Due to a change of flight plans I am going to have more time to spend in Peru than I first thought. Before I only had enough time to really see Machu Picchu and surrounding areas but now it looks like I am going to have 3-4 weeks to spend in Peru.
Having not planned this at all I am on a bit of a tight budget but would like to see a few other areas as I have never been to Peru before. I fly in and back out of Lima so was thinking of trying to stick together a route which would combine the following locations;
Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu (via Ollantaytambo), Lake Titicaca and Mancora (perhaps this is too out the way?)
Nazca and Ica didn't appeal to me as much after doing a bit of research but maybe that's wrong of me?
Any suggestions/tips welcome as not prepared at all!
Height-wise, the best route would be the classic gringo trail: Lima to Arequipa (I personally just flew this; like you I wasn't too interested in Ica and found Nazca not quite appealing enough for the total amount of time it'd take me to see it; also a recommendation to get out of Lima as soon as possible; the city is not worth more than a day of your time, tops) - acclimatize there (2350 meter) for three days (which is very easy to do; it's such a wonderful and laid back city), then visit Colca Canyon (in itself not that high, but you go over 5000 meters to get there, so definitely make certain you have that acclimatization in Arequipa; if you're susceptible to altitude sickness, you'll really feel it otherwise (as I discovered through personal experience)), after which you should be fine to tackle Puno and Lake Titicaca (4000 meters), which will make Cuzco and the inca trail to Machu Picchu a virtual walk in the park.
As for Mancora - that indeed is quite a ways out of the way. Might be worth seeing if there's flights from Cuzco to Piura (I think not; you'll probably have to fly via Lima) and then bussing from there, as the bus journey from Lima would take ages.
[ Edit: Edited on 25-May-2010, at 10:28 by Sander ]
If you are into outdoor activities, it looks like Huaraz would be a good base camp for you. A lot of trekking, climbing, biking etc. in that area.
Alternatively, you might want to look into a jungle lodge for a couple of days.
Mancora is a bit out of your way, but it might be worth it, if you can string together some interesting stops along the way.
I'm planning a trip there starting in October and am currently researching what Peru has to offer, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I haven't been there yet, either.
Hey Sander thanks for your reply it was really helpful.
Ok how does the following route sound;
Fly Lima to Arequipa
Stay in Arequipa 4 nights (do Colca Canyon within this time)
Bus Arequipa to Puno
Stay in Puno 3 nights (do Lake Titicaca)
Bus Puno to Cusco
Stay in Cusco 3 nights
Bus Cusco to Ollantaytambo
Stay 3 nights (do MP the middle day)
Bus Ollantaytambo to Cusco
Stay in Cusco a couple nights
Fly Cusco to Lima
3 nights in some places might seem excessive but I plan to leave early in the morning to travel on so thought an extra nights sleep in each would make this easier!
Thanks for that info I will have a wee look in to it!