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South America Bossa Nova, the Amazon rain forest, Machu-Pichu, Incas, Grazie Jiu-Jitsu, salsa dancing, exotic women...

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Old 12-06-2005, 03:21 PM   #1
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Allright, I've decided and stuck with this decision for almost a week now. I'm going to Peru, hopefully late next month.

So now, the planning. First off, I'm starting this adventure from Iraq so its gonna be a hell of a flight. We only get 15 days, so it'll be a short trip. And I don't know exact dates yet, or if in fact its in January, it might be in March. So I'm really banking on having good luck getting Inca Trail tour reservations at the last minute. Damn, that could ruin the whole trip is that doesn't work out. And I don't know if I have options of which airport in Peru to fly into (this is on Uncle Sam's tab), I guess that doesn't matter much since I can get another flight for the last leg.

So anyways . . . all I have planned so far is making Cuzco my first stop, I was only planning on spending two days there and then starting the hike (4 days) and staying in Machu Picchu one night. So this leaves roughly 7 more days. Should I head up north to the Amazon or head down to Lake Tiatitihawhatever? Or something else?

Also, just how cheap is this country? I can't seam to figure that out. I'm curious as to how I need to plan my budget. I want to see and experience everything possible but otherwise try to keep it cheap.

All suggestions welcome!
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Old 12-06-2005, 04:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
So anyways . . . all I have planned so far is making Cuzco my first stop, I was only planning on spending two days there and then starting the hike (4 days) and staying in Machu Picchu one night.
Well, first thing, you can't stay in Machu Picchu, you can stay in the village at the bottom of the mountain that Machu Picchu is on, it is called Aguas Callientes. However, i wouldn't recommend this as it's a mega mega touristy place, dunno what the hostels there are like (if there are any), but i daresay they would be expensive (relatively speaking). Most people catch the train back to Cusco after they finish the hike and stay there the night.

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So this leaves roughly 7 more days. Should I head up north to the Amazon or head down to Lake Tiatitihawhatever? Or something else?
Well, i doubt you'll have time to check out the amazon. Lake Titicaca is definately worth checking out, it's a pretty cool place. I would suggest going to Puno, it's a town that sits right on the banks of the lake and is about a 10 hr bus trip from Cusco. It's pretty popular with the backpacker crowd. You can do the floating Islands tour and go stay on some island where you stay with locals for a night or two and you go out to a dance in all the traditional clothes...it's a bit of a gringo fest, but an experience none the less. You should check out the Island of the Sun too, but i don't think you can get to it from the Peru side, i think the only way to get there is to get a boat from Capacabana on the Bolivia side of the Lake, it may be something to look into though.

Another option is to party it up in Cusco for a week and do a couple of other small but cool things in between binge sessions. You can do heaps of awsome things from Cusco - excellent hikes, white water rafting, mountain bike riding, and motorbike riding just to name a few.

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Also, just how cheap is this country?
Very very cheap. Cusco is about the most expensive place in Peru, but it is still cheap. The hostel that i stayed at in Cusco (Loki Hostel) was $6USD a night, and it was the most expensive hostel i stayed at in all my time in Peru, but definately worth it. I got free breakfast, free internet, new bed, it had an awsome bar, served food, and just had a wicked party vibe about it, if you ever managed to get up before 10am (or get home at 10am) you would always find a few people still drinking from the night before....it was the best. A fancy meal is about $4USD. The touristy things are a bit expensive (the Inca Trail is around $220 - $350), but apart from that it's one of the cheapest places you will find. If you really wanted to budget hard you could live off almost nothing.


Hope this helps.
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Old 12-08-2005, 05:12 PM   #3
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I've been reading how its common to drink cocoa tea to help with the altitude in Cuzco. Isn't this basically cocaine? Just curious.
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Old 12-08-2005, 05:35 PM   #4
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Yep, they feed you full of coca tea on the Inca trail, you'll get as much as you can drink at every meal stop, and the guides will probably be carrying coca leaves if you wanna chew some. Don't worry about it, it's nothing like cocaine, not even close, i don't even know if it does anything at all for you, but i drank shit loads of the tea and didn't feel the altitude at all when i was on the trail.
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Old 12-09-2005, 12:04 PM   #5
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Allright, I got some dates now! Hell yes. I leave January 19th. So now I need a good guide. Any recommendations?

So I'll be leaving Iraq on the 19th, but it could take a few days to get out of Kuwait and layovers and whatnot, so I need to make this trail guide reservation for the very end of January to be safe. So, since I won't be sure of just when I'll be getting into Peru, or even exactly which airport, it'll be an adventure because I won't have any reservations anywhere. Do you think it'll be hard to find a room?

Do you think drinking that tea or chewing the leaves would make you come up hot on a drug test?

Anything else I need to know?
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Old 12-09-2005, 07:40 PM   #6
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And what guide do you recommend?
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Old 12-11-2005, 06:35 PM   #7
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Okay, forget the guide questions, I decided on Peru Treks and made reservations. And now to throw something else into the mix, I have a friend (in the States) who wants to join me, which is cool, but it takes away from the total on-the-fly, chance, and gives me more dates/times to meet. Cuz I don't even know where I'll fly into, what day, or anthing, I just have general ideas and until now the only dates I had to meet was the Inca trail trip. Oh well, hopefully we'll be able to meet up.

LostFarmBoy, I have a few questions for you but I figured that a few other people may benefit from them so I'll ask you here.

1. How easy is it to fly? Do you have to get tickets well in advance? It seems to take way too long to go anywhere by bus and since I have limited time I think I'd prefer to fly. Any tips here?

2. With only 15 days for the whole trip (time starts once I hit ground) how would you recommend I spend it, other than a couple days in Cuzco and four on the Inca trail? I can't decide if I'd rather go to over to Iquitos, Lake Titicaca, or Arequipa. I'd also like some time to wander off away from the other tourists. So any suggestions? Is Lima even worth staying in?

I wish I could just start at a hostel wherever I land and just go through the whole trip on word of mouth, which might be easy if I didn't need reservations or tickets in advance for anything. Is this possible?

3. I've heard how the women are good lookin, but all the pictures I've seen are of dirty nasty ancient lookin women, not to be rude, the culture's wonderful and all, but I'm wondering what these rumors of good lookin girls in the bars are all about.

I appreciate you help!

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Old 12-11-2005, 07:07 PM   #8
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sounds like an awesome trip...wish i had some advice for you!
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:59 PM   #9
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LFB when you said "the Inca Trail is around $220 - $350", what does this include?? can you just go do the trail on your own or u must go with a guide? is that what u meant and are thouse US dollars?

Legitikick looks like an amazing trip!! way to go!
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Old 01-12-2006, 02:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Legitikick+Dec 11 2005, 05:35 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Legitikick @ Dec 11 2005, 05:35 PM)</div>
Quote:
1.* How easy is it to fly?* Do you have to get tickets well in advance?* It seems to take way too long to go anywhere by bus and since I have limited time I think I'd prefer to fly.* Any tips here?
[snapback]92268[/snapback]
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I have no idea about flights around Peru, i bussed it everywhere. I'm not sure exactly how many different places you want to go, but getting buses around isn't too bad, just get night buses so you don't lose any time during the day. The buses are some of the best i have ever seen and are really easy to sleep in. Another thing, i didn't notice an abundance of airports around Peru, i know Lima and Cusco have one, but apart from that i have no idea which other places have them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Legitikick@Dec 11 2005, 05:35 PM
2.* With only 15 days for the whole trip (time starts once I hit ground) how would you recommend I spend it, other than a couple days in Cuzco and four on the Inca trail?* I can't decide if I'd rather go to over to Iquitos, Lake Titicaca, or Arequipa.* I'd also like some time to wander off away from the other tourists.* So any suggestions?* Is Lima even worth staying in?
[snapback]92268[/snapback]
I never went to Iquitos and i never met anyone that had been or was going there, don't know if that's any reflection on the place or not, i would like to go there though, i reckon it looks pretty cool.

Lake Titicaca was awsome. It was wicked to go out to Isla del Sol (island of the sun) and hike all over it, and checking out the floating Islands would be well worth it, but apart from that i doubt you would want to spend much more than a few days there seeing as you have such strict time constraints.

Arequipa is well worth a visit, there's heaps of cool things to do around that place. The city itself is pretty cool, most of the buildings are made from white stone, so the architecture is impressive. There's some excellent hikes you can do from Arequipa, particularly the Colca Canyon hike. This is a 2, 3 or 5 day hike through the second deepest canyon in the world, you go right down to the bottom of it and stay in a little village down there, the views are mind blowing and the experience unforgetable. However it's no sunday stroll, when you hike back up the canyon you climb 1.2 kilometres in 3 hours up these little goat trails, it can be hard going if you aren't fit. On the last day you go and do a bit of bird watching. That may sound gay, but when you're watching the largest bird in the world (the condor, it has a 3 metre wing span!!) flying through the second deepest canyon in the world bird watching suddenly becomes cool. From Araquipa you can also climb some of the snow capped volcanos that are near the city, the highest of which is 6200 metres/20,300 feet. They also have a frozen mummy in a museum that they found in one of the volcanos, that was something that i had never seen before. There's also a heap of other hikes and dirtbike tours you can do from there. And the nightlife is pretty good too.

So if i had to choose one out of Iquitos, Lake Titicaca, or Arequipa i would go with Arequipa.

As far as wandering off from other toursists goes it's actually a lot easier than you'd think. This is especially true in Cusco, you'd be surprised how many toursists only venture as far as the main square. All you have to do is wander further a field and the toursists just seem to dissappear. However, you have to be very careful where you decide to wander because poverty is everywhere in Peru and a lot of people wouldn't think twice about stealing your stuff.

And no, Lima is not worth staying in, it sucks, and is dangerous if you don't stay in the right areas.

Quote:
Originally posted by Legitikick@Dec 11 2005, 05:35 PM
I wish I could just start at a hostel wherever I land and just go through the whole trip on word of mouth, which might be easy if I didn't need reservations or tickets in advance for anything.* Is this possible?
[snapback]92268[/snapback]
It certainly is. If i was you i would come up with a rough plan of where you want to go and what you want to do, but if you hear of some other place that sounds cool don't hesitate to change your plans.

Quote:
Originally posted by Legitikick@Dec 11 2005, 05:35 PM
3.* I've heard how the women are good lookin, but all the pictures I've seen are of dirty nasty ancient lookin women, not to be rude, the culture's wonderful and all, but I'm wondering what these rumors of good lookin girls in the bars are all about.
[snapback]92268[/snapback]
Yes, there certainly are good looking women in Peru, just go to a club and the place will be packed with hotties.

<!--QuoteBegin-florencia9699
@Dec 11 2005, 06:59 PM
LFB when you said "the Inca Trail is around $220 - $350", what does this include?? can you just go do the trail on your own or u must go with a guide? is that what u meant and are thouse US dollars?
[snapback]92283[/snapback]
That includes everything but a sleeping bag. It includes your tent, food, guide, porters, and all the coca tea you can drink. You have to be part of a tour group to do the Inca trail, it is a new law they have introduced in an attempt to reduce tourist numbers on the trail in order to preserve it. Yes that is in US dollars.




Hope this helps dude. You'll have a blast
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Old 01-12-2006, 05:57 PM   #11
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Awesome, damn I'm so excited. And I finally got my pack, so I'm set. ahhhh, these last few days are dragging by.

Thanks a lot, you've been a great help!
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