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Lima-Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu first timers

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Hello all,

We’re planning a trip to Peru in late October-early November. We have traveled many times to Mexico and Europe but this is our first trip to South America and we are very much looking forward to it.

Us: late sixties and early seventies, good health, like to walk, speak grade C Spanish. History, art and archeology geeks.

Our draft itinerary for 11 nights in Peru:

Lima: arrive from JFK late evening, spend 2 nights. We want to catch our breath, be lazy the following morning over coffee, then wander around Barranco a bit, enjoy a good dinner. Staying at 3B Barranco, which crellston and mlgb have highly recommended (I’ve read many comments by them and others on this forum). Maybe visit Museo Larco and MNAAH in the afternoon during our one full day in Lima.

Fly Lima to Cusco, taxi to Ollantaytambo for 3 nights. Stay at El Albergue. I’ve read a lot about Wendy Weeks and her son Joaquin Rodrigo, watched several Youtube videos about the inn and the organic farm. Want to have the Pachamanca farm lunch, which I saw on a video, looks really interesting and fun. Walk all around the town, which seems to be one of the most authentic, still surviving Inca towns. Go out to Sacsayhuaman (can it be easily walked in 30-45 minutes? Any issues of mugging if there’s only the two of us out there?)

Then take a mid-morning train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, check in at Gringo Bill’s (we will have left our 2 small carry-on suitcases at El Albergue, taking only shoulder bags for an overnight with us). Buy bus tickets for MP, have lunch, then get up to MP around 1 pm.

MP: it looks like crowds thin out a little in the afternoon so that’s why we’re thinking of going at this time. Not interested in watching the sunrise and do not need to find the perfect camera shots with no people around. Want to walk around the main site for about 3 hours (not climbing the mountain), then catch the bus back to Aguas and stay the night.

Leave Aguas the next morning, train back to Ollantaytambo, pick up suitcases from El Albergue, taxi to Cusco, check in at El Monasterio for 4 nights. This is our big splurge. (“I want the last check I ever write to bounce” said one wise elder.) I reserved an oxygen-enhanced room because we want to minimize possibility/probability of altitude sickness. During our 4 days in Cusco we will walk around slowly and absorb some of what looks like a wonderful city.

After Cusco, fly to Lima, back to 3B Barranco for two more nights. Visit Museo Amano to see the pre-Columbian textiles, very much interested in seeing those. Restaurants in Lima: just beginning to scan for some good ones, Canta Rana for sure.

So that’s the early plan. I have booked all the hotels on with right to cancel without a penalty. Have not yet booked the Olla-Aguas-Olla train nor the MP tickets.

Some specific questions:
--weather seems like it will range from moderate to very cool at this time of year?
--nevertheless, sun will still be strong at mid-day so sunscreen etc etc?
--have a fair amount of soles in money belt for spending in various places? How much cash to carry, roughly? We won’t be buying rugs or alpaca sweaters or stuff like that, mainly visiting museums, bars, and restaurants
--is the Metropolitano safe to use during daytime hours from Barranco to historic center (Cathedral, etc.)?

Many thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions!

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