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3.5 wks in Peru need help deciding where to go


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: January 14th, 2013

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Tags: peru, Southern Peru, Northern Peru
  • Added on: January 14th, 2013
Hi all,

Next month I'm heading down to Colombia for 4 weeks following by Peru for 3.5

I'm flying into Lima and plan to spend 2 nights/1 day before heading on to either Puerto Maldonaldo or Iquitos for a 5dy/4 night jungle trip. Can anyone weigh in on which is better?

From there I'm planning to spend 7 days in Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu area. Is that long enough to see most of the sites?

That leaves me roughly a week in Peru.. which is where I really need help. I'm torn between Northern Peru Trujillo/Chiclayo/Cajamarca OR Southern Peru- Arequipa/Colca Canyon. To all of you that have been to either/both, is one of them a must-do?

Thanks! :D

Hein van Oosten

Lost in Place
Posts: 52
Joined: March 19th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2013
Seven days is enough for Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley. From there it is easier to reach Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, than the north of Peru. So, it is more efficient to go there. Neither of those (Arequipa or north) I would consider a must-do. The north of Peru is less touristic, so that may be an attraction. For me, the north of Peru is more like Chachapoyas, Leymebamba, Cajamarca. Wheather conditions are not very good in the mountains in February. Quite a bit of rain. That may make places on the coast like Trujillo more attractive.


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Joined: May 24th, 2007

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2013
Unless I'm counting wrong you have about 1 1/2 weeks "free". One option would be to add more time to Lima, which is certainly worth more than 2 nights/1 day. Beyond that, I agree that Arequipa would be easier to add to the rest of your trip. Arequipa is a beautiful old colonial city with a world famous mummy and the Convento de Santa Catalina (a UNESCO world heritage sight). Plus the Colca Canyon nearby. You might also have enough time to add something else to your trip (Puno/Lake Titicaca, Nazca, Paracas, Huacachina).

Haven't been to Iquitos or to Puerto Maldonaldo so can't really recommend one or the other. Just be aware that the logistics are different. You would need to fly to get to Iquitos which is likely cheapest from Lima. For Puerto Maldonaldo, a trip would be best arranged out of Cucso where you'll find lots of tour companies. Trips to Puerto Maldonaldo are quite expensive (expect to pay a minimum of $500 for a 5 day/4 night trip, but probably more like $600-700). Not sure the cost of a trip to Iquitos but obviously a lot will depend on the cost of a round trip flight.


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: September 5th, 2014

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  • Added on: September 18th, 2014
In terms of Puerto Maldonado vs Iquitos, both places will give you an "jungle" experience and are pretty awesome. Puerto Maldonado might be a better idea though, as it's somewhat more accessible an cheaper than Iquitos. It's also really easy to get from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco, so that could help make your next connection smooth. This page may be helpful for you: ... -maldonado

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