- Series: Lonely Planet Peru
- Paperback: 440 pages
- Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 5th edition (January 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1740592093
- ISBN-13: 978-1740592093
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,393,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lonely Planet Peru Paperback – January, 2004
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The quintessential South American country, Peru fires the imagination like few other places. A land of magnificent lost cities, rich cultural heritage and dizzying historical upheavals, it has long drawn treasure-hunters and travelers alike, united in their search to uncover the secrets and wealth of remarkable, sometimes remote civilizations. Peru played host to the fabulous Inca Empire that flourished 500 years ago, but this was just the last of dozens of complex pre-Columbian civilizations, including those that built massive pyramids or drew immense and indecipherable shapes on the desert floor. Explorers are only just beginning to comprehend the sheer scope of the country's archaeological assets, continually discovering new and ever-more exciting ancient sites.
Peru is also a country of astounding natural diversity. Climb from parched expanses of dusty desert to the cool sapphire-blue waters of Lake Titicaca or descend from the jaw-dropping glaciated pinnacles of the Andes to lush jungles replete with wildlife. Outdoor adventurers will be itching to try the multitude of walking and wildlife-watching activities available. Culturally, the country is equally diverse. From the wild Afro-Peruvian music of the coast to the deeply ingrained traditions of the ancient cultures of the highlands; or from the modern beat of Lima nightlife to the timeless sounds of Amazonian Indian dance - wherever they go, travelers are welcomed by curious, big-hearted folk that tackle their underlying poverty with gusto and a lust for life.
Add to all of this the most strikingly familiar image in South America - the awesome, cloud-topping Inca city of Machu Picchu - and you have a simply unmissable destination.
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The main problems I've encountered involved sloppily bad web links (for example, they give the link for Hotel Alegría in Nazca as a *.com -- but it is actually a *.net; in other cases they've left out a hyphen or underscore, or misspelled a word entirely in the web links) and pricing information that is so far out of kilter with what the hotels offer that it cannot be explained by simple inflation since the book's publication in 2010. Weirdly, one of their hotels in Aguas Calientes (Rupa Wasi) has prices listed for single, double, and triple rooms -- but the hotel informed me that they do not rent rooms separate from their tour packages, which increased the cost astronomically over what Lonely Planet indicated.
Finally, the reviews are difficult to read -- at least on the Kindle version (which is the only version I'm willing to have, due to its portability). I remember from other Lonely Planet books a page listing the meanings of abbreviations and symbols -- but if there is any such guide in this book, I've been completely unable to find it. And telephone numbers are truncated, with city codes appearing only once at the beginning of the chapter rather than on each record; I'm not even convinced that this inconvenience would save enough space to reduce printing costs in a paper version, and it's absolutely nonsensical in an electronic version.
Fixing the errors should be Lonely Planet's first priority -- but an enhancement would be in their language section. While I speak fairly decent Spanish, I had not learned the names for the punctuation symbols that appear in an e-mail or web address (although I can report here that "guión" = "hyphen", "arroba" = "@", and, of course, "punto" = "dot"). This put me at a disadvantage in jotting down information during phone calls, and I would like to see guides like this keep pace with the times in their language sections. Also, I'm disappointed that the Quechua and Aymara sections are so sparse (only 25 words each) -- lacking even entries for things like "Which way to?" and "Goodbye", and wasting the space they do provide with items of trivial importance like "snowy peak".
I'm not sure I'll purchase guides from Lonely Planet at all in the future. And they definitely won't be my first instinct after this disappointment.
This book on Peru is fantastic. Upon arrival in Cusco, I rented a prepaid cell phone right before leaving the airport. That was a great move. We had reservations for Machu Picchu and a few other things but some of our trip was done "on the fly". The book gave great ideas for side trips, food, and hotels. I would often call ahead on the cell phone once we picked a location to set up lodging or tours based on the book. I found the ratings to be great. I also used part of one of the suggested trips to map out an itinerary. Much better than doing it on my own!
We were able to stay in great places and eat fantastically on a total budget for two people that was less than travel agencies charge one person for similar destinations (we actually got about 3 more days of value...also, I do speak Spanish so that helped significanty). Thanks to LP for taking us off the beaten path and making it quite affordable!