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3 weeks in peru

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean 3 weeks in peru

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1. Posted by Mckenna1990 (Budding Member 3 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi all.
I am planning a solo trip to Peru In September. I fly into Cuzco where I plan to spend 4 days in Cuzco and the sacred valley. I am then doing the 4 day inca trail to Machupichu. This then leaves me with around 12days before my flight back to the U.K. From Cuzco. My current itinerary reads as
Puno (lake Titicaca)
Arequipa (colca canyon)
Huaraz (laguna69)
Then back to Lima for a flight back to Cuzco then home

I am worried if the stretch after the trail may be a bit of a squeeze and was thinking if I had to drop something, it would be still go to Arequipa but drop the canyon as I already have trecks planed. My other option to drop is possibly puno and the lake as I am pretty set on the other parts of the trip. I would love a bit of advise and feedback on this and also if there are any other things that could be seen in my relitivley short time period.

Thanks and all feedback would be greatly revived

Post 2 was removed by a moderator
3. Posted by Mckenna1990 (Budding Member 3 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Also with things like the floating islands and Colca Canyon, should I book something before I go or will I easily be able to book something when I am there a few days in advance

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5044 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

For the floating islands you can just show up at the dock and head out half an hour later (or right away, if there's a nearly filled boat already there). For the Colca Canyon there's daily tours, but not all of the same quality (lots with culture shows and the like which I had at least had no interest in; the particular trip we wanted to take only ran twice a week, which was a bit cumbersome with making the timing work when there).

In general your itinerary looks fuller than I'd personally go for in 12 days; doable, but definitely rushed. I've done it all myself, with the exception of "Huacachina", but we took 4 weeks for the total trip, including a week around Cuzco and a week at the Cordillera Blanca.

The main thing I'd personally drop would be Lima, which I found a smoggy big city; definitely not devoid of interest, but several steps below the rest which Peru has to offer. Sure, you pretty much have to go through there en route to the Cordillera Blanca, but don't bother lingering for more than a night. Doing that also has the benefit that you might still retain some of your altitude acclimatization by the time you set out for Laguna 69 (absolutely gorgeous!) - and that'll be sorely needed. ("Nearby", I also really enjoyed Laguna ParĂ³n, both for the view, as for the relatively quiet hike along and beyond it. But of course, if you like hiking, you can easily spend your entire 12 days (and far more) in this area.)

Speaking of altitude, you might also run into problems with the altitude due to starting off in Cuzco (which lies at 3350 meters above sea level). There's no telling who'll be hit by altitude sickness, but at the very least expect to be out of breath and generally lacking in energy for the first three days in Cuzco, and so don't push yourself, but take things slow! (I gather your flights are already set, otherwise I'd have recommended following the classic gringo trail route of Lima - Arequipa - Puno - Cuzco, as that gives you altitude acclimatization at the very nice halfway point of Arequipa, and then 4000 meter experience at Puno before setting out on the inca trail, which goes up to 4750 meters.)
If you get dizzy on your first day while in Cuzco, seek extra oxygen. If you start vomiting, abandon all other plans and immediately head somewhere lower (at least 500 meters, preferably more).

Arequipa is a really nice city in itself, which I enjoyed greatly (and which has some amazingly good and surprisingly upscale restaurants, plus quite some interesting sights) - but one does generally head there as the gateway to the Colca Canyon, and between the hike to the bottom and the condors, that really isn't a part I'd recommend skipping.

I guess by a process of elimination, the only other part I'd then recommend skipping, outside of Lima, would be Huacachina (easily doable, as you can fly from Arequipa to Lima), but as said, I don't have personal experience there.

Oh, or I guess Lake Titicaca could be skippable. Puno definitely isn't much to write home about, and the floating island sure are touristy. But despite that, also really quite nice. But yeah, I guess if you're set on Huacachina already, then going from Cuzco straight to Arequipa would save you an extra very welcome two days.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-May-2017, at 10:10 by Sander ]

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 640 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I hope you've already obtained your permits to walk the Inca Trail, otherwise you'll need to find an alternative trek since the permits are now all sold out for September.

Chewing coca leaves while walking the Inca Trail might help with breathing but only if you don't get drug-tested when you get back to work. It is legal in Peru and definitely has benefits at altitude but can show up in testing several months later.

I agree with Sander above regarding Colca Canyon, Arequipa and the tackiness of Puno. I did rather like Lima though and I'd definitely suggest a couple of nights there. And a flight over the Nazca Lines was certainly a highlight for me, if you can fit it in.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-May-2017, at 11:10 by Borisborough ]

6. Posted by Mckenna1990 (Budding Member 3 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the feedback both.

I already have my space on the inca trail. My hand was kind of forced in flying direct to Cuzco after obtaining the inca trail permits,due to the holiday I was able to take from work to fit around it. I arrive in cuzco on a Thursday morning with the trail starting on the Monday. Do you think it would be worth my wile to head out of Cuzco strait away and work my way back to the higher altitude before hand or as you say just relax and take it slow for those 4 days ? I will be fine with work and coca leaves so I will take all precautions necessary to combat the altitude.

Arequipa is 100% on the list and after your testiments on colds canyon I think I may just skip puno and the islands. As you say I've read it's quite touristy and with all the hiking I think huachachina will ben a welcome break to kick back by a pool for a few days, relax and do some sand boarding and buggies. Skipping puno will also give me a few days to play with if I choose to stay somewhere a bit longer.