Back in August 1998, we did a tour of Peru and Bolivia called 'On the trails of the Inkas'. Wintertime in the southern hemisphere is a much better time to travel as it usually rains in the Andes in their summertime (December - April). However, there is hardly any sun near the coast. Temperatures during our stay were usually around 20°C - apart from the Chacaltaya (5200 m) (5200 m).
As this was an organized trip and since we did not travel near the Amazon, no vaccinations were required (provided you have protection for polio and tetanus). Electricity is 220 Volt; however, very often you need a special US plug.
A guy called Fernando picked us up from the airport, introduced himself as our tour guide for the whole trip and the person responsible for both organisation and accommodation. Local guides would be carrying out individual sightseeing tours on sites. After a welcome drink in the hotel lounge, Fernando asked us to give him our passports and hotel vouchers for copying. On the next day we waited for Fernando for over an hour after our tour of Pachacamac; however, he did not turn up. As our bus driver couldn't find out anything about Fernando's whereabouts, and even the local travel agency had no knowledge where he was, the driver decided to leave without Fernando - and our passports. Next noon, shortly before we were to head off again, someone in our group got a call from the German consulate in Arequipa. They told us to fax them our names and addresses for them to issue replacement passports. Crossing the border to Bolivia, however, was not possible without the original documents. At a stop in Ica, we then learnt that Fernando was well and would be joining our group in Arequipa. He told us there what had happened.
After leaving the hotel in Lima, Fernando had gone to a taxi stop two streets further down to avoid the expensive taxis in front of the hotel. On the way home the driver suddenly pulled a gun and kidnapped Fernando. On the next morning he was only released after he had handed over his credit card and pin. Fernando told us that his brother with his family had been kidnapped just a fortnight ago. Our passports had been at the hotel the whole time, however no one knew about this except him. They were then brought over by a courier as he thought it too dangerous to take them with him on a night trip in a public bus.
You see it's not completely safe being in Lima. The Peruvians aren't particularly criminal, still, watching tourists with video cameras means having your yearly wages right there walking by, ready to be taken - and this may prove too hard to resist.
Some people in our group wished to see the market halls in Cuzco. Fernando was prepared to come with us, but only with 6 people at most. The second condition was to carry along only a few Soles and leave everything else back at the hotel. There had been cases where tourists where spat at and while there were busy cleaning their faces, their money was stolen etc. After Fernando's kidnapping we tried to be even more wary and continued our trip without further incidents.
The stations on our journey were:
last update: 01.05.2001