Advice on two weeks- end of Nov
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jul 31, 2013 10:55 AM Last Post By: Ayahuascasexper...
Jul 30, 2013 6:15 AM
Advice on two weeks- end of NovHi all,
I am a solo female traveler who will be in Peru for about two weeks the end of Nov. So far I just have my plane tickets to and from booked. And I will be booking my trek to Machu Picchu this week. I'm debating between the Classic Inca Trail (there are still some spots open in Nov) or the Lares Trek because I love visiting the small villages. My rough plan is this: I land in Lima Sat at 10pm, and I would out to Cuzco on Sunday. Spend a week there getting acclimatized, then trekking. My second week I want to do the floating islands of Uros and Iquitos (I want to do the Amazon, and I know there are parts closer to the south where I will already be, but Iquitos is also fascinating to me as an isolated major city). I'll have a day and a half or so at the end to explore Lima, though that is not the biggest draw for me. So specific questions I would love your advice on.
1. I've read somewhere to fly out to Cuzco early because later flights can be canceled. How early is early? It looks like flights start around 5am. Should I aim for that or is 8am okay?
2. I'm thinking since I get in at 10pm and will be flying out the next morning I would just sleep in the airport. Given it's a major international airport I would assume this wouldn't be a problem, but just thought I would throw it out there incase there is some reason I really shouldn't? Or if anyone knows of a cheap hotel near the airport for a good nights sleep? I will have sleeping bag/pad so I'm okay with sleeping on the airport floor.
3. I've read many posts here that say Puno is a tourist trap and to skip it. Since learning about the floating islands in the 6th(?) grade, they have always fascinated me. They are my back up when people really get on my nerves "I'm going to build my own floating island in Peru and I won't have to deal with anyone!!!" Is there a less exploited option for seeing them besides going through Puno? A less traveled route? I will only have 4 days so maybe that wouldn't be an option anyway, but I thought I'd ask.
4. I'd love to do Arequipa and Colca Canyon. And I was think I MIGHT have time to squeeze in I do Puno/Uros first and get acclimatized and then do Machu Picchu. I read somewhere that they are at similar alititudes, but does anyone have experience doing this? I really don't want to deal with altitude sickness while I'm climbing!
5. Any recommendations for Lima. I like off-beat museums or other unique cultural things you can't see or do elsewhere. I'm not too much into the clubs/bars/drinking scene.
Thanks in advance for the help. And any other advice on how to make the most of my time there given my itinerary is appreciated.
Jul 30, 2013 7:27 AM
Iquitos, Lima, Cusco (including, possibly, the Inca Trail), Titicaca and Arequipa... in two weeks????? And this including "a week acclimatising in Cusco" before trekking? And then Iquitos and Titicaca, and possibly Arequipa, in a week?
Even if you were happy to spend your entire trip in airport lounges and buses, it wouldn't work. Sorry, but to be absolutely frank with you here, your itinerary will not work. You need to rethink your plans radically. It's an awfully long way to Iquitos just to "see an isolated city", which is actually a steamy, grimy concrete metropolis like dozens of others.
If you want to enjoy a trip to Peru, rethink your plans. Completely. Cusco + Titicaca might be a sensible option. Leave all the rest out.
Jul 30, 2013 8:03 AM
2It is perfectly ok to sleep on the floor somewhere at Lima airport . You will not be the only one doing that and walking about Lima airport (which is small) you will easily find "compañeros". As you will be at the airport anyway, it should not be a problem to take an early flight. Earlier flights are usually somewhat cheaper.
I read your text meaning that during the first week you plan to acclimatize in Cuzco AND trek to / visit Machu Picchu, leaving the second week for other things. That could be Lake Titicaca and/or Arequipa / Colca canyon. Iquitos is way out of Cusco and you would have to fly there, changing flights in Lima. I would suggest to do OR Iquitos (not the most logical choice), OR Titicaca / Arequipa / Colca.
As far as Lima is concerned, I suggest the famous Rafael Larco Herrera museum in Pueblo Libre. One of the major draws is the enormous pottery collection.
Jul 30, 2013 1:50 PM
3Casaana, you are right, and thanks for the other tips, I'll check out that museum.
Sorry if that wasn't clear the first time around, but I meant my first week would be both acclimatizing & trekking. I will arrive in Cuzco two days before the trek, plus the 4 day trek, leaving Cuzco the next day- that would be one week.
Also I have "about" two weeks- actually two weeks and three days. So that leaves 10 days to see two more cities, which I don't think is too bad, if I fly. Obviously more time would be great, but this is the amount of time I can manage to get away from work. And since it's not likely to change any time in the future, so I'm trying to fit in the three majors things I have always wanted to see in Peru because I don't know when I will be able to get back there. I do understand I will have to fly through Lima to get to Iquitos.
Jul 30, 2013 4:28 PM
4Three things to add:
Yes, it is possible to sleep in the Lima airport, but it is not pleasant. Our experience was that it is a very busy airport, with flights arriving and departing at all hours through the night. The airport benches work well to stretch out on, but there aren't really any isolated corners of the airport to sleep and therefore you aren't likely to spend a restful night because there will be people milling about everywhere.
Second, if you wish to see an isolated jungle city then Puerto Maldonado might be a fair substitute which is easier to reach from Cusco. At 120,000 inhabitants it's about one-third the size of Iquitos and it has recently lost its true "island" status by being connected via the new Panamerican Highway. Nevertheless, the city remains geographically isolated and you can sense that it has been cut off for a long time as >90% of traffic is still motorcycles and rickshaws, which I found fascinating. Note that I wouldn't recommend Puerto Maldonado (or Iquitos, for that matter) solely for sight-seeing, but if you are interested in spending maybe three days in a nearby jungle lodge then it sounds like you might be the kind of person who finds it an interesting place to pass through.
Lastly, note that itineraries for the "Lares Trek" vary widely, so if your interest is seeing village life then you would want to be specific about that. Yes, it was interesting to see a couple villages on the trek we went on, however we received a rather cold reception all along the way despite the fact that we hired a Quechua-speaking guide who lived in one of the villages. Therefore, set your expectations appropriately that you'll likely remain on the "outside" looking in.
Jul 31, 2013 7:11 AM
5Will try to be brief, and that might make this not be the best posting, …
1) In Lima, bus is very cheap (they call it metropolitano, a few stops bus, with its own lane), you can visit the city with little $$$. I went to the far outskirts with just two quarters, one for going, another one for return. Best neighborhoods –and safe- are San Isidro and Miraflores. But I loved the crowds in downtown old Lima. If you go to Miraflores eat ceviche at PUNTO AZUL .. you pay $20, a lot more than in the street , but they will give you a mountain of ceviche :O). Most customers are locals, and the place is so popular you will have to wait like 40 minutes for them to find you a table.
2) Cuzco is great, one week goes fast there. Too many things to see. I stayed almost a month. Macchu Pichu is extraordinary, and since I was driving my own American car, I visited most ruins in Valle Sagrado and beyond. Puno, has not much. Although a visit to the floating islands of the Urus is a must.
3) Arequipa is very nice too, like another Cuzco. Colca Canyon I skipped. Somebody who went there said she only saw a canyon. And when is foggy you do not see much at all, and that after a long tedious trip.
Well, there you have it! But, remember, what is not interesting for one person could be amazing to another; and viceversa.
Jul 31, 2013 8:19 AM
Jul 31, 2013 10:55 AM
For your trek in November, Inca trail is very busy and limited and you might not have place booking to late (or maybe it s already too late...) Lares is very nice, full of community, but not as physycal as the inca trail, if you look for a physical one, take time to search information over the Salkantay, as long as the trail, also ending at Machu Picchu and really worth it. To make a good choice, be aware that November is the beggining of the rainy season...
For your stay in the jungle, for a single woman it's better to skip Iquitos You'd better go to Pucallpa, the landscapes are amazing there and you can visit easily the shipibo community.
What you ve read over Puno is true, you d better skpi it and go to copacabana in bolivia, and also on the edge of the titicaca where it´s possible to visit the islands
Have a nice trip
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