Has anyone heard of or used this tour company?
I've not heard of them either, but would highly recommend Qente. We did the Inca trail last week with Qente, and they were amazing. Very organized, prepared, good food and excellent guide.
Thanks. I booked with them today. The departure dates worked best for me. That and it was very easy to communicate with them. I heard back from them right away and with other tour operators I had to wait a few days for a response.
You seem to be a great source of information and I would really appreciate if you could comment on what I have planned and let me know if it is possible, worth it, a good choice etc.
I want to travel from Lima to Lake Titicaca. I was thinking of flying from Lima to Juliaca. I wanted to stay two nights on Lake Titicaca. And then go from Lake Titicaca to Cuzo. Is the train really 10 hours? Is it a nice journey? Why is the train 150$ for first class and 19$ for backpacker?
I am traveling alone and have heard of woman traveling having some troubles. Can you recommend hotels in Lake T and Cuzco? I do not want to over pay for no reason but I do not want to stay in a hostal!
Thanks for any advice at all!
Yes, the train is actually 10 hours. The $130 version, Andean Explorer, is first-class, and it shows. Gourmet meals, exquisite service, a bar car, a viewing car (open air at end for good picture-taking), luxurious surrounds (elegant wing chairs for seats, starched table linens, even classy marble & mahogany toilets). You can see pictures of the first class train on the PeruRail website. You will have a stop at the highest point, where you can get out in the fresh air and buy things at a little market. The $19 backpacker travels the same route (probably pulled by the same engine, but not sure), but is very basic. You can buy snacks during the trip.
In Cusco, we stayed at Hostal Rumi Punku. A "hostal" in Peru is like a hotel anywhere else, but has no restaurant. "hostel" is what we know as hostel. The Rumi Punku had very helpful staff (they schlepped our bags up & down stairs, had them back out of storage & in our room on arrival back from Inca Trail), great breakfasts, convenient location, free internet and excellent security -- there was a security guard at the (locked) entrance door at all hours.
In Puno, we stayed at the Sonesta Inca Posada Hotel. It was perfectly safe & had a restaurant, but it was a ways (5k or so) out of town, so if you wanted to eat elsewhere you had to take a taxi.
Yes, train is 10 hours. We took the first class train from Cusco to Puno a few weeks ago, and it was well worth the $120. This was the nicest train we have ever traveled on. The food and service was excellent, they have entertainment (fashion show and dancing) in the bar car, and the country you go through is unbelievable, a great way to see the small towns and villages all along the route. I would highly recommend taking the first class cabin.
The backpacker is a car at the front of the train, and I'm guessing the diesel smell is unbearable. The kitchen car is between the backpacker and the other 3 (or 4) first class cars, so you don't even have access to the bar car at all.
While in Puno, we stayed at Hostal Hacienda, it was very clean, safe and in a great location, and it was very reasonable. It is only 1.5 blocks from the main street and we felt very safe walking in the evening.
In Cusco, we stayed at the Hostal Amaru, which is in San Blas, another clean, safe and reasonable hostal, which i wouldn't hesitate to recommend for you traveling alone.
Any other questions, dont' hesitate, we jsut returned last week.
Thank you for the information. I guess I should book the train. It sounds like a long trip but a great way to see the countryside. I was planning to stay at Hostal Loreto. It sounds like a good location and a good price? Has anyone heard of this Hostal?
Any good tips for Cusco? I was thinking of doing a rafting trip but if it is recommended to just stay in Cusco and enjoy the city I will do that.
xochitl - I read in a previous post that recommended a hotel next to the monasterio. Do you know the exact name of this hotel? it seems like a good location. Thanks for your help.
The backpacker train is pulled by the same engine as the First Class. You can also buy the same food as they get included in First Class.
Personally I would say it is nowhere near worth paying over $100 extra for the same trip, just with a slightly larger chair. Buying the food in Backpacker will only cost another $20 or so.
I guess everyone has different opinions, but I wouldn't waste your money.