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Critic my trip to Peru

San Francisco...
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Critic my trip to Peru

Hi,

I will be traveling with wife and 3 year old son from US. Our plan for this trip is to visit Peru and Chile. We got 10 days. I am sure Peru and Chile are both wonderful countries to see. FIrst, I want to start with peru. I would like to get my itinerary critiqued so I can plan my chile based on that.

Overall plan is as follows

Fly from SF to Peru. Go from Peru to Chile and then back to SF.

Peru plan:

------------

Fly from SF to Lima - Reach in the evening

Day 1 - Spend whole day in Lima (need to figure out what to see here)

Day 2 - Spend most of the day and Fly from Lima to Cusco in the evening.

Day 3 - Take bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo via Urubamba

From Ollantaytambo, book a train to Aguas Calientes (https://www.perurail.com/en/.)

Day 3 evening, reach there and take a hotel in Aquas Calientes, watch sunset.

Day 4 - Next day, take an early bus to go to mountain (see sunrise)

Return back to base that day evening.

Return take the train to Cusco

Day 5 - Spend the whole day in Cusco, Take night bus to Arequipa (7 hrs)

Day 6 - Spend whole day in Arequipa (what attracts me here is the volcanos surrounding)

Day 6 - Evening. Take a flight to Chile.

This will be my first time to South america so based on my research, these cities are must see.

What should I consider because I am going with a toddler ? We like to do hikes so will do some hike in the inca trail but not sure how feasible with toddler.

Please let me know if i need to consider anything else in Peru.

Thanks

Huayna Picchu
Mountains, Lookouts
Mount Huascaran
Historic Walking Areas, Mountains, Parks
Condor's Cross
Mountains, Nature & Wildlife Areas
Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

I'm not a parent, but I dont know many 3-year olds that would enjoy overnight bus journeys or flights, or clambering round ruined mountaintop cities..

I think you are attempting too much travelling and not enough enjoying. My 2 cents.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

My husband and I just did 10 days in Peru and Bolivia. I think your itinerary has too much traveling in it. Do you prefer cities or outdoor hiking? We spent a full day in Lima and I didn't really enjoy it, I can't imagine there would be much for a child to do either. What if you fly straight from Lima to Cusco and skip your 2 days in Lima?

Day 1 - travel from Lima to Cusco and take it easy in Cusco

Day 2 - Cusco

Day 3 - Hire a driver to take you to Pisac and/or Urubamba for sightseeing/hiking. End the day in Ollantaytambo. A driver for the day will cost about $50 and is far more toddler friendly than the bus.

Day 4 - Ollantaytambo (hike and see the ruins). Train late in the day to Aguas Calientes and stay the night at the base of Machu Picchu

Day 5 - Machu Picchu and late afternoon train back to Cusco.

I think a night bus might be too much for a 3 year old, but if you really wanted to do it, you could still take a night bus on day 5 from Cusco to Arequipa. I am not familiar with Arequipa so I do not know if it is worth it.

I would slow down and spend more time in the Sacred Valley, there is a lot of great hiking. You could easily add an extra day to the Sacred Valley, Cusco or Chile and skip Arequipa but again, I am not familiar with Arequipa.

Have you considered how your son will handle the altitude? You should ask his pediatrician for guidance. My husband and I took medicine that was prescribed to us in the US and had no problems but we met some people who were very sick due to the high altitude.

London
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3. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

i feel that your plan is unrealistic. 10 days is barely enough time for Peru let alone Chile. i would strongly suggest you stick to one country. Having spent quite a bit of time in both countries, my recommendation would be Peru. 10 day there would give you enough time to see a bit of Lima and explore the sacred valley in a little depth rather than just rushing around from place to place.

if you have never been at altitude before, do not underestimate the effects on you or your child (although age has little or no bearing on who may be affected). whatever you decide, your best bet would be to fly into Cusco and go straight to ollantaytambo or Urumbamba for a few days to acclimatise and explore the SV. after that, go to Aguas Calientes for a night to vista MP and return direct to Cusco for a few days to explore there and Pisac.

with a three year old in tow i would limit any trekking to a few gentle walks around Ollantaytambo.the inca trail is a non starter.

Arequipa is a wonderful town but one day just isn't enough time. the main reason most people go there is to visit Colca Canyon but thate requires an overnight stay or at least a VERY long day. if you do go there then the city itself has plenty worth seeing Santa Catalina convent being a prime example. you can see the volcano from just about everywhere in the city.

i agree with the previous posters comments re the night bus. We have done many overnight trips in Peru and it would not recommend it for a 3 year old.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

Thanks for the great suggestions KatieIllini and crellston.

It was not difficult to realize, I was trying to accomplish too many things in too little time and with a toddler. Based on these suggestions, I have changed my plan

Arrive from US to Lima

Day 1 - Spend time in Lima

Day 2 - Spent time in Lima (take an evening flight to Cusco)

Day 3 - Spend whole day in Cusco

Day 4 - Take a cab and go to Ollantaytambo (check out the ruins). Take a train late in the evening to go to Aguas Calientes

Day 5 - Take a early bus to visit machu pichu. Spend whole day come back in the evening.. Take the last train and go to Cusco.

Day 6 - Spend another day in Cusco and leave to Chile

Having going to Lima, I want to spend 2 days there. But if Sacred valley is more worth visiting (from the last 2 comments), I will start from Lima to Cusco on Day 1 itself and spend 1 whole day stay in Ollantaytambo ( to get acclimated to weather before heading to mountain) .

It is not that I cant travel to south america again, it is just that having going all the way to South america, want to visit another country. I need to research about chile to see what interests me and will post in Chile forum in a day or so.

Some other logistical questions

a) Looks like i can use some local country websites to book Flight from Lima to Cusco and Train to Aguas Calientes. What is the best/cheapest way to stay ? Is there a concept of bed and breakfast (family owned) hotels just like in the US or Europe or it is better to book via hotels.com

b) How to find reliable tax driver from Cusco to Ollantaytambo ? Any recommended company that I can look for in Cusco ?

Thanks

San Diego...
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5. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

Your itinerary still looks like it might be too much, as you are staying in a different town every night. You know what your family can handle, but it sounds exhausting to me, especially with a toddler. Day 4 looks especially difficult. Do you think your son will be ok with a 1.5 - 2 hour drive to Ollantaytambo, hiking all day, and then a 2 hour train ride to Aguas? Plenty of people follow a similar itinerary, I just worry that it might be too much for a 3 year old.

1. I prefer b&bs, it sounds like you do too. You can use Trip Advisor b&b reviews to pick the right place. I always find the reviews and information helpful and accurate.

2. Our b&b called a taxi for us. I would just ask your hotel to make a call. You can probably get a cheaper rate if you find a taxi on your own, but it's just easier to do it through your hotel.

I'm not sure if this is just a language issue, but you mentioned getting acclimated to the weather? It is the altitude, not the weather that is a concern. High altitude can make some people very sick.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

We traveled for 10 days in Europe with my son (who was 2 years last year) going to 3 countries. He was ok so were we handling him. Now that he is a year older, i think it will be ok to stay different place different day.

I am not sure how much hiking i can do with my toddler (even if I have a umbrella stroller). Stroller may not even work in those hikes. If he walks, he is not going to do that for more than 20 mins. Which means, we may not do any hikes at all (i would like to hike but i am ok sacrificing that for my son). He loves the train so car in the morning and train in the evening should be ok.

Yes, I was mentioning only abt altitude (not weather). i will check with my pediatrician what medicine I should take for him. I have done 10K ft hikes before twice but i will come prepared. Looking at the altitude issue, I might skip one day in Lima and stay one extra day to get used to the altitude.

I hear I can take a bus from the base to machu pichu. how high does the bus go. I see machu pichu peek is at 14K ft.

Thanks for your suggestion about b&b

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

The city of Machu Picchu is at about 8,000 feet (lower than the Sacred Valley, which is well worth spending a week in). Agua Calientes is about 2,000 feet lower and the bus goes up to MP on a switchback road. If you want to go higher, you walk.

Cusco is about 11,500.

I agree with what the others say. There are some differences between Europe and South America, one of which is the standard of water.

I'm sure you or your son won't have any problems, but you need to be aware about the health issues such as clean water and altitude. Good to hear you are consulting a doctor.

I think you will be surprised how many attractions Peru has, and that's one reason why people are suggesting slowing down and seeing them for yourself. You may never go back, so you might as well see it while you are there, rather than sitting on a bus or plane heading to Chile or Argentina for a few days.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

So the bus goes upto 8K feet (to the city of Machu pichu) starting from Agua Calientes (6K feet) ?

Stanley, Falkland...
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9. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

Yep. Easy enough to check on wikipedia or wherever.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Critic my trip to Peru

You can book hotels or B&Bs direct on their websites. Many small, independent owned places, although most were called hostels even though in the US, they'd be considered B&Bs. Find one you like either through your favorite guidebook or website and check out the hotels website. If you want to reserve, send them an email. No need to use hotels.com.

Like the others, I'd also suggest spending more time in Peru and the SV rather than just chalking another country off the list. You've listed 6 days before heading to Chile. We spend a full 6 days in the Sacred Valley/Cusco/Machu Picchu without running out of things to do.

On Arequipa, I probably would not go just for the volcanoes. They're well outside the city. You get some nice views of them from in the city but they look like mountains. They're not exploding with lava flows or anything like that. Arequipa is definitely worth a day and Colca Canyon a couple more, but the volcano views are a small part of that.

Edited: 06 June 2014, 03:19