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3 and half weeks in Peru, have I planned too much?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean 3 and half weeks in Peru, have I planned too much?

1. Posted by Katie76 (Budding Member 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hey guys.

Well I’m just about done on researching all I want to see and do on my trip. Now comes the mind-blowing part of fine tuning everything and trying to get a grip on timeframes.
That’s my main problem, have I got too much? I’m in Peru for 3 and a half weeks, but want to spend about a week in and around Cusco. Any advanced bookings needed? (Doing Lares trip to Machu Picchu with Peru treks, thanks Sophie!)
So please take the time to read on and offer any questions, comments, tips or advice.
Thank you so much in advance!

Arrive in Lima, Thursday 30th July, 10pm
Hostal: Nomade Backpackers Hostel. Airport pick up.
Site seeing till Monday the 4th
Lima to Huancayo. By Bus from Cruz Del Sur bus station
Hostal Los balcones, have emailed for reservation, still waiting to hear back.
Huancayo to Huancavelica by train
Should i be looking to stay a night or is it an in and out place, after a nice wander
Huancavelica to Ayacucho by bus
Again don’t know whether to stay or pass through
Ayacucho to Cuzco, not sure how
Spend some time in Cusco, about a week to do everything I want to do, and acclimatise.
Hostal: Loki
I want to do treks, sacred valley, Machu Picchu, pisac, and Ollantaytambo.
Fly from Cuzco to Puerta Maldonado. I’ll go and sort tickets out as soon as I arrive in Cuzco.
Hostal: Anaconda lodge
Jungle trekking time!!!
From PM to the south coast, including Huacachina, this might be a bit out of the way for not a lot, comments?
On to Arequipa and the condor canyons, if I miss out Huacachina Colca Canyon first.
Up to Nazca to see the lines
Back to Lima, by bus I think about 7 hours?
Fly out from Lima on the 24th August.
Maybe I have too much, the jungle stuff and canyons are as much of a priority as Machu Picchu!
All question, comments, suggestions and advice greatly appreciated and as you can see sorely needed!
Thanks again guys,

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5088 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

There's not nearly three days worth of sights to see in Lima. An entire day is already stretching it. Especially since you're worried about packing in too much, scrap those days and move straight on. (I'd honestly recommend travelling straight on when arriving at Lima, and not spending a single day in the city at all, but not expecting you to take that recommendation, since I wouldn't have either.)

Height wise this itinerary doesn't make a lot of sense. You're going straight from 0 to 3250 meters (Lima to Huancayo), and although I've never done that route, I'm pretty certain I recall reading that you're going up to 4500+ en route to Huancayo. Be prepared for altitude sickness and not being capable of doing anything strenuous for your first three days in Huancayo. Then Huancavelica at 3700 meters. Should be doable if you properly accimatized at Huancayo. Cuzco lies at 3300 meters, so no further acclimatization needed here, and you should be fine for the Lares trek and Machu Picchu. And then the bit which doesn't make sense: going back down to 0 (well, okay, 250) at Puerto Maldonado. I don't know how much time you're planning there with that jungle trek, but if it's more than 2-3 days, you risk losing all your acclimatization, and having major trouble with getting to Arequipa (if you're going overland, since that has long stretches of 4000 meters, topping at 5000 meters), and although Arequipa itself should be fine at 2350 meters, to get to the Colca Canyon you again have to go over that 5000 meter maximum, and then the condor watching point (and most of the upper rim of the Canyon) is around 3300 meters again.

I don't know how much you've booked so far, but assuming that Huancayo and Huancavelica are not places you're actually interested in, but just the most likely "okay I'll stop here" waypoints en route to Cuzco, I'd try totally re-arranging it, and just following the classic (tried but true) "gringo trail": Lima - Nazca - Arequipa (spend 3 days acclimatizing at 2350 meters) - Colca Canyon (do a three day trek so you can hike down to the bottom of the canyon and camp there, rather than one of the more rushed two days versions; make certain to have spent the full three days acclimatizing before setting out for this) - Cuzco (either via Lake Titicaca or direct) + sacred valley, and then doing the jungle way at the end, after which you'll fly straight back to Lima. That's a pretty full three and a half weeks, but quite doable, and you'll have a very natural progression of altitudes, which is far more important in Peru than geographical distances. (I did a very similar route where I flew straight from Lima to Arequipa, skipping Nazca with the intent of maybe doing it after coming back to Lima at the end. Never got around to that, but I figure it was the sight I was least interested in anyway.)

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Jul-2009, at 14:48 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Katie76 (Budding Member 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thank you so much, never would have thought of heights! Gonna knock Lima down and follow the gringo trail! thanks again xx

Post 4 was removed by a moderator