Well the title is self-explanatory really; I will be in Peru for 41 days, starting in Iquitos, and I want peoples advise on how best to spend them. I will definitely want to spend time in Arequipa, Lake Titicaca and Cusco, but other than that I'm not really sure.
I'd recommend taking an interesting route out of Iquitos, i.e. by other means than flying. To my knowledge, it should be possible to end up near Chachapoyas in the Andes (further upstream the Amazon by boat until Orellana, from there by bus) , from where you can do some hiking (else, you could take the mountain road via Cajamarca to Huaraz from there). After that, continuing to Cusco/MP is plausible.
Very generally speaking, I didn't find the northwestern part of Peru (basically, the whole coastal area north of Lima) particularly interesting. Chiclayo and immediate surroundings are nice, but primarily if you're an archeology buff. Other than that, it's a dusty, seedy and rather poor area.
For Cusco and the surrounding valleys, taking plenty time is recommendable. It's beautiful, and there's a lot to see; you can easily spend two weeks around there, and quite possibly a lot more.
many thanks for your reply
i've heard lots of stories about the boats though, and i am an independent, non-spanish speaking (well i hope to learn some!) traveller. Also, is it possible/safe to hike independently in the Chachapoyas area? If not, how much would it cost to join a group/hire a guide?
You're male; you have a fair chance to succeed alive
No, seriously; even though this may not be the absolute safest part of SA, it should be all right. The boats are known for their pickpocketing, but you could consider spending a bit more and get a cabin, if only to store your luggage. Else, post an ad in the companions-forum to hook up with someone. And remember; the less you carry with you, the less you can be relieved off.
I haven't been to Chachapoyas myself; my guidebook says it's safe, but you may want to have a look at a more recent version.
I spent 21 days last year in PERU..great country very safe in my opinion.
if you do go to LAKE TITIKAKA /PUNO you may as well head over to Bolivia for a few days, I went to LA PAZ and found it pretty interesting. Not quite as safe as Peru however, but if your French and a male you should be just fine, it's even cheaper than Peru.
Many thanks for all your comments.
Regarding th Inca trail, does the advise to book early apply to independent travellers too?
yeah well i went last year in april and I couldn't get into a group once there, but i think from the guys i talked to they booked like 3 months in advance..
Hello, Let me know when you are going there. I am planning a trip around South America at the end of this year and I have read a good bit about Peru. I also have good friends in Lima. Let me know how I may help you. MAPS.
Though I know this will sound spammy, if you take a look at peru.info or heptagrama.com/en/i_mnd_per_0001.htm you will find some quite useful information.
[ Edit: Edited on May 7, 2007, at 10:11 AM by Tedel ]