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Peru?


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#1 DRB

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    Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:58 PM

    Has anyone honeymooned in Peru (or even just vacationed in Peru)? We're going in August and I'd love to hear someone else's experience especially if you did a tour like through GAP Adventures!

    #2 mexbride83

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      Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:14 AM

      Hi Mel! I went to Peru in December 2008 for a wedding. It wasn't with a tour company like GAP, but the bride did use a travel agent in Peru (her mom is Peruvian, so that helped!) to create a group tour to Cusco and Machu Picchu for any guests that wanted to go there after the Lima wedding. There ended up being about 30 of us, my fiance and myself included, who booked this extra tour package (3 nights), and our group had our own bus and tour guide for all the sites included in the tour. So I can't tell you about a big tour company, but I can at least tell you about our experiences:) I've been on one other "group tour" type of trip - my father and I went to Egypt with Friendly Planet Tours - and I would say they were the exact same.

      Lima - we were all on our own for Lima. The bride selected a couple of hotels in different price ranges, and all of us "young people" booked the same one - La Hacienda Hotel and Casino in Miraflores. It was a middle of the road hotel, wasn't the cheapest option, but also wasn't the expensive option. It was a very cute hotel, great location, and comfortable. But our a/c went out, and being December, it was HOT there! The hotel was full so they couldn't move us, so they just gave us a fan haha. It was very sweaty to get ready during the day, but nights weren't bad. And basically, you get what you pay for and we didn't pay much:)
      I love love love Miraflores! I definitely recommend staying there while in Lima. There is a shopping center, Larcomar, that is built into the cliffs and has a lot of really great restaurants to have dinner at while enjoying gorgeous views of the ocean. We actually did a lot of lunches and dinners there! Our hotel was halfway in between the ocean and the city square of Miraflores, so after Larcomar we'd usually end up going to the square where there were always people selling crafts, horse and buggy tours, and just beautiful architecture to walk around and enjoy. We only went to downtown Lima one day, and we felt like that was plenty. It's crowded, very dirty, and the traffic is insane (as it is in all developing countries). We walked around, saw the main sites, did some shopping, and were all very ready to get back to the beautiful, peaceful Miraflores:)
      The wedding reception was at La Rosa Nautica (Restaurante La Rosa N¡utica • Lima - Perº) and it was GORGEOUS! I definitely recommend going there for dinner, if possible! Or just going there to take pics.
      My fiance and I are total foodies, so we will always splurge on good meals. Our best meal that we had was at La Gloria, and it was kind of a hybrid of mediterranean food and Peru's seafood dishes. It was recommended to me by a coworker who grew up in Lima and still goes back twice a year. Other restaurants recommended by my coworker were: Cebecheria La Mar and Astrid y Gaston.
      I also had a boss who went to Lima for a conference, and it was held at this hotel: http://www.losdelfineshotel.com/ She said it was a nice hotel and she was very amused by the dolphins kept onsite. Apparently the conference room looked into their tanks and they were very entertaining to watch when the meetings got boring:)

      Cusco - After Lima, we were in a "group tour" setting the rest of the time. So we all were at the same hotel, had set times for everything, and ate at the restaurants that were included in our package. As I said before, I've done one other group tour, and it was with a large company. Well, I hate group tours! I hate having a set time to be somewhere, I hate not having options for our meals, I hate having a tour guide talking everytime we are on the bus, when maybe you just want to talk to your friends instead. But that is just me. Some people like that kind of thing!
      I cannot remember the name of our hotel in Cusco, but it was just so-so, not memorable at all. But our first night there was New Years Eve, and the TA had booked our group to go to this buffet and dinner show. The place was huge, and filled with tour groups from tons of other tour companies. I'm a nutrition major, which means I've also studied a lot of food science, so buffets gross me out. Worse yet, a buffet in a place like Cusco. We almost skipped it and went out on our own, but decided since it was New Years Eve, to go with the group. Within the next two days, EVERYONE in our group was violently ill! Like, the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced (and I lived in Thailand and travelled all over SE Asia... I've had bad food poisoning!). My fiance actually ended up in the hospital when we returned, and found out it was salmonella! It took us all over a week to recover. And it put a huge damper on the remainder of our trip!
      We left bright and early on New Years day for Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Luckily, my fiance and I weren't yet sick, so we got to enjoy Machu Picchu that entire first day (many people didn't make it there at all!). My sickness hit that night, and my fiance's the next night. So we never went back to Machu Picchu on the second day (only 3 out of the 30 people were okay enough to make it there on the second day!) We left that next evening for Cusco, got back really late and everyone went straight to bed, and the next morning we flew from Cusco to Lima and back to the States all in one day. We went to the farmacia in the airport before boarding our flights and got everything possible for our sickness (anti-spasmatics, anti-diarrheal, anti-nausea, etc) and the flights are a total daze, but we got through them.

      So basically, if you go with a tour company and it includes meals, I would go out to restaurants on your own and skip the group meals, because tour companies almost always book the big buffet restaurants that cater to tour groups, and that are total crap. I had this exact same experience in Egypt, only I was the only person of our entire tour group to NOT get sick. I was also the only one that refused to touch any of the meat that they served on the buffets. Nothing will ruin your honeymoon quite like salmonella. Actually, my fiance and I's joke is that that is the day that our honeymoon period ended. When we were in a little hotel room, sharing a tiny bathroom, both the sickest we have ever been hahaha.

      #3 mexbride83

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        Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:36 AM

        I'm sorry, I forgot to mention our hotel for our one night in Aguas Calientes. We stayed at La Cabana. We LOVED it! I literally could not move from the bathroom floor, and they were wonderful. One of the women walked with my fiance to the farmacia and acted as a translator for him to describe what was wrong with me and get meds. They also let us stay the entire next day, even though checkout was at 10am. Our train wasn't until 5pm, and we stayed in the room until 4:30pm, free of charge. The rooms are basic, exactly what to expect from Aguas Calientes. But clean, comfortable, and the friendliest staff.

        AND I didn't touch on the fact that Machu Picchu was absolutely I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E! Out of this world. We already are planning to go back in the next couple of years to do the Inca Trail. It's one of the most awe-inspiring places I have ever been, and I strongly recommend going there if you get the chance!

        View from Larcomar in Miraflores:
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Downtown:
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Machu Picchu...
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Click the image to open in full size.
        Click the image to open in full size.

        #4 DRB

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          Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:33 PM

          Wow! Thank you so much for all of the information! And you pictures are incredible, I'm so excited about this trip!

          DH and I have never done a group trip before and we are a little leery about it but we figured that we would give it a go. Your advice and experience is so helpful! We will most definitely take your advice about restaurants! Being sick on our honeymoon would be the worst. That's so awful that everyone in your group got sick, especially your FH ending up in the hospital! Thank goodness you managed to visit Machu Picchu before the illness hit! We aren't really buffet people to begin with and since it is our honeymoon we figured that we would try and hit as many really good restaurants as we can (also so that we can have some time just the two of us). I went on the La Rosa Nautica website and it looks incredible!!! Wow, it's so beautiful! Thanks so much for suggesting it, we will definitely be going there!

          All of your suggestions are so helpful! Thanks so much!!!

          #5 PaperBagPrincess

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            Posted 12 March 2010 - 01:11 AM

            I went to Peru a few years ago. My sister was living in Bolivia and met me there. We toured around on our own and had no problems....but then again she speaks awesome spanish.

            I really loved everything. Machu Pichu and the surrounding area are really amazing!!! I think everyone should go at some point.

            My fave part of the trip was a night time taxi drive back to Cusco, just looking at the mountains and the stars then finding the big dipper upside down... unreal!

            Here are some of my pictures
            Peru - a set on Flickr

            #6 DRB

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              Posted 18 March 2010 - 06:01 PM

              Wow, PaperBagPrincess those are some beautiful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm getting more and more excited about the trip!!!

              #7 Pinky

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                Posted 13 May 2010 - 07:59 PM

                Amazing pictures of Machu Pichu, that is my dream trip! Did you have any problems with altitude sickness? That is my only concern about going there.

                #8 mexbride83

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                  Posted 13 May 2010 - 09:19 PM

                  Pinky - for me, we got such terrible food poisoning (salmonella) that I don't think the altitude could possibly make it worse haha. But we were in Cuzco (which is higher than Machu Picchu) for a full day and a half before we got sick, and the altitude didn't bother me a whole lot. I was definitely more easily tired, out of breath, etc... and I did get some headaches, but nothing unbearable. A couple of people in our group were sick from altitude that first day though. Including the bride, who spent the day either throwing up or using an oxygen tank!

                  #9 Ayita

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                    Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:03 PM

                    Dh and I were in Peru in October 2009. It was an awesome, aweosme trip ! We used Mountain Lodges of Peru - basically you trek from Cusco to Machu Picchu but at night you stay in super comfortable lodges ! It was really unique.

                    Mountain Lodges of Peru

                    If you're interested in the same kind of trip, you should read the trip report of this person, and also look at her absolutely stunning pictures (at the bottom of ther post) :

                    Mountain Lodges of Peru - Trip Report - Peru Forum - TripAdvisor

                    I got super sick with the altitude, to a point that I almost had to turn back and go down. Happily, they had a horse following, so after failing to acclimatate I climed on one and that was for the hardest day, lol ! After that the trip was going down so I got much better. But basically, over 10 days there, I had a headache during the 10 days, and really horrible problems when we were up to 14,000-15,000 feet (vomitting, diarrhea, etc). Nothing helped, not the oxygen, not the medication that they gave me (they had a doctor on call). Nada. Still, I only have good souvenirs from the trip ! It was really amazing !

                    If you want to make sure you'll be OK, see your doctor before leaving he will give you some pills to take daily. People in my group that were on it did not suffer at all.

                    On the day of Machu Picchu I was in a GREAT shape and spent the whole day climbing up and down :) The headache could not stop me, i was so excited - I had wanted to see this place for such a long time !

                    One thing that I absolutely loved in Peru was the food ! Yes, even being sick, with two whole days not being able to eat anything but broth, I just loved it.

                    Contrary to mexbride I did not like Larcomar too much, I thought it was too much like home... when I travel I like to see authentic stuff ! But La Rosa Nautica is indeed a must ! We just stayed in Lima overnight on the way to Cusco, so we stayed at the brand new hotel that is right inside of the airport, Costa del Sol. It's great, only suites, not expensive, and connected to the airport by a brige. So no need of taxi. Perfect for connections.

                    In Cusco we stayed at Casa Andina San Blas, and Casa Andina Private Collection. We likes both - although I did prefer San Blas because it was smaller, and the room we had at private collection did not have a lot of light.

                    Hotels in Cusco - Casa Andina Peru Cuzco Hotel

                    In Aguas Caliente we stayed at Inkaterra and OH MY GOD ! This is really the place to stay at. We regretted not to stay one night longer to enjoy the place !

                    Remember to visit trip advisor and enjoy your trip !

                    #10 Pinky

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                      Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:30 PM

                      Another thing I've been heard from people who've been to Peru (and also our room steward on our last cruise who was from Peru) was to try Cuy.
                      Did either of you ladies dare to eat Cuy? Everyone I've talked to that has eaten it says its very good, but I have visions of eating Fluffy from the pet store, LOL.




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