10 days, first time visiting Peru
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Sep 19, 2012 8:33 PM Last Post By: xinloi
Aug 30, 2012 11:47 PM
10 days, first time visiting PeruHi all,
A few basic questions, as I map out an itinerary for a November trip to Peru. I'll have 10 full days and then leave for Easter Island.
5 nights Cuzco including Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes, 3-4 in Arequipa, and a day in Lima.
I'm an experienced backpacker, traveling alone, speak decent Spanish. I will be working part time and carrying a laptop, so I'm willing to spend a little more for a safer B&B/guesthouse, up to ~US$50 per night. I love Peruvian food.
• While I'd love to train for the Inca trail, I'm prone to altitude sickness, even when I've had a few days to acclimate. So I was considering the 2 day/1 night Inca trail tour. Do you recommend this versus spending a night or two in Aguas Calientes and doing some hikes in the area. Would I need to book this now? I have no idea how I'll feel when I get to 11,000 feet.
• Taca has great fares on domestic flights including US$35 nonstop Cuzco to Arequipa, but half the days are completely sold out. Do I need to book domestic flights now, or will availability change closer to the date?
• I'm considering flying back to Lima the same night I fly out to Easter Island. Are flights from Arequipa or Cuzco frequently delayed by rain or canceled? If so, I can travel a day earlier to Lima to have a buffer.
• Does it pay to spend a night in Lima to take full advantage of nightlife and restaurants? I can spend a day there, probably the last one before I fly out, or I can fly in the previous day and spend a night in Miraflores. The downside is the night would be Monday. Are most museums in open Mondays?
I'd prefer not to have to book everything months ahead, when I'll have much more information after I arrive. But it seems to make sense to buy the domestic flights, at least the cheap ones.
Also any food/cooking or market recommendations much appreciated. I'll have more interesting questions after I do a little more research.
If you have B&Bs to recommend in Cuzco, Arequipa, or Lima, that would be lovely too. But less urgent than the flights and tour bookings at this point.
Thanks for your help!
Aug 31, 2012 12:49 AM
1Oh, one more practical question:
Is Lima airport 24 hours, and is there a place to rest very late at night? My flight from the US arrives just after midnight. I'm thinking of taking a 6 am flight the following morning to Cuzco.
I'd happily eat, drink, or sleep. Or I could stay somewhere nearby and take a later flight, but that seems like a wasted day.
Aug 31, 2012 2:15 AM
2Many travellers who arrive late at night and leave very early stay at Lima airport. Walking around the airport building you will have seen it within 20 minutes and you will have found fellow travellers who also spend the night at the airport. There is also an expensive hotel at the airport for which you don't have to leave the building (Ramada Inn Costa del Sol).
Aug 31, 2012 4:00 AM
3Just be careful when booking a TACA flight for Lima/Cusco. The fares sound cheap, but they do have a hidden gringo fee of $178 which is applied for all foreigners. The Arequipa flights do not carry this extra fee, as far as I am aware.
Peruvian Airlines, Star Peru and LC Peru do not charge gringo fees. I used the latter two airlines and they were both great.
As for a very nice B & B in Cusco, I can highly recommend Hosteria de Anita, in the nice, quiet San Blas sector.
Aug 31, 2012 5:32 AM
4Don't know if you're considering hostels at all, but the Pariwana Cusco hostel was really good when I stayed there. They have big lockers that can fit your entire back, and there's electrical outlets inside the locker, so you can charge stuff while you're gone and not worry about people stealing it! It's easy to meet people in the common areas, but I wouldn't say it's a party hostel.
Aug 31, 2012 6:52 AM
5Ollantaytambo would be a better place to spend 2 nights. Lots more to see and places to hike to, than Aquas Caliente.
Aug 31, 2012 7:43 AM
6The Marani hostel in Cuzco is excellent and I thoroughly recommend it (was there in July).
It's up the hill in a nice part of town about 4 blocks from the main plaza.
As mentioned by Stormbird, TACA can have that hidden charge, but they are a magnificent airline.
They're part of the Avianca group, another great airline.
Aug 31, 2012 10:36 AM
7Super, thanks all.
$178 fee on a $40 flight? I'll call Taca and double-check before I book anything. What they said was that Lima to Cuzco flights aren't eligible for their lowest fare; and the next one up is two or three times the price.
Thanks for the Ollantaytambo tip, and the Cuzco hostel recs.
Sounds like I will hang out in Lima airport for a few hours and then head for the Andes!
Aug 31, 2012 10:40 AM
8Here's clarification from TACA. As Stormbird said, it's only Lima-Cuzco flights and Lima-Puerto Maldonado, and the website does warn you with a popup.
I'll fly a cheaper airline for that route.
We would like to inform you that, our airline offers the PROMO fare in the route Lima to Cuzco or Lima Puerto Maldonado, which is the lowest price available exclusively for Peruvian citizens.
Therefore, if you are not Peruvian resident, it will be necessary for you selecting the Access, Benefit, Flexible or Business class seats in order to avoid paying the fee of USD 178.50.
Please note that the restriction does not apply for the rest of routes.
Aug 31, 2012 5:17 PM
9Thanks. Thought there was another flight (Lima-Puerto Maldonado) which involved the gringo fees. As far as the Arequipa flight, go for it. TACA is a very nice airline, love using them anywhere else, just don't agree with their terms...:)
If you do go to Ollantaytambo, which you really should in my opinion!, Hostal Iskay is very nice! Super, sweet people who own it.
Sep 1, 2012 1:49 PM
10Beware Star Peru! Even in the uncomplicated dry season, Star Peru cancelled us two days in a row in mid-August and simply expected us to cancel with refund or rebook our itinerary to make their re-booking work. I learned of the first cancellation one day before our international flight and rebooked accordingly, though with some difficulty and some sacrifice. We watched email carefully throughout the trip and saw nothing further from Star Peru. Then, a day before the rescheduled departure, we elected to stop in at a Star Peru office in Cuzco and reconfirm. We had been cancelled again! That gave us two hours before COB to try to rebook again. We elected to take the bus instead -- it was our best option. They only thing good I can say about Star Peru is that they refunded us in dollars on the spot, instead of making us wait 7-10 days for a credit card refund.
Sep 1, 2012 4:14 PM
11Goodness, that sounds dreadful Ellen.
I did end up booking Lima-Cusco on Star Peru, but it's the first flight of the day, and I'll be in Lima if I need to get on a different flight. Flying TACA for Cusco-Arequipa and Arequipa-Lima; they were ridiculously cheap.
As a side note, LAN has continued its summer sale for the US to South American destinations. I originally planned to go SFO-Lima-Easter Island at the start of the trip, but there was only an hour connection time, and the next nonstop to Easter Island is 3 days later.
Sep 2, 2012 5:29 AM
Sep 2, 2012 9:47 PM
13I have a hard time believing a "gringo fare"....Come on!
I've used both Star Peru and TACA dozens of times and was never charged more for not being Peruvian...
That sounds just ludicrous.
Sep 3, 2012 2:21 AM
14Don't believe it then. What I pasted came directly from TACA's site. It only applies to two flight pairs.They will apparently charge you $178 or deny boarding if a non-Peruvian tries to use it.
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