Hi All. I'm going to Peru in January and looking for suggestions on good public gardens or other landscapes to check out. Itinerary is Lima - Cusco - Machu Pichu - Puno - Arequipa - Lima. Thanks in advance

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Besides the usual must see sites (i.e. Machu Pichu, Ollantaytambo), I found the Maras Salt Mines spectacular. http://www.cuscoonline.com/english/sacredvalley/valle060.shtml , http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukeredmond/824138771/ If my memory serves me, we took a taxi from Cusco and it wasn't far. It didn't seem like there were organized tours. We just showed up and wandered around the terraces. It felt like another planet. Be careful and enjoy the trip.
Brian thanks for the suggestion. Looks really interesting. Where did you stay in Cisco and did you like the place?
Hostal Corihuasi http://www.corihuasi.com/ Loved it. Don't let the name Hostal fool you. Accommodations were clean and comfortable. The location is perfect (except the walk home is up hill after a long day). Also, the food (breakfast) was great. Though it was in 1999. From the website, it looks the same as when I was there (compared w my photos). However, I can't guarantee that it hasn't changed.

A few thoughts about Lima: In Lima I remember getting off the plane and being surrounded (too closely) by a dozen or more taxi drivers yelling at me to take their taxi. It was insane. I also remember the waterfront and El Parque del Amor (Love Park) as being enjoyable. However, the most memorable site I saw in Lima was San Francisco Convent. The Crypt was interesting. http://www.delange.org/SanFranciscoConventLima/SanFranciscoConventL... Overall Lima was not impressive.

I just stayed overnight in Puno, but the day before arriving, we took a boat on Lake Titicaca via Copacabana. (We came in through La Paz, Bolivia.) There are many beautiful islands to explore. I would not recommend the hotel we stayed in. It was a dump (but cheap what do you expect for $10 a night-8 person room)

It was an amazing trip. Great memories. It is hard to prepare for altitude sickness. It affects people differently. It took me two-three days to acclimate. I basically vomited every hour for at least 24hrs and had a splitting headache. I had to carry a vomit bag around. While everyone else just had a bad headache for two days. So hopefully you have budgeted time to acclimate. when getting to Cusco.

Again, be careful and enjoy the trip.
Brian that's great info again. We have some friends that live in Lima so for the short time we have allocated at the end of the trip we'll rely on them to take us around. We are planning to hang out in Ollantaytambo (9,200') before heading to Machu Pichu to acclimate to the altitude. Your experience sounds awful, but makes for some real memories, right? Let me know if you think of anything else. You didn't go to Colca Canyon outside of Arequipa did you? We're trying to decide if we should try to squeeze it in.
I would suggest visiting Valle Chilina outside of Arequipa. You can catch a cab out there from town, and then just walk around. Nice way to see some old school irrigation techniques in action. Also worth taking a peak at is the promenade in Miraflores in Lima. There is one part that has at beautiful mosaic serpentine seat wall. I hung out there for a while watching the paragliders soar above the ocean. If you had to miss anything in the itinerary, i would make it Puno. Overall I found it to be a pretty ugly city with not that great of access to the Lake. The tour of the Uros Islands (the only reason to go really) was pretty terrible, it felt very disneylandish when the native Uros women started singing "It's a small world" as we were leaving the island. Kind of a shame, because their history is pretty unbelievable.

I am not sure if you booked your trek already to Machu Picchu, but if not, I would highly suggest Peru Treks. A really good company with great guides, good environmental ethics, and they take care of their porters.

Enjoy the coca leaves!
Kevin thanks for the comments. I have been having the same thoughts about Lake T and Puno just from reading about them. We might tain to Puno from Cusco and then go right to Arequipa and out to Colca Canyon. Anybody been to Colca Canyon. Thanks again Kevin.
Kevin I forgot to ask you about the train from Cusco to Puno. Did you do this train trip? I've been told it's a beautiful ride, but if it's nothing special I might consider flying from Cusco right to Arequipa.
Miles,

You lucky b#%*rd, I'm envious. I've got too much going on right know,otherwise I would go. First off, I'm peruvian. Born and raised till I was 8. What I can tell you is there is so much to see and explore. You've really got to narrow down your objectives and goals. Peru is very diverse, coastal, valleys, mountains, desert, the Amazon. You feel me, as my daughter would say. I can direct you to the following ezine. livinginperu.com. You can read all about my beautiful and rich country and find what your after. So, enjoy and may the inca gods be with you.

Jaime
One more thing, here is my suggestion. Look for someplace that you've not heard from others. Lot's of people been there and done that. Not that there is anything wrong with seeing Machu Pichu and Arequipa and the other places mentioned. There is a lot, lot more to Peru than those typical sites. Nazca Valley is one example. So, take it all in. Be happy fellow traveler.
Jim thanks for the thoughtful response. I'm always afreaid of trying to pack in too much and never have time to just sit somewhere and take it all in. Like I mentioned to Kevin, we might bag lake T. and Puno. I'll do some reading about Nazca Valley and check out the ezine. Thanks!

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