A Doubleheader in S. America

By K.C. Summers
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, June 7, 2009

Q. Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands: When's the best time to visit both at the same time?

Eileen McGirl, Burke

A. Our spring -- mid-April through May -- is the best time to visit both South American spots on the same trip. September to mid-October is a close second, said Jonathan Borgida of Southern Explorations (877-784-5400,, a Seattle-based company that specializes in trips to Central and South America.

Because of their location on the equator, there's no bad time to go to the Galapagos Islands; they're pretty year-round. But Machu Picchu is in the middle of a tropical mountain forest in Peru, with a rainy season from October to April. By mid-April, the rain is ending, the tourist hordes haven't arrived and prices are cheaper. Temperatures average 60 to 65 degrees during the day and fall to the 30s at night.

Guided trips that combine the two sites run about $5,000 per person, which includes all internal flights, Borgida said. Airfare from the United States to Lima adds $800 or so. Plan on at least 10 days to see both attractions, although two weeks is preferable, Borgida said.

My husband and I are planning a day trip to Rehoboth Beach, Del. We were wondering if there is public access to the beach, or if all spots are privately owned and accessible only through a hotel or motel.

Joanne DePaola, Annapolis

On the contrary, almost the entire beach is open to the public at no cost, said Nikki Boone of the Delaware Tourism Office.

There are no changing facilities, but public restrooms are at Delaware Avenue and the boardwalk, Rehoboth Avenue and First Street, and Baltimore Avenue and the boardwalk. The only hitch is parking: After Memorial Day, it's metered along Rehoboth Avenue and on the side streets at $1.50 an hour. In non-metered areas, a paid parking permit is required. Info: Rehoboth Beach Parking Meter Department, 302-227-6184.

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