My 2 week trip to Peru in February 2013 definitely had a lot of ups and downs. Fortunately, I think the ups definitely won in the end. I met some really great people and will have memories to last a lifetime.
I booked The Sacred Lands of the Incas tour with Intrepid Travel. This itinerary almost exactly matched what I wanted to do in Peru. I will try to review them and the tour details separately.
Living in New York, I had several options of airports, airlines, dates and times of when to fly to Lima. I chose an afternoon flight out of Newark direct to Lima on the day before my tour was to start. This United Airlines flight got me into Lima around 10pm. I have mixed feelings on United Airlines – the counter agents at Newark were less than helpful and seemed to hate their jobs. You check yourself in at a kiosk at the counter and then stand around twiddling your thumbs until they decide to end their personal conversations to assist you with taking your checked baggage. Also the security people at Newark were at the same level of helpfulness. They seem to just like sending people back and forth between different security lines – just because they can. After that, I bought a disgusting sandwich from a shop outside my gate which was very disappointing……my trip was not starting out well.
However, after all those little annoyances, things immediately started to look better! I requested a new seat from my gate agent and she promptly upgraded me for free to a Premier Economy seat all while making really friendly chit-chat and even showing concern that I was traveling to Peru all by myself. My seat had a ton of room and even an outlet for me to charge my electronics. There were no crying babies on the flight either so I was ecstatic!
Upon arrival in Lima, getting a taxi at the airport was easy. I stepped out of customs, outside of the car rental area, and BAM! Green Taxi person asked if I needed a taxi. Sure! Let’s go! Done! I tipped the driver which is not the norm but he was a good guy so I felt I should. He thought I was weird for it. 🙂
The Intrepid tour had us staying at Hotel Inka Path which is in the middle of Lima’s city center / downtown – not an awesome area. The cab driver advised that I go inside the hotel and stay inside for the night. The room was just fine – TV, bathroom and fan. It was warm but not too stifling the first night; however the shared room the second night was almost unbearably hot, even with the balcony doors open and fan on high. There is free Internet but it doesn’t really work very well. Also, Peruvians seem to not understand that not everyone wakes up at 5am so it is very loud after that time.
Hotel Inka Path’s counter staff is not very helpful. I don’t know if it’s just a language issue or if they truly don’t care about their customers. For more than one or two nights, I would recommend staying elsewhere.