This year for the first time I'll have the financial/time opportunity to organize a 3-4 weeks trip in South America for me and my wife. We both want to go to Peru (old passion about it) so this country will be the primary focus of our tour.
The problem I have is that all the guided tours I found and take around 3 weeks cost a fortune and additionally don't go over all the places we want to visit. The question is - are you aware of companies that have kind of flexible tours so for example we could include the Altiplano salt lakes (Uyuni) to the standard Peruvian tour (Arequipa, Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nazca, etc.)?
Under different circumstances (if we knew any spanish and had more time) we'd probably just go there without using any particular companies - just hiking, but unfortunately we have to work and it's a miracle that we made it that far
We'd appreciate any help a lot
I'm not sure what the "standard" peruvian tour is, but if it is just what you mentioned in your post I would like to point out that Uyuni is quite a distance from where you will be... I'm sure you've looked at a map. Bolivia was wonderful when I was there, and without the crowds of Peru.
Thanks for your post. I understand that it's not pretty close, but I was thinking that there might be some airline nearby that could be used for the purpose...
I know Bolivia is wonderful, but the thing is that we'll be in South America for the first time and Peru I guess is the most famous place to start with. As I could see it's also the place with the most travel companies. We won't have the time to backpack, spending months there, so for that reason we need someone to organize it for us so we cover as much as possible for this short period...
Anyway, it seems that Salar de Puyuni will stay out of our route for now...
In Peru you can easily arrange things yourself; the country is so touristy, and your time so limited, that you won't be able to get off the beaten track anyway, and on the beaten track everything kinda speaks for itself.
Just give us a precise (and prioritised!) list of the destinations you want to visit, and I'm sure we can get you a suggested itinerary.
I also start getting more and more convinced that we should go on our own. The only thing that bothers me is that we don't know any Spanish and have no clue about the transportation in Peru/Bolivia.
Other than that, the list of places we want to visit for the 3 work weeks we have (around 21 days) is:
1. Machu Picchu
4. Inca trail (although I think we won't have the proper gear to do it)
These above are a must and are prioritized Besides these, we want to visit as much as possible (if possible at all) in Bolivia, but mainly Salar de Uyuni.
What would be a proper route to visit all these (hopefully including Salar de Uyuni)? Of course - if you're aware of some 'must see' places that are near our main destinations or are on the way - please add them to the itinerary. I'm keen on photography, so the more places - the better
Using planes is ok with us as it will allow us to save time...
Thanks for your help!
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 21, 2008, at 2:23 PM by akolev ]
Just returned from a three weeks trip to Peru. I was blown away by the poverty in that country. I saw people with one shoe, people with no shoes, dozens of kids roaming the streets in Cusco, hundreds of people (Cusco) lining up at Christmas in front of a church for a piece of sweet bread and a cup of hot chocolate. The Disneyland-like tourism of Machu Picchu is in stark contrast to this, they milk tourists like cash cows, you have to pay to use the bathroom...
The summer nights in Peru were a lot colder than expected.
Be aware of possible security problems! E.g. I used the HOSTAL ROMA in the very center of Lima, Jiron Ica 326, where the hostal staff stole money from me. (I am a hundred percent certain of this!). So be careful and prepared to face some surprises. Still there a great people in Peru there but the poverty drives some of them to extrem measures....
If you haven't bought a flight yet, open jaw into Lima and out of La Paz is your best option, although you can also consider a roundtrip. Suggestions for both are listed below.
As for the Inca trail, make sure to book in advance! It tends to get pretty crowded, and with the time you have you don't want to wait around for it.
As for transport, don't worry. All places mentioned below are regular tourist destinations, so people behind the desk are likely to speak/understand some English. If that doesn't work, there will be plenty of fellow travellers there to help you out. Just relax (and remember ALWAYS to keep smiling; silly advice, but I found it really works when dealing with bus company personnel).
Suggestion #1. Open Jaw Lima - La Paz
Lima (3 nights) - night bus to Cusco - Cusco (3 nights) - Inca Trail / Machu Picchu (5 nights) - night bus to Nazca (2 nights) - Arequipa (2 nights) - Puno (1 night or straight) - La Paz (rest of your time)
Suggestion #2. Round Trip Peru
Lima (3 nights) - night bus to Cusco - Cusco (3 nights) - Inca Trail / Machu Picchu (5 nights) - night bus to Puno - Puno (1 night) - night bus to Arequipa - Arequipa (2 nights) - Nazca (2 nights) - Lima (rest of your time)
Well I think everybody here have a good options for you travel to Peru.
Except Iguana, I feel sorry for him, he had a bad experience there, well sometimes that happened, when you dont know the places and you go to unsafe places, sometimes ´cause you dont know and nobody helped you, or because you dont want to spend money for your security,
Lima like alllllllll the cities in this worl are kind of dangerous, so try not to stay there before you start your trip around Peru, so If you arrive in Lima, you should stay in San Isidro, Miraflores or Barranco, the hotels or hostals are no so expensive and they are not so far from the main city.
I was in Peru twice and my trip was amazing, people there are so kind even if they know the language , they will try to understand you. There is information everywhere, I made my travel by an agengy , first cause I wanted to enjoy every minute when i was there, no lose it looking for places, information, etc, and second for my security (I didnt want any surprise) and third ´cause Im kind of lazy making all my trip by myself , better if someone who knows everything can do it for you
I think a nice itinerary for trip could be.
Lima, Paracas ( Ballestas island), Nazca Lines ( amazing thing ) , Arequipa , Colca Canyon ( I loved itttttt..!!!! ) , Puno ( lake titikaka, uros , chulpas etc) , Cusco ( I mean allllllll Cuscoo, included the inka trail , machupicchu, etc, etc), you need to spend there at least 1 week there.
Ah, if you want to go Bolivia, you can do it trought Puno , It is like 5 hours from there, I like the route from Puno to La Paz ( copacabana island is beatifullllllllllllllllllll)
Well I dont know, there are so many places where to go in Peru, I Almost made all Peru, north, south, coast, est , etc...
I hope I could help you,
Thank you all guys for the great replies and suggestions
@kristin_ni: Could you please just tell me which company you used, how long your trip was and how much did they charge you for that? Just for the record
Well the last time I was in Peru, it was on Agust 2007 for a month. I found this travel agency by internet, and well for me they were very good, but every person has different opinions, like I said before take a look and if you like you can take it.
And about how much they charged me, that depends of many things, where you wanna go, how you wanna make your trip around the country ( bus or airplane), where are you gonna stay,
so if you want a cost, ask them.
I hope I could help you again, enjoy your travel
Opss , I think I was forgetting to give you the name of the agency , It is " Andex Adventure " , good luck