We thought you might enjoy this email we received from one of our clients. It provides some great insight into their trip to Peru.
Scott and I had a wonderful time in Peru. Our itinerary was just about perfect allowing time to get settled, time to adjust to the altitude and time to have fun. The Akorn folks were top-notch – meeting us at 1:30AM after a 3 hour flight delay into Lima, following up to make sure we got to our destinations, offering to setup additional side trips and simply being excellent drivers and guides.
Here are a few highlights, comments and personal observations:
The markets – we found great markets in Lima and Cusco which were just plain fun. So much merchandise, such friendly people, great bartering.
Machu Picchu – we were very glad we spent an extra day here. Too many folks take the train from Cusco, arrive at 10ish, take a whirlwind tour (during the hottest time of the day no less), eat lunch and head back to Cusco. Machu Picchu is a destination that deserves time and contemplation. We went back on Day 2, arriving around 7:30AM and took in the site while crowds were minimal. It was such a different experience from the prior day. Both valuable, but so very different. We had a good tour guide on the first day, but even after a 3 hour tour we only visited about 60% of the site. The second day allowed us to investigate and go at our own pace. And yes, you do need bug juice at Machu Picchu. But what we hadn’t read anywhere is that you should put on the juice before getting on the train. The bugs at MP are tiny, black no seeums that get on the buses and trains. We figured this out after the fact, but no real harm. You don’t notice when the bugs bite and the bites don’t itch, but they leave red welts that took about 2 weeks to go away.
The Sacred Valley – such a treasure! We did suffer a bit from the altitude, but it was short lived. I think it was a good decision on our part to spend the time in Ollanta. It was a great little town, gorgeous Inca ruins, nice restaurants, great people. We spent a lot of time just wandering through the streets and hanging out at the Plaza. Our side trip to Maras was also very interesting. The Pakaritampu Hotel was an all around excellent hotel.
Hotels – one piece of advice for the traveler to Peru – try to get an inside room. We found that Peruvians like to use their car horns and rooms that face the street are just too noisy. Our hotels were very accommodating in switching us to different rooms. I look at it as part of the entire travel experience, but a good nights sleep is hard to give up. Overall though, we stayed in comfortable rooms and had no issues.
Manu – Manu was a fascinating trip. It’s not for everyone though as it is unbelievably humid. Every piece of clothing we brought along was damp, whether it was worn or not. The humidity seeps through everything. That was the negative of Manu. But the positives made up for the negative. Bird watching that was top notch, the macaw clay lick was spectacular, we saw a giant anteater (something our guide has only seen one other time in 12 years), monkeys, caimans, and the tapir. And a thunderstorm in a rain forest is something I won’t soon forget! I personally thought the food was great. Some in our group thought there were too many starchy foods, but look at where we were. We thought we’d lose weight on this trip, but that certainly wasn’t the case.
The exchange rate was very nice. We had meals with drinks and dessert that cost $30 for both of us. Bottled water at tourist sites was about $1.50, at the local markets about 35 cents. Taxis were very inexpensive. Anyone who spends time in the Sacred Valley and/or Cusco should investigate purchase of the Turista Boletera (or something close to that – it means Tourist Ticket). Pay once, gain access to 16 different sites in the area. We visited half the sites/museums and felt it was a good value.
Another tip – we paid local guides about $3.00 at a few of the museums and felt it was worth every penny. Otherwise we would have been looking at ‘stuff’ in cases, signs in Spanish, and not getting much out of the visit. The guides that made themselves available to us gave us the history and background to make the visit worthwhile.
I could go on with lots of stories, but bottom line it was a great trip. Language was rarely a barrier, although I am going to take a few conversational Spanish classes before we head south again.
We were very thankful for the assistance and guidance provided by the staff from Akorn. We could have figured things out on our own, but it was much, much easier to have someone guide us along the way. We’re not ones for going on ‘tours’, but this was an excellent compromise.
Thanks for your assistance. Happy Travels!