If cheap bargains are what you seek when shopping for clothes then you might want to check out the Gamara in Lima Peru. The Gamara is a 30 square block complex closed to traffic which is home to Lima’s fashion District. This is where most of the garments are made and sold. Here you will find everything from shoes to swimsuits and everything in between.
The Gamara is about a 10 minute taxi ride from the Plaza de Armas (s./5 fare). You will have to pay an extra sole if you dont want to walk a block to the gates, recommended if you are without local guide.
This place really reminds me of New York City. Upon entering the gates you will find tall buildings stuffed full of little boutiques or stalls filled to the brim with all sorts of clothing and accessories. Most of the clothes are made here in the upper levels above the stores. You will find anything from knockoff Lacoste Polos and Ed Hardy T-Shirts for about (s./20) to Brazilian style womens jeans ( the kind that ride up the butt crack of your girl friend) for upto s./80 depending on the brand. But most of the clothes are super cheap.
Different buildings usually house different kinds of attire, so don’t be affraid to shop around. A good area is near the Rocky’s Polloeria on the main drag. Be aware of street salesmen as you will be offered Lacoste Polos every 20 feet or so. Don’t settle on the first offer unless you know its bottom dollar.
If you are buying 3 or more of anything you should expect a hefty discount if you are good at bartering. Larger quantities equal larger discounting. Many of the stores make there own clothing and you will find lots of different brands which are usually created by the proprietors. I usually just look for leather shoes and jeans for my wife, but there is plenty to choose from.
The cheapest way to get a guided tour of machu pichu is to get several prices from different tour operators. I suggest you begin by inquiring at your hostel or hotel as most will try to push you on there tour which is usually more expensive. Please remember that you can stay in Aguas Calientes overnight but beware of the alien mosquitos and bring plenty of deet. Accomidation in Aguas Calientes is cheap to more expensive depending on what you find. Once again check around before you decide which one is right for you.
After getting an idea of the cost at your hostel or hotel I suggest walking around the plaza de armas and inquiring at a few of the tour operators around the square. I found the cheapest deal just past the McDonalds and it was a great deal. You just have to check a few different places and then at each one just tell them what you have already been offered it is that simple and most speack english so dont worry. Cusco is really laid back and dont be afraid to go after a bargain.
Exclusiva Civa wins this one hands down folks and fellow travellers. All I have to say is you can take the bus between Lima and Mancora 16hrs. 2 ways.
Exclusiva aka Civa bus lines is my top rated means of travel in Peru. They offer brand new mercedes motor coaches with plush leather seats with private area and 3 times the room of any other bus line in peru. The tickets are only $10 usd more for this service compared to the nasty economy seating provided by cruz del sur aka curse del sur. Civa gets my only 5 star bus line rating.
Cruz del Sur is the worst bus line I have ever taken and let me just say that the even tried to rip me off at the ticket counter. I tried them once and will never go back. I wouldnt have even tried had the Civa bus been booked solid. I took the terrible ride from Mancora back to Lima a few months ago which you can read about in a previous post here at mochileros peru. Cruz del sur gets a rating of Zero. Terrible exprience I wish I could forget.
Cusco was the Inca Capital. The city is a cultural epicenter and is located at 10,000 feet high in the Andes Mountains. One thing I have always said is that good food is very hard to come by in Cusco. I dont know if that is because of the Altitude Sickness or just that I am used to the complexity of the cuisine in Lima. I have however experienced a great deal of what Cusco has to offer.
The Central Market is located close to the San Pedro Rail Station just a few blocks walk from the Plaza de Armas. Here you will find everything from fresh coca leaves to alpaca stocking caps. On any given day you will find a quick and tasty bite to eat here as well. In the mornings locals are quick to grab a fresh glass of custom varieties of fruit juice and freshly made sweet bread. At lunch time it is difficult to find a seat at the favorite spots as the locals all seem to enjoy the eateries.
On this particular visit I was overcome with the AMS acute mountain sickness having taken the Flores bus through the night for a non stop 23 hour ride. Let me just say I was glad to be off the bus and I needed to eat. I found a little place in the back with Caldo de chunos or sopa de chunos which seemed perfect. I enjoyed every drop of it for s./1 or about 30 cents usd. It was great and made me feel alot better.
There are a variety of alpaca stores and t-shirt shops inside as well as the usual meat market and other various stands of produce. If you are in Cusco you have to check this place out. I recommend trying one of the eateries for a decent meal around lunch time.
I will be taking the Exclusiva Civa bus line from Lima to Mancora leaving tomorrow. We are taking Civa which leaves at 4 pm Lima time. After shopping around here are the prices I found:
Civa s./ 140 exclusiva cama completa 180 degree
Cruz Del Sur s./ 162 vip semi cama 160 degree
Cial s./ 162
The main method of transportation in and around South America is Bus. Although buses here are much different from those in the United States. Here, you can travel like a rock star aboard any of the super churre service lines. These provide a VIP salon on the first level composed of semi-cama plush seating. The seats reline to 180 degrees and are quite comfortable on long trips.
The trip from Lima to Cusco heads out of Lima to the south through Lurin towards Nazca. From there the route takes you up through the foothills of the andes mountains through Abancay and Curahuasi and finally to the Mochileros Mecca of Cusco high in the Andes Mountains.
The buses from Lima normally leave in the early afternoon arriving in Cusco the following day around 12 noon. The trip takes between 22 and 23 hours depending on the bus line you choose. I have experience with 2 different tour operators.
I would strongly recommend not taking the Flores bus line as its buses are a little older and the toilets smell really bad. Some of the buses stop for bathroom breaks but ours didnt. By the night time the entire bus smelled terrible and everyone started getting sick from the weaving road and the shear change in the altitude. Lima is at sea level and Cusco is at around 10,000 feet.
Palameros is the other trusted bus line that I have used. This is a newer line as of 2009 and the buses are new and very clean. They also will stop if you need to use the restroom and shy upon going #2 in the bathrooms onboard to provide all with an enjoyable ride. You can expect to take one small carry on bag with you and they sell limited beverages and snacks along the way. The supplies dont last long and you should plan to bring your own water along with you as the beverages normally are gone quickly. The service does include 2 meals which normally consist of a small dish of rice and a piece of chicken and some small desert, breakfast of sweet bread or cookies and coffee. Prices are around $45 one way.
Other Buses from Lima to Cusco include Cial, Civa and Cruz del Sur.
Recommended carry on items:
1)water (this will help with the change in altitude)
3)entertainment-they do have tv’s on the bus and show movies in spanish sometimes in english with subtitles, but never hurts to bring your laptop or ipod onboard.
4)TP this is a must as is you need to use the facilities they do not provide it. Most of the bus stations and stops provide restrooms / banos and normally charge S./0.50 fifty centimos and provide a few pieces of tp. I always keep some in my back pocket in place of a wallet.
5)advil to help with the altitude