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17

Don't book before you get there. The prices quoted by silent1mezzo are staggeringly expensive, compared to what you can get once you're actually in Peru. Most 5day tours should run for less than $200USD. The first step is to get to Cusco. You can fly there (landing there is pretty spectacular) or you can get a cheap bus from pretty much anywhere else in the ...


11

After hearing about negative experiences at the Huaquillas crossing from several people, I decided to use one of the other border crossings. I also wanted to visit the small town of Vilcabamba south of Loja, which is on the way to the La Balsa crossing. The town is famous for the high life expectancy of its residents, but also offers great hiking in the ...


10

I too am like you and hunted out the local foods while I was there. Here are some of my highlights: cuy, or guinea-pig in English, tends to be found in the mountainous areas. I was told to have it in Cusco, and did, but am a bit sceptical as it was rather expensive there, and really didn't taste great. Most backpackers agreed it was an acquired taste, ...


10

That's entirely possible. Firstly, there are no trains. Seriously. Don't bother trying to find them. In Argentina there's one from Buenos Aires to Rosario, but the bus is cheaper AND faster. There are some tourist trains in North Argentina (near Salta) and yes, there is the train from Cusco in Peru to Aguas Calientes, but that's about it. I'll discuss ...


9

I went last year. My friend and I caught the bus from Arequipa through to Nazca overnight, arriving early morning (around 7). The town itself is fairly non-descript, just full of hagglers telling you they've run out of Avgas and the like to try and charge you to stay a day. From the ground you can't really get to the glyphs, as they're in the desert. ...


9

The answer depends on (at least) two things. Whether you want to do the 'proper' Inca trail or one of the alternatives and what time of the year you are going. If you want to do the proper trail in high season you should book in advanced. Sometimes it is fully booked for 3 months. I was there in October (not high season) and I stayed in Cusco for two weeks ...


9

As someone who's done it, I like the bus. Of course, there are pros and cons of each. Bus Pros: A bus is cheaper, you get to see more of the countryside, interact with more people. You get breaks, get good seats (they have business class buses!), and you can stop off at places on the way. We stopped in Arequipa to go to the Colca Canyon, and in Nazca for ...


8

When leaving Lima If you are flying out of Lima internationally, the airport tax is US$31, US$7.40 for domestic flights. As of January 2011 this tax has been rolled into the purchase price of the tickets at this airport. Ensure you receive a sticker on the back of each ticket from the check-in counter to attest to this at the security checkpoint. ...


8

I was initially sceptical that this was a common problem as I didn't encounter it the two times I went there. Then I did some research and you're definitely not alone. There are a few blogs on this matter that have tried to give their thoughts on the subject. Counterfeit coinage in Peru - looking at the 1 sole coins. Counterfeit money in Peru - how some ...


8

Although the official currency of Peru is sol, US dollars are widely accepted in many places. I found out three ways to exchange dollars into soles: In banks - the banks have the worst exchange rates and there were always lines. Besides, not all commercial bank exchange money. I don't recommend this. From street moneychangers - there are people in most ...


8

Shortest flight is direct one, operated by KLM. It's 12 hours. And it isn't cheap, standard price currently stands around 1300€ for return ticket (AMS->LIM->AMS), and if you're very specific on dates it might be even more. Alternatives with one stop over: Delta (via Atlanta), Air Europa (via Madrid). It's might be slightly cheaper (1000€-1200€), but ...


8

Some of the companies tend to advertise wifi connection onboard, but we encountered the first actually working one in Chile. I would try to go through the desks of different bus companies in the bus station. If they say that they offer wifi in the bus then give them little bit hard time with questions about it and finally go with the one who sounds most ...


7

Machu Picchu itself is only around 2400 metres above sea level - well below the altitude that most people would suffer any real effects of altitude sickness, and about 1000 metres lower than Cuzco (3400 metres) where most people visit before heading to Machu Picchu. If you are planning to trek then it really depends on which path you take. The "Inca Trail" ...


7

Be aware that due to winds, there are days when there are no flights. We waited 3 days to get a flight. Also note that I found it a little difficult to make out the shapes, as the sun was very high and there isn't much contrast between the lines and the desert. Finally, I should say that my partner got very motion sick during the flight, due the the way ...


7

There is a tower on the side of the highway that you can go up to and look over the plain, you may be able to make out some lines but not really any of the figures. You can also only see a very small part of the whole thing. I think when going there, you should really take a plane and see the lines from above. There is not much else to do in the town, but ...


7

Gap Adventures has tonnes of Machu Picchu trips (80 in the search) that go around and trek through Machu Picchu. They're not overly expensive (21 days is only $2800). Gap always have very experience guides. Contiki Tours also have a few trips through Machu Picchu. I haven't been on one of their trips so I can't vouch for them. Contiki looks a little more ...


7

G Adventures provide a lot of South American tours. They also monitor any safety updates in that region for their travellers. Here's a timeline of updates and safety info within the last few months: http://www.gadventures.com/safety-updates/


7

I was back-packing in Latin America for 20 months and took my camera everywhere. But it was only a 400 dollar point and shot which fits in my trouser pocket. I used that camera everywhere maybe except inside the favelas in Brazil. Some friends of mine had bigger SLRs with them and used them a lot too. In Bolivia I met a guy who was there for National ...


7

I also read a lot of blog posts and heard stories about bus travel in Peru being dangerous. However, all the ones I was on were pretty good. I travelled in semi-cama and full-cama class, with a variety of companies. No problems with any, and most were pretty good at being on time, unlike a couple I had in Argentina. I travelled at night from Cusco to ...


7

Of course you can, at least you can try. Hostels are small businesses that don't work by strict rules. And why should they not take your reservation on the same day? There is always the chance that they are full, but then you stay somewhere else and come back the next day if you really want to stay at that place. I think in 20 months in Latin America, I ...


7

Bus ride from Lima to Cuzco is 20 to 21 hours depending on the company, costing from $65 for one-way ticket. And it's also mainly less-than-safe mountain road. Flight from Lima to Cuzco is 1h10m to 1h25m and you can get ticket as cheap as $175 for round-trip.


7

I just called the 3 taxi companies that work with the airport and the cost is around 60 soles (23 dollar), which i think is a fair price because it's a service of the airport and it's safe. You could take the taxi outside and the cost would be 40 soles or maybe less but i can't say anything about safety. Price details: 1 - 3 person (Car) 60 soles 4 - 6 ...


7

When you load the official page, the first thing you'll hopefully notice is the advisory saying that Visa transactions are not possible at this moment. As a result, you can't buy advance tickets from outside of Peru directly with the website. However, there are still many other ways to do this. I'd recommend this guide for sources on how to do it. There ...


7

Easy. For starters, there's a bus (don't take it) from Venuezuela via Lima and Santiago to Buenos Aires that I was told about while there, takes a week. But gives you an idea of the max time you might spend on buses, given you're doing a bit of tracking around. Lima to Arequipa and then Cusco can be done in 1-4 days depending on what stops you want to do. ...


6

Last year Ecuador closed its borders for a few days while the President was being kidnapped and all that. Sounded pretty hectic. But by the time I got there (two weeks later) everything seemed fine and easy. You haven't said which way you're going (Peru->Ecuador or Ecuador->Peru) so I'll assume the former, since it's what I did, and you can reverse if ...


6

Essentially what you're asking is covered quite extensively in "Avoiding or minimising altitude sickness". In terms of Machu Picchu, be aware that the treks are NOT easy walks. The Inca trail is a long, difficult walk. Extremely fit and active relatives and friends found it to be, and I quote "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life". You're in the ...


6

The 6-month passport validity requirement is country-dependent, and I haven't been able to find that requirement on Peru's embassy and travel websites. Some airlines are also picky about the passport validity time frames. However, the US Department of State's website recommends that you renew your passport at least 9 months before the expiration date, and ...


6

The main Inca trail has a limit of 500 people starting on it each day. This sounds like a lot, until you realise 300 of those are porters! So it's quite hard to get it. My brother had to book months in advance. However, there are several other trails. Salcantay is meant to be higher, less ruins but more scenic. I'm told the Lares trail goes along the ...


6

I have called the bus companies and checked some testimonies on web and of my friends regarding the WiFi on this buses. I'm glad to tell you that the 3 of them have the service, however it is not available for all the routes. Cruz del Sur: It has WiFi available for 80% of the routes. It is not a fast connection but you can check email, and look at ...


6

I did this two and a half years ago, and took a 75L pack and a day pack. My friend also had one, and the six others in our group also had backpacks plus odds and ends. There was no problem. However, the train was also only half full (October). I imagine the rules are there so that in the peak season, if it's busy they can then start enforcing them. So ...



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