casitas at Colco, Peru?
Anyone done the Casitas at Colca yet? I am thinking of doing this for my next trip. Never been in Southern Peru and this one looks nice and could probably go over to Titicaca afterwards and then up to Lima at the Miraflores. I know the best time to go to Cuzco and MP area is June-September. What is usually the best time weather wise for southern Peru?
yep, we did visit O-E property in Colca Canyon a couple of years back (it was called the Parador del Colca at that time and was the last year it operated as such before be closed for the total renovation). At that time, it consisted of seven or eight suites (has since be revamped into twenty casitas) and massages, if requested, were taken in your suite....now a small spa has been added. OK, so the 'property' has undergone dramatic changes, but the manager and a number of the staff still remain....we exchange emails now and then....and the setting remains quite dramatic.
We spent a night in Arequipa, just to investigate, before making the trip out to the canyon. The drive is indicated as approximately three to four hours, but if you are fortunate enough to be the only passengers in the van (driver and guide included for the trip to the canyon - only a driver for the return trip), you can pretty much set your own pace. Since we got a very early start from our hotel in Arequipa, we asked the guide to allow us to make a number of short stops along the way for photos, especially when we encountered herds of wild vicuņas roaming on the high pampa.
If you do visit the Puno area, maybe you will decide to secure a package at Hotel Titilaka. We bought a Luxury Link package for our recent trip to Peru....it is owned and operated by Andean Experience The Andean Experience Co. Tailor-made Trips to Peru in Authentic Luxury It is located in a very remote and secluded area, outside of Puno and directly fronts Lake Titicaca. We were so impressed with the facilities, staff and whole experience, we decided to stay six nights....a bite pricey, but ranks near the top of our travel experiences.
Suggestion: Check the domestic flight schedules with LAN before you start to plan you ground stays....you can save time and money by planning your destinations to. When we first began the investigation and planning stages, we were fortunate to contact one of experienced travel concierges at Andean Experience (too-free telephone numbers from the US) who worked out a couple of travel schedules for us....saved us some money by buying the domestic air tickets in Peru).
Thanks O - I figured that if anyone had benn there it would be you! We experienced the domestic flight problems in Peru when we did the OE package to Lima and Cuzco a couple of years ago - we added on an Amazon portion and the domestic flights were a nightmare - the flight was scheduled to leave Puerto Maldonado early in the morning and we were to have the day in LIma at the Miraflores with free lunch, etc., however, the domestic flight was delayed many hours from PM to Lima and we barely made our return flight to the states let alone have the full day in Lima like we were supposed to - the OE in their usual excellent customer service mode refunded us some of the money we had paid for the LL package since we did not get the full day in Lima nor the lunch. If we do this trip I figured the best and easiest way would be to do 1 overnight in Lima, then on to Arequipa and the Casistas at Colca, then over to Puno (train or internal flight - any recommendations - the train ride does look nice) and then 2 nights in Lima before the return home.
You did not mention the weather for southern Peru - any time better than others?
Domestic flights: Our experiences have always been pretty good with LAN, but we do try to schedule with some longer connection times, since weather typically is an 'issue' flying up into the Andes. Early flights out of LIM can get backed up with their heavy seas mists and low hanging pollution (guess this is also a function of many early morning international arrival and some spacing to do with IFR). CUZ is almost always on IFR for early to mid morning flights...once again spacing issues.
I am unaware of rail service from Arequipa to Puno. I have considered the train from Cusco to Puno, but after much Internet research and speaking with people who have used the service, we decided against it. Although the visuals are said to be impressive, I can't see spending 10 - 15 hours (The Andean Explorer is ALMOST NEVER ON TIME) riding the rails.
So, we opted for the one + hour flight up to Juliaca and surface over to Puno. You might consider going LIM-CUZ-JUL, in which case there is a non stop flight from JUL-AQP. Then when you have finished in the Colca Canyon, you can non stop AQP-LIM. We just prefer non stops when possible.
Weather: Well, I guess December - April would probably give you the best shot at dry weather. We were there in Feb on one trip and it was dry as a bone. We have also been there in June, and had some rain from time to time, but the high pampa was alive with patches of green and wild flowers. Also, during June we really enjoyed the variety of colors in the Colca Canyon.....we never had any constant down pours.
As you know, you more or less build your domestic schedule around your international arrival and departures. Departing out of MIA, we have the opportunity of short overnight flights, allowing us to connect to a variety of domestic flights out of LIM.
I'm sure you will enjoy your trip, regardless of the time of year.
Thanks much for the informative info - we are in the deciding stages right now and trying to figure out where to go next