I found your diary and advice interesting and very helpful. Not too much detail, straight to the point, exactly what potential travellers need to know.
I find some of the travel books get a bit romantic about some places. Not everybody wants to rough - it. It is also VERY helpful to know the places to avoid, in case the generally recommended places are booked out. We went to Ecuador last year, and had many similar experiences.
We would dearly love to see Peru and Macchu Pichu in particular, but it is VERY expensive from Australia, and if we went all that way, we would want to be as well prepared as possible. So, thank you for your helpful information.
Anna and Greg Taylor.
I was fascinated to learn that there could be such a difference of opinion between Bruce Boyce and me regarding many areas he visited. My wife and I visited Peru and Bolivia, and about the only area in which we agree with Mr Boyce is that Puno sucks.
We loved the second class train to Macchu Pichu-got to meet lots of natives, and it's cheap, too. We stayed in Agua Caliente, a short hop from the ruinas, and the lodging was around ten dollars a night for the both of us. And there are lots of EXCELLENT restaurants there. We stayed at Inti Wasi hotel in Cusco-nice, but it only has water for an hour or so am and again in the pm. We visited the island of Amantani, near Puno; if you go there, you will be assigned a family to stay with for ten or fifteen dollars per night, including food. Our hosts were incredibly friendly and helpful. They are Quechua "Indians", and their Spanish was on the same level as mine, which is only fair. Valentina, the mother, repeatedly lapsed into Quechua, confusing me and amusing her daughter! A fine time was had by all.
To us, Copacabana was a fine place. In fact, we stayed there for a week or more, I think. We stayed in a very charming hotel up on the hill for (believe it or not) $2.80 per night! And the wife brought us breakfast every morning in our room for one dollar each. The husband hand washed a week's worth of our laundry for a dollar, and dried it on a clothes line stretched between handrails over the courtyard.
We do speak a fair amount of Spanish, and certainly would recommend learning it before visiting Peru and Bolivia; it's not like many other areas we've visited, where it is easy to find English speakers.