Hi, my son and brother are flying to Cusco via Lima to join a group doing the Machu Picchu trail. They have tagged a further 5 days on at the end , hoping to explore a bit. Can you suggest what would be good, they like adventure etc- thinking rain forest, nazca?.. just not sure in relation distance etc and how doable... they wondered do they stay in Cuzco and venture from there or fly back to,Lima and go off from there. Any ideas.
Peru is one of our favorite countries in the World. We were amazed at how wonderful the food was in Peru. One meal, we had in Cusco we had potatoes. There were 10 different types of potatoes (they were all small) and the taste was great. Other food we had was great as well.
We loved the Inca history and our four days in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We had medicate for the altitude, which helped with headaches, but since we live at sea level, climbing around on those hills looking at all the Inca historical sites took a lot out of us. We are fit, but in our early 70s. After four days, we were wiped out.
We had been to Lima before and only did a day there again, when our cruise ship ported there (cruise started in Chile and ended in San Diego).
We didn't do the Inca Trail, perhaps 20 years ago, we would have tried.
I researched going to nazca, the Amazon or Lake Titicaca. Our four day tour only cost us $799 per person, but adding Zazca would have tripled the cost. Also, the more I looked at Nazca, it just wasn't in the cards for us. Lake Titicaca would have been interesting, but the cost of getting there, etc. seemed to exceed the experience there.
Doing the Amazon would be interesting, but I think that would need to happen on a separate trip, since that would entail several days.
We used PeruAgency tours, they are excellent, check them out.
Our insurance didn’t cover us for taking the plane trip over the Nazca lines a few years ago and the planes had a terrible safety record.
We had a night in Aguas Calientes after seeing Machu Picchu.
Cusco and the Sacred Valley was interesting for spending a few days and we had a great guide - Percy Avendano. In Cusco, the Inca complex at Saqsaywaman is fascinating.
No question there's plenty to do in Peru, but many travelers (ourselves included) combine the Galapagos with Machu Picchu. It does take a day of overhead to Ecuador and then to the Galapagos. I wouldn't do less than five nights at the Galapagos. I liked the guidebook advice to take the biggest Galapagos ship you could find, in favor of a smooth ride and strong air conditioning. You may feel differently.
Puno and Lake Titicaca are about 6-8 hours on a bus from Cuzco and quite cheap. Not sure if there are direct flights that you can take. Similarly, Puno to Arequipa is about 5 hrs on good buses. From Arequipa you can easily get a 2 day trip (1 night overnight) to Colca Canyon - get to see some Andean villages, possibly some Inca burial sites in the cliffs, Andean Condors and one of the deepest canyons on earth and possibly soak in some hot springs.
The infrastructure is good (with the possible exception of heading into the Amazon) and quite easy to do on ones own.
What's the best/economical way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu, I heard if you take a bus to ollytamba then the train it saves you some money or is it best to spend the money and just take it from Cusco
We were not given the option of taking the train from Cuzco to Agua Calenties (near Machu Picchu).
We were told that passenger service was no longer available from Cuzco.
Our tour included visiting several sites in the Sacred Valley (between Cuzco and where you pick up the train.
We had a private guide with a small van. The worst part of the drive was on the outskirts of Cuzco, the highways were in terrible condition and moving was slow. Once we got around the terrible highway, it got much better and the scenic drive was nice.
I looked into going to Nazca and it was way more expensive than I thought it would be. Also, I was told that the air flights there were a bit on the risky side.