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Travelling Peru soio or with a tour
Favorite thing: hi Im on a group tour and am now in Bolivia having moved from Peru a few days ago - my cousin and other friends had said it was fine to travel solo but can be difficult without Spanish but I devcided to do a www.gadventures.com tour as it was really not that expensive for a great itinerary and all the convenience of getting to the must sees ive been wanting to get to.
I also liked the whole thing about it as there was more time in most places and free time to go and do our own thing - so in a lot of ways its been pretty much how Id do it if i was on my own. Now that I have been with the tour for nearly 2 weeks I would say for sure Peru is an excellent country and fine for travelling on your own.
The whole idea of getting a good guide book is to help you travel on your own so do make sure you get a good one - I bought the Footprints edition to bring with me as it was a recently updated edition and it has been fairly okay - i usually like the Lonely Planet but the recent edition got a lot of comments of incorrectness though they have updates online that can be printed out.
There are a number of vters who have travelled Peru on their own recently so check out the vt travel pages by going to travel guide for Peru and then you can select top 5 and so on in ranked order or in newest pages order. I flew to Chile for a 2 week conference and any travels we did were as a group - fine - i then flew to Easter island on my own and up to Lima on my own for 3 days there. I stayed at Mira Flores as people said its safer....i did 2 days of tours and for the 3rd day the tour guide from the 2nd days shanty town tour took me around Lima and said staying in Lima itself is not an issue, nor is being in the city in the evening an issue. Just if youre on a bus from MF to Lima dont like have your bag on your knees and window open when theft by motorbike has been heard of happening. So what you get told in the books can be different to how the locals see it.
but a number in our group are doing several tours through South America with g adventures and i would recommend having a look at their tours and seeing if thjis might be something for you to consider rather than going solo.
a big benefit too is getting to places that may be more difficult when you are on your own relying on public transport - and you go all the way to Peru and then miss because of the difficulty in getting there.
but its not too much that way.
We got taken to a number of interesting places and experiences because we are in a group and because our tour leader is a local who is keen to make our travels as meaningful as possible. g adventures have 60 tour leaders in Peru - which is a great credential! they use local guides too and interesting accommodation.
the alitude issue has been my biggest issue and for that I am even more grateful for being on a tour and being on this tour - ive been struggling at times with breathlessness and its been a big help to not have to do everything myself and find my way own, buy my own tickets etc.
but otherwise Peru is great - transport is good, the range of accommodation is good - look into air passes but otherwise bus travel is good and taxis are quite cheap to sites that are on the outskirts of the main towns and cities you might stay at. i used a few to get to places on our free days and they have been good. Using the guide books to find good places to stay and they will help with things like booking a taxi for you so you know its a legitimate taxi. that helps with security. but in Peru also pretty much every ticket to an attraction you go wants to see or note down your passport details - that is also security.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Whitewater rafting on the Apurimac River was very exciting and a lot of fun. Spent four days rafting and camping along the river. Didn't have hardly any experience with whitewater rafting before this trip but the guide trained us up right and despite Class IV+ rapids we came through unscathed. Was a great time. Would recommend to anyone looking for an adventure!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Water Sports
Favorite thing: Macchu Picchu and the Inca Trail, hands down. Great hike with stupendous views and of course the ruins at MP are a wonder of the world. The hike is tough even with porters (due to the altitude) but is very do-able and is not to be missed.
Fondest memory: We met some fantastic people in Cuzco and had a lot of fun at a festival there. There's a lot to see and do in Cuzco and the surrounding area but the people are a highlight. Take some time to meet some locals, you won't be disappointed.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
The altitude sickness of Cuzco
Favorite thing: Machu Picchu is only 2360m and not as high as Cuzco (3416m), so if you travel to Machu Picchu from Cuzco, as most people do, it would be even recommended to do so as relief from altitude sickness. Best of course to take few days in Cuzco for acclimatisation, especially if you fly in, then the area is more fun to explore. This stay was my first time I experienced altitude sickness, and the famous Coca herbs by the way did not help. I took it easy, spending most of the time just in the hotel room. Relax and be patient. take train from Cuzco for the visit.
Peru - Travel Impressions - Axel Ebert
Fondest memory: The ruins of Machu Picchu are spectacular of course.Related to:
Favorite thing: We were in Peru for just over two weeks and managed to fit in a fair bit. Our itinerary was (roughly):
~a night in Lima at the start and end of the trip, with a day sightseeing in the historic centre on that final day
~2 nights in Arequipa - it's a good place to start to adjust to altitude if you go there first after Lima, the Santa Catalina Convent is stunning and the museum is excellent
~1 night near the Colca Canyon, and an early morning visit to see the condors. As with all wildlife there's no guarantee you'll see them, but chances are high and in any case the scenery is fantastic! We booked a private tour which then took us on to Puno the next day, maximising the amount we could fit into our trip
~2 nights in Puno, with a day spent on Lake Titicacca to visit the Uros and Taquille
~Train to Cusco (an all day trip and well worth doing - wonderful scenery and a great experience!)
~3 nights in Cusco - lots to see there, and you need to take it slowly at first because of the altitude
~2 nights in the Sacred Valley, visiting various villages such as Pisac (Inca ruins and great market), Ollantaytambo (more ruins, interesting village) etc
~Train to Machu Picchu - we didn't do the Inca Trail as that would have taken more time than we had and in any case I'm not a great walker
~2 nights near Machu Picchu with a whole day exploring the ruins - part with a guide, part alone
~1 night back in Cusco, just because it was needed logistically
~Final night and day in Lima, as above, before flying home the next night
For more information see my small pages on Arequipa and Lake Titicaca, my rather better one on Colca, and my Cusco page which also covers the Sacred Valley. I also have a far-too-tiny page about the stunning Machu Picchu, of most value for its accommodation tip.
Favorite thing: Most travelers quickly bypass the urban chaos of Lima and head to Cuzco, which sits in the Andes highlands at an elevation of about 11,300 feet (3,444 meters). Cuzco, sometimes spelled Cusco, is one of the most popular cities in Peru for tourists, who come to see structures and buildings from the Inca and Spanish colonial periods. It is also the gateway to other popular places in the region, including Sacsayhuamán, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu.
What is now Cuzco was first settled by the Killke culture which occupied the region from about 900 A.D. to 1200. The Killke culture was replaced by the Incas, who made Cuzco the capital of their empire. The Incas planned the city in the shape of a puma, which was a sacred animal to them. It contained many magnificent palaces and temples, some of which were adorned with the gold that attracted the Spanish conquistadores.
The Spanish conquered the city in 1533 and soon set about destroying most of the Inca buildings, palaces, and temples, using their foundations and parts of walls to construct a new colonial city. They built many colonial-style cathedrals, churches, and convents which are popular tourist attractions today.
During the Seige of Cuzco in 1536, the city was retaken by Manco Inca Yupanqui, but his victory only lasted a few days before Cuzco was recaptured by the Spanish. This was the last of the Inca uprisings, and Spanish control over the country was complete.
Under the Spanish, Cuzco was the center of Spanish colonization and the point from which Christianity spread throughout the Andean region. The city prospered through agriculture, cattle ranching, mining, and trade with Spain.
Nowadays, Cuzco has a population of over 510,000, and is the capital of the Cuzco Region and Cuzco Province. The city is a fascinating mixture of the Spanish and Inca cultures. There are churches and other buildings from the Spanish colonial times, and large Inca building blocks are incorporated into many of the buildings. Overall, however, it is still an Inca town. Many of the people speak only Quechua, and the rainbow-colored Inca flag of Tahuantinsuyo (representing the four corners of the Inca Empire) flies from many of the buildings.
Cuzco's cultural importance has gained it many honors. The Peruvian constitution designates Cuzco as the Historical Capital of Peru, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. And in the past, it had been named the Archaeological Capital of the Americas and a Cultural Heritage of the World site.
Favorite thing: Just a quick answer on my behalf!!!
Lima - As people say - I'd stay less time here. Some cool places to see in Lima are the Santo Domingo Convent & Pachacamac, the best museum in Lima is probably the Larco Herrera Museum.
Food wise you have many options!! - I love Panchita (its in Av. Dos de Mayo in Miraflores) it has great peruvian food and its not too expensive)
Cusco & Sacred Valley - I'd you will take the City Tour, the Sacred Valley Tour and Machu Picchu. Other very cool stuff to do is maybe the rafting and the Canopy in the Sacred Valley. Other cool sites to visit over there are Tipon, Maras, Moray, Huchuy Qosqo (1 day trek) & Choquequirao (4 day trek)
Food Wise: Green Organics (if your vegeterian), the Cicciolina & Chicha would be my top three. If your looking for a different experience you can have breakfast of luch as the locals do in San Pedro Market for about 3 soles (they also have amazing juices here). Other highlights - try the pachamanca & their mud oven pizzas!
Puno: I dont really like the city of puno! i would recommend changing hotels to one thats beside the lake a bit further out of the city... Hotel Jose Antonio Puno is a good option. With regards to tours, the lake itself and the islands are amazing, my favourite island is Amantani! it beautiful specially at sunset...
Food Wise: i dont really now any restaurant in Puno sry, but probably to good hotels have good restaurants.. try libertador puno.
Transport: from lima to Cusco i would go by plane, although its more expensive its safer and faster... these airlines arent too expensive (starperu & peruvian airlines) and they have standard tarifs they dont charge extra to foreigners..
from Cusco to Puno I would take the tourist bus - it takes about 8 hours and but you stop at 3 sites on the way (andahuaylillas, racchi & pucara)
from Puno to Lima - I would also go by plane.
FOR A FUTURE TRIP - Yep Peru has many other amazing places, dont forget its one of the 4 or 5 megadiverse countries in the world!! If you like hikking and glaciers i would go to huaraz, jungle - Manu or Tambopata in puerto maldonado, Beaches - Mancora, Pacasmayo or Punta Sal, Culture and Archeology - Trujillo, Chiclayo and Chachapoyas, Amazing landscapes - Huancaya, Also Chacapoyas and also huaraz
hope its helpfull!
Photocopies of passport/immigration card
Favorite thing: There have been some questions lately about giving information about one's documents to hotels and/or tour operators. Apart from security reasons there is the following reason which applies in Peru to make a photocopy of your passport and immigration card.
Foreigners/non-residents are in some cases (as in hotels) exempt from the 19% VAT taxes (IGV) when their stay in Perú is 60 days or less. To justify that to authorities, the operator/owner of hotel has to prove to the authorities that the client is a foreigner/non-resident by having the proof (photocopies of mentioned documents).
The immigration card (the white piece of paper that you fill in with and get stamped by immigration upon entering Perú) is also called the TAM = Tarjeta Andina de Migración. Retain this card because you have to surrender it to immigration upon leaving Perú.
vaccines and altitude sickness
Favorite thing: here's the consulate website. you should get the appropriate info there about vaccinations.
also, there are people selling cocao (sp?) leaves on the street for altitude sickness.
A reliable travel agent
Favorite thing: I have used Condor Travel (http://www.condortravel.com/index.php) a couple of times. They aranged very well my trips to Peru (2009) and Chile (2010). Condor Travel is a partner for my Finnish travel agent (KalevaTravel).
Favorite thing: This is not my favorite thing to remember in Peru, but please remember to pay for your airport tax when you take a flight in Peru.
There will be signs to tell you where to pay for it with your boarding pass.
Domestic flight as of Feb 2010 : USD 4.28
International flight as of Feb 2010 : USD $31
To rent or not to rent a cell phone??
Favorite thing: Hi pewgy!
As a peruvian native, and a Certified Peru Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA I'll tell you my experience was not the best, this is what happen:
I did rent a cell phone at the Lima's Airport for 3 weeks only (this happen on 2007) to a reliable phone company (Telefonica, is the biggest communications company in Peru, I am not saying the best .....), and I ended paying more than $500 dollars!!!.
So I recommend do your homework first, call your local cell phone provider and do your research, perhaps you can get a very competitive price carrying your own phone to Peru. Something to consider.
Other alternatives are:
1.- Nextel works excellent!!, I do not know which is your local phone provider. But I talk to my family & friends by Nextel and it is fantastic!.
2.- In Peru you can buy a pre-paid cell phone any place!! (gas stations, grocery store, etc) and also a card. Of course what they charge per minute sometimes is not the best price.
I hope this help, let me know if you need more information about my lovely country. Enjoy Peru and its fantastic food!!!. You can check my tips also @ my homepage.Related to:
- Family Travel
Book in advance for Holiday Season!!
Favorite thing: Hello Emeline,
Definitely you need to book in advance for your mind sake!!. It is a high season, there are a lot of tourists from around the world in that time of the year.
In 10 days you can do a very nice trip to Peru.
As a native peruvian & a Certified Peru Specialist, I would recommend:
-Lima (city tour, museums,gastronomical tour that include cooking classes, Peru is consider the Gourmet destination of America, Nazca lines, Paracas)
-Cuzco (city tour, Macchu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman Archeological site)
-Puno (Lake Titicaca, uros island, Sillustani)
If you need more information feel free to contact me. Be ready to walk and enjoy Peru. Don't forget your most comfortable shoes to walk!Related to:
- Food and Dining
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Mountain, Archeological Sites and Gourmet Food.
Favorite thing: Hi Kiki,
As a native Peruvian and a Certified Peru Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA, I recommend you to go in Peru to:
- Uros island (Lake Titicaca), then go by train to Cuzco.
- Macchu Picchu, Sacred valley, Sacsayhuaman ruins and a city tour (Cuzco)
- inca's trail of 3 days or 5 days (that's up to you girls)
- Lima city tour, museums and a gastronomical tour, that is a must. Peru is now
consider the gourmet capital of America, don't miss that!
If you need more details, feel free to contact me, I'll be happy to help you!
Fondest memory: Food, Food, Food-Beach, Beach, Beach - People - History - Archeological Sites - Outdoor activities.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Money Matters: ATMs in Peru/Money Exchange
Favorite thing: You should not encounter any problems with ATM transactions. Some of the ATMs dispense both Soles & USD, and others only Soles. The exchange rates are competitive with the black market rates, so ATMs are the best ways to obtain cash if your money has run out. If using the ATM, be aware that you will incur unnecessary bank charges for withdrawals in ATMs unaffiliated with your home banking institution. I only made some ATM cash withdrawals in Peru, but brought most of my USD with me in a money belt along with emergency debit & credit cards.
The Peruvian Soles is pegged to the USD, so you should not encounter problems exchanging USD in Peru. Though, keep in mind that the exchange rate at the airport is not competitive (fees & costs are added that make it expensive, so less change for your buck). Also, changing money internationally may not be competitive with Peruvian domestic rates.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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