Lake Titicaca was awful. We stayed in Puno and went on a day excursion to the floating islands. The lake was extremely polluted and overgrown with smelly algae. The floating islands were interesting to see, but very exploited. Tourism here has produced a floating handicraft market, not to mention restaurants on the islands, and a phone booth. Perhaps it is our own fault for not spending a few more days to go further to less exploited islands. But really, it was quite a let down.over 5 years ago
It really feels like a different country; it’s so different from the rest of Peru.
We went to Iquitos, which, in itself, was not a great town. But, we booked a jungle lodge stay with Muyuna, which was amazing. We saw so many animals and walked through the rainforest. I woud recommend paying the extra money to go with a company further away from Iquitos. The cheaper lodges are closer to Iquitos and you aren’t likely to see much wildlife.
Also, we loved the butterfly farm, which should be in most guide books. The monkeys there were more amazing than the butterflies. They crawl all over you and are so fun to play with!
I just got back from a 5 week trip here.
After spending so much time there I’m at a bit of a loss for how to explain it. The Incan ruins were fantastic, as was Machu Picchu, of course. There is easily enough here to see to fill up two months, especially since the north feels like a different country from the south.
Peru is a good country to visit if you’re looking for something a bit off the beaten path (note: this does not apply to the Machu Picchu area, which I’m pretty sure has more tourists than Peruvians). But, it does have a decent amount of tourists, too many for my taste in some spots. The result is that tourists don’t feel out of place, have a decent place to stay, but still are able to experience a different culture. The north has much fewer tourists than the south and I highly suggest taking the time to visit Iquitos and the Amazon.
I didn’t plan anything or book any tours before I left. In order to hike the Incan trail you have to book at least 6 months in advance, so we couldn’t do that. We showed up in Cusco and booked a Lares valley trek, an alternate to the Incan trail, with Llama Path. It was a wonderful trek (but very hard), and I recommend them. We also booked a jungle trip with Muyuna in Iquitos. I recommend them also; we say all sorts of wildlife (dolphins, sloths, monkeys, some sort of huge rodent, caiman).
As a warning, no one in Peru speaks English. No one. That said, I know very little Spanish, but the bit I did know got us by. At least learn how to say numbers and a few simple phrases before you leave. It will help immensely.
Also, I am vegetarian and didn’t have much of a problem with it. But, be prepared to eat pizza and pasta every day. In Iquitos there was so little that we could eat that we ate pasta for breakfast. In my opinion though, Peru doesn’t have very good food. I found it bland.
Prices for Peru weren’t incredibly cheap, but pretty reasonable. We paid $10-15 a night for a double hotel that usually had hot water and was pretty clean. You can definitely get a cheaper one though. Meals were about $5, but again, if you eat meat they can be much cheaper. A domestic flight is $100, and I recommend paying a little more to fly LAN Peru because the others are also delayed and the planes shake like they’re going to fall apart.
Okay, well that’s pretty much everything I wish someone would have told me before I went. I didn’t really get sick, despite drinking all sorts of fruit juice with local water in it and doing all sorts of other, not recommended, risky behavior. In a nutshell, if you want to some real life-changing things—poverty, kids begging on the street and whatnot—Peru probably isn’t your best bet. But, it was different, fun, and was some pretty hardcore traveling.
Other than the fact that it smells like a bathroom and looks really trashy, Bamboo Gardens is the best.
They have an interesting array of “meat” dishes, including fake eel and shark fin soup. I haven’t had the nerve to try either yet, but the sweet and sour chicken is amazing.
Somehow, they get the food out amazingly fast. It usually takes about five minutes. It is quite a mystery, but I can’t complain!
Growing up, my family went to Long Beach every summer. It has quite a lot of charm.
Long Beach is the only town I can think of without a Starbucks. Most of the places here are locally owned, which I like. The ice cream shop across the street from Cranberry Castle (I can’t remember what it’s called) has really good ice cream. And everyone must visit Marsh’s museum to see Jake the Alligator Man. It’s required.
Eww by Santy_Claus
I’ve lived in this town my whole life, before moving to Bellingham for college. I’ve watched what was once a nice, small town transform into suburban hell.
There are no more forests left in Puyallup. They were all cut down to build more houses. Then they planted some perfectly lined trees along the main road to make up for it.
Downtown Puyallup isn’t as bad as South Hill (the part where I’m from), but that’s not to say it’s worth visiting.
Quite an interesting place to visit. Very nice beaches (though I was there during monsoon season, so they were not so nice) and good food.
I would avoid taking the bus here during monsoon season. I came from Bangalore and the roads were really bad because of the rain.
Also, I found Kannur to be difficult to travel in. Autorickshaws are harder to come by than in the bigger cities; I would recommend hiring a driver.
There’s a place called Aryavaidhyasala and Nursing Home about an hour outside the Kannur that does authentic ayurvedic massages for $4. They were even nice enough to give us a tour and show us how they make their natural medicines for the treatment.
I spent five weeks here doing volunteer work last month. Probably one of my favorite places in India, just because it was less tourist-centered.
There isn’t a lot in the way of temples and other sights, but city market is amazing. The weather is much cooler and the food is absolutely delicious.
And the Karnataka train and bus systems are fairly well organized; I recommend them.