Perú: Final Thoughts and Expense Report

Perú was a fascinating country and we had an amazing month-long trip. Today’s blog includes a few odds and ends and the Trip Expense Report.

img_4768

Apparently lima beans are from Perú. Growing up, we called called them Lima (lye-ma) with a long I sound and not Lima (lee-ma) as in the name of Peru’s capital city.

We’ve noticed in South American cities that similar businesses are all located on one particular street. Walking around one comes across an entire block of stores all selling the same stuff:  party decorations, office supplies, home improvement stores, musical instrument shops, optical shops, clothing boutiques, travel agencies and so on. We find this both strange and yet, at the same time, convenient, but wonder why a business would want to be on the same street with the competition.

A whole street of just optical shops.

Peruvian banks are making a killing in ATM fees. Throughout Peru we could not find ATM machines that would dispense more than $100-$200 at a time meaning we had to make daily withdrawals. This can add quite a bit of extra expense in bank fees unless you have an account which reimburses ATM withdrawal fees like Charles Schwab Bank.

We get a kick seeing motorcycles for sale in stores that sell small appliances like irons, blenders, toasters and microwaves, TVs, and washing machines! I can just imagine some husband justifying his motorcycle purchase to his wife, “But honey, I bought YOU a toaster AND a blender!

Support the Local Economy!

Something to consider from fellow travelers Pete and Dalene of Hecktic Travels.

WE PLEDGE TO BUY LOCAL

Being a citizen detective is not an easy job. It can be an all-consuming activity to constantly patrol where we spend every dollar to ensure it is having the most positive impact. But when you are traveling, especially in less-developed countries, the impact of your everyday spending can be substantial.

And while tourism in general spreads the money, it’s local-level tourism specifically that has such a profound effect on poverty alleviation — and it’s here that travellers and the industry must more fully commit to using tourism for good. source

Researchers found that “in Thailand [an] estimated 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand (via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc.). Estimates for other Third World countries range from 80% in the Caribbean to 40% in India.” This trend, dubbed ‘tourism leakage,’ stems from all-inclusive travel packages that prevent travellers from interacting with local communities — meaning “not much opportunity is left for local people to profit from tourism.” source

This entreprenuer was knitting alongside the trail at Cumbe Mayo and selling boiled eggs.

It is heart wrenching to see people working long days at restaurants and stores, women carrying children on their backs and doing needlework with wares spread out around them, old women sitting (and snoozing) on cold stone steps with items for sale, a blind man singing on the street hoping to receive coins. They are industrious and not asking for a handout. I don’t buy many souvenirs and often have to say “No gracias” to many vendors. In Peru several of them will tried to engage me in conversation in hopes that I change my mind. I like having conversations with the locals and in one instance I tried explaining that I had already bought one of what she was selling to which she bitterly replied, ‘Yes, at a store!’ I was able to say, ‘No, from a woman selling on the street just like you.’ Her reaction is why I endeavor to buy from individuals.

img_4569-1

Helping the local economy on Lake Titicaca.

IMG_4765.JPG

Candlelight vigil for striking teachers in Cusco.

Teachers were on strike and schools were closed all across the country. We saw them marching in many cities. One guide explained that teachers have 5 years of education and receive S1200 soles or about US$400 a month whereas police receive nearly 3x that salary yet only need 7 months of training. Later we heard that the government offered to increase the teachers’ pay if they could pass a competency exam (which seems fair) but that it was rejected.

img_4639-1

Free Tours use local guides who work for gratuities. He struggled with his English, but I give him an A+ for Effort!

Cost of Travel:  Perú

For 31 days of travel for 2 people we spent $3,528.97 an average of $113.84 a day.

Accommodation:  $1690.57 or 54.53/day

Food:  $597.85 or $19.29/day

Local Transport:  $235.06 or $7.58/day

Entertainment and Admissions:  $239.26 or $7.72/day

Travel to Machu Picchu: $455

Laundry:  $40.08 or $1.29/day

Souvenirs:  $67.71 or $2.18/day

Misc:  $9.55 or .31/day

Airfare booked with miles fees:  $190.56 

Sometimes I think the US is over regulated and that some things could be dictated by common sense. Apparently not! Less than 12 inches between the toilet and wall and access to shower is too crowded and awkward. Oh! and mind your toes. Steps up to the bathroom are common.

List of Accommodations:  We stayed in small local inns booked on Booking.com except for when we were at the convention in Cajamarca. Accommodations cost more here than many other places where we have traveled in South America.

3 Bs Barranco; B & B Chic & Basic, Barranco (Lima):  2 nights, $84.70/night

Andesmar, Miraflores (Lima): 1 night, $72.90

Wyndham Hotel Costa del Sol, Cajamarca:  8 nights, $80.46/night

Hotel Las Américas, Cajamarca:  1 night, $70.75

Hostal Iskay, Ollantaytambo: 4 nights, $51.13/night

Solar de Arequipa, Arequipa:  4 nights, $45/night

Hostal Suecia I, Cusco: 5 nights, $44.55/night

Hotel Due, Trujillo:  2 nights, $37.10/night

Quechuas Inka Palace, Puno: 2 nights, $27.72/night

Can you spot the error on the clock?

That’s a wrap on our Perúvian vacation. Thanks for reading!

Until next time…

One response to “Perú: Final Thoughts and Expense Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s