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Peru itinerary advice

Peru itinerary advice

Old May 30, 19, 11:17 am
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Peru itinerary advice

Going to Peru in November for 10 days and can't decide where to go apart from Cusco/MP. Amazon sounds hot and humid, Titicaca and Colca Canyon sound like a recipe for altitude sickness as the first stop after Lima (was in Bolivia a month ago and did not fare well with that - Colca seems to be similar scenery). Not too interested in tourist sights like museums and churches etc. but more into ambience, good food, luxury hotels (but not quite Belmond Andean Explorer prices), easy logistics (ie no long bus journeys, as few flights as possible), and some variation. Here's a tentative plan, where I would have two full days for a side trip, or alternatively an extra day in Lima and/or Cusco (but then I feel I might be seeing too little of Peru).

I would like to keep Cusco (or SV) for the end, just because there are plenty of connections to LIM, and since I arrive the first day at 7 PM I want to do the Lima part then, rather than stay at an airport hotel the first night or go in/out of the city twice.

Wed: Arrive in Lima in the evening
Thu: Lima
Fri: Lima & travel to next destination
Sat: next destination
Sun: next destination
Mon: travel to Sacred Valley
Tue: Sacred Valley
Wed: Sacred Valley & travel to Aguas Calientes
Thu: Machu Picchu in the morning & travel to Cusco
Fri: Cusco
Sat: Cusco & fly to LIM and connect to international flight
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Old May 31, 19, 12:08 am
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I would add an extra day in Lima and do 2 nights in Arequipa (you don't have to go to Colca Canyon).
but then again, my last trip to Arequipa was some time ago and have been recently thinking that I need to go back
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Old Jun 1, 19, 12:57 am
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I did my first trip as a week between Lima and Cuzco/MP and didn't feel bored. With MP there's also the Inca trail if u want to do, plus Ollya and other hertiage sites. There always seemed to be something going on at the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco (parade one day, big protest the next), but maybe I lucked out on the time I went.

The altitude DID get to me a bit and I noticed I'd be out of breath faster. My guesthouse was uphill slightly from downtown...I'd walk downtown but take the taxi back. I get to Denver quite a bit and don't notice anything there, but Cuzco is 2x Denver (Quito was also noticeable, though maybe not quite as much). Because of that my enthusiasm for Lake Titicaca has dropped quite a bit, even though it sounds like a real experience otherwise.

I liked Iquitos a lot. Stayed near downtown in a comfy hotel for around $25 (with air-con) and there was a nightly "Star Trek" movie marathon to come back to. Did the Amazon exporation on daytrips, including one to a budget-type resort several miles downriver that was really old-school, i.e. no refrigeration (every meal made from scratch) and just lights & fans at night.

The Amazon is really, really unique and can be memorable. People associate it with Brazil, but I think the Peru part is more accessible from the U.S. and can even be done on a budget.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 7:03 am
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Thanks both. I have been considering Arequipa, but wondering how "different" it really is than Lima and Cuzco. It does add some logistics, and there don't seem to be any luxury hotels there.

I was actually quite keen on going to the Amazon, initially, as it looks like a very unique experience. But then I have read a lot of reviews that it is humid, sticky, very wet in early November, and you don't actually see the most interesting wildlife (for me African safari is interesting wildlife, whereas frogs and birds and snakes I couldn't honestly care less). The nice lodges and cruises also seem to be prohibitively expensive - and even those don't have air conditioned rooms. For comparison I have stayed one night in Zanzibar, right on the beach, without a/c and basically couldn't sleep, so not sure how I would fare for three nights in the Amazon...
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Old Jun 5, 19, 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by ung1 View Post
Thanks both. I have been considering Arequipa, but wondering how "different" it really is than Lima and Cuzco. It does add some logistics, and there don't seem to be any luxury hotels there.

I was actually quite keen on going to the Amazon, initially, as it looks like a very unique experience. But then I have read a lot of reviews that it is humid, sticky, very wet in early November, and you don't actually see the most interesting wildlife (for me African safari is interesting wildlife, whereas frogs and birds and snakes I couldn't honestly care less). The nice lodges and cruises also seem to be prohibitively expensive - and even those don't have air conditioned rooms. For comparison I have stayed one night in Zanzibar, right on the beach, without a/c and basically couldn't sleep, so not sure how I would fare for three nights in the Amazon...

The full moon over the river the evening of arrival was great

Other views from the Malecon in Iquitos also could be great

Boats pulled up at Belen market. Lots of exotic fruits for sale there.

I checked and I went during a May, though I don't think it makes too much difference (will always be humid and hottish). I'd really consider staying in the town for a first trip and doing daytrips, as it's cheaper and you can see enough to see if you want to go further. The plaza, guesthouses, historic buildings and most sites of interest are in a compact area right next to the Malecon. I took the tour from Dawn on the Amazon (used 3 different boats and ran 3 times weekly, IIRC), one from one of the lodges (daytrip with lunch where you go on their supply boats) and also had one of the boatmen-for-hire do one. A big thing is looking for the grey and pink river dolphins.

There are touristy things like the native village and the monkey-toucan place downriver, though there really wasn't a huge volume of outsiders and it only took 2 days or so before they were recognizing me walking by the guesthouses. At night there are often things going on at the plaza, plus some nightclubs and a few good restaurants, including rotisserie chicken ones like in Lima. Also really liked the paiche (river fish, usually boat to table) and drinking chocolate at Dawn on the Amazon or the Texas place.

That trip cost only $90 RT on Star Peru for the flight to/from Lima and $25 for the hotel room with the cable TV and air-con 2 blocks from the plaza. Though I guess I wasn't quite as much of a trooper as I could have been (didn't try the ayahuasca).
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Old Jun 12, 19, 9:35 am
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Consider northern coast, but just if you enjoy beaches. Cause it's mainly a beaches destination. And november would be a good season to enjoy Piura or Tumbes. But again, just if you enjoy sea and beaches cause there is no many things to do besides beach activities.
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Old Jun 12, 19, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Villavic View Post
Consider northern coast, but just if you enjoy beaches. Cause it's mainly a beaches destination. And november would be a good season to enjoy Piura or Tumbes. But again, just if you enjoy sea and beaches cause there is no many things to do besides beach activities.
Thanks! Not sure Peru is really where I would go to hit the beach, going to save that for Australia a couple of months after.

Right now my itinerary looks like this:
Wed eve - arrive in Lima and go to hotel
Thu/Fri - explore Miraflores, find some good food
Sat/Sun - to Arequipa on Sat morning, spend 2 days there
Mon/Tue/Wed - fly to Cusco and stay in Urubamba 2 days exploring sacred valley. Train to AC on Wed evening
Thu - first slot for visit to MP. Afternoon train to Olly. Collect luggage in Urubamba and go on to Cusco
Fri/Sat - explore Cusco. Sat afternoon flight to Lima. Approx 4 hrs transit and then fly to Europe in the evening
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