Friday, June 8, 2012

Peru Part 1: Pre-Peru

Originally our trip to Peru was planned for May/June 2010 for Dave's 40th birthday. He's always wanted to see Machu Picchu. We worked with an online travel agency,, to plan an itinerary, pick our lodging, and arrange our tours and transfers. A few weeks before that trip we found out Dave needed to have some heart monitoring and was instructed to avoid altitude at that time. Thank goodness for trip insurance - we got all of our money back. A few months after Dave's heart surgery (valve replacement) in 2011 we were cleared to travel to higher altitudes. We were back emailing Peruforless and had a new itinerary with some different hotels and activities set-up.

For the traveler/tourist Peru has alot to offer. One week would not be enough to even scratch the surface. With this in-mind we concentrated most of our time in the Cusco (sometimes spelled Cuzco) region; which was the Incan Capital and home to Machu Picchu. We were also spending a day-and-a-half in Lima.

Some things we had to be cautious about:

  • Altitude: most of our time in Peru was going to be spent at altitudes between 8,000 - 12,000 feet above sea-level.
  • Food safety: Similar to Mexico, Americans are warned to avoid local water, ice, uncooked fruit and vegetables.
  • Burglary: Many tour books and web sites cautioned us about pickpockets, muggers, the airport mafia, and street taxis.

Getting There
Holly is a great pre-planner. She had her strategy set to use our American Airlines frequent flyer program to get us free first-class tickets from Chicago. Fortunately the South American routes are cheap from a mileage perspective and we received first-class seats on the O'Hare/Miami legs and Business Class (no first-class offered to Lima) Miami/Lima for 60,000 miles each. Our tickets got us into Admiral Clubs and VIP lounges the whole way.

We left O'Hare around 6pm and had a 2 hour lay-over in Miami. Our flight to Lima left Miami around midnight and landed in Lima at 4:30am. Our next flight to Cusco would be four hours later at 8:20am. That early morning landing and layover was a killer. We didn't sleep much and had to occupy ourselves in the Lima airport to stay awake (Lima's airportis nice and stores are open close to 24/7). The flight to Cusco was a little over an hour long on Star Peru Airlines (booked through our agent).

Basic Itinerary:

  • Arrive in Cusco, free day to acclimate
  • Tour of The Sacred Valley and free day
  • Overnight trip and tour of Machu Picchu
  • Return to Cusco with Cusco city tour
  • Fly to Lima, take city tour, enjoy some great food (Dave's birthday)
  • Back home
Day One post coming up!

Maps from and

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