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1. Posted by xaver (Budding Member 10 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I am thinking to spend about 3 weeks in Peru and Bolivia next december, could you give me suggestion and help with itinerary?
Lima 2 night
bus to Paracas and then 2 nights wwith excursions to Isla balletas and natural reserve (is it possible to do both with one single day trip?)
then to Cusco: how? Bus? How long is the trip?
Cusco 1 or 2 night and then to Aguas Caliente (by bus? Train?)
2 or 3 nights aguas caliente with visit of Machu Pichu
Then Puno, by bus, here I am not sure if I should stop one night or go straight to Copacabana in Bolivia
Copacabana 2 or 3 nights,
Then La Paz, stop 1 or 2 nights
then fly back to LIma
Thanks for your help

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 719 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

In my opinion, Puno is only worth a stop to visit the floating islands which is a two or three hour trip. If you can do that without staying in Puno overnight, do it.

3. Posted by xaver (Budding Member 10 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

I am not sure I cann arrive from Cusco and then visit the islands and cross the border in one day, my idea was just to skip Puno and the peruvian side of the lake and stop then for some island trips in Copacabana.

4. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 719 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

The journey from Puno to Copacabana takes about three hours and that includes waiting for stamps at the border. Cusco to Puno is about seven hours - a journey you should be able to do on a sleeper bus. You should be able to finish at Machu Picchu by 5pm, travel to Cusco and then catch a bus around 10pm, arriving in Puno early next morning. Do the floating islands and then get to Copacabana by early evening. Look up Cruz del Sur - they are not the cheapest but they are reliable and security conscious. Guess on your travel dates and see what sort of itinerary comes up. You should be able to work it.

5. Posted by xaver (Budding Member 10 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

thanks a lot I will chek on Cruz del Sur

6. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 841 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Suggest you consider weather as a factor in your December trip.

You can do Machu Picchu as a day trip from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. If from Cusco, the train leaves from Poroy, about 20 minutes away.

While Puno might not be such a nice place to stay, you'll at least get a better night's sleep before continuing on by bus to La Paz. Note that visits to Machu Picchu are capacity controlled. Your hotel/hostel might be able to help book your visit.

I suspect you don't mind cold weather. If so, why not proceed to the Salar de Uyuni, cross over into Chile's Atacama desert, then either return to Peru or fly home from Santiago. Chile's Sky Airline, a low-cost carrier, offers reasonable fares.

7. Posted by xaver (Budding Member 10 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Thanks, I know december is not the best time for Machu Pichu, but that's what I have. I did not consider Uyuni and the bordr crossing to Chile, it's an idea.

8. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 719 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

We walked the four day Inca Trail to MP at the end of December 2013. We had one day of rain and three days of sun. The last day, the sun shone just over MP as we looked on from the sun gate - magical! We also climbed Huyanna Picchu but we were shrouded in mist and couldn't see a thing.

If you have time, definitely consider the Salar de Uyuni - a highlight of South America.

9. Posted by Zapdos (Budding Member 2 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Taking the bus from Paracas to Cusco takes a really long time, it can be up to 24 hours. On this route you climb from sea level to 3400 meters (which helps explain the long driving time) and this means you'll be facing a winding road. It might be interesting to return to Lima and take a flight, which should cost about 50-100 dollars (I flew with LCPeru and would definitely recommend them).

Since you're going to Paracas, I would also suggest the dunes and oasis of Huacachina. I really enjoyed strolling, sandboarding, and dune-buggying through the endless dunes.

I chose to spend an entire day at Machu Picchu and was really happy I did. If you're climbing one of the mountains (Huayna Picchu or Cerro Machu Picchu) or both I'd definitely recommend you do the same as you'll be exhausted (especially if you're also walking back to Aguas Calientes instead of taking the bus) at the end of the day and won't be looking forward to immediately returning to Cusco. However, the rules have changed since the first of July this year and if you want to stay the entire day you need to buy two tickets which makes it very expensive. Also, it appears that an official guide is now mandatory.

I only stayed in Puno for a night's sleep and immediately continued to Copacabana. I've heard from numerous people that the Uros Floating Islands are a real tourist trap and aren't really worth it (I didn't visit them) and that Isla del Sol on the Bolivian side of the lake is so much better. I wouldn't stay 3 nights in Copacabana as there isn't really much to see except for the lake.

If you're going to La Paz I would definitely recommend cycling the death road. This may not sound appealing (or even scary) but it really isn't and was one of the highlights of my trip to Peru and Bolivia. Adding to the previous responses here, I also suggest you consider the Salar de Uyuni and the Sud Lipez region, it's extremely beautiful.

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 841 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Your rear end and your hands will take a pounding on the Death Road bike trip, but it's worth it.