Peru Suggested Trips
Seven days isn't really enough time to see Peru. If you are going to be there, you might as well stay 14 or better 21 because there is a ton to see and it takes a little bit of time to get around. So you only have 7 days. Spend as little time in Lima as possible and hop a plane to Cuzco. Get adjusted the the altitude by scoping the areas ruins and old town out. Then get on a trek to Machu Pichu by either taking the Inca Trail or the Lares Trek. Each is different, but both are great treks.It is worth going with a well named operator. The first time I hiked the Inca Trail, I went with a no-name agent that sold me onto another group. It was a sham. I saved a few dollars and ended up eating popcorn for breakfast for the next 3 days. I still remember my terrible guide. All he could sum up upon arrival at Machu Pichu was, "Archaelogical site." The guide services have gotten more standardized and better in the last couple of years, but you can still see differences in the operations when on the trails. Check out United Mice or Intrepid Travel http://intrepidtravel.com/trips/GXBA Both have offices in Cuzco.
Travel Tips for Suggested Trips in Peru
Machupicchu, Cusco Region, Peru
If you take the train in, stay in the town of Aguas Calientes the night before you plan to go to Machu Picchu. By staying in the town, you can get to the entrance first and snap some photos of the site without other tourists in your photos!
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru
Machu Picchu for less than $80 dollars.
Going to South America? Or travelling Peru? No trip is complete without a visit to the lost city of the Inca's, Machu Picchu. But what if you're backpacking and trying to live on less than a minimum a day? The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu can cost up to $130 for a return (which is a big chunk out of your budget) and that doesn't even include things like accommodation, food or other transport. But as always, there's a way around (literally this time). I have to admit, it takes a bit longer but that doesn't mean a day wasted. It takes you over mountain roads and through lush green valleys, you'll pass scenic villages and sandy lost towns, you'll encounter some landslides and very steep cliffs. Even that would be worth the trip.
First, take an (early) bus to Ollantaytambo, 1.5 hours. Here you'll find the best remaining example of the planning of an Inca town. A little walk outside the town will bring you to ruins, a nice first stop. From the main square you'll need to catch the (big red) bus to Santa Maria. This ride takes about 3,5 hours and brings you up to about 4000 meters and then back down into the heat. During rain season (oct-apr) there are many landslides on the road. It's safe to drive there, though it might take a little longer because the men on the bus need to jump off to take away the rocks. In Santa Maria you haggle over a taxi that takes you through Santa Teresa, all the way up to the Hydroelectrica. This shouldn't cost more than 3-5 dollar. The road follows the river and goes along some really steep cliffs, don't sit at the window if you suffer from vertigo. You'll be dropped off at the Hydroelectrica, which is, apart from being a hydroelectrica, the train station at the end of the train track. The part from Aguas Calientes to Hydroelectrica wasn't in use for a couple of years but is used again. Here you can choose whether you want to take the train or walk along the train tracks. If you decide to walk, be careful and listen if you can hear the train coming. You'll hear it from quite a distance though. Don't forget to bring a flashlight since you'll have to go through a tunnel. It will take about 4 hours to walk, the train will get you there in about 30 minutes and costs $8. Either way, you'll end up in Aguas Calientes where you spend the night. It's best to buy your entrance ticket that day in Aguas Calientes to skip the queue at Machu Picchu ($20/$40 student/adult). There's two ways of getting to the archaeological site, by bus or by foot. The walk is quite tough, all uphill for about an hour. I would say, save your energy and take the bus so you can climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain towering over the lost city. The bus costs $7 and takes 40 minutes.
For the way back, you can take exactly the same way. Unfortunately the train to Hydroelectrica only leaves at 7.00 and 12.00 am. This would mean a short visit to Machu Picchu if you want to climb the mountain as well. Though the site opens at 6.00 am so you should be able to catch the 12.00 am train (allow 2 hours for the mountain). Otherwise you can stay an extra day or take the train directly to Cusco or Ollantaytambo. If you're in the train to the Hydroelectrica, try to find some tour guides that go back to Cusco. They'll take you for about $15.
Adding up all the costs will leave you spending:
1. Cusco - Ollantaytambo: $4
2. Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria: $5
3. Santa Maria - Hydroelectrica: $4
4. Train to Aguas Calientes (x2): $16
5. Hydroelectrica - Cusco : $15
6. Bus to Machu Picchu : $14
7. Accommodation: $6
8. Food: $15
You can skip numbers 4 and 6, saving you another 30 dollars.
Welcome to Machu Picchu poor backpackers!
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru
Try to get an accommodation in San Blas. For headaches, try Mate de Coca, helps a lot!
Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Basin, Peru
Avoid the hideous shopping centre! If you're just stopping over on your way further south or before heading accross to the national parks, you would do better to stay in Puerto Varas.
Machupicchu, Cusco Region, Peru
Without climbing onto Wayna Picchu... it is not the same! It’s the big mountain behind the Machu Picchu complex that gives the character to the whole archaeological site. Although the access is a little bit difficult, the view that you have from the top of the mountain is incredible and it’s worth the effort to climb it. It is a place that you won’t want to miss and will make an unforgettable memory of the citadel for you. After entering the Machu Pichu Citadel you will have to climb for a very narrow and steep path, it will take you 60 minutes to 1 ½ hour to complete it and you will arrive to a place where you will see and amazing landscape of Machu Picchu. You have to enter the Wayna Picchu before 2 pm, and leave it before 4 pm.
Only 300 people per day are allowed to climb on it. So if for example at 10 am 300 people went trough they close the entry!
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