Jungles, mountains, and other fun. Need advice.
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Sep 29, 2012 8:38 AM Last Post By: sailoholic
Sep 22, 2012 10:31 PM
Jungles, mountains, and other fun. Need advice.Currently in Cuenca, Ecuador. My friend and I head to Peru tomorrow. Ill be in South America for a year or two but my friend has only 4 weeks. So far we know we want to do an alternative trek to Machu Picchu (currently thinking Salcantay) as the Inca Trail is booked up. We have allocated a full week for this. It seems like the trek can be done without athe guide easily by someone with experience and that you can skip the train and hike all the way to Machu Picchu itself. What are you guys thoughts and advice on this?
Also, we are alloocating another week for the jungle. I think we have crossed out Iquitos (too little time) and are deciding between Manu and Tambopata. It seems Manu has the better wildlife but is more expensive. We have all neccesary camping equipment and the only thing we care about in a tour operator is the quality of the guide (not food, difficulty etc.). A community based stay with a village in the jungle would be a plus. Money is a bit tight however. Where do you suggest we go and with what guide?
Lastly, I have a lot if rock climbing and trekking experience but zero mountaineering experience. We wanted to go to Huaraz but are wondering if there are possible summiting options for beginners?
Thank you so much!
The information out there is overwhelming and very conflictual at times.
Sep 23, 2012 8:54 AM
1I can't speak to your mountaineering/Huaraz question, but as for the others:
The Salkantay trek will get you to Aguas Calientes. From there it's a very long, entirely uphill (and steep!) slog to MP itself. Especially if you want to go for early morning/sunrise, I suggest you take the bus. It's a quick ride and cheap enough, and you can always hike back down (I did). Having not done that particular trek, I don't know about going with a guide or not, but given what it contributes to the local skilled labor market, using a trained and reputable guide is always my advice. If nothing else, a guide will have the information to enrich your experience.
I think you should go for Tambopata, personally. If the only real draw for Manu is "better wildlife," then I've got a bridge in New York I'd love to sell you. People talk up Manu's biodiversity (which is extraordinarily high) as being about "better wildlife," but unless you're a scientist I highly doubt that you'll find it worth the extra money to see 12 species of beetle instead of 7. Both parks have sizable populations of jaguars, tapirs, otters, etc. And tourists can't access the truly remote, protected parts of Manu anyway. If you thumb through a fairly current Peru guide you'll find listings for community-run lodges and the like in and around Tambopata.
Safe travels and fair winds.
Sep 23, 2012 9:24 AM
2I recommend Rainforest Expeditions (www.perunature.com) for your "jungle" visit. I've been to the rainforests of Peru eight times (yes, including Manu which IMHO is the cadillac of destinations) but found that Rainforest does a great job with its three lodges, two of which are operated in partneship with the Ese Eja indian community. See also www.wasai.com and www.peruperu.com for some other ideas.
Sep 29, 2012 8:38 AM
3I think we are going to go ahead and do the Salkantay without a guide, we just don´t have any money to spare if we want to go into the Jungle as well. I didn´t know that there was a bus from Aguas Calientes to MP, I thought it was just the train, so thank you!
I checked out perunature.com but everything seems a bit out of our budget. Are you or anyone else aware of a cheaper, more minimal expedition. I am more interested in a quality guide and venturing deep into the jungle. I have my own camping gear and can cook all my own meals. I don´t need a lodge. Is there anything out there that might cater to my desires? Thank you!
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