Peru - 3½ week tour - Itinerary

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1. Posted by JHB91 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Hi everyone,

We are a couple planning a three and a half week tour in Peru this summer 2020 and are looking for opinions in regards to how plausible and enjoyable our itinerary seems to you :)

Our draft itinerary currently looks like this:

10. - 11. July: Arrival in and exploring the city of Lima
12. - 13. July: Bus to Ica and then a taxi to Huacachina
13. - 14. July: Bus to Nazca and then flying over the lines. On the night of the 14th taking an overnight bus to Arequipa
15. July: Acclimatizing'n chill in Arequipa
16. - 18. July: Colca Canyon - Chivay or Cabanaconde (Undecided - Which would you prefer?)
19. July: Heading back to Arequipa and flying to Cusco
20. July: Acclimatizing'n chill in Cusco
21. July: Rainbow Mountains
22. July: Either staying in Cusco or head to Ollantaytambo or Urubamba
23. July: Staying in Ollantaytambo or Urubamba: Visiting Sacred Valley
24. July: Ollantaytambo or Urubamba: Seeing more of Sacred Valley
25. July: Heading from Ollantaytambo or Urubamba to Machu Picchu / Aguas Calientes
26. July: Going from Ollantaytambo or Urubamba back to Cusco via a private taxi (heard good things about that in this specific route)
27. July: Flying from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado (Amazon rainforest)
28. - 29. July: The Amazon rainforest
30. July: Flying back to Lima
31. July: Heading to Huaraz by bus
1. August: The Wilcacocha lake trek
2. August: Laguna 69 trek
3. August: Bus back to Lima
4. August: Flying home

What do you guys think about this tour? We welcome any comments/suggestions etc.

Thanks a lot for your help!

Kind regards,
Louise and Jakob

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5442 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I had two nights of acclimatization in Arequipa before going to the Colca Canyon, and suffered pretty badly on the way there, as that route goes via a 5000 meter high pass, where I was really noticing the altitude. I'd recommend at least one extra night in Arequipa. (I also really loved Arequipa as a place to explore; great inner city, and absolutely amazing restaurants. I liked it much, much better than Lima.)

I liked watching the village life in Cabanaconde; have good memories of sitting there drinking coca tea early in the morning after the climb up from the canyon and watching the donkeys and school children before we went on to see the condors. My travel notes say I had lunch in Chivay both on the way there and on the way back, but I remember nothing about it, nor took any photos. Make of that what you will.

Returning to the topic of altitude acclimatization, you're almost certainly going to lose most or all of the acclimatization you'll have built up in Cuzco by going to the rainforest, which means that when you reach Huaraz, you'll have none, which makes the treks there a risky gamble. If you're susceptible to altitude sickness, it'll be an ordeal (and might even be seriously dangerous), which would be an absolute shame. (Laguna 69 is absolutely gorgeous! Also consider Laguna de Paron; the hike there is just back and forth along the lake, but the views are absolutely killer).
I'd probably recommend reluctantly skipping out on the rainforest entirely, or somehow figuring out a way of doing it from Lima at the very end of your trip. Otherwise, you're going to need one or two extra nights in Huaraz before you set out on those treks (I haven't done the Wilcacocha trek, so I don't know its altitude, but I remember Laguna 69 being at nearly 4000 meters, and it's unlikely you can do that without acclimatization.)

I don't have a clear enough image of the geography and current travel options in the sacred valley to be able to comment usefully on your plans there, but by the looks of it I suspect you might be underestimating the time it takes to get to/from Machu Picchu. Back when I did it, you basically had to take the train to/from Aguas Calientes (and then bus from there to the entrance of Macchu Picchu), and the latest train didn't leave very late, so you really wanted to be staying in Aguas Calientes for either the night before or the night after your visit (or do the inca trail, as I did) in order to get a solid day at Machu Picchu itself (and I'd say that one full day is barely enough; Machu Picchu is really superlative in every aspect).

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2020, 18:20 GMT by Sander ]

3. Posted by Darksidedanny (Budding Member 3 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

I was in peru for almost 3 months so i can tell you a bit.

i had a better time walking around the free parks than i had at the popular destinations you need a ticket for. Your ability to move around easily really depends on how good your spanish is. If you speak good spanish then youll have no problem hopping around from place to place. Keep in mind allot of these roads are rough and shit happens that cant be predicted.