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Ross.

Peru

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Planning the summer holidays and fancy taking 2 weeks in South America in August/September.

Always been fascinated by the ancient civilisations there, and think this year I'll do the Incan trails and visit the Cusco area and Machu Pichu in particular. Beyond that I don't know very much about the country.

Has anyone been? What would you recommend/avoid? Is Lima worth a few nights?

Cheers in advance.

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It will be winter time there if you go in the summer and its supposedly pretty grim that time of year

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It will be winter time there if you go in the summer and its supposedly pretty grim that time of year

Their winter is the dry season. Looking at the average temperatures there isn't a great deal of difference and it's nothing I'd be worried about unless there was a freak cold spell.

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I was there in August / September 2011 as part of a wider SA trip, think i was there for just under 2 weeks in total. Loved it.

Went to Lima, Puerto Maldonado, and Cusco / Inca Trail. I'd highly recommend the latter two, Puerto Maldonado is a stopping point for going into the jungle - did that for a couple of days and even in the winter it can be in the 30s- you can do loads of nature tours, piranha fishing etc.

Inca trail is well worth doing, it's not difficult at all and the pace is really slow. The porters are amazing, set all the tents up and cook the food, all of which is tremendous. Though my calves were in bits after it- there's loads of massage places when you get back to Aguas Calientes (the town at the bottom) which help. It's about a 3 or 4 hour train back to Cusco from there, we got a massive carry out for the train and were totally blitzed by the time we got back.

Lima is fine, mentally busy like any other South American capital city but it is really cheap for food and drink, probably a couple of nights at the start of the trip and a couple at the end are as much as I'd co for. Have some alpaca and also some guinea pig and some ceviche if you fancy it. Cusco is really good for nightlife as well but it is a lot more touristy (if that's a turn-off).

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I was there in August / September 2011 as part of a wider SA trip, think i was there for just under 2 weeks in total. Loved it.

Went to Lima, Puerto Maldonado, and Cusco / Inca Trail. I'd highly recommend the latter two, Puerto Maldonado is a stopping point for going into the jungle - did that for a couple of days and even in the winter it can be in the 30s- you can do loads of nature tours, piranha fishing etc.

Inca trail is well worth doing, it's not difficult at all and the pace is really slow. The porters are amazing, set all the tents up and cook the food, all of which is tremendous. Though my calves were in bits after it- there's loads of massage places when you get back to Aguas Calientes (the town at the bottom) which help. It's about a 3 or 4 hour train back to Cusco from there, we got a massive carry out for the train and were totally blitzed by the time we got back.

Lima is fine, mentally busy like any other South American capital city but it is really cheap for food and drink, probably a couple of nights at the start of the trip and a couple at the end are as much as I'd co for. Have some alpaca and also some guinea pig and some ceviche if you fancy it. Cusco is really good for nightlife as well but it is a lot more touristy (if that's a turn-off).

Cheers for the input.

How long did you spend on the Inca trail? I assume a good few days at least?

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Cheers for the input.

How long did you spend on the Inca trail? I assume a good few days at least?

I did 4 days / 3 nights- I presume that's the way most people do it. It's only 27 miles over 3 and a bit days but it's the altitude that slows it down. One of the girls in my group was a PT and she couldn't handle it at all, kept getting nosebleeds etc.

There's only a certain amount of folk allowed on every day so I'd guess the campsites have a certain capacity. Days 2-4 you're up at / if not before the crack of dawn but the good thing is that if you're walking in you get into MP before the buses start so it is a bit quieter first thing.

Whoever sets up the tour for you will hire you a sleeping bag and / or a liner because it is fucking cold overnight - we got perfect weather during the days though.

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Cheers.

Not too worried about the altitude or the walking, though my missus might feel different.

Think the maximum allowed into Machu Pichu per day is 400 people, so will definitely need to have that booked long before hand.

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I was there in August / September 2011 as part of a wider SA trip, think i was there for just under 2 weeks in total. Loved it.

Went to Lima, Puerto Maldonado, and Cusco / Inca Trail. I'd highly recommend the latter two, Puerto Maldonado is a stopping point for going into the jungle - did that for a couple of days and even in the winter it can be in the 30s- you can do loads of nature tours, piranha fishing etc.

Inca trail is well worth doing, it's not difficult at all and the pace is really slow. The porters are amazing, set all the tents up and cook the food, all of which is tremendous. Though my calves were in bits after it- there's loads of massage places when you get back to Aguas Calientes (the town at the bottom) which help. It's about a 3 or 4 hour train back to Cusco from there, we got a massive carry out for the train and were totally blitzed by the time we got back.

Lima is fine, mentally busy like any other South American capital city but it is really cheap for food and drink, probably a couple of nights at the start of the trip and a couple at the end are as much as I'd co for. Have some alpaca and also some guinea pig and some ceviche if you fancy it. Cusco is really good for nightlife as well but it is a lot more touristy (if that's a turn-off).

I agree with all this. Did both Puerto Maldonado and Inca trail in Mrach 2013. Both were excellent. Booked it all through STA travel, who own or are linked to gadventures. They are the top dogs on the trail. You can get cheaper options but you get what you pay for in regards to food accomodation etc. A night or 2 in cusco before hand would let you acclimitise as it really is high up! We stayed a few nights in Urubamba after the trails as oposed to Cusco or Ollyantatambo. The ziplines excursion avaliable there is excellent and urubamba is a nice place with some top quality hotels and resturants.

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Their winter is the dry season. Looking at the average temperatures there isn't a great deal of difference and it's nothing I'd be worried about unless there was a freak cold spell.

I watched banged up abroad not long ago and the guys were sent to Peru in the winter time and said it was as far away from glamour as they could imagine!

I would love to do a South American tour one day myself though

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On that note, when I flew into Lima airport, they basically had a button you pressed once you'd collected your bags and got through immigration which flashed red or green and this dictated what customs channel you went through. Only time I've ever seen that.

Even though I a) had nothing illegal in my baggage and b) was delighted to get through, I was terrified to show any sort of emotion or relief that I got a green light.

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On that note, when I flew into Lima airport, they basically had a button you pressed once you'd collected your bags and got through immigration which flashed red or green and this dictated what customs channel you went through. Only time I've ever seen that.

Even though I a) had nothing illegal in my baggage and b) was delighted to get through, I was terrified to show any sort of emotion or relief that I got a green light.

Yeah they were still operating that system in 2013. I got a green, the wife got a red, should have taken it as a sign!

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I always get the ultimate fear when at airports that i had jokingly put a big knife in my bag and forgot to take it out or something equally daft like that and get my knickers in a twist thinking that i had actually packed a knife to the point i start to believe it and then start acting all suspicious. Its a wonder how i never got arrested before

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Cool country. I woukd spend a few days in Arequipa if you have time. Cool city with great nightlife. Surrounded by volcanoes which is quite prtty. Also good architecture. I'm a bit biased as I went to the Copa Sudamerica final there when Cusco's team beat River Plate. The town was rocking..

Also Colca canyon is quite cool for walking.

If you want pre inca civilisation stuff stay up in the north and visit Chan Chan. Ancient pyramids that pre date the incas by centuries. Good beaches and surfing too.

I went to Iquitos for the Amazon. A bit of a crazy place that you need to fly into. Their claim to fame is having a building made of metal designed by t guy who did the Eiffel Tower. Would really recommend getting out into the Amazon.

I was there for a month though and it is a big country and the roads weren't great. It does take time to get about by public transport.

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Very much agree about Arequipa. A flight over the Nazca Lines is essential too. As are the floating islands on Lake Titicaca.

Agree re Nazca lines as well. Though thrre are a few people who were sick after it due to the tight turns etc that the small planes did.

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Not sure 2 weeks would be enough to take it all in, might put it off until I can get 6-8 weeks to do a bit more of South America at the same time.

Other option right now is Morocco so will look into that and decide which is best for a fortnight.

Cheers for all the replies!

Edited by Ross.

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I went summer 2013 for three weeks. Spent a week in a place called Yungay, at the base of the fourth highest mountain in south america. Went up it for a daytrip sailing on a lake, was the most incredible thing i'd ever seen.

Spent a week in cusco too. Great food (alpaca, guinea pig etc) cheap and day tripped machu picchu or however its spelt. Thats also amazing.

Other week was spent up in Iquitos, jungle part. Hot as f**k. Airport security was non existent. Friend had a bag of white powder (washing powder) and they weren't bothered. Also allowed to carry liquids onto internal flights.

I'm 19 and i'm forever saying i wouldn't go to the same place twice but i'd go back to Peru anytime.

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I was there for 3 months just over 10 years ago, I booked my daytrips when I got there through a company called inca wasi. They had reps waiting in the arrivals hall in the airport. I done the inca trail and stayed overnight In agua caliente then caught the train back. I also went to the floating islands on lake Titicaca. After that I headed to Arequipa and done the colco canyon, nazca lines and islas ballestas. Cuzco is great for a night out, I drank in mama Africa lot where the chicas loved the gringo! They have a facebook page which is worth checking out. I'd also recommend staying in Hotel Frankenstein, it's owned by a german bloke who doesn't mind if you bring guests back!

Edited by uberman

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