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  The Chatter Box : Travel
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Philson in Peru by Godfather on 22 July 2004 6:46pm

An update here for you Phil. I've just read in the small print of a new brochure of Trailfinders (the flights company) that officially the Peruvian government is asking people to register with the governing body in Cusco at least 30 days prior to an Inca Trail trek. I mentioned this on my reply to you,but honestly did'nt think they would impliment the rumour. It simply means that people who are visiting Peru on a short holiday,are going to have to go through expensive companies to get this side of things arranged before leaving home. And,someone who intends to travel independently in Peru on a shortish holiday,will be stuck and restricted by this. I think this is an absurd move,and one which will hit the travelling scene in Peru in a big way. But the government will have to learn that the hard way. If i were you,i'd check up on this a little bit more though because Trailfinders are always given very "official" lines on things,when in reality it's not always the truth for everyone. Several times they've told me duff information, such as saying i cannot get a 6 month Indian visa anymore, and said only 3 month was given now. They insisted this was the case. I did'nt believe this,and phoned up the Indian embassy in London to be told "6 months visa, no problem Baba". I applied in person at the embassy and got my 6 month multiple entry visa. So,take the Peru thing with a pinch of salt until you can confirm it.

Re: Philson in Peru by justdna on 23 July 2004 1:28am
If that is true, then the Peruvian Government have shot themselves in the foot financially, so to speak. So many independant travellers just arrive there with enough time to do the trail and then its off somewhere else. It's unbelievable that they have done that.
Re: Philson in Peru by PHILSON on 23 July 2004 2:53am
Thanks for Info Godfather. I shall have to keep an eye on this, though still got over a year before I was thinking of going. It makes you wander how all these charities are going to get on, as so many of them run trips to this destination for people who want to raise money while doing this adventure.

I will look at it in again in more detail in the new year to see what is going on out there. Perhaps the Peruvian Government will see sense before it gets implemented, otherwise might have to consider a travel group like Explore.
Re: Philson in Peru by Godfather on 23 July 2004 9:40pm
I agree Phil. It really is shooting themselves in the foot. It appears that Peru is trying to "Bhutan" it's tourist industry more and more. They're trying to attract the big spenders as tourists, and get rid of the cheapo backpacker types it seems. Short term it may appear that they're making more money that way. But,they will end up trashing parts of the country as they adapt them to suit the needs of mid-upper range tourists (ala,that tacky tourist hotel very close to Macchu Picchu....which i'm ashamed that Michael stayed at in Full Circle,i would add). The budget travellers in South America tend to enjoy travelling with less impact ad usually dont try and change things to suit them. Time will tell how this move will affect travelling in Peru. Personally,i felt that move where they cut 90% of the cowboy agencies was wise enough. They did'nt need to go this extra step and start asking people to register 30 days before. 30 days prior, is absurdly long. Philson,yes i'd do more research on that if i were you because Trailfinders do tend to believe anything they're told by Government and Embassys, without checking themselves. The peruvian government would give out this info to such influential agencies like Trailfinders,in an attempt to make it sound more concrete.
Re: Philson in Peru by PHILSON on 24 July 2004 11:33pm
Alas on another destination Godfather, perhaps you can recommend on the following as I seem to recall seeing you have travelled through Costa Rica. Have now had my final approval and have booked my flights for this volunteer project in Jan 05.

Before I go trailing through any guide books, can you recommend any key sites, beaches & towns to take myself off to on the 3 weekends I will get off as free time in the duration I am out there? In the week I will probably only have time to meet up with the other volunteers in the evening for a beer etc, for which at this stage I believe I am going to be staying near Ramon.
Re: Philson in Peru by Godfather on 25 July 2004 1:39am

Hmm..Key sites?. Well, there are many many National Parks there and so many to choose from. Some are heavily "structured" for visitors, and that means they are not exactly wilderness. But one i can recommend is called "Parque Nacional Rincon de La Viaje" near Liberia in the Guanacaste region. It's a little visited (well,that was 1997) one,simply because it was very tricky to get up to it without your own jeep. Lots of crazy dirt tracks. So i just hitched. Brought camping gear,food,and stayed there the night in the forest before getting up early and trekking up the side of the volcanoe. It's quite a hot,steep and long walk,but the views at the top are spectacular. Right on the edge of the crater,with views all around and over to Nicaragua. Down in the forest below,there are many big waterfalls,fumaroles etc. In terms of beaches,the Pacific coast ones tend to be more spacious and untouched than the carribean side. The Carribean side beache are your usual Carribean type. White sand,palm trees etc. But is populated by Black Caribs and has a bit of a sleezy run down side to it. I found people a bit rude there. This is not an attack on Blacks,but rather on the attitude of the people in that area. On the west pacific coast,you meet the Tico Costa Ricans who are much more friendly and there are hundreds of miles of empty beaches and little villages (away from the popular resorts of course). There are many volcanoe sites other than the park i mentioned though. Such as Volcan Arenal. The pictures below are not mine, but show the wonderful Volcan Arenal next to the town of La Fortuna. Nice little town, and the volcanoe is still very active. At night,you can see the red lava at work. The picture below is quite an extreme eruption, but you will still the lava spurting into the air at night.


The two pics below are the daytime view.



I've been to several areas of the country,but most of my wider travelling in the country was done there in early 1997. So much of that seems like a distant memory now,and not much comes to mind at the moment. I'll try to think of some more places.

In the meantime, here are just a few of the parks you can go to there :


Re: Philson in Peru by TravelChampion on 25 July 2004 9:56am
One tip I can think of for Macchu Picchu....

It might sound like an obvious one, but try and get to the site for the sunrise - WHATEVER the weather looks like as you prepare to drag yourself out of your bed/tent at some desperately early hour.

Frequently there will be what looks like quite a thick early morning hill mist/fog...so, of course, you won't see a decent sunrise and there is a temptation to think "Stuff it - I'll have abit of a lie in and arrive later".
But on many days, the mist clears fairly early and quite quickly and {with a little bit of luck?!} the next best thing is to watch the mists swirling around with the sun peaking through...all whilst the site is pretty much devoid of the crowds that arrive from about 9AM onwards.

If we're into looking at pics, below is a link to one of mine {and quite a favourite one too}:


45 minutes prior to the picture being taken there was a thick mist with visability down to about 100 yards - and from the vantage point in the photo you literally could not see anything at all. I was cold, tired and absolutley cursing my luck etc, etc.

As for the rest of the day - well, what do you think?! :-)

Have a great trip,
Re: Philson in Peru by Godfather on 25 July 2004 2:53pm
Nice picture, Andrew. The greens come out beautifully in it. I agree about getting up early. We also hit the initial swirling mist. But by god when it cleared it was amazing. There is a scene in the movie "1492 : Conquest of Paradise" where the ship arrives in the new world,and there is a mist obscuring the view. Suddenly a breeze parts a way through and the first view of the mainland. Always reminded me of that. It really does pay to get to Macchu on the trail and arrive early, because as you say,the first tour groups tend to start arriving after 9am.

I remember a bunch of Peruvian school kids arrived and the place completely transformed it's character from then on. Noisy and chockablock with people Luckily,i'd had several hours of peacefull solo walking around the site and steps prior to that. One memory that is fond,is the night before we camped at another spot abotu 1.5 hours from the site. That night we had crashing thunderstorms and lightning over the forested mountains,and it was a fullmoon night.

Quite surreal indeed.
Re: Philson in Peru by PHILSON on 26 July 2004 10:57pm
Thanks Godfather, the volcano is a definate visit and the parks, though documented in Spanish will have some attention no doubt. Is it fairly easy to get beach accomodation at short notice? as I'm thinking of just chilling on the pacific coast for 1 of the weekends.

I read some info about the pacific beaches, detailing that the trees are full of amazing coloured parrots?, i.e. you can just lay there and listen to them squawking. I'm also thinking about the white water rafting for a day, which alledgey is the best in Central America.

Oh and Andrew, I reckon the rest of your day was pretty amazing going by your photo.

Re: Philson in Peru by Godfather on 27 July 2004 12:06am
Hi Philson,

Yeah,from what i remember accomodation was pretty easy to get. Things will be a little pricier on the Pacific coast. But better quality than the carribean side usually. I've not done white water rafting there, so i cannot given any info on that. But i should imagine it would be good. Overall,the wildlife is prolific in Costa Rica. On my second visit,i was camping in the jungle for about 2 months, and was woken up early every morning by howler monkeys. Trust me, the novelty soons wears off. Bastards!!. In the evening,the most terrifying looking mutant bright green and purple armour plated beetle type flying spinny and buzzing insects would fly along and "thud" onto your back (yep,that's the sound it made as it hit). Some scary looking insects out there, i can tell ya. Just warning you incase they reaaallly freak you out. Also,lots of turtles, weird jungle dog type creatures,jaguars,parrots, cicadas, thingys, more thingys, and tics (watch out for the little sods if you're camping). Oh, and the scorpions (got stung by one in the middle of the night,in a tent). Lift bits of wood with a stick first (if you ever need to move wood).

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