Domestic Flights In Peru; Cusco, Amazonias & Getting Stranded!

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Planning our big adventure to Peru was beyond amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed all the research conducted and the time spent throughout the whole trip soaking in the excitement, it was building up every step of the way.  

Looking at a map of Peru I remember thinking to myself, how an earth am I going to master this and pull it off with a 4yr old when I don’t have a clue – I had never ever done anything of the sort before!  I started by making notes and jotting down the major areas we wanted to see and for roughly how long we wanted to stay in each one.  We wanted explore Lima and relax there as it was our base for domestic flights, you need to get to Cusco to access Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, and then Iquitos in the far north of Peru for The Amazonias region for access to the Amazon jungle. All this required quit a few internal flights.

Bus or coach to Cusco and back is possible and for a fraction of the flight price but it would take far too long about 21 hours each way! And with a child it just wouldn’t be practical, our aim was to see and discover as much as possible in just over 3 weeks. I was loving this challenge!

Checking Flights On Google

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I started looking and Googling “Airlines in Peru” and “Domestic flights in Peru”, I came across several airlines operating in Peru; Tacna, Peruvian Airlines, LAN and Star Peru.  LAN was very expensive with the all the others following close behind in price except for Star Peru, they were the exception in the bunch and priced very well in comparison to their competitors.  Customer service from Star Peru was excellent too, I had called them twice from London to confirm a few things, they were very polite and eager to help me. So Star Peru it was!

Iquitos Is An Up And Coming Destination, Trust Me..

I was checking a mixture of departure dates and times for our flight to Cusco, prices were good but higher compared to flying to Iquitos in Northern Peru – Iquitos still isn’t hugely touristy but I heard from a good Peruvian friend who owns a new lodge there that things are changing and the Government in Peru are funding a huge advertising campaign to bring in more tourists to the region. Actually Peru’s Tourist board and making huge investments! (Note – There is no such direct flight from Cusco to Iquitos, you have to come back to Lima and go from there – But I think this will change soon).

Over the next few weeks I was keeping an eye on the prices at Star Peru, prices seemed stable for about 3 weeks then they started to creep up, I booked my flights before I missed the chance risking they may get full, the very next day I decided to check for curiosity (it also developed into a bit of a habit hahaha) When I checked I shrieked in dismay at what I had seen; the prices had dropped by well over 40% since my booking, always, I repeat ALWAYS use Incognito when looking and booking flights! as cookies will track you, I was soooo annoyed but this is life and we take our chances.

Technical Issues In The Cockpit Of The Plane

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My overall experience flying with Star Peru was GOOD/OKAY, I mean there was one time we got stranded at the airport in the Jungle..

When you fly to Iquitos from Lima the plane makes a stop-off in Pucallpa. After 10 minutes of departing Pucallpa I distinctly remember seeing everyone starting to look confused, I pulled my earphones out and vaguely heard an announcement (my ears were semi blocked from the altitude) The female flight attendant mentioned a TECHNICAL FAULT!, OMG I thought, we are going to die!

The plane was instructed to turn back immediately and land in Pucallpa again. We landed and evacuated the aircraft to the terminal waiting area. We were told the engineers needed to check a few things over before we could fly again, sorry but I was not going to get back on that same aircraft, no way! After an hour or so we were told to hang-on and wait for news, we were given refreshments of delightful Inca Kola (sarcasm). People started to get agitated demanding to know what happened and what will happen, and damn right so as hours had passed. All I know is that we were told to wait patiently, a few members of the airline staff came to keep re-anouncing the same thing, the20130406_094443n we were told we couldn’t use the plane and that the airline would try to get us on another flight – except Star Peru didn’t have any other flights that day.

Another plane landed, I think it was LAN aircraft, it was massive and we were at their mercy, we were told we could get ready as they had space for the tourists! (there were only a handful of tourists – the rest were Peruvian workers) Woohoo we’re going to the jungle, then we were told “No”, and the plane left.

We Were Stranded With No More Flights Until The Next Day, Even They Could Potentially Be Full..

We hung around the airport, I got chatting to an amazing family who were originally Peruvians living in Boston, USA and had come to Iquitos for a holiday. They were so cool, especially Martha bless her, she would translate the details from Spanish to English for me and little Josh to understand. After a lot of heated talking between the passengers and staff, Martha announced suddenly “Get your bag, were going to a hotel with a pool, paid for by Star Peru including all the meals” I was liking this for sure, a twist in our plans, interesting indeed!

You can read about our stay in Pucalpa here.

Pool in Pucalpa

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Below is a map of where we travelled in Peru.

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The plan went like this:  Lima then off to Cusco then back to Lima then again off to the Amazon via Pucallpa and then Iquitos AND finally back to Lima before departing back to London…. Via Paris lol. Plus we did trips to the Pacaya Samiria Nature Reserve, Machu Piccuhu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and other places! – Phew!

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