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Lima , Pisco , Nasca , Iquitos , Jungle tour from Iquitos

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Travel time: December 02.
1€ = 3.6Sole

Traveling in Peru is easy if you can speak a little Spanish. It´s also quite save if you follow the precaution like in every foreign country. It´s nor chaotic neither that poor like most people imagine.

Best for travel longer distances is the bus. They are mostly in good condition, some even with air condition and toilet. On most stops you will find someone selling food and drinks through the window or inside the bus for a minute. So have small money handy.

At the time of our visit the government published a sheet how a 1 Sole coin has to look like. Since than everyone was very sensible excepting every coins. A great problem because coins from elder stamping are different looking than from newer one. And all this in a country where change is seldom and how will fake 1 Sole coins not even worth the metal?

Some ATM`s excepting EC-cards from European countries for cashing 1000S maximum.

From the airport to the center or reverse is 15S by taxi.

An ATM excepting EC-Cards and most other credit cards is just after customs at the international arrival but with a limit of 500S.

The Hotel España, Jr. Azangaro 105, Tel.: 0051-1-4279196, e-mail: , charge 3, 6, 9S for dorm, single, double rooms with shared bath and 12S for a double with own bath including towels and soap if you ask for. Hot water shortage is not unusual. Mattress are good and rooms are a little noisy.
It is located just 5 minutes from the Plaza de Armas opposite side the San Francisco Convent. The house is old style and the decor worthwhile. It has a nice coffee bar and garden on the rooftop open till 10PM serving drinks and food for reasonable prices. A travel and ticket office on the ground floor and Internet as well.
Normally the main entrance will be closed between 1:30AM to 4AM but if you make lots of noise the housekeeper might open. Map
For more details:

Hotel Residencial Europa at Jr. Ancash 376, Tel.: 4273351 is just opposite side of Hotel España, has cheaper prices for dark and basic rooms with old mattress. Bathrooms are very used too. A small coffee bar is located in the covered courtyard. Didn`t stayed there. Map

Restaurant El Restaurante is at the corner of Hotel España offers good food for average prices. Friendly English speaking staff.

Museo de Oro: Entrance is 30S, open daily from 11.30AM to 7PM. It´s a private collection of gold items from different places. A lot of it´s items look similar and only a few are restored. Very little description can be found so it´s necessary to rent a guide if you want to know more about it. Some mummies and sculls are displayed too.
On the upper floor a chaotic collection of weapons and uniforms form different countries and periods without any description can be seen. All in all worth to visit if you have some time to waste. 15S is a taxi form/to the Plaza de Armas.
Just 100 meters away from the entrance across the main road is a delicious Empanaderia where you get empanadas direct from the oven for around 3-4S.

The Basilica Catedral at the Plaza de Armas is worth a visit and free of charge. Because the Museo de Arte is in the same building they try to sell the ticket (5S) on the main entrance as if its the fee for the cathedral too. The ticket includes a English speaking guide (mostly student) but make this sure before you use them.

The San Francisco Convent houses a museum and the catacombs which are definitely worth a visit. You have to join a tour which will start every hour with an English speaking guide (mostly students). The entrance fee is 5S and includes the guide too.

From Lima to Pisco by bus takes around 3.5 hours and cost 14S. Food and drinks can be bought on the way from street vendors. The bus will stop in Pisco on the main road to Arequipa. From here to the city center its around 5 kilometer through desert. A shared taxi is 5S per person and there is some competition at the bus stop so good for bargain. Be sure you know a place to stay before or let you drop on the Plaza de Armas (center) otherwise the chosen hostal will get more expensive.

From Lima to Iquitos is 72€ for a flight with Trans-Airways. The flight takes 3 hours with a short stopover in Pucallpa.

Airport tax is 4€ for domestic and 25€ for international flights. At the first floor of the domestic airport you will find various coffee bars, Internet and a bookstore with foreign newspapers and magazines.

Posada Hispana Hostal*** at Bolognesi 236, Tel.:05134-536363, has very comfortable rooms with telephone and TV. Its only 2 minutes from the Plaza de Armas and they charge 8€ for a double with private bath and 2€ for basic breakfast which might be included if bargain well.
BBC on the rooftop is possible where you have a nice view too. A luggage storage, safe deposit box and e-mail service is available too. Their staff can speak English, Italian and Catalan they adverted. Only the crowd of guides outside the entrance is a little unpleasant. Map
For more details:

The Disco As De Oro`s is good on Friday and Saturday after 11PM when its getting full. Its 5S for ladies and 10S for man. Wardrobe can be left at the cloakroom. A outside bar serve up drinks at the pool and mostly they play Spanish music. Map

A laundry service can be found at Calle Callao 274, open 24h, washing to weight and delivery service. Its called Lavanderia El Pacifico and just one block from Hispana Hostal. Map

If you look for a tour to Islas Ballestas and the park just wait in front of the hotel or have a look around Plaza de Armas where most travel agencies are located. Map
Paracas Islas Tours took us to both; the island and the park for 55S + 5S entrance fee for the park itself wonder why. The tour started 7AM with a transfer to the harbor off El Chaco where speedboats where waiting. Bring water and plenty of sun cream with you. A hat is not essential and can fly away easily. First a huge drawing in the sand can be seen called "The Candelaber". Than the Islas Ballestas with its large colonies of sea birds and lions will be visited by boat only which will get very close to the animals. The tour takes approximately 1.5 hours.
If you visit the Reserva Nacional de Paracas too you will have a lunch break for around 1 hour at the harbor where various restaurants waiting to serve you well. Its quite touristy here and a souvenir market can be found too.
To the park you will go by minibus or jeep and first stop at a colony of flamingos. Be sure its not their breeding time because in that case they are somewhere else and only some grannies are left. A museum is close by too. A ride through dessert, a walk along the shore, a cave and a fishing village with various restaurants serving mainly fish will be visited too. Here you have the possibility to swim in the freezing cold Pacific.
At some places in the park you are allowed to camp overnight. A 3-day permit is 10S and at the entrance available.

To Nasca we took the bus to Ica which leaves just 2 minutes away from the Plaza de Armas, cost 5S and take 2.5 hours drive. From Ica to Nasca we hired a colectivo privado (car with driver) for 55S. So we had the whole car for us and could stop at any spot like head of sleeping Inca, the tower at the lines of Nasca, in the middle of the dessert or at a restaurant.

Hostal Via Morburg at Jr. Mejia 108, tel.: 034-522566 offers clean rooms for 15S per person. It has super soft mattress, very tiny bathrooms, a 5x8 meter pool, slow and expensive laundry service. No fan, no hot water, no Pisco sour on arrival, no excellent and no cheap restaurant like described in the South American Handbook 2002 from Footprint. No recommendation for both: The hostal and the handbook :-((

Restaurant Govinda at Jr. Arica 450, just one block from the Plaza de Armas serve up excellent vegetarian food for small money. They have full lunch menu for 4.5S, milkshake and Lassi are available too. Highly recommendable.

Huarango Travels Service at Av. Circunvalacion 1084, Tel.: 034-522931 has a recommendable package for 40€ which contains: The transfer to the airport, videoshow of the lines while waiting for the plane (1 to 2 hours depending on the run), a 30 to 40 minutes flight in 3 seat + pilot plane turning right and left slopes on every sight of the lines, bus ride to the cemetery of Chauchilla (4S admission fee included) with some explanation from the English speaking guide, a visit of a boring pottery and a more amusing gold manufactory. The package started 8AM till 2PM without lunch break. Recommendable.

To Lima company Ormeña runs several buses daily in different categories. 18S for Eco and 70S for Royal class which has comfortable sleeper seats, toilet on board, some kind of service and air-condition (or sauna if it doesn`t work :-). The journey takes 6 to 7 hours by royal class (less stops, more speed). 15% discount for groups are possible.

The threeweels or mototaxi charge 1.5 to 2S for a ride inside the city.

From the airport to the center or reverse its 8S by taxi. If they offer a cheaper price they might be touts and the reserved hostal suddenly is fully booked while arriving with them. And no question they will chew your ears till you agree for a jungle trip with them. Same with the "guides" waiting at the airport trying to get a lift with you.

Hospedaje La Pascana at Calle Pevas 133, Tel.: 094-231418 offers clean rooms with own bathroom, towels, soap, toilet paper, fan (some on the ceiling) but only cold water. All rooms are facing a tropical garden courtyard, they have a left luggage room, deposit box, soft drinks, useful information about the city,... Single, double, triple costs 9, 12, 15€. This save place can be highly recommendable. Map
A laundry service is just 25 meter across the street providing service within 3 to 4 hours for 3S per kilo only.

Hostel Hobo Hideout on Putumayo 437, tel.: 094-234099 has clean and nice rooms on the 1st floor and some more basic at ground floor. Use of kitchen and the "swimming" pool (2x2 meter) for free. Nice rooftop jungle house. Its 5€ per person and day. Map

Hostal Leydi at Ramirez Hurtado 801-811, Tel.: 223066 has basic and dirty rooms with noisy fan, private bath but no hot water. Some rooms have balcony, some river view. Single basic / special(?) is 20 / 30S, double 40 / 50S. Same building is a restaurant serving breakfast. Not recommendable but better than nothing.
Just the next house is a small and tasty bakery and its only 100 meters to Belen market. Map

A nice Argentinean restaurant is Camba Lache at corner Raymondi / Nauta serve up some kind of table-BBC. Nothing for vegetarians. Map

Disco Papa Piraña at Loreto 220 has very loud and poor music, expensive drinks (Tequila 10S) in a dark atmosphere and charge 5S admission fee. Buy 1 get 2 relates only to Calpi. Map

From Iquitos to Santa Rosa which is the border town to Tabatinga (Brazil) and Leticia (Columbia) a seaplane leaves on Wednesday and Saturday at 8AM if the weather is fine which is critical in rainy season. It leaves at the military airport Aeropuerto Moronacoch near the city center and can be reached by mototaxi for 1.5S. Tickets are available at travel agency Cari Tour`s on Prospero 392 for 63€. 10kg are free, each 5kg extra will be 15S and they weigh well.

From Iquitos to Tabatinga a speedboat leaves daily at 6AM for 50€ including a basic breakfast and lunch. It has comfortable seats and a toilet on board too. Its about 10 hours interesting travel with a stop at Santa Rosa for custom clearance. Get tickets as early as possible.

Jungle tour from Iquitos
A warning example for nerve-racking business is tour operator"Amazon Wilderness Expedition" which have their office next to the Iron House at Jr. Putumayo. They try to catch you at the airport at arrival with nice price for a lift to the city center. Once you found a hostal like Hostal Leydi (with them together most will be fully booked) they will pursue you till you sign up for a jungle tour.

A highly recommendable tour: Ask at Hospedaje La Pascena or some threeweel drivers around there for an English speaking guide named Lobo or get in contact to him by e-mail: . At the time of writing he just want to get independent from his former tour operator and has not had an own office jet. He has two nice friends called Wilder and George joining the tour able to speak some English and are very well-known to the jungle too.

From Iquitos to Requena a boat leaves twice a week at 5PM with several hours delay. You have to be there much early to get a good place for your hammock (which was all organized by the guides) or get one of the few and overheated cabins. Catch a place on the upper deck away from any light but do not leave much space to your neighbor otherwise someone will use this little extra space to hang his hammock right there.

Day 1: After a night of travel in a hammock on board we had lunch in Requena at the house of a relative of Lobo. The next 6 hours where spend on a motorized boat towards the entrance of the national park Pacaya which is only a river junction, nothing else. A bamboo platform give space for your camp mat and mosquito net. You can swim in the river with shy dolphins together. After dusk millions of mosis making that place a hell for people how can`t kill them by mind.

Day 2: Entering the national park by small canoe paddling around 2.5 hours through primary rain forest to a small area on the riverside where you pitch up your very basic camp. Later you travel in the canoe upriver to discover some monkeys, birds, fishing for pirañas... At night around 11PM you leave with canoe to watch caimans in the darkness.

Day 3: After 2 hours of canoeing you might want to sneak through the jungle by foot discovering colonies of monkeys and lots of poison plants and trees. Spend the rest of the day for fishing your dinner.

Day 4: Clean up camp site and raw back to the camp at mosi hell :-) Make a excursion for edible plants and herbs on foot and canoe.

Day 5: Going back to Requena by motorized boat, take shower and lunch here and catch the big boat to Iquitos at around 3PM spending the night in your hammock on board.

Day 6: Viva la civilization at 5AM at Iquitos.

This tour was 150€ per person (30€ per day) including 2 to 3 meals a day except on board to and from Requena where food and drinks where available at the "bar". The admission fee for the national park is 10€ extra. The tour can be designed for your wish like looking for medicine recommended by a previous visit of a shaman or so.
The guides where very helpful and well-known to the jungle that you never felt lost on your trip. Only the timing differed widely from what was told.
Its a good idea to take an umbrella with you against sun or rain and carry quantities of cigarettes and some alcoholic drinks could be a relaxation at mosi hell too.

Beware: This is NO excursion to a botanical garden, this is real hard stuff, hard ground to sleep on, hard battle with mosis and other unknown insects, no comfort for days, unknown food and so: Wimps stay at home.

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