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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-23-2006, 11:51 PM   #21
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Originally Posted by WanderALot
We signed up for the 4-day Inca Trail hike to Macchu Picchu.* After that we'll be hanging out in Cuzco for a few days before heading to Lake Titicaca.* After that, we are headed to Arequipa before heading back to Lima.* I know that you are into archaeology,* have you done anything in Peru?* *It looks like there are TONS of ruins everywhere.

If we had more time, it would have nice to go to the jungle in Manu... ahh well.
Wow. I envy you. DW and I spent about a month in Peru almost 15 years ago. We didn't get to Arequipa, but did get to Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. We also spent a little time in and around Lima and in areas surrounding Cuzco. We hiked a portion of the Inca trail on our own. I understand they don't let people do that anymore. The Inca and many of the groups that predated them are really interesting. The Andes are incredible. You'll have a great time. Happy travels.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 02:13 AM   #22
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Originally Posted by sgeeeee
Wow. I envy you. DW and I spent about a month in Peru almost 15 years ago. We didn't get to Arequipa, but did get to Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. We also spent a little time in and around Lima and in areas surrounding Cuzco. We hiked a portion of the Inca trail on our own. I understand they don't let people do that anymore. The Inca and many of the groups that predated them are really interesting. The Andes are incredible. You'll have a great time. Happy travels.
Thanks, we're really excited. Yeah, they don't let people do the Inca Trail alone anymore. I guess it's a good thing if it preserves Macchu Picchu. They also have quotas for the number of people that are allowed on the trail so that should make for a better experience (at least until we get to the Disneyland-like Macchu Picchu I'm sure!)
It is quite expensive though and I'm guessing the porters/guides don't get too much of the $400 per person that it's costing us! I'm keep hearing that Lima's a bit of a dump so we're only spending a couple of days there.

Do you have any suggestions for books to read about the Incas and/or other Andean cultures?
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 10:32 AM   #23
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Re: Cheap Travel

Wife and I hiked the Inca Trail 6 years ago.
Four days of highly memorial experiences.
Best be fit... some people cried from exhaustion, but everybody does make it.

When you finally get there, I was disappointed to see a road leading to the site with bus loads of retired old-folks coming in and lining up for latte coffee.

There is another hill, just behind the site, which is also very cool to hike.

Take a dozen or so cheap power-bars and give'm to the porters at the end of a day as they sit quitely aside until the leftover bits from your dinner are tossed to them.

What an experience... I just may do it again!

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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 10:49 AM   #24
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Re: Cheap Travel

Interesting thread now, DW and I will be traveling to Peru for 2 weeks in May.* I have an advantage as DW is a native of Lima, so we’ll stay with family.* It will be my first time in Peru, so I’m very excited.* We plan on hanging out in Lima, and of course seeing Machu Picchu.

Lima has good and bad places just like any major city.* DW lived in an upper class neighborhood, but there are definitely huge areas of poverty.* I’ve been told that as soon as locals see an American, the price of anything immediately increases, so you can probably negotiate some things.*

If going to Peru, definitely try the following foods and beverages:
*
Ceviche (fish “cooked” in lime juice with onions, salt, and spicy peppers),

Lomo Saltado (think steak fajitas mixed with fried potatoes and served with rice - excellent dish that most Americans love)

Papa rellena (appetizer – potatoes filled with spicy meat, olives, onions, and then fried)

Chicha morada – purple corn flavored drink

Pisco sour – grape flavored brandy drink with egg whites…very good!!

Presidential elections are in a few weeks, and it’s a requirement to vote, so not sure if that will affect travel or not, but something to be aware of.*

Aaron
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 11:36 AM   #25
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Originally Posted by gReeNy
Wife and I hiked the Inca Trail 6 years ago.
Four days of highly memorial experiences.
Best be fit... some people cried from exhaustion, but everybody does make it.

When you finally get there, I was disappointed to see a road leading to the site with bus loads of retired old-folks coming in and lining up for latte coffee.

Funny, something like that happened when I was a student in the UK many years back, I "climed" Mt Snowdon with a teacher. It was a lot of effort at the time and when we got to the top there was a clog rail train making its way up and a food vendor on top.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 12:07 PM   #26
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Re: Cheap Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderALot
. . .Do you have any suggestions for books to read about the Incas and/or other Andean cultures?
We know so much more about the Inca than we did 15 years ago that most of my books are out of date. I've kept up by reading research papers and from a handful of lectures from archaeologists doing work down there. But there is plenty of material available at any level. Check out your public library. That's where I always start.

I don't know if Maccu Piccu is still like this, but when we were there, there was a train that came up from Cuzco once a day. Most people who visited came up on the train and went back the same day. A shuttle bus ran folks up and down the hill from the train station. So if you were at Maccu Piccu before the train came or after the train left, you could wander around the site without the hoards of people. There was a lodge on top that held a small number of people who stayed the night, but it was very expensive and required you get reservations a year in advance. But if you were a cheap bastard frugal traveler, you could hike down the railroad track a couple of kilometers and stay in the village of Agua Caliente. Accomodations were cheap, and spartan. I remember battling the biggest cock roaches I've ever seen in my life in that hotel -- which was a converted from when it had been a jailhouse. But it did allow us to spend quite a bit of quality time at the site.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 12:08 PM   #27
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Re: Cheap Travel

Whew, i'm glad you threw the word 'roaches' in right where you did...



Too dang many gay threads today...
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-24-2006, 12:16 PM   #28
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Originally Posted by Cute 'n' Fuzzy Bunny
Whew, i'm glad you threw the word 'roaches' in right where you did...



Too dang many gay threads today...
NTTAWWT
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-26-2006, 09:54 PM   #29
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Originally Posted by gReeNy
When you finally get there, I was disappointed to see a road leading to the site with bus loads of retired old-folks coming in and lining up for latte coffee.
Yeah, we've heard that. Our goal is to try and leave extra early on the final day to make it to MP for the sunrise and before the hordes. We'll see how well that works out.

Quote:
There is another hill, just behind the site, which is also very cool to hike.

Take a dozen or so cheap power-bars and give'm to the porters at the end of a day as they sit quitely aside until the leftover bits from your dinner are tossed to them.
Thanks for your tips. We've heard about the other hill that you mentioned, I guess there's also a limit to how many day hikers they will allow for that hill!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
expensive and required you get reservations a year in advance. But if you were a cheap bastard frugal traveler, you could hike down the railroad track a couple of kilometers and stay in the village of Agua Caliente. Accomodations were cheap, and
Thanks, even before your "endorsement", we'd decided not to stay in Agua Caliente, seems way too touristy and dumpy.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-27-2006, 07:30 AM   #30
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Re: Cheap Travel

Ah yes, the modernization of the ancient ruins sites...

About 20 years ago we took a trip to mexico and went to see Chicken Pizza...err...i mean chichen itza. We got on an old school bus, took a lot of back roads through some really interesting old mexican towns. Stopped to eat in a scary looking place with great food. Saw some really old buildings and churches that were hundreds of years old. Bought some hand made and dyed cloth. Took lots of pictures. Then we got to the site. A little bit commercial in spots but overall pretty close to "natural". I have an awful lot of great shots of the ruins and the area around it.

About 8 years ago we went back and took the same trip. Big modern bus. A highway was put through. We got there 4x faster. No towns. Crappy box lunch from some roadside joint. Site was 145% commercial. Tons of people crawling all over everything. All sorts of "side" entertainment.

It beat the "fake" mayan site that was built near to cancun that consisted of a couple of dog house sized ruins and a man made water park built around them.

But the best part of the 'visit', the trip on the way and back, were no longer part of the experience.

Our lives are a little too much like that...in a hurry to get to the 'payoff'. You miss the journey. Deep thought of the day.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-27-2006, 07:59 AM   #31
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Re: Cheap Travel

My small tips on the Machu Picchu hike/visit:
  • Plan to spend two days at Machu Picchu when you get there -- the arrival day and the next, taking the afternoon train back to Cuzco.* If you just spend the hike arrival day there, you'll be too rushed to see everything and still catch the last train (about 4 pm).* You can stay inexpensively in the town of Aguas Calientes at the bottom of the ridge.* And there is a hot spring pool there.
  • Guinea pig is over-rated as a food.* Alpaca, on the other hand, is great, and I wish it was easy to get here.
  • Tip the porters well.
  • If you've not hiked up to high elevation before, take it slow and steady.* Too many people push themselves hard at the start, then have to continue hiking although exhausted.* Figure 4-5 hours to climb Dead Woman's pass (4000 foot elevation gain, up to 14,000 feet).*Don't treat it as a race. Consciously breath deeply at high elevation when doing any kind of exertion, even if you don't feel you need to.
  • You'll need some Powerbar-like food for yourself -- so you can get some energy during the big climbs.* The scheduled meals may be at odd and inconvenient times.
  • A small bottle of whisky or vodka can get some cameraderie going at camp.
  • If your group is going to do the "get to Machu Picchu at dawn" thing, each member of your party will need a flashlight.* In the penultimate stage, you are climbing down 2000+ feet of stone steps, and in the dark you really want to have a lamp for yourself!
  • It can and will rain even in the dry season.* Get a poncho in Cuzco -- or you can buy them at the trailhead for 10 times as much.
  • It will be cold at night at high altitude. On the other hand, hiking in the near-equatorial sun will be hot.
  • There is no place to charge batteries along the trail! And there are lots of things to photograph on the way.
  • Take a small roll of TP.
We had a great time when we did this 3-1/2 years ago. We were also the only tourists in our group prepared for rain -- and it rained 2 of the 4 days, in the dry season. Everyone else got soaked.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-28-2006, 02:57 AM   #32
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Re: Cheap Travel

Gotta chew those leaves, man.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-28-2006, 09:05 PM   #33
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Gotta chew those leaves, man.
Oh Yeah ... I almost forgot about that. Coca leaves and chicha. I remember buying a shopping bag of coca leaves in a village market for the equivalent of about $0.35 -- lasted the whole trip.
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-29-2006, 12:47 AM   #34
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Re: Cheap Travel

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Oh Yeah ... I almost forgot about that. Coca leaves and chicha. I remember buying a shopping bag of coca leaves in a village market for the equivalent of about $0.35 -- lasted the whole trip.
Did you make a lot of hot cocoa?
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Re: Cheap Travel
Old 03-29-2006, 11:14 AM   #35
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Re: Cheap Travel

I think the trip is still on-going...
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