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Please critique/ criticize my Bolivia and Peru plans

Please critique/ criticize my Bolivia and Peru plans

Old Mar 2, 12, 3:16 am
  #1  
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Please critique/ criticize my Bolivia and Peru plans

A friend of mine is going to Bolivia and Peru and I've decided to take advantage of the good BA award rates and go with him. He can't get much time off, so we only have two weeks down there (I had planned to spend more as part of an RTW next summer, but this will be a good intro I figure).
Anyway, the plan is this -

April 17 arrive La Paz, do the mountain biking stuff, see some sights, make it to Lima's airport by midnight on the 21st. Would like to see the salt flats but does not seem possible.

April 22-25 Easter Island, back to Lima around midnight again on the 25, first flight to Cuzco on the 26.

26- Day in Cuzco
27-Train to Aguas Calientes
28-hike up to the ruins, the usual stuff, catch 1730 train back to cuzco

From here my friend wants to go on to Iquitos and still make it back to la paz to fly home on May 2nd. I think that is going to be too much of a rush for too little reward, so we will part ways and all I have to do after Machu Piccu is make it back to Nashville sometime before Sunday the 6th of May.
I know it's rather rushed but he bought his tickets with money (he's not the FT type) before I had even entered the equation so I'm working with what I have, and the scarcity of flights to IPC are not helping.

Thoughts?
My plan for the tail end as of now is just to spend a few days in Cuzco drinking and sightseeing, but if there is somewhere else worth going for a few days (somewhere I can use BA miles to reach from Lima) I'm open to that as well. I'd like to see the Galapagos or Rio, but that might be overdoing it. If South America is anything like Central America I expect flight/bus/ etc times and routes to only loosely remble those advertised.

Here is my tentative calendar so far (I don't know how to make the link go straight to April, sorry) - https://www.google.com/calendar/embe...merica/Chicago
chuckd is offline  
Old Mar 2, 12, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by chuckd View Post
My plan for the tail end as of now is just to spend a few days in Cuzco drinking and sightseeing, but if there is somewhere else worth going for a few days (somewhere I can use BA miles to reach from Lima) I'm open to that as well.
There are lot of things to do in Cusco so your idea of spending few more days there is very right. Sacred Valley, ruins around the City, Maras & Moron, Huasao (the sorcerers town), etc. Cusco has an intense nightlife too, if you enjoy drinking, pubs, irish pubs, clubs, etc. (I recommend El Pisquerito, for local pisco sour cocktails)

You can enter Machu Picchu the day you arrive to Aguas Calientes too, if you take a train early in the morning. So the 2nd day you can go to Machu Picchu again to climb the Huayna Picchu (if you enjoy hiking) or watch the inca bridge and other places surrounding M.P.
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Old Mar 9, 12, 4:30 pm
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I agree with Villavic that you would definitely enjoy spending an extra day or two in Cuzco. Having said that, another possibility is ending your trip with three days at Puerto Maldonado, enjoying an eco-resort on the Amazon. I can assure you that it is an amazing place to visit.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 12:07 am
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I spent 8 days in Iquitos as part of a volunteer mission trip and can tell you there not a lot to see there. It is a very poor city and mostly acts as an embarkation point for Amazon trips. I would highly recommend spending the extra time in Cusco, as it is beautiful and charming with tons to do.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 12:09 pm
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You guys are really going to be on the move, doing three countries in 11 days if I'm reading right. I agree: Give yourself some downtime after you part company with your friend. There is so much to see and do in Cusco and the surrounding Sacred Valley that it's worth it to stay put for a few days.

Heading to Rio would require you to get a visa for Brazil in advance ($140). You may not have enough time for that, what with Holy Week falling between now and your departure.

Heading to the Galapagos won't require a visa, but you would have to fork over $300-400 round trip airfare from Quito or Guayaquil, plus the $100 entry fee to the islands.

You do need a visa for Bolivia to the tune of $140. Also, don't forget that La Paz is 12,500 feet above sea level. Most people take a few days to adjust to that altitude. I don't know that I'd set off and go mountain biking right away.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 2:03 pm
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Hey - I see it's been mentioned but it's so important I'll say it again - something you absolutely need to keep in mind is the altitude. DO NOT think you're going to just get off the plane in La Paz, nap for an hour, and then start mountain biking around. Unless you live in the Himalayas, you need to give your body a good couple of days - at least - to acclimate. Failure to do so could lead to serious health problems. I had a friend who had to evacuate Puno a couple of years ago because he started getting altitude sickness, and he wasn't even doing anything strenuous, just research work for a grad school professor.

At some point, I'd suggest taking a trip to Lake Titicaca. From La Paz, you can get a minibus that will take you to Copacabana, or you could go the other way and hit the lake from southern Peru. Either way, it's really a beautiful place to hang out, even for 2-3 days.

In Peru, although I've never been, I've heard wonderful things about Arequipa. That might be another city worth hanging out in for a day or two.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
. Unless you live in the Himalayas, you need to give your body a good couple of days - at least - to acclimate. Failure to do so could lead to serious health problems.
Definitely you have to stay calm arriving at Cusco, Puno, La Paz or any high place. But how long you need to rest, it depends on your physical. Some need 2 days. But there are some people they got headache the whole time. Or high blood pressure. Some women suffer period disorders.

Those are the scary news. The good news is that that's a very short percentage of people. That's based on my dozen of times I've visitid high cities in Peru, and watched lot travelers from the whole world and any age. Most of them are ready just resting the first day.

I'm one of those lucky guys that have almost no altitude sickness at all, just a little headache the first hours, and sometimes, not always (specially arriving by plane, where the atmosphere pressure change is radical), and I'm a coast guy (45yo), never lived in the mountains.

Most of visitors need to rest just the first afternoon/day, and the second they are ready to walk, visit places, etc. Of course try not to run or force your body. A good soft diet during your trip is good also; avoid heavy dishes, and of course drink the coca tea, a healthy tasty infusion! It helps to oxygen your blood.

Another tip is not to smoke during your trip and the previous days. Keep your lungs clean! If you are not a smoker, better! If you're still worried, see a doctor for a check, just to precaution. I usually take my father to a healthcheck before traveling to Cusco.

And yes Arequipa is a very nice place, and not so high.

Last edited by Villavic; Mar 15, 12 at 2:54 pm
Villavic is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 8:49 pm
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Hmm, looking at the proposed itin again, I'm not sure I would recommend that exact route based on the elevation and change in elevation ...

- (Assuming you start LOW) ...
- Go HIGH to La Paz, spend 4 days
- Go back down LOW to Easter Island/Lima, spend 5 days
- Go back up HIGH to Cusco ...

Gosh, my guess is that you will spend at least the first day of each Low to High transition slowly getting used to it. Not the best use of your time especially since you seem to have a schedule to keep to.

Just me 2-cents.
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Old Jun 25, 12, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by chuckd View Post
A friend of mine is going to Bolivia and Peru and I've decided to take advantage of the good BA award rates and go with him. He can't get much time off, so we only have two weeks down there (I had planned to spend more as part of an RTW next summer, but this will be a good intro I figure).
Anyway, the plan is this -
So what did you end up doing?
RockoHorse is offline  

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