in the end of may and weather was fine so I wouldn't change your plans on the time period, can´t tell you anything about tickets though, my advice wouldn´t do you any good since my visit was in 2005

 

#8 12-4-2017 6:15 AM

grandmar
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

I cannot answer most of your questions, but I have one - when you say Summer, what months are you talking about?  I was there in November which was their spring.  January February would be their summer.   July-August would be their winter.

As for altitude - unless you have already been at altitude and know, it is impossible to predict whether you will have a problem with the altitude or how long it will take you to acclimate.  My sister (younger, thinner and fitter than I am) does have a problem with altitude starting at about a mile high.  She told me that anyone with our cardiovascular history should not go to altitude and I listened to her and did not go to MP.  But I should not have listened to her because I do not have an altitude problem at least not up to about 14,000 feet.  I think it is like seasickness/motion sickness.  Some people are more susceptible than others and it isn't anything one can predict or fix

So be prepared to change your plans if you need to.

 

#9 12-4-2017 11:46 AM

Toonsarah
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

grandmar wrote:

As for altitude - unless you have already been at altitude and know, it is impossible to predict whether you will have a problem with the altitude or how long it will take you to acclimate.  My sister (younger, thinner and fitter than I am) does have a problem with altitude starting at about a mile high.  She told me that anyone with our cardiovascular history should not go to altitude and I listened to her and did not go to MP.  But I should not have listened to her because I do not have an altitude problem at least not up to about 14,000 feet.  I think it is like seasickness/motion sickness.  Some people are more susceptible than others and it isn't anything one can predict or fix

So be prepared to change your plans if you need to.

I believe that even if you have been at altitude previously you cannot be sure of having the same reaction the next time. I am usually OK but occasionally not. I had a bad headache in Puno but no other symptoms, and in Cusco was fine apart from the shortness of breath that's to be expected. I suffered a lot when we went to Ecuador and drove some distance up Cotopaxi (I didn't even attempt to walk higher!) but had no problems last year in Chile when we went to the El Tatio Geysers and lagoons.

The best advice is to go up gradually, which is why a stay in Arequipa makes sense between Lima and Cusco or Puno, or as has been suggested, a stay in the Sacred Valley before Cusco.

 

#10 12-4-2017 10:42 PM

stefmuts
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

grandmar wrote:

think it is like seasickness/motion sickness.  Some people are more susceptible than others and it isn't anything one can predict or fix

It's not exactly like seasickness/motion sickness, those are pretty much predictable, altitude sickness isn't, you can allright on the one trip and get sick on the next, never know till you get there. Best advice as Toonsarah already said is to give yourself time to get used to the hight by going up gradually

 

#11 12-9-2017 1:36 PM

sebaspage
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Re: Peru Trip Questions

Ranchero,

I visited Peru last November, Unfortunately I don't have the answer to all your questions, but I do have a couple of recommendations:

-Lima is an amazing city, Miraflores is a great place to stay, you can walk pretty much everywhere! The downside of this you will be sea level there, and if you want to visit Cusco afterwards you might get altitude sickness, at least the first day. So plan your time there with this in mind.
-There are limited tickets to get into Huaina Picchu, you might want to check that far in advance, as far as I know they only sale 200 tickets daily to reach the mountain, you will have to sign a release as it is supposed to be a hard hike.
-I visited MP at the beginning of November, when I got there it was so clouded I couldn't see a thing! I was so disappointed by that point, I wouldn't even be able to take a decent photo. Fortunately after a while a strong current came from the west and I was able to see Huaina Picchu for a while and take a couple of photos. Where I go with this is, you should plan to go earlier, around June I heard is perfect weather.

I booked all in advance so I didn't have  to worry about tickets or anything, but if you would like to make it on your own I can advice to buy all entrances in advance as it can get crowded.

Hope it helps! smile

 

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