Im a 25 yr old M. musician travelling to peru and then on to mexico for two months, spending a month in each.The plan is lima-pisco-ica-nazca-araquipa-puno-cuzco-lima then to mexico to do mc-south beaches and thru san cristobal and palenque to the yucatan-ihla mujares,and out of cancun.
Im after any advice on travelling these areas alone in particular mexico city and the areas around san cristobal and palenque which sound a bit dodgy.Ive travelled in europe and austarlia but always with friends before but i know latin america is a different story.I want to check out as many of the ancient sites as i can along the way, although my main interests are in the yucatan and machu picchu, and chill as much as possible on the carribean coast.Any advice out there would be most welcome in regards to where to go/where not to go/hostels and travelling alone in these areas.
A big shout to anyone travelling right now, and its been good to read about so many wicked journeys that you all are doing right now.
Hi Kaisha...I posted this for another traveler seeking help for Peru but I will elaborate a little bit more in the other cities you are visiting.
Well, Peru like any other third world country has its drawbacks but all and all I think is a phenomenal place to visit. Poverty makes petty theft a very common situation in certain areas of the city. More so in poor areas but in good areas you must be aware that as a tourist (if you are caucasian-looking it will be more difficult to "blend" with the crowd per se), you automatically have to be more in-tune with what goes on around you.
For example, dont carry a purse, dont carry jewelry, dont carry anything valuable. If you have to stop and take a picture of a place, dont leave you backpack on the ground because someone may be looking for an opportunity to snatch it.
As far as going alone, no, i wouldnt be worried about that. When I go visit I see a lot of tourists wondering off alone around the city and people are very very friendly wherever you go. If I were you, I wouldnt be too concerned about the alone part, I would just try to be aware of your surroundings and what you carry on you...that should be the extend of your worries.
Another piece of advice, dont go to the center of town at night, that can be dangerous. Stay in Miraflores, San Isidro at night. One nice area is a street called Conquistadores in San Isidro. For what I hear that is the new "IN" area in Lima for bars, nice drinks and nice atmosphere. I would call it more of an "americanized" atmosphere. I was just there in December and I went to a place in Conquistadores called "Tres Monitos"...I loved it!! But the prices all of the drinks were what I am used to paying here too, not on the cheap side. Keep that in mind if you want to have a relaxing night with some good socializing.
Another place for fun that has a touch of the peruvian culture and music is a place in Barranco (very near to Miraflores) called "La Peña del Carajo" or "El LLonja". Anyone will know where "El Carajo" is. It is very famous in Lima, you will have the best time...it is somewhat of a show, they pull people to dance in front of everyone (especially tourist hahaha) but it is truly GREAT fun.
I can certainly recommend this other place called "Las Brisas del Titicaca" for folklore music, food and dances...ck this website, I've been there and you will have a great cultural experience there:
http://www.brisasdeltiticaca.com Go to "noches de folclor".
The other two are smaller, more intimate shows.
By the way, yes...stay in Miraflores for lodging. It will be the perfect area for you to stay, there is a lot to do around there and it is pretty safe to walk around. If you need to go to the center of town (Plaza de Armas, Catedral de Lima, Catacombs, etc) go during the day. I will try to have the hostal staff to find you a cab. I think any cab driver will be extremely happy to get paid $20 or so for a full day to be driven around but it may be less. Even though you may be going on a budget, most people in Peru think that tourist equals money so you need to tell them you just wont pay a lot of money for things. It is extremely customary to bargain for things, including the cab fares. By the way, dont take public transportation. I am from there and I dont even do that. It is very chaotic and that is one of the most common places for petty theft.
While you are in Miraflores and you just want to relax and grab a bite to eat or watch a movie, or just watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean go to Larcomar. It is another nice place for you to go.
I was looking in this website for hostals in Lima and they have some really good ones. Pick the ones in Miraflores, take a look at the pictures and decide from there. I was going to suggest some of the places in Miraflores posted in this website but I am not sure what your budget is and I am also going by the pictures. They all looked pretty decent and clean. This will be a good place to start.
I think 4-5 days in Lima may be enough to see what you have to see. When you go to Cuzco, you may (or may not) have to get acclimated to the altitude. You may want to rest the first day. If you really want to get adventurous, do the Inka Trail but you may want to do that ahead of time. Now you need reservations. It is an experience you will never forget. I did it few years back. It is safe to leave your luggage behind at the hotel while you do the hike. I can probably get you the name of the place I stayed at. I think it was about $10 a night, cheap clean hostal.
There is a lot to see in Cuzco, the ruins of Sacsayhuaman is a highlight, the churches, the markets, etc etc. Beware of petty theft again. When you head down to Macchu Piccu, the town there is called Aguas Calientes. Good food, thermal spring waters (do that!), nice markets. There is a very uphill rope hike right in Macchu Piccu that is awesome. Try that too.
For Nazca (Ica) the best way to see the lines is by taking a helicopter. It isnt the cheapest thing but you will NOT regret it. For budget accomodations, I would go to this website to check out some places. I checked the ones in Lima and the ones located in Miraflores seem nice, clean and of course, very inexpensive. Ck out the pictures and take your pick but do look for Miraflores areas. I would do the same for the other locations you will be visiting.
Well, I havent visited the other places you will be traveling to so I cant be of much help there so good luck! Let me know if you need additional info. I can probably get it for you.
Thanks alot mate, thats all really useful.
No problem Kaisha...there is more that I can help you with but I would be typing for hours and hours...send me a PM if you need any more help