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rintintin
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9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
My gf and I just got back from 9 days in Peru. It was quite an amazing experience. Below is a synopsis, if anyone cares to read:

***Pardon my crappy pictures, these were taken on my phone. I took about 700 videos with my good camera that I plan to make a video with soon. I'll post that here when I finish.

Highlights

Machu Picchu (of course) - this is the main event, and it didn't disappoint. All the pictures you see will never do it justice. It's truly an awe inspiring and magical place. I will never be able to fully comprehend what the Inca's were able to accomplish in their very short existence.
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Fun Fact: The Incas controlled the largest Empire on Earth (by land mass) at the time of their reign (Yes bigger than anything in Europe and Asia). All accomplished in a little over a century, and more unbelievably without the use of war.

We trekked up Machu Picchu Mountain, which I highly recommended if you're in decent shape. It's about an hour and a half of climbing very rocky stairs on the side of a mountain. Not for the faint of heart, but the payoff at the top is worth it in my opinion. It also makes it a better experience getting away from the crowds in the main area of Machu Picchu. The cloudy mountain peak below is Machu Picchu Mountain.
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Stairs to the top. (Not us in pic fyi, just some poor soul struggling)
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I wish we could've done the whole 5 day Inca Trail, but you need to book waaaay in advance as it fills up quick.

Saksaywaman ruins (Cusco) - these Inca (and earlier) ruins are only about a 15 min taxi ride from Cusco and well worth it. The huge stones used in these structures are mind boggling. How they moved these things are beyond me (insert aliens meme). You also get a gorgeous view of Cusco.



My gf laying in the field


Lima - We were advised by multiple sources to spend more time in Cusco than Lima, but we spent the same amount of time in each, and I must say we enjoyed Lima more. We stayed in the Barranco district, which is considered the “hip” artsy part of the city, and they have plenty of cool bars and good local restaurants to enjoy.

Plaza Mayor in Lima was also quite a treat. We enjoyed it thoroughly. The main attractions are the palaces and cathedrals. This is where you learn much more of the Spanish history and influence in Peru. They had a little ceremony in the square while we were there.


Museo Larco (Lima) - This may be the best museum in Peru. It has an enormous collection of Peruvian artifacts dating as far back as 10,000 years (I believe). I was unaware of Peru's historical significance until I started researching for our trip. This museum offers the best avenue to learn about it in person.

Fun fact: Peru is regarded as one of the 6 "cradles of civilization".

This museum is mostly famous for their erotic museum, which is a whole separate building devoted to ancient erotic pottery.




Huacachina: - this tiny city is built around the only natural oasis in South America. It looks like a mirage, seeing this vast desert then a tiny community within it. The main attraction here is dune buggying and boarding on the huge sand dunes. The buggying is much more fun than the boarding BTW.

The little green space in the middle of this horribly blurry pic is Huacachina.


Me sandboarding:

This post was edited on 6/5 at 11:29 am


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
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Member since Nov 2008
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Lowlights (most of this is tongue in cheek, as a trip like this has very few if any true lowlights)

Poverty - As with any poor and largely undeveloped country the poverty can be overwhelming at times. If you venture out of the main tourist areas, which we like to do, you see how the real locals live. It's very sobering and humbling seeing how people around the world live and how good we have it in the U.S.

Traffic - If you ever go to Peru I highly advise NOT renting a car. I was thinking about it at first, but once we got there I was very relieved we didn't. I probably would have had a nervous breakdown trying to navigate that traffic.

Traffic laws seems non existent, stop signs and traffic lights are rare, and people drive more aggressively than you can imagine. Our taxi rides were like roller coaster rides.

Peddlers - Be prepared to constantly be interrupted everywhere you go by people selling little trinkets. And I mean EVERYWHERE. There's no escape. You can be sitting in a restaurant eating dinner and someone will walk inside and interrupt your dinner trying to sell you a Llama keychain. It seems to be tolerated even by places of business. "No gracias" will probably be your most used phrase on your trip. Get used to saying it.

That being said, if you do want to buy souvenir's and trinkets, the little markets in and around Cusco will be your best bet. You won't find any cheaper than here. We made the mistake of waiting till the end of our trip in Lima to buy most souvenirs, and the prices were double or triple that of Cusco for the same shite.

Plumbing - I don't know if it's a common thing in other places, but the plumbing in Peru is pretty bad, and no matter where you are you are asked to not flush paper down the toilet. That's right, you have to throw your shite paper in the trash can.

Maybe I'm being a stuck up American, but that just caught me off guard and I was pretty grossed out putting my shite paper in a trashcan for the extent of my stay.

Breathing - Prepare to not be able to breathe for the majority of your trip. Most of Peru is at very high elevation. Cusco is at 14,000 ft for instance. You walk 2 blocks and you're huffing and puffing. My gf and I are in pretty good shape (she runs marathons and I'm an avid fitness junky) and we were struggling much of the time.

Most recommend bringing altitude medicine to combat the altitude sickness, which we didn't, but other than the breathing we were fine. You may get a dull headache every now and then, but nothing that will stop you from doing what you want.
This post was edited on 6/5 at 11:54 am


Volt
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

Most recommend bringing altitude medicine to combat the altitude sickness, which we didn't, but other than the breathing we were fine. You may get a dull headache every now and then, but nothing that will stop you from doing what you want.


At 14000 feet, I would HIGHLY recommend it taking Diamox.
The main concern at this height is HAPE or HACE. High Altitude Pulmonary (Cerebral) Edema. Fluid in the lungs or fluid on the brain. Both can be life threatening.

Being in excellent health/shake means absolutely nothing with regards to your ability to combat these problems. I got HAPE after only two days at 10000 feet and out of a group of 9, I was by far the best in shape and none of the others, including 2 smokers, had a thing more than slight headaches.

Start the Diamox a few days before leaving home, and drink water, LOTS of water for several days before and while on the trip. No alcohol


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memphisplaya
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Member since Jan 2009
80232 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

Plumbing - I don't know if it's a common thing in other places, but the plumbing in Peru is pretty bad, and no matter where you are you are asked to not flush paper down the toilet. That's right, you have to throw your shite paper in the trash can. Maybe I'm being a stuck up American, but that just caught me off guard and I was pretty grossed out putting my shite paper in a trashcan for the extent of my stay.


It's like that in most of Central America too. Takes some getting use to.


Tha Herg
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
I've been thinking about adding Peru to a South American planned trip but the highlights don't quite seem to outweigh those lowlights. I'm not - and especially my wife - aren't quite game to feel unnecessarily uncomfortable on a vacation where we invest a good bit of time and money.


LSUButt
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Awesome trip. I did a hike to Machu Picchu about 5 years ago. We stayed in Cusco for 2 nights, then hiked the Salkantay Trek, which is much much rougher and much much more desolate than the Incan Trail. I advise anyone to do it, but you need to be in pretty decent shape. We missed out on all the other ruins along the Incan trail, but we stayed in legit remote Peruvian villages, and saw some of the most breathtaking scenery on my life.

One of the main things I remember was that we literally just shite in holes in the ground. I was in the middle of a field, squatting over a giant hole that all the locals used to shite in, staring at the stars and moon, and I thought "Is this one of the coolest experiences of my life, or one of the worst?"

Most of what I experienced in the cities is exactly what you said. Traffic was insane, going off the main roads was sketchy, and everybody needs a dollar. Absolutely beautiful country overall, though


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

but the highlights don't quite seem to outweigh those lowlights.


Machu Picchu alone is worth every cent and every inconvenience. And if you want t to be pampered there's plenty ways to enjoy Peru that way.

We're not the 5 star type, and we're on a budget, so we stayed in AirBnB's and other B&B's, and ventured off the beaten path often.

But to what you said, it's definitely not the 5 star resort style trip some people are used to. If you want a relaxing trip this isn't it. We wanted to see the real Peru and I feel like we did.
This post was edited on 6/5 at 6:29 pm


DoUrden
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Amazing, thanks for sharing! Never been to South America


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Fat Bastard
Boston College Fan
Member since Mar 2009
44258 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

Plumbing - I don't know if it's a common thing in other places, but the plumbing in Peru is pretty bad, and no matter where you are you are asked to not flush paper down the toilet. That's right, you have to throw your shite paper in the trash can.



never had that problem when i was in peru. lima and iquitos. we used the toilets like they are supposed to be used and nobody told us differently. That's actually disgusting letting all that waste and bacteria stink up a trash can. disgusting.


mizzoubuckeyeiowa
Member since Nov 2015
21996 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Congrats. Great trip. Nice pics.

Did you fly from Lima to Cusco...and feel the hand of god pushing you down to the ground with that elevation difference? That was crazy. Cusco was extremely interesting but a lot of hills and huffing and puffing.

I did it in the 90's...didn't hike to Machu Pichu but took the slow train.

Did you try the chicha beer?

Locals were so friendly and colorful...and ex-pat bars in Cusco were a great place to hang-out.

I went to the Museum Del Oro in Lima which was really cool. Full of gold Inca artifacts.


Lester Earl
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

Machu Picchu alone is worth every cent and every inconvenience



can you break down your budget? thanks


Teddy Ruxpin
LSU Fan
TX
Member since Oct 2006
33693 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

It's like that in most of Central America too. Takes some getting use to.



It's like that in almost every country I've been to if not all, but I always ignore it because screw maneuvering shite paper into a small garbage can. I just mind my paper usage and flush with each wipe.

If the toilet can handle some of the shits ive had on vacation it can handle a little paper along for the ride.
This post was edited on 6/6 at 12:20 am


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40
rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

lima and iquitos. we used the toilets like they are supposed to be used and nobody told us differently.


The only bathrooms we used in Lima was our AirBnb apt and the Larco Museum. Both had signs asking to dispose of toilet paper in the trash can.

Maybe it's different in nicer hotels and whatnot, but every bathroom we used had those signs.


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rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

Did you try the chicha beer? 


Not sure what that is, but we drank plenty of Cusquena (their popular local beer) and Pisco.

We brought Pisco back with us. Loved those Pisco sours.


rintintin
New Orleans Saints Fan
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
quote:

can you break down your budget? thanks


I think we spent about $3000-3500 between the both of us.

We were at $2300 before leaving, and that was all pre-booked stuff.
-Plane tix (including domestic flight from Lima to Cusco)
-Machu Picchu tix (2 days)
-Train tix
-Bus tix
-Dune buggy and sandboarding
-AirBnb's

I brought $600 in cash and came home with change. Not sure what my GF spent.


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50
mizzoubuckeyeiowa
Member since Nov 2015
21996 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
It's a corn beer the local Peruvian Incas make. They chew it up in their mouth, your saliva turns the corn starch into sugar to ferment...and then they spit in the beer... it's basically corn/saliva beer and then that's boiled to kill everything.


MLSter
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
BUMP


This post was edited on 10/18 at 8:39 am


tylerlsu2008
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Not sure what your doing for your hike, but did an awesome five day with with Andean lodges. With four people we were able to get a private tour.

Three of our four lodges were the highest in the world (they were above 15,000ft) and we reach a max altitude of 17,200ft. Amazing trip, not relaxing though -- that altitude was hell. Got horrible headaches.


TigerEye2
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re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
We did a very similar trip several years back. Your descriptions on everything from Peru to Cusco are spot on. The Machu Picchu hike was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. The 2 day hike was more than enough to experience the most amazing scenery and explore the ruins. Watching the sun rise over the mountains was beautiful.

The altitude is something you just can't really prepare for. We stayed 2 days in Cusco 12500 ft to explore the valley and accumulate to the altitude which helped some but the mild headaches persisted for some time. It's extremely arid and dry climate so we sucked down a ton of water.

The Peddlers are persistent in most places but the craftsmanship in most cases is phenomenal and well worth the bargaining prices you can get. The Alpaca wool is the finest in the world and we bought some beautiful blankets and throws for the family which they all dearly love.

We too stayed a total of 9 days and traveled in August which is their winter and dry season and best time to visit. We stayed in several small Hostel's that we're family owned and were treated like royalty and ridiculous prices. Overall, it's a realily an inexpensive trip for the amount of moving around you do.

We had a travel agent make all the arrangements for everything including driver's and accommodations and never had any worries and it allowed us to really enjoy the experience. I would definitely recommend this trip for anyone's bucket list.
This post was edited on 10/17 at 10:56 pm


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MLSter
USA Fan
Member since Feb 2013
3485 posts

re: 9 days in Peru - highlights, pics, etc.
Might have 4 days in Cusco. Thinking a 2 day Machu Picchu Trek and a one day Rainbow Trek

Do you have to book anything or can you just get a bus to a certain place then walk up to the top?
This post was edited on 10/18 at 8:42 am


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