Replies: 7 - Last Post: Oct 1, 2012 7:59 AM Last Post By: IncaKola
Sep 30, 2012 1:44 PM
Itinerary adviceHi All!
We're hoping to spend a month exploring and enjoying Peru, from mid-December to mid-January, with another 2 weeks at the end for either Bolivia or northern Argentina (or both).I thought a month would provide us with plenty of time to cover a lot of the best of Peru, but I am finding it difficult to come up with a reasonable itinerary. We don't want to be rushing from one place to the other - we want to find time to soak it all in and enjoy each place. Due to the rainy season, trekking for any length of time is not that attractive sounding, but not out of the question.
Here's my outline so far:
Lima (3 days) bus to
Pisco, Nazca (1 day if bus is available to Arequipa)
Arequipa, Colca Canyon (4 days, fly to Cuzco)
Cuzco (5 days exploring the city) bus to SV
Sacred Valley (3 days +overnight), Aguas Caliente train to Santa Teresa
Machu Picchu (4 day trek if weather isn't too wet thru Santa Teresa.)
Santa Teresa (1 night, w/ detour to Cocalmayo, train to Cuzco - overnight in Cuzco)
Puno (tourist bus from Cuzco, stay 1 night in Puno, check out floating islands - Lake Titicaca
Capachica peninsula with 2 night home-stay
Puno bus to Copacabana - stay 2 nights - visit Isla del Sol during day.
Copacabana bus to La Paz
How's that sound? Any editing is welcome! Think this can all fit into 31 days? I don't know the distances between locations, the time of day the buses or trains leave, the best places to stay etc. I am 66 and my husband is 59, but we are hardy Vermonters travelling on a budget. We usually stay as hostals.
All advice will be greatly appreciated!! Muchos gracias!
Sep 30, 2012 2:13 PM
1Try to find time to see Uyuni and surroundings on 3 days Jeep trip, this is one of the highlights of Bolivia, also if you like jungle or want to see it Rurrenabque is a must. If you decide 6 weeks besides Peru and Bolivia (3 weeks here and there) you should be fine time wise, but on long distances I suggest flying, it will stretch you budget a bit, but is not that expensive and it will save you precious time.
5 days for Cuzco is way too much, 2-3 is enough.
You definitely have no time for Northern Argentina
Sep 30, 2012 3:46 PM
I think one month is definitely enough time to see the south of Peru and your itinerary looks quite realistic!
However, I would recommend going to Paracas instead of Pisco, its tiny and very calm, and you can do the tours from there (Islas Ballestas and Reserva Naciona Paracas) - I didn't visit Nazca, so I can't say anything about that.
I would also try to go from Nazca to Cusco and afterwards to Arequipa (I'm sure there must be a bus). From Arequipa it's only a relatively short bus journey (6 hours) to Puno. That way you might save up some time.
I agree that 5 days in Cusco is too much...
In Puno, make sure to visit the floating islands in the morning, in the afternoon it gets dark too soon, at least when I was there in September/October.
In my opinion, for your itinerary there's no need to take planes since most bus trips go over night, and buses can be extremely comfortable!!
Did you think about including the beach and the jungle? For the beach, I recommend staying in Huanchaco (beautiful sunsets and best ceviche) and doing an afternoon-visit to Trujillo, and for the jungle you could fly to Iquitos (although its rainy season as far as I know, so I don't know about the tours) - or go to Rurrenabaque in Bolivia.
And yes, in Bolivia I wouldn't miss Uyuni!
Enjoy !! :)
Sep 30, 2012 4:01 PM
3#2 I recommended flying to add time for Bolivia, just for Peru is fine, but it will be tight if you want to see best things of Bolivia.
Regardless of it Coast-mourtains like Lima-Arequipa or Lima-Cusco in Peru flying should be consider as only reasonable way of travelling, it's only abour $40 more expensive than bus if booked in advance and it takes 1h instead of 16 or 20!
Being short on time in Bolivia taking flight to Uyuni is definitely recommended, and there is no practical way to Rurre besides flying as well.
Sep 30, 2012 11:57 PM
4I think 5 days is plenty of time for Cusco. Its a great town and I could stay there for a lot longer. But if time is short, shorten it. This will add time else where.
Also flying is relatively cheap in Peru (internally). So consider taking flights to Arequipa/Cusco.
Also you will probably need a few extra days in Arequipa/Cusco if altitude is a problem.
Oct 1, 2012 1:28 AM
5Take into account in you planning that long distance buses will not be running from midday on 12/24 until somewhere in the afternoon on 12/25. Same from 12/31 midday until somewhere in the afternoon on 1/1. I suggest you plan in such a way that you stay somewhere during those periods or fly. During the entire Christmas and New Year period buses (and planes) will be more crowded, so try to book somewhat in advance.
Oct 1, 2012 7:46 AM
6I would take one day away from Cusco and add a day to Nazca. Lots to see/do in that area besides the Nazca lines.
Oct 1, 2012 7:59 AM
7Totally agree about the Salar de Uyuni tours, it's a must if you visit Bolivia.
Also agree with Ban Janti Return about a flight in Bolivia, dirt cheap and less time consuming.
I wouldn't go from Nazca to Cusco as stated by the second poster but would opt for Arequipa like in your initial plan, especially for the altitude difference with Cusco. Arequipa is an ideal place to allow you body to acclimatise to the altitude and it's one of the nicest cities in Peru.
The journey from Cusco to Puno is only six hours but you could also do it with one of the popular tour buses (never did it, tour buses aren't my cup of tea).
In Puno I would definitely recommend you the Sillustani funeral towers.
There are comfy night buses between Arequipa & Cusco.
I agree with 5 days in the Cusco area but I don't think you'll need much more except for Machu Picchu (ruins near the city & some places in Cusco on the first day, Sacred Valley the 2nd, South Valley the 3rd - very different to the Sacred Valley, Chinchero, Maras, Moray and the salineras on the 4th day and one of the many others places to visit on the fifth day). No worries if you want to stay longer, I stayed almost 5 weeks in Cusco in August & September and even longer two years ago without being bored a single second.
If you have to travel on the dates Casaana stated book it well in advance as prices will skyrocket. Booking a flight now might be cheaper than a comfy night bus booked one or two days in advance. If you will be in Cusco on Christmas day be sure to have something to do as most bars & restaurants are closed, at least until 5 - 6 PM.
From where are you flying home?
Another option but probably a bit more expensive would be to travel Lima - Pisco - Nazca - Arequipa - Tacna - crossing into Chile - Arica - San Pedro de Atacama and do the Salar tour from there, this shortens the tour with one day as the car wouldn't have to backtrack to Uyuni if organized from Uyuni.
After Uyuni you could visit Potosi, La Paz, Copacabana, Puno & the Cusco area.
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