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South America first timer needs Peru itinerary help!!!

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean South America first timer needs Peru itinerary help!!!

1. Posted by Looosey (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

As the title would suggest I am planning a three week trip to Peru in July of this year and am hoping that someone might be able to help me with a few questions before I book up!

I was planning on flying into Lima and travelling round what is known as the 'Gringo Trail' (Lima-Pisco-Nazca-Arequipa-Puno(Lake Titicaca)-Cuzco...... will three weeks give me long enough to do this?

I would also like to see some of the Amazon too but i'm unsure whether I will realistically have time? If so, where would you suggest that I start this trip from considering that I will be travelling the 'Gringo Trail'?

I have heard/read that there is little to see in Lima (the general consensus has been get out as soon as you can!) and that one night here would be plenty long enough. With this in mind, would I be better arriving in Cuzco and basing myself there to do trips?

I am pretty worried about the altitude sickness which is why I have originally planned to fly into Lima and then steadily acclimatise before doing the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu. Is this advisable, or will I be ok to fly directly into Cuzco?

Also (last question I promise!), if I were to start my trip in Lima, how long would you suggest taking to get to Cuzco considering that I have to book the Inca Trail trip well in advance and don't want to have to speed the trip up in order to get to Cuzco in order to start treking?

Thank you in advance for your replies.... I'm so so confused!!!

Lucy

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 6y

Quoting imoutahere

I was planning on flying into Lima and travelling round what is known as the 'Gringo Trail' (Lima-Pisco-Nazca-Arequipa-Puno(Lake Titicaca)-Cuzco...... will three weeks give me long enough to do this?

I did this in three weeks, but skipped Pisco/Nazca, and instead flew straight to Arequipa. That was royal in time - I could leisurely explore Arequipa, and did a three day Colca Canyon sidetrip (plus of course the four day inca trail). With Pisco/Nazca included it'd be perhaps a bit short on time, but should still be doable.

I would also like to see some of the Amazon too but i'm unsure whether I will realistically have time? If so, where would you suggest that I start this trip from considering that I will be travelling the 'Gringo Trail'?

I don't think you'll really have time. If you do go do this, do it at the very last, from Cuzco, when you no longer need your altitude acclimatization.

I have heard/read that there is little to see in Lima (the general consensus has been get out as soon as you can!) and that one night here would be plenty long enough. With this in mind, would I be better arriving in Cuzco and basing myself there to do trips?

I am pretty worried about the altitude sickness which is why I have originally planned to fly into Lima and then steadily acclimatise before doing the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu. Is this advisable, or will I be ok to fly directly into Cuzco?

I'd strongly recommend not flying directly to Cuzco; you could, but your first 2-3 days you wouldn't be able to do anything, so that's pretty much wasted time. I totally echo the recommendation to spend as little time as possible in Lima, though, and would suggest maybe flying on to Arequipa rather than Cuzco to start there. (At 2350 meters, that's a very good first step from which to start acclimatizing from; stay there for 3 days before moving up in altitude and you should be absolutely fine.)

Also (last question I promise!), if I were to start my trip in Lima, how long would you suggest taking to get to Cuzco considering that I have to book the Inca Trail trip well in advance and don't want to have to speed the trip up in order to get to Cuzco in order to start treking?

Out of a three week period, I'd recommend taking two weeks to get to Cuzco, and then taking one week for Cuzco/Sacred Valley/Inca Trail/Machu Picchu. Ideally with the Inca Trail as early as possible within that week, so that you can optimally benefit from your 4000 meter acclimatization from Puno, and can even tackle dead woman's pass without breaking a sweat. :) Four weeks divided as 2.5 weeks and 1.5 weeks would be better still, but... (Although really, if you have an extra week, there's also the Cordillera Blanca and the rainforest to see - ah, so many difficult choices. Maybe five weeks instead? ;))

Enjoy your trip!

3. Posted by Looosey (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

Thanks for the great advice Sander!

Do you think that I would have acclimatised sufficiently enough to start the Inca Trail as soon as I get to Cuzco if I take two weeks to get there?

As you can see, I have serious concerns about the altitude affecting me and want to take all of the possible steps to minimise any symptoms!

Lucy :)

4. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 6y

Quoting imoutahere

Do you think that I would have acclimatised sufficiently enough to start the Inca Trail as soon as I get to Cuzco if I take two weeks to get there?

Yes, absolutely. You'll be far higher at Puno (the destination right before Cuzco) than at Cuzco itself, as well as than at pretty much any point on the inca trail (excepting the very highest pass, but that's only a couple of hundred meters higher than Puno, so won't make a difference at all). You should carry that acclimatization to 4000 meters with you for a couple of days, and so anything lower will be a complete breeze.

You might notice something of the height when travelling from Arequipa to Puno, but just take things slowly on your first day in Puno and you should be fine there, too. Oh, and be certain to spend at least three days at the altitude of Arequipa before leaving that city for anywhere higher. (For example for Colca Canyon, as you'll go over 5000 meters north of Arequipa, and spend the night at 3000+ meters.)

5. Posted by Looosey (Budding Member 34 posts) 6y

Excellent! I will be sure to take your sound advice!

Thanks once again