Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu advice

Old Sep 24th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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Cusco/Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu advice

i have posted our general itineray and questions below. If you have done this tour before please feel free to contribute. We arrive Cusco early on the 24th.

Jan 24th- private city tour of cusco
Hotel Casa Andina Or Libertador

Jan 25th- Sacred valley
Back to Cusco? Or stay overnight in Casa Andina Sacred Valley?

Jan 26th- 2d/1n Inca tour
Which hotel/hostel in Aguas Calientes?

Jan 27th- 2d/1n Inca tour
Hotel Casa Andina or libertador


Questions
1) I have contacted a few tour companies but so far, after two days, no replies. Any suggestions on a good and reliable local tour company?
2) Which hotel/hostel is nice in aguas calientes? inkaterri?
3) If we stay overnight in sacred valley, is it faster to get to 104KM on the next day? In other words, is sacred valley on the way to aguas calientes/machu picchu?

5) What time does Vistadome return to Cusco on the 27th?

Thanks,
Ken
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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I can help with some of your questions, I visited Peru earlier this year, and belive me, I had a very hard time planning the trip. I recommend www.savacations.com, we used them and we were happy with the service.

We had stayed at the Santuary Lodge near MP, not in AC. It was very nice and worth the money.

If you stay in the scared valley you will need to take a train to 104KM, the train ride will be short than a train ride from Cuzco, but i don't know what time you'll arrive at 104KM.

If you want to arrive in Cuzco earlier on the way back from MP, get off at Poroy stn, and have a car arranged to drive you back to Cuzco, you will get ot Cuzco much earlier this way.

Hope this helps.
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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Yes, the Sacred Valley is on the way to Aguas Calientes. The train ride from Ollantaytambo is quite a bit shorter than from Cusco. Your arrival time depends on when you leave - there are several trains each day. You can find the schedule at:

http://www.perurail.com/web/tper/tpe...ook_online.jsp
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Thanks for the replies,

i looked at the perurail website and came up with another question.

1) How do we get from Cusco to sacred valley? train or car? Given that we have only 1 day in sacred valley we would like to leave early and get there early to still have long day.

Ken
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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Is "104KM" the same stop as Ollantaytambo?
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 08:39 PM
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Ollantaytambo is about Km. 80, so Km. 104, the start of the short Inca Trail, is just a ways beyond that.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 02:17 AM
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You'll want to go by car to Ollanta. Taxis are cheaper and faster than the train. You could also hire a driver/guide (which we did) and used him for our time in the Sacred Valley. Percy Salas - he was terrific, although more expensive than just a taxi since he was also a professional guide. His contact info (and more details - lots of them!) can be found in my trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35080146
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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We're working with a local for all of our arrangements in Peru. We met Vidal at the Adventures in Travel Expo in Washington DC earlier this year. Two of his clients were there as well (he guided them while in the area, including on the Inca Trail) and they had nothing but rave comments about him.

(By the way, I did contact several other companies and individuals before deciding to work with Vidal - in some cases, they were not interested in customizing a private trip; in others, the mark-up was outrageous; and in some cases they were more interested in promoting their own agendas/way of seeing Peru than accommodating our requests.)

We're going in April 2009, so obviously I can't comment on how the arrangements worked out. That said, Vidal has been very responsive to all of the requests and changes we've made to customize a private trip, our way. We've found that his pricing is quite realistic (not much more than what we would have paid booking things on our own) and he's helping us with getting airline tickets for domestic flights as well. He will also be guiding us in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

If you want to contact Vidal, you can reach him at [email protected]. Mention that you got his name from Ms Erin --- and no, I don't get a commission from him for referrals. Website is: http://www.adventureholidaysperu.com/.

Also, if you do a search on this board, you'll find recommendations for Percy Salas and David Choque (sp?) - both of whom come highly recommended by those who have used their services.

(P.S. If you do decide to contact Vidal, be aware that his verbal English is much better than his written English.)
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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eenusa, I am also in the Washington D.C. area (northern VA) and am taking my teen son to Peru in April 2009 during spring break, April 2-12. We will be in the Sacred Valley same time as you. I unfotunately missed the Travel Expo! But I am considering using David Choque and have emailed him.

I feel the same way as you about the agencies. I have emailed with about 6-7 agencies that do a short Inca trail hike (one day of hike to Machu Picchu and next day tour of MP, w/a night in between at Aquas Calientes. I want two nights in AC, and a nicer hotel than they all use, and it is crazy trying to get them to understand what I want and acommodate it. I have decided the only way to do it is with a private licensed guide, my way.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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emd - small world; our Peru trip is Apr 2-17 and we're also in Northern VA. Feel free to email me offline at eerkun at yahoo dot com if you'd like to compare notes and share the planning excitement.

David Choque was one of the people I contacted; he was very prompt in his response. In the end, it came down to the fact that we had already met Vidal and felt comfortable going with him although he's an unknown entity on these boards.
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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Thanks for sharing your ideas.

question for althom1122-

if taxis are faster and cheaper then why would anyone want to take the train? for the view?

Ken
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Old Sep 25th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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The train is the only way to get to Machu Picchu, so few people do take it unless they're going all the way to Aguas Calientes. There are a few stops along the way, but again, mostly just to pick up people going to Machu Picchu. It's not choice mode of transportation to get to the Sacred Valley. Takes longer and is more expensive. Stick to taxis except when you're headed to MP.
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Old Sep 28th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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eenusa - I contacted Vidal earlier today after reading your posts ... he has already responded. Just wanted to let you know I followed your suggestion to "namedrop" Ms. Erin, so if he asks you who the heck "Leslie" is, you will know.

WE are going to be in Peru for a little more than two weeks in February (I know ... not the best time weather-wise, but oh well)and hopefully Vidal will be able to put something together for us.

Thanks for your suggestion!
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 03:58 AM
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We have just spent a couple of month in Peru, one of which was spent in Urubamba/Ollantaytambo whilst we did some voluntary work.

It is easy enough to rent a car and driver for a day and you could easily get to see most of the sights in a day (with the obvious exception of MP. Get your hotel to recommend a driver/guide. It will be more expensive this way but you won't have the problems we did (ours quote 80 soles and then tried to charge 300!!). If you are interested here is a link to our blog with some photos and a description of where we went.

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...8980/tpod.html

If you move on a few pages in the blog there is some more stuff on Urumbamba and Ollantaytambo.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 04:23 AM
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crellston -
great blog - great pix
But I don't think 80 soles (only $26) sounds like enough either for a full day private tour. Maybe there was some miscommunication on the price before you set out.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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Leslie_s

There was no miscommunication it was all very clear we agreed 80 soles at outset (and spoke almost perfect English). Throughout the daqy he made no mention of increasing the price but as he dropped us off at the Hostal, he demanded 300 soles. I think it is what Americans refer to as "bait and switch"? Anyway we gave him 120 in the end and left feeling not very happy!

My point in posting was simply a warning to others to make things VERY clear before setting off and getting it written down before setting off. As someone once said " an intelligent man learns from his own mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others"
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 03:53 AM
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scdreamer - from my experience so far, I think you'll be happy with Vidal's services. emd, who also posts on this board, found and sent me a recent "glowing" review on Vidal from the Lonely Planet forum. Don't have it with me, but if you want to drop me a note at eerkun at yahoo dot com, I'd be happy to share with you, or go to the Lonely Planet Peru forum and put Vidal in the search box -- there are a few other reviews that popped up as well.
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