Saturday, April 25, 2015

Peru: Where to Stay

A lot of people have asked about our accommodations in Peru, and where we stayed.  The nice thing about Peru is that you can stay the night for $10 at a hostel dorm, all the way up to luxury resort hotels at $600/night.  They really run the entire spectrum.  The downside is, that means you have to do your research to find the right fit.  Luckily for us, Kuoda Travel made all of our travel arrangements; I approved the selections based on price and visiting websites.  In fact, every hotel we stayed at happened to be in our guidebook, which was reassuring too.

We arrived in Lima at nearly midnight, so for our first bed we walked literally across the street to the Costa del Sol hotel, a basic but modern airport hotel.  It met our needs for the night, with a very large room, nice amenities, and a stark but modern look.  I believe it is transitioning from a Ramada to a Wyndham property.  I definitely slept well given the extensive travel day!  They also gave us a free drink upon check-in.

In the Sacred Valley (Urubamba, specifically), we stayed at San Agustin Monasterio de la Recoleta‎.  We were actually a little nervous as we headed towards the hotel, as it's in a very rural area that isn't much to look at.  But as you pull into the gates, you realize you're entering into an oasis.  The boutique hotel used to be a 16th-century Franciscan monastery, and our two nights there were absolutely wonderful.  We ate at the restaurant both nights, as well as the continental breakfast buffet.  The grounds were stunning, and it was so quiet.  There is a fence enclosing the property as well, so you really feel safe and secluded.  It is probably a little more dated than its website photos imply, and the Wifi was spotty, but the business center internet was good and we were greeted with coca tea.  We stayed in one of the older rooms, but I highly recommend that for more character vs. the modern ones.

Our bedroom window had a kneeling area that I imagine a monk once used.

In Aguas Calientes, we spent a night at Inkaterra's El MaPi hotel.  We were welcomed with a complimentary Pisco Sour at happy hour, and our agency's reservation included a lovely prix-fixe dinner as well as breakfast.  The rooms in the hotel were ultra modern, very IKEA chic and clean.  We loved the view of the mountains from our window, though it did overlook a bit of the shantytown bits of the city.  That's all character though.  The bathroom (mainly the shower!) was my favorite of the trip, again all very modern.  Wifi was fairly reliable here too.  If I were to really splurge, I would have spent the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, one of the country's nicest hotels at a price around $600/night.  But El MaPi was wonderful for what we needed.

In Cusco, we stayed for two nights at the Casa San Blas, a boutique hotel where we were housed in one of the apartment-style loft rooms.  There was a kitchenette with very affordable mini-bar ($1 waters and sodas, $2 beer) and a nice bathroom.  The bed and TV were upstairs in the loft, with a 2nd story window of the Cusco skyline.  Casa San Blas is only a couple blocks from the main plaza in town, so it made everything very walkable.  It was also very close to gift shops for souvenirs.

Overall, I found that our "matrimonio" double rooms were ample for us.  There were some aspects of the hotels that felt a little aged, but not unclean or negative.  We chose to stay in mid-range boutique hotels that had charm to them, and with the exception of the single night near the airport, all of them were unique and memorable in nice ways.  I think that overall I've learned that you can really choose your own adventure, and accommodations, easily in Peru, whether on a backpacker budget or a luxury traveler's credit card.

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