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Old 06-29-2011, 10:46 AM   #1
WeLoveABD
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Peru

We are closing in on 30 days before our trip (start date is Aug 2)...our box has not yet arrived but I understand from the ABD folks that the tote bags (an option instead of the backpacks, of which we have many now) were being made by a supplier now out of business so there has been a delay in getting the current boxes mailed. Should be end of this week.

We likely will have Armando and Ernesto (or is it Arnesto?) as our guides--I have not met them before. Anyone have any experiences with these guides? (I know they will be perfect for the trip--Disney does a great job with the guides). Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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Thanks for the heads up. I'm 2 months out, so am expecting my box in a couple of weeks. If it's late, at least I'll have an idea why!

Have a FABULOUS trip! I've heard such great things about this itinerary.

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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We had Ernesto on our Peru trip last summer. He is from Cusco and was an excellant guide. We are the people that ask a lot of questions and he never tired of answering them. We got great insight about the people of Peru from him as well as their history. We also had Henry (I think) as our local expert who was outstanding as well.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #4
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Just so you don't get too excited about the impending messenger bags - we had the option of backpacks or messenger bags - there are 5 of us, so we chose 3 backpacks and 2 messenger bags. Ended up getting 3 messenger bags and 2 backpacks. The backpacks are really nice...not quite as large as past backpacks and they seem to be of better quality than the last ones we had. The messenger bags, well - one of them is missing the carry strap, so it is basically useless, and the other 2 - we really don't see how we could use them - they are really more of a laptop carrier to me than a travel type bag. It is not very deep and the sides are very stiff so it doesn't conform to your body - just kind of hangs there awkwardly...I can't imagine anyone actually packing this with their daily needs on a trip, i.e. jacket, camera etc...it's just not that kind of bag.

So, for us, I wish we had ordered 5 backpacks instead...oh well - 2 weeks from today we leave for our Alpine Magic trip and nothing can dampen our excitement!!

Oh, and you will love, love, love the Peru trip - it is truly magical!! Enjoy!!
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjd469 View Post
Just so you don't get too excited about the impending messenger bags - we had the option of backpacks or messenger bags - there are 5 of us, so we chose 3 backpacks and 2 messenger bags. Ended up getting 3 messenger bags and 2 backpacks. The backpacks are really nice...not quite as large as past backpacks and they seem to be of better quality than the last ones we had. The messenger bags, well - one of them is missing the carry strap, so it is basically useless, and the other 2 - we really don't see how we could use them - they are really more of a laptop carrier to me than a travel type bag. It is not very deep and the sides are very stiff so it doesn't conform to your body - just kind of hangs there awkwardly...I can't imagine anyone actually packing this with their daily needs on a trip, i.e. jacket, camera etc...it's just not that kind of bag.

So, for us, I wish we had ordered 5 backpacks instead...oh well - 2 weeks from today we leave for our Alpine Magic trip and nothing can dampen our excitement!!

Oh, and you will love, love, love the Peru trip - it is truly magical!! Enjoy!!
Well, maybe that's one of the reasons the supplier went out of business!! I can always hope the new ones are better...

Actually, weren't they described as "Media bags"? Not Messenger bags. That's one of the reasons I chose it: to carry my iPad. Messenger bags were 2008, and boy, talk about useless...

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Old 06-29-2011, 12:17 PM   #6
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Thanks all! We are excited about the trip--and this is the 100th anniversary year of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu! As for bags...we loved the original packpacks we got (had a brown leather-like bottom to them); then next trip we got slightly smaller ones (blue, I think)...so the next round we went with the media bags (black). Now, at first I wasn't sure what to make of the black bags--but over time have found them useful for short trips, carrying laptops etc. I hope that the change in vendor will produce a top notch tote bag, whatever that will be!
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Just got back from our trip! It was great!!! Im still at the airport and will write insights and tips once I am settled down.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tufbuf View Post
Just got back from our trip! It was great!!! Im still at the airport and will write insights and tips once I am settled down.
Welcome back! Looking forward to your Report!

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:31 PM   #9
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Okay, here goes my insights and tips. This trip is AWESOME! The land and the people left me in awe and wonder and Macchu Picchu is truly Peru's jewel.

Our guides were Armando, and Alejandra was our local guide. Both have been doing this ABD trip for the last 3 years. The funny thing is, we saw Chris, our SWS ABD guide who just finished the previous Peru trip! He was on his way back to the US to do SWS again. Both our guides were funny. Armando is the epitome of cool, calm, collected and he is also very attentive and good with the kids.

WEAVING DEMO IN CHINCHERO - This was our very first activity at 12, 800 feet. Most of us felt the effects of high altitude once we got there. One child, whose family arrived early in the morning on the same day passed out and vomited probably a combination of fatigue and altitude sickness. Poor thing. Anyway, the women weavers are astounding and the work they do is impressive. Since we just got there and I felt light-headed from the low pressure atmosphere, I only got a few items from them. We had a free afternoon that day and our guides recommended to take it easy, relax to help us acclimatize. So we did. The walkway in the lodge where we stayed is mostly uphill. It's not steep but the path is uneven, you can feel yourself panting and heart beating fast after just a few feet of walking.

URUBAMBA RAFTING - This was fun but I was very apprehensive before we started. The last words Chris told us before we parted ways in the hotel lobby was, "close your mouth in the Urubamba". I have read about it being polluted due to the growing Cuzco town. I took heed and had fun. You can't help getting splashed with water especially once you go through the Class 3 rapids. We were advised not to splash water at each other and some still did, and I was horrified to find out, that one family even swam in the water. As expected, 2 members of the family got sick - 1 missed one day of the tour and 2 missed 2 days, even Macchu Picchu. Hubby got sick too... He sat in front and got a good splash. He managed to pull through and didn't miss a day.

OLLANTAYTAMBO RUINS - This was our first test of endurance. The ruins is astounding, how the Incas piled the rocks in such a way like a jigsaw puzzle. The ascent to the top and appreciate the pink granite of the unfinished sun temple was a work out. What the guides did was stop every few steps and rest on the terraces. This gave us more than enough time to recover.

MORAY AND THE SALT MINES - The hike down and up the terraces in Moray was probably the toughest hike of the tour. We start on the top of the terraces and walk our way down. The steps were made of granite rocks stuck on the side of the terraces. It was nice to get down but the climb up can really get you winded.
The salt mines were also amazing. I have never seen anything like it! The hike from the start is a long one to and involves walking on a dusty path which can be slippery if you don't wear the right footwear. One of the kids got a nasty gash on his knee after slipping.

MACCHU PICCHU - I was speechless. I could not believe I was finally seeing this world wonder with my own eyes. You really have to see it to experience it. We had optional activities in the afternoon and I chose to do the Inca Trail. Hubby and daughter, since the former was not feeling 100%, decided to stay with the tour with the local expert, which I also wanted to do. There were only 3 (4 including Armando)of us who hiked the last part of the Inca Trail. We hiked up to the Moonstone, a temple where the Incas worshipped the moon. It was probably a mile hike uphill and very strenuous. We had a great view of Macchu Picchu and I felt great having walked part of the Inca Trail which takes about 3-5 days to hike all 27 miles of it.

PISAQ MARKET - This is where the shopping begins.

LLAMA FARM - We got up close and personal with these animals which serve many purpose to the local people. The shop there is really nice and they have the quality woven clothing and other merchandise made mostly from baby alpaca wool.

CUZCO - More shopping! Wait till you get to Cuzco to do major shopping. They have beautiful silver jewelry which I indulged on and other fashionable wool ponchos, shawls and scarves. They also have several museums you can visit and even the imposing cathedral is a sight to behold.

Thanks to kermit's tip, the Peruvians are very particular about the quality of the dollar bills. At one point, hubby was paying for one item and they rejected half of the $20 he paid, he ended up giving our whole wad of bills and asked them to choose.

Altitude sickness happens and according to the guides, the adults are affected more than the kids. Just follow the guides' advise and you will be okay - drink lots of water, pace yourself and don't overeat. And since all we did was drink water (sometimes I consume 1.5 liter a day), take advantage of every potty stop. I used it almost every time!

It will be useful to have toilet paper handy since not all restrooms have toilet paper. The guides have them each and every time as well as alcogel.

If you can get new $ bills to pay, it would be less of a hassle. Another option is just use soles.

It is chilly in the morning but it gets warm during the day. I thought it would be colder at the Sol y Luna Lodge but the space heater and the double wool blanket on the beds was more than enough to keep me nice and comfy through the night. The pillows though are very soft, we had to add the blanket we brought (which we used on the plane) or the throw pillow on the bed to give more fluff and height on the pillows.

So there. Any questions I'll be willing to answer. Those who will be doing the trip this July will most likely have Armando as their guide. Poor guy, he also caught a stomach bug early on our trip but he was all better after a couple of days.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:16 AM   #10
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questions on peru

Hi TufBuf - Thanks for the notes
we are on the trip 2nd August with IloveABD and are looking forward to it (by the way received our backpack box)
Would you mind answering a couple of questions for me.

- Altitude sickness - did you take any pills or use any medication when you felt under the weather? I plan to take some and was surprised when you said most felt the affects so wondered if that was even with medication?

- the stomach bug - was this down to anything specific? It is the frist time I had heard of people feeling unwell. Did the guides travel with medication or is it best to travel with something.
- Talking of the food - we are travelling with an 8 year old boy who is not a great eater... were you aware of childrens simple options. It was available in costa Rica just checking in Peru?

- The rapids - our son up until now has avoided both ABD rafting excursion (costa rica and yellowstone) as they have been 2/3's. This one looked more timid and we were hoping to tempt him on. How rough is it.. I would hate to convice him and then put him off for life?

thank you in advance
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:45 AM   #11
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Ah, man, this sounds like an excellent trip. The altitude sickness & stomach issues worry me, because I have a lot of issues as it is... Did the altitude sickness prevent you from doing anything?

Thanks for the report. So very tempting...

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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:01 PM   #12
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Pipch: look forward to meeting you and your family on the trip! ABD tells me the number is 35--with 8 Jr Adventurers (17 and under). Our DD is 10 turning 11 in August, and our DS is 17 turning 18 in Dec. The 100 yr celebration for Macchu Picchu, I am told, is July 7--so we'll miss that for good and bad (the locals may still be celebrating!)

Thanks TufBuf for the great tips and report! Would not have thought about the river water issues, so will do my best to sit in back and keep my mouth shut (my DW would laugh at that!).
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pipch View Post
Hi TufBuf - Thanks for the notes
we are on the trip 2nd August with IloveABD and are looking forward to it (by the way received our backpack box)
Would you mind answering a couple of questions for me.

- Altitude sickness - did you take any pills or use any medication when you felt under the weather? I plan to take some and was surprised when you said most felt the affects so wondered if that was even with medication?

- the stomach bug - was this down to anything specific? It is the frist time I had heard of people feeling unwell. Did the guides travel with medication or is it best to travel with something.
- Talking of the food - we are travelling with an 8 year old boy who is not a great eater... were you aware of childrens simple options. It was available in costa Rica just checking in Peru?

- The rapids - our son up until now has avoided both ABD rafting excursion (costa rica and yellowstone) as they have been 2/3's. This one looked more timid and we were hoping to tempt him on. How rough is it.. I would hate to convice him and then put him off for life?

thank you in advance
My pleasure!

-Altitude sickness: I did not take any medication. The headache and lightheadedness are normal initial reaction to altitude, as well as the increase in heart rate. I only know of one child who took Diamox, not sure if I would do the same but both her parents were physicians. She suffered from motion sickness though, which is another thing to consider due to the winding roads to get to the salt pans. One adult had to use oxygen every night but he's fine during the day. He's not sure exactly why that was happening to him.
I also think getting in shape really helps. I work out regularly and really made an effort to prepare for this trip. This is the most strenuous trip we have done and I would have been a "casualty" if I didn't get myself in shape. Another perk, hubby and I both lost weight from all the hiking! Not that I need to lose any more weight!

-Stomach bug: The 3 people who got affected most likely got it from the Urubamba River. Armando had a stomach bug too but he got from eating food outside the tour. He was lackluster for a couple of days but he is such a trooper and went on. We can tell he wasn't feeling well and we are all glad he perked up on the third day. He took antibiotics which he took with him thanks to his physician dad. I am not sure about the other two who got sick (vomiting and diarrhea) if they took anything, but they sure looked great when they joined the group again.
Peruvian food is SO GOOD!!!!! I LOVE it and I will miss their ceviche and quinoa. They served alpaca meat too which is like beef but leaner. The guides provide constant bottled water. I will just make sure hands are clean all the time.

-food for kids: Guess what? My 10 y/o is a picky one too!! There is always pasta on the menu and if dinner is at the lodge, you can always request for pasta with butter. I will bring snacks for him to make sure he doesn't get hungry since we almost always had lunch at 2 pm.

-rapids: It is mild in the beginning until you reach the class 3 rapids which is quite rough.... but fun!!! Our guides took excellent shots of the group going through the class 3 rapids. In our group, a number of kids decided to get on one boat. By the time they reached the class 3 rapids, they were all seated inside and the guide did all the paddling. There are beautiful sights along the way and ruins along the river, it is really worth going through it. The roughest part of the rapids, we got a good splash, which I think made hubby sick, I saw it coming and turned my back towards it and that was captured on film. Try not to sit upfront and don't splash at each other. Even your ABD guides will tell you so - not to splash and to keep your mouth closed.

Hope that helps. The Sacred Valley is an amazing place and the Andes appears very mighty. Who would think you will find glaciers in Peru? I would take heed of precautions to avoid illness, at the same time enjoy the trip. This is SO worth it and we are all glad we did it when we did.

Feel free to ask any more questions and I will do my best to answer them.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:05 AM   #14
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Ah, man, this sounds like an excellent trip. The altitude sickness & stomach issues worry me, because I have a lot of issues as it is... Did the altitude sickness prevent you from doing anything?

Thanks for the report. So very tempting...

Sayhello
Hello sayhello!

I didn't get altitude sickness. Only one child suffered true altitude sickness. She fainted as soon as we reached the weaving place (our very first stop) and also vomited there after. They have a local tea called muna which the women gave her. Oxygen is readily available and she got that too. The lodge is at 9000 feet and we all felt well before we left for Cuzco, which is at 12000+ feet. The same girl didn't feel too good but she perked up after a dose of oxygen. The real downer is the stomach bug but most of us kept up with the hike. The kids are always first and we just wait for the others who walked at their own pace.

Overall, it was a fabulous trip and like I said earlier we are very happy we did it! The two guides did a fantastic job in making the tour flow smoothly, no hitch at all.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:38 PM   #15
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two weeks to go

I'm reading a great book called "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" (by Mark Adams)--very interesting book regarding the author's following in the footsteps of Hiram Bingham's discovery of Machu Picchu.

The box came with our tote bags (new type, new vendor), trip book and tags (and some heavy duty plastic bags for carry on liquid items for the flight there).

I've been watching the weather in Lima--seems to be holding steady in the upper 60s for the daytime high.

Sounds like a great trip--I'll try to get any ABD future trip plans out of the guides, although they are always pretty tight-lipped...

Last edited by WeLoveABD; 07-18-2011 at 09:44 PM.
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