Saturday, June 30, 2018

First Time in PERU : Itinerary, Expenses and Travel Tips

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I departed Copacabana, Bolivia around 5pm. I crossed the border in the town of Puno after about 30 minutes. I continued the bus journey and I arrived in Puno town proper at around 8pm. It was already late so I immediately went to my hostel. Good thing, Bolivia Hop transports its passengers from the bus stop to their accommodation. In less than 10 minutes, I arrived in my hostel. I checked in, freshen up a bit and walked around to find a restaurant to eat. [Read: 24 Days in Latin America : Full Itinerary and Expenses]


I booked a tour to explore Lake Titicaca the following day so I had to wake up early since the pick up time was before 7am. The tour started on time. We proceeded to the docking port then headed straight to our first stop, the floating island of Uros. I didn't read about the place so I had no expectations. It wasn't really something remarkable but it's better than our next stop which was the island of Taquile. I wish I hadn't gone there. I basically just wasted my time but yeah, I had nothing to do anyway so it's okay. Lake Titicaca Full Day Tour


I arrived back in Puno late in the afternoon. My overnight bus to Cusco was at 10pm so I had ample to see the town a little bit more. I went to the plaza, the cathedral and explore the streets of downtown Puno. I went back to the hostel and waited for my Bolivia Hop pick up at 10pm. [Read: Lake Titicaca Full Day Itinerary]



The trip from Puno to Cusco was around 8 hours. I arrived in Cusco around 5am. It was still dark but since the Bolivia Hop ticket includes drop-off to the hotel, I had no issues. I was supposed to leave my bag in the hotel my friend booked for our Cusco stay but it was nowhere to be found. So, I went to Marriott Cusco and stayed with my two friends who arrived in the city a day before.



Gallivanting Around Cusco
We didn't waste our time. We immediately went out to explore the historical center and see some of the ruins in Cusco while still waiting for our two other friends who were joining the Peru leg of my Latin America trip. We were supposed to visit just one site - Saqsayhuaman but our taxi driver offered us a good deal to visit the three other ruins in the area - Qenqo, Tambomachay and Pucapucara so we grabbed it. [Read: Cusco : A UNESCO World Heritage Site]






A Tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas
We explored the Sacred Valley on our second day in Cusco. We availed of a group tour so we didn't have to worry about our transportation and itinerary. Our tour includes a visit to Chinchinero, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Moray and Salineras de Maras. It was worth it. You can book your tour here. [Read: A Visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas]







A Hike to the Humantay Lake
We hiked to Lake Humantay on our third day in the city. It was another difficult day for me as I am not really into hiking. The trail looks easy from afar but it gets hard after hiking for about 30 minutes. I wanted to just hike on my own pace but I really lost energy. I was already almost halfway when I decided to ride a horse. I wanted to see Lake Humantay and I don't think I would have made it if I didn't ride a horse. I felt so ecstatic when I finally see the lake. It was magical, just the way I imagined it. 






Exploring Machu Picchu
Our fourth day was the most memorable experience in Peru as we visited Machu Picchu, one of the new seven wonders of the world. It was phenomenal. I can't describe how I felt when I finally saw the citadel. It was an amazing experience. We booked a tour from Cusco and we initially planned to take a train from Poroy. Our agency had an issue with the train ticket so we had to take a private car from Cusco to Oallantaytambo and a first class train to Aguas Calientes. We were supposed to join a group but since our agency messed up, they offered us a private tour which turned out to be a great deal. We thought we would have a bad journey to Machu Picchu but it ended to be one of the best trips we had in Peru. [Read: A Journey to the Incan Elite City of Machu Picchu]








A Visit to the Rainbow Mountain
We were already exhausted on our fifth day in Cusco. Our guide was scheduled to pick us up at 3:30am. We woke up at around 3am and we initially decided to cancel our tour for the day to the Rainbow Mountain. One of my friends thought that it would be better if we go since we're already there. We might not get another chance to go there so we better go. We prepared hurriedly hoping that our tour guide would arrive late. He was on time and we were not ready yet. When we went to the hotel lobby, he wasn't there anymore so we thought we missed our tour. We waited for around 20 minutes and luckily he returned to pick us up. We were so happy we that joined the tour. The view was fantastic, plus I was able to see and finally talked to my Korean crush I met in the Sacred Valley. Hahaha






Mobbed in Cusco
Our flight was scheduled at 1pm and since the airport is very close to where we stayed, we decided to go to the market first before heading to the airport. We couldn't find a taxi so we just walked to the market. It was quiet and there were a lot of police and no cars driving around. We thought there might be some celebration so it did not bother us. Then we got lost so we asked around for a direction to the market. The guy said it's closed because of the strike happening that day. We were worried so we immediately went back to the hotel to check. The guy at the reception confirmed that there's a transport strike but we should not worry much because he knows someone who can transport us to the airport. We were relieved. After about an hour of waiting, the receptionist told us that our car is waiting but we had to walk since the driver can't go near our hotel. [Read: We Got Mobbed in Cusco]



The driver told us that it's dangerous since a lot of the protesters were in the streets. True enough after about 10 minutes, a group of people approached us and wanted us to get down. We were able to drive further but the inevitable happened. We were mobbed by the protesters. They were able to deflate our tire so we had no other option but to get out and walk. It was a nightmare! It could have been worse but we're still lucky that we're able to arrive at the airport safely.

A Night in Lima
We spent a night in Lima hoping that we could see the capital a little bit. Unfortunately, we were already so tired from the adventures we had in Cusco. We ended up staying in the hotel instead of exploring the city. We just went out for dinner and then back to Westin to cap the night. 



Goodbye Peru
It was time to say goodbye to Peru. I had to fly to Bogota to catch my flight back to Manila after two days. I was supposed to stay in Peru for only three days to see Machu Picchu and then visit Ecuador. I am so glad I had a detour and joined my friends in exploring the other attractions of Peru. It was all worth it. One of the best travels I've had in my entire life.



Travel tips:

  • Stay near Plaza de armas when you are in Cusco.
  • Book a group tour, you might save a bit compared to DIY.
  • Acclimatize if you have time. Spend your first day chillaxing if possible. If not, make sure you have ibuprofen to ease the altitude sickness.  
Basic Spanish words and phrases to communicate with the locals
  • Hola (OH-lah) - Hello/Hi
  • Que Pase (keh PAH-seh) - Have a good day
  • Como estas? (KOH-moh-ehs-TAHS) - How are you?
  • Muy bien, gracias (MOO-ee-byehn, GRAH-syahs) - Fine, thank you.
  • Encantado/a (ehn-kahn-TAH-doh/dah) - Nice to meet you.
  • Por favor (POHR-fah-BOHR) - Please
  • Gracias (GRAH-syahs) - Thank you
  • De nada (DAY NAH-dah) - Welcome
  • Si (SEE) - Yes
  • No (NOH) - No
  • Disculpe (dees-KOOL-peh) - Excuse me (getting attention)
  • Perdone (pehr-DOHN-eh) - Excuse me (begging pardon)
  • Permiso (pehr-MEE-so) - Excuse me (may I get by)
  • Adios (ah-DYOHS) - Goodbye
  • Hablo un poco español (ah-BLOH oon POH-koh ehs-pah-NYOHL) - I speak a little Spanish.
  • No hablo español (noh AH-bloh ehs-pah-NYOL) - I can't speak Spanish.
  • Hablas Ingles? (AH-blahs een-GLEHS?) - Do you speak English?
  • Ayuda! (ah-YOO-dah) - Help!
  • Buenos dias (BWE-nohs DEE-ahs) - Good morning
  • Buenas tardes (BWE-nahs TAR-dehs) - Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches (BWE-nahs NOH-chehs) - Good evening / good night
  • No entiendo (NOH ehen-tyen-doh) - I don't understand
  • Donde esta el baño? (DOHN-deh ehss-TAH ehl BAH-nyoh?) - Where is the toilet?

Itinerary and Expenses in Peru


Day 0 in Peru
Accommodation in Puno - USD10 / 33 soles
Dinner - 16 soles
Total expenses day 0 - 49 soles

Day 1 in Peru
Lake Titicaca Full Day Tour - USD20
Traditional boat ride in Uros - 10 soles
Dinner - 15 soles
Total expenses day 1 - 91 soles

Day 2 in Peru
Lunch - 16 soles
Dinner - 45 soles
Day tour - 90 soles/3 = 30 soles
General ticket (Cusco attractions + sacred valley) - 130 soles
Hotel - USD80/3 = USD27 (discounted from USD120/night)/  88 soles
Grocery - 30 soles
Poncho + hat - 90 soles
Total expenses day 2 - 429 soles 

Day 3
Sacred Valley Tour - 70 soles
Hat - 15 soles
Dinner - 18 soles
Hotel - USD80/3 = USD27 / 88 soles
Total expenses day 3 - 191 soles 

Day 4
Lake Humantay Tour - 70 soles
Water - 5 soles
Entrance to lake - 10 soles
Horse - 50 soles
Dinner - 32 soles
Grocery - 14 soles
Hotel - USD80/3 = USD27 / 88 soles
Total expenses day - 269 soles

Day 5
Machu Picchu Day tour from Cusco - USD240 / 787 soles
Shirt - 35 soles
Ref magnets - 20 soles
Hotel - USD80/3 = USD27 / 88 soles
Total expenses day 5 - 930 soles

Day 6
Rainbow Mountain tour - 70 soles
Entrance - 10 soles
Horse - 90 soles
Dinner - 56 soles
Hotel - USD80/3 = USD27 / 88 soles
Total expenses day 6 - 314 soles

Day 7
Taxi to airport - 120/5 = 24 soles
Plane fare Cusco to Lima - USD80 / 263 soles 
Hotel - USD300/3 = USD100 / 328 soles
Car Lima airport to Westin - 145/3 = 49 soles
Taxi hotel to Restaurant - 15/5 = 3 soles
Grocery - 60 soles
Starbucks tumbler - 40 soles
Midnight snack - 16 soles
Total expenses day 7 - 783 soles

Day 8 
Breakfast - 20 soles
Taxi to airport - 36 soles
Total expenses day 8 - 58 soles 

Total Expenses Day 0-8 in Peru = PEN3,114 (soles) / Php50,675 ( For expenses prior to this leg, click here)


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