a VirtualTourist member from Pennsylvania
My husband I will be in Peru for 12 days in October. We plan to see Aztec ruins in the Sacred Valley, Machu Pichu, and to fly over the Nazca lines
Part of our trip will be to Lake Titicaca. I would dearly love to travel into Bolivia and see Tiahuanacu and Puma Puccu but my husband says Bolivia would be unsafe for us. I was unable to schedule travel there when I booked the trip originally.
Does anyone have an opinion about travel into Bolivia to those two locations? Should I try to schedule something once we arrive in Cuzco or should we forget the Bolivia side trip?
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
It is a long time since i have been in Bolivia but it is a great country. I have not heard of any foreigners being kidnapped recently, or caught up in the unrest. I say, go for it!
12 days may sound like a lot, but remember that you will be at altitude, so it may take you a couple of days to acclimatise. The Sacred Valley and MP really deserve a week as there is a huge amount to see and do. Nazca is the other end of the country and as a general rule of thumb, travel within Peru is fairly slow.
I would also like to go to Bolivia, and I haven't seen much in the way of regative press about traveller security in the last couple of years, although hopefully someone who's been there recently will be able to comment.
And I think that you probably mean Inca (rather than Aztec) ruins? :)
Aztec ruins in Peru? I think not! Inca more likely, although they are at the end of a long chain of civilisations.
To go from Cusco (MP) to Nazca is a long and tortuous journey. One way would be to fly back to Lima, then you could take a coach to Ica - takes somewhere in the region of 3 hours, depending. You could also go overland but this would take DAYS! Then you can take another bus or a tour to Nazca. However, do read up about flying over the Lines - it is up to you. We asked when we were there and everyone said "don't" so we didn't. Personally, I am not that fussed about the Lines. The excellent museum in Ica has an outside space where they have recreated some of the Lines and one can view all this from a tower. There are frequent sea mists that roll in at that time of year.
If you are going to go down to that neck of the woods, then do not miss a visit to the Ballesteros islands and the Paracas Reserve. Imho these are far more worth a visit than to Nazca.
As for Boliva - it is hardly a side trip and in 12 days you are be pushing it to do Cusco, MP and the Sacred Valley, plus the south and Nazca. Bolivia is absolutely fascinating and well-worth the time but not worth trying to squeeze into a 12 day trip. As for safety - oh dear, this always comes up and seems to be an obsession with our NA cousins wherever they travel, although you may not be a 'cousin' as your profile contains nil information that might be useful in directing a suitable response. Every place, in the world and in Bolivia, barring the war zones, is as safe as you make it providing you follow basic ground rules, as you would for any place one might go. Bolivia is no more unsafe than anywhere else.
Thank you so much.. I think we should go for it too. I think I'll wait for some additional responses though, to see if anyone has done the same thing lately. I appreciate your help. Melissa (the female half of Mel and Greg)
Sorry. I got my Aztecs and Incas mixed up..
Thanks for all your helpful information.. We are traveling on an independent basis but all of the places I mentioned are already scheduled as part of our trip. We are traveling through a Globus tour. I actually am a little concerned to hear that the itinerary is going to rush us. We are indeed from NA and I don't know when we'll get to do something like this again. I think that's why I'm trying to cram so much in. We are already scheduled to see the Ballestos area.
Perhaps you are right about Bolivia. We are only allotted a day or so at Titicaca and we would have to forgo other places on the lake to go to Tiahuanacu, however the place has fascinated me for 30 years and I'd love to see it for myself.
Again, thanks so much for your help.
Thanks Cathy. Sorry, I got my Aztecs and Incas mixed up.
The replies I've gotten so far say this is already an aggressive itinerary (it's actually part of an unescourted Globus tour) so maybe trying to squeeze Bolivia into the mix is just too much. We are already scheduled to go to Titicaca and we'd have to forgo other stops on the lake to go to Bolivia. I was willing to do so because Tiahuanacu has fascinated me for thirty years and I'd love to see it (and Puma Pucu as well).
I too hope someone responds who has done something similar recently so I can see if it's feasible.
Thanks again so very much for your advice..it was much appreciated!
Mel (the female half of Mel and Greg
Aztec ruins in the Sacred Valley? They are Inca ruins.
Glad to be of help.
If Bolivia doesn't prove practical and you're looking for something more 'doable' within Peru that might be more compatible with your itinerary, then perhaps consider a trip to Arequipa in the South?
There's a direct flight from Juliaca (the airport near Puno) and we certainly found it very worthwhile. It has much more of a Spanish feel than the Cusco area, and has a scenic location in the shadow of the El Misti volcano. From there, you could explore the terrific Colca Canyon, which provides a different perspective on the Andes, and then connect back to Lima.
Hawkhead's suggestion of the Ballasteros Islands is also interesting - we haven't been as it would have made our schedule too tight - but would really like to visit in the future. She knows Peru well and was there recently, so I'd trust her advice.
As a general comment, Peru is not a place to visit on a 'whistle stop' schedule if you have the choice: it's so atmospheric and scenic that you'll be rewarded if you visit fewer places and linger a little longer rather than rushing from site to site. I'm not familiar with the package company that you're using, but I would add that we found it very visitor-friendly and easy to self-organise our trip (the only caveat being the availability of tickets on the train to Macchu Pichu, which book out very fast.
Hi there!! Bolivia is a great country in my opinion but i definately depends on the style of traveller you are... Most backpackers love bolivia but many more high end tourists don like it too from my exprience... I actually think its a really athentinc country which makes its very interesting.. At the moment there IS political instability in Bolivia but its not a dangerous country although you might see manifestations and that type of activites.
HOWEVER i also think that maybe 12 days wont be enough to do all you want to do, unless you do it really fast passed.. as mentioned on a previous post arequipa would probably be a better option because its on route.
this page has some similar programsto what you want with good info a nice pics.. maybe check it out: peruviansoul.com/28/destinat...
Thank you for the information.
Thank you so much for your posting. I guess maybe I was too ambitious. Maybe we'll just stick to the original plan and save Bolivia for the future. I've read about Arequipa and would love to see it. Too many places, not enough time!
I also hate to shortchange Titicaca as I understand the culture of those that live there is facinating. Your help and advice is much appreciated.
Hmmmm ... it's my personal opinion (and I know that others won't necessarily agree), but I found Titicaca to be the low point of our Peruvian trip. the train journey there from Cusco was great, but the Uros floating islands and Taquile were somewhat underwhelming. Not awful - just not as good as I had hoped. Perhaps if we'd had more time to explore the arcaheological sites along the shoreline, it might have been more impressive.
If you really want to see some culture and understand something of the civilisations, then go north of Lima to the sites within visiting distance of Chiclayo and Trujillo. And further north and inland. Even in Lima you can visit Carel in a day, a long day; and then nearer to Lima there is Pachacamac.......
hi I just spent three weeks in bolivia and it was perfectly safe (or as safe as anywhere else) We are travelling as two girls and did not have any problems. Its a beautiful place and i would advice you to go for it!
You can book tours to lake Titicaca in peru adn organising buses to visit other places in bolivia was very easy!
enjoy your trip!