My next adventure is taking me to South America. This will be the first time travelling to Latin America for pleasure and not to see family.
If you want to explore a new place without having to think too much about what to see and not see, I recommend using a tour. It is the easiest way to plan a tour – book a flight and show up. Contiki, G Adventures, Intrepid Travel and are all great companies to book a tour with – I’ve heard great feedback from all. They offer a variety of tours based on countries and length of the trip. Personally, I have used Contiki for a Europe tour and it was a great experience.
So, where to even start if you aren’t going with a tour company?
If you are going to Peru, Machu Picchu is a must! How can you go to a country with one of the Seven Wonders of the World and not see it?
The first thing you should know is that there are many trails that lead up the mountain to Machu Picchu. The second thing to note is that you need a permit to enter the area. Do your research to see what trek you would prefer doing, and book it well in advance (the original Inca Trail books up 6 months in advance).
We are doing the Lares Trek with Alpaca Expeditions. This 3-night trek is more cultural as you pass through native towns making your way to Machu Picchu. All the tour companies offer pretty much the same service – tents, food, a porter to cary your bags, entrance into the ruins, etc. We went with Alpaca Expeditions because they were highly recommended, cheaper than the other, great customer service and I heard the food is TO DIE FOR.
Other tour companies that have been recommended by friends are Llama Path and Pachama Tours.
Best time to travel to Peru is between May and October. This is when the weather is most stable. If you are going outside of these moths, you may experience a lot of rain and be unable to see the actual Machu Picchu when you arrive due to the fog.
Decided if you are going to be staying in Lima before or after your trip. Travellers say Cusco offers more to see but capital of Peru is still worth seeing.
Will you be squeezing time to go sandboarding? If you have the time, consider spending a few days after your trek at Huacachina, the desert oasis located 5 hours outside of Lima.
If you haven’t heard of Rainbow Mountain, I suggest you look it up NOW! It is a one day tour up a mountain that literally looks like a rainbow. You can book this tour once you are in Cusco.
For your stay, look into hostels. They cost $15USD a night!!!! More money to spend on food! Woohoo! The 1900 Bakcpackers Hostel in Lima is highly recommended and one of the few in the downtown area. The Pariwana Hostel and the Loki Hostel are great accommodations to consider in Cusco.
Tip from locals: don’t eat street food! It is very common for tourists and locals to get food poisining.