Santiago to Cusco help?

Apr 28th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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Santiago to Cusco help?

We (seniors and running out of travel years) want to go to Machu Picchu this November, as we will depart a cruiseship in Valparaiso. (We will go PAST Lima in the ship, but can't depart ahead of time, darn.)

This will be late November, and probably not prime travel time, but don't have a choice. We are needing suggestions about small places to stay and buses to get where we're going; no more than one day hiking for us and that would have to be easy going as we probably can't keep up with a group. (sigh)

Any ideas or suggestion about lodging (NO luxury places) & transportation would be appreciated. We will have to get from Valparaiso to Santiago to catch a plane.

We will have 5 days to a week. Is this doable in our circumstances?
Brahmama is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but 5-7 days is realistic only if you fly round-trip from Santiago to Cusco, and that would have to be with a connection in Lima. Nearly all the Lima-Cusco flights depart in the morning, so I don't know if even an early, early-morning flight from Santiago would let you connect in time. Chile is one hour later than Peru. Once Chile starts Daylight Saving Time which is sometime in November, it is two hours later than Peru, so it might be possible to do it all in one day without overnighting in Lima. LAN Airlines would be your best bet for those flights:

Same on the way back. Cusco-Lima flights run pretty much in the morning only. That may give you time to connect with a Lima-Santiago flight. Otherwise, it's an overnight in Lima.

Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:18 AM
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Hey Jeff,
That's what I needed - logistics about how to get there.

I'm thinking maybe fly back to Dallas from Lima - but one-ways usually come in higher than RT.

Thanks for the info.

Brahmama is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Luckily, you are going to two places served by Lan, which should make things easier. Lan is a great airline, and part of the One World alliance, so you can get/use American miles if you wished. I just checked their website for you and you can fly Santiago to Cusco (via Lima) without overnighting in Lima.

I don't have a hotel recommendation for you for Cusco, because I always splurge and stay at Monastario (I've been twice). But there are a bunch of posts here recommending less expensive hotels.

Since you will arrive later in the day than someone flying in from the States, I'd recommend just relaxing that first afternoon at the hotel, maybe walking around the town a bit before dinner, and getting a good night's rest. Then I'd spend day 2 in and around Cusco - doing what they call a City Tour - touring the cathedral, Coricancha (the Temple of the Sun), and Sacsayhuaman. You can take the tour with a small group or a private guide. Either way is not very expensive. Your hotel can set it up for you.

On day 3, I'd get a private guide (not very expensive) to take you on a tour of the Sacred Valley (Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and the alpaca/llama/vicuna petting farm, etc.), dropping you off at your hotel there at the end. I highly recommend the Hotel Sol y Luna. It's $120 per night for a two-person villa. The grounds are absolutely beautiful.

Staying in the Sacred Valley before MP has a couple advantages: hotels there are less expensive, it makes a one-day MP trip much easier as it cuts out 2 hours of early morning train ride, and gives you an opportunity to experience this wonderful valley and all the Incan sites within.

You can either stay an extra day at Hotel Sol y Luna and enjoy the area, or take the morning train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (the town near MP). It is only a 1.5 hour train ride (versus 3.5 from Cusco). The hotel drove us to the train station for $15-20. Take the 15-minute bus ride up to MP, spend the day, and then take the afternoon train back to Cusco. You'll have to spend the night again and fly through Lima on your way back home. I don't understand why you'd need to go back to Santiago.

The altitude will have a huge impact on you, so I strongly suggest talking to your doctors about anti-altitude medication. I took it both times, and I'm in my 30s. The one night I forgot, I got the worst headache I've ever experienced in my life. It was so bad, I was in tears.

Both times I've been, we've packed a small overnight bag to take to the Sacred Valley and MP, leaving our giant suitcases (locked) at the hotel in Cusco. There are lockers you can leave the overnight bags in at the train station.
hills27 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Where does your cruise leave from?
hills27 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:37 AM
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The train company is Perurail. It's run by Orient Express. The website is

Hotel Sol y Luna's website is Petit, the owner, will confirm your reservation via email. Her english is perfect. Note, she'll require you to fax/email a copy of your credit card and passport 30 days before your arrival to secure your reservation. It's quite common in Latin America, and perfectly safe to do so with this hotel.
hills27 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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great information. Thanks for all the details.

We leave from Ft. Lauderdale.

I checked out airfare from DFW to FLL and then LIM back to DFW and it came in at over $1700 pp! YEOW.

We can get airfare through the cruise for about 1050 pp (I was complaining about THAT!) so I guess we can always go back to Santiago if we have to. But it just seemed so sensible to do the shorter flight as a one-way home.

Thanks for the recs for the hotels - the Sol y Luna sounds perfect for us. I'll check out the altitude too. We've been some high places and never had problems except for feeling a bit tired, but probably not nearly *this* high. I need to "google" some facts!

Brahmama is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Having just got back(last month) from Cusco and Machu Picchu, I have to agree with all that Jeff and hills27 have said

A nice hotel in Cusco is the Novotel and it is 2 blocks away from the main Plaza Square.

Here is their website
The hotel is much nicer than the pictures show ,although the pictures are nice if you hit the right website.

Anyway it is the one on St.Augustine Street.

Hotel Sol y Luna...this hotel is a nice place with individual bungalows.
it is about 1/2 blockoff the main highway going through Ollantaytambo.

You have time to see the whole Sacred Valley which starts from Pisac and
there are some nice ruins there also.

Let me just add this;

If you are planning to keep your hotel in Cusco and just take an over night bag on to Ollantaytambo, then make sure you take ALL your medication with you.

Not just the medications that you might need for everyday use.
One person in our group got sick in Ollantaytambo.

yep,!! he left his anti-nasuea pills and his anti-diarrhea pills back in his other luggage in Cusco.!!

Have a nice time ,you will be impressed with your first sight of Machu Picchu.


Percy is online now  
Apr 28th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Try flying roundtrip Dallas/Miami on American. And then Santiago - Lima - Cusco - Lima - Miami on Lan or American. I'd also try pricing the entire itinerary as one through American. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Unless you've been to the Himalayas or the Andes, you've never been anyplace this high. In fact, I think there are only a handful of cities in the world that are as high as Cusco. I never have trouble in the Rockies, but at 3,200 meters, Cusco was a problem (it's higher than MP by quite a bit). That's the the odd thing about going to MP - you fly into the highest portion of your trip, go down, and then come back up. So there is no time to gradually adjust.
hills27 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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You might want to have a travel agent help you out with the air portion. They can work magic sometimes figuring out the cheapest combination of tickets for something this complex.
hills27 is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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I did appreciate all the ideas and suggestions, but we have had a change of plans and we won't be going on this cruise - so won't get to go to Peru either - at this time.

Hopefully, I'll be back to try this another time!

Brahmama is offline  
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