Short trip to Machu Picchu

Old Nov 18th, 2006, 04:35 PM
  #1  
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Short trip to Machu Picchu

I'd like to take my daughter (25) on a short trip to Peru in February. We'll only have a week. With such a limited time, what can we realistically do? Can anyone recommend a good itinerary for that timeframe? We'd like to spend the night at Machu Picchu if possible, but other than that are open to suggestions. Will probably try to do this largely on our own (perhaps arranging some tour guides either in advance or as we go). Hotel recommendations? I've already check into some of the guide recommendations I've seen here. Is February a good time to go?
Thanks,
Karen
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Old Nov 19th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Well, Machu Picchu requires at least 3 days to visit. Day 1, you travel from Lima to Cusco. Day 2, you can do a day trip to Machu Picchu. Day 3, fly home. 3 days are the minimum simply because of the way transportation schedules work out. Four days would allow you an overnight in Aguas Caliente. Another day would give you an opportunity to do a whole day tour of the sacred valley from Cusco.

A basic itinerary would be:

Day 0: Fly from Home to Lima

Day 1: Fly Lima to Cusco (many people arrive very late in the night into Lima and simply stay a few hours in the airport before catching a flight to Cusco very early in the morning.) Do a half-day tour of Cusco and explore the city.

Day 2: All Day tour of the Sacred Valley. Plenty of tour operators offer this bus tour, or you can do it on your own by hiring a taxi to take you around.

Day 3: Morning train ride to Machu Picchu. Explore the ruins. Overnight in Aguas Caliente.

Day 4: Get up early to catch sunrise at the ruins. More exploration. Catch afternoon train back to Cusco. Overnight Cusco.

Day 5: Depart Cusco for Lima - Onward travel - either home or other places in Peru.

February is the height of rainy season. The Inca Trail is closed during the month of February for clean up and maintenance. I don't know how rainy it actually gets, but at least there will be smaller crowds at Machu Picchu.
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Old Nov 19th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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Karen, I did a relatively quick trip to Lima (Hotel Antigua Miraflores, liked it),Cusco (unremarkable hotel), Aguas Calientes (Pueblo Hotel, loved it), MP, Cusco, Lima arranged by Lost World Adventures. It was reasonably priced, included very capable guide/driver services and I would recommend it. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Nov 19th, 2006, 01:36 PM
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Also spend a few days in Lima. As cmcfong, says, stay in Miraflores. Lots to see:

http://www.go2peru.com/webapp/ilatin...sp?cod=1998845


Cusco is easy to walk around with some sights, a museum and packed with travel agents for tours. Get the early morning train to Machu Picchu (about 6am) from the local station at the back of town.


February is fine, but be aware that rarely Cusco airport can be fog/cloud bound and no planes leave for a few days, so MP first.
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 02:11 AM
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In Lima we stayed in two hotels - Hotel Antigua Miraflores - it was good and has the added advantage of a free pickup from the airport. However Second Home Peru was absolutely fantastic. Not a hotel, but more a B&B but actually it was more like an art gallery - beautiful!! Our room overlooked the ocean and it was in a lovely quiet neighbourhood.

In Cusco we stayed in Casa San Blas which was nice and the staff were extremely helpful. We also stayed in the Monasterio - very pricey but fantastic.

In Aguas Calientes we stayed at the Pueblo which was really beautiful. Gorgeous rooms and gardens.
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 04:22 AM
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Thanks for all your replies! Great suggestions. After a bit more research, though, am thinking of postponing to a slightly less rainy month. Will have to talk to my daughter to see when we can go. Your tips will still apply - and I'll be back with more questions as it gets closer. Thanks,
Karen
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 01:59 PM
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I'm back with more questions! It looks like we're going in April, instead. That seems to be a much better time weather-wise. I like the itinerary recommended by lifelist. Does anyone have specific guide recommendations? We don't want to go with a tour group. Thanks!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2007, 03:59 PM
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Toppingg. And adding more...
How does this itinerary sound:

1. Arrive Lima (late), spend night
2. Fly to Lake Titicaca - Puno?
3. Lake Titicaca; Puno
4. Fly to Cusco; balance of day relaxing; spend night in Cusco
5. Tour Cusco; night in Cusco
6. Train to Machu Picchu; afternoon at ruins; spend night
7. Early morning visit to ruins; afternoon train to Ollantayambo; spend night
8. Full day tour of Sacred Valley; spend night.
9. Back to Cusco; fly to Lima; spend night
10. Morning in Lima; fly home (evening flight)

Is this doable? Suggestions for improvement?

Hotels I'm considering:
Basadre Suites - Lima
Ninos Hotel - Cusco
Hotel Sauce - Ollantaytambo
Puno??

How much can I (should I) do totally on my own? What parts do I need a guide for?

Any other thoughts would be much appreciated.

Karen


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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 02:11 AM
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That sounds like a great itinerary. We did our whole trip by ourselves, apart from our visit to the islands on Lake Titicaca (which we booked through www.titicacaperu.com) and our Inca Trail which you cannot do without going with a group.

I haven't heard of that hotel in Lima. We stayed in two different places there - one was the Hotel Antigua Miraflores (which was fine - adequate enough), but we also stayed in a place called Second Home - www.secondhomeperu.com which was absolutely beautiful. It's in a lovely suburb just south of Miraflores - rooms are gorgeous overlooking the ocean and the owners are really friendly. It's more like a B&B than a hotel.

In Cusco we couldn't get into the Ninos, but stayed in Casa San Blas and I would definitely recommend that if you can't get into Ninos.

In Puno we stayed in the Colon Inn which I wasn't overly impressed with, so avoid it if you can.
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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Thanks, Cailin. Is Lake Titicaca worth it? We are debating about hiking the Inca trail (I'm 50 but in pretty good shape, daughter is 25 but doesn't like to hike all that much - still she's somewhat interested). We have limited time - 10 days is pretty much the maximum. I thought the lake would add something totally different and be fun. The pics I've seen look beautiful. Did you find much to do to fill a day and a half? Others- what's your vote - Lake T. worthwhile?
Thanks,
Karen
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 04:54 AM
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We loved Lake Titicaca. We took a two day trip to the islands - leaving early morning on the first day, and returning the afternoon of the second day - with an overnight on one of the more remote islands that doesn't see too many tourists. The first day we stopped off at the Uros (floating) islands before going on to Amantini. We stayed with a local family and had lunch there, and in the afternoon hiked up to one of the mountain peaks - Pachamama/Pachatata - for sunset. We spent the night with the same local family.

The next day we visited the other island of Taquile - walking up from the port to the main square where there is a museum and a shop, then we had lunch and got the boat back to Puno. It was a great couple of days & I would highly recommend it.
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Hi - we would highly recommend the private guide we had in the Sacred Valley

David Choque
http://www.cuscotoptravelperu.com/
[email protected]

Here's a link to our blog - we went to Lake Titicaca as well and really enjoyed it but it's probably not for everyone.

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...aca/index.html

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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Karen,

We just visited Peru in November and also used the guide from the post just ahead of us; David Choque. In fact I discovered him from Liz's travel blog.

I would discourage you from flying from Lima to Puno-the elevation is too high to go there without altitude problems. You really need to acclimate. See my post from January 1st on the trip we just took. Here's suggestion:

Day 1. Fly into Lima and directly to Cusco. Arrange with David to be picked up at airport and taken to Sacred Valley. We stayed at Hotel Sol y Luna, which was wonderful.

Day 2. Tour Sacred Valley with David. We went to Maras and Moray-fantastic!

Day 3. Tour Sacred Valley with David. Ollyantatambo, Pisac, Chinchero, etc.

Day 4. Take morning train to Machu Picchu. David will purchase tickets. You will have all day here. Stay night here or Aquas Caliente. We splurged on the Sanctuary Lodge and glad we did.

Day 5. Machu Picchu. Take afternoon train to Ollyantatambo and have David pick you up and drive you to Cusco.

Day 6. Day in Cusco, city tour and nearby ruins. We stayed at Casa San Blas which was a lovely B&B.

Day 7. Home or fly to Lima and day here?

We did include Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, Arequipa but don't think it's practical if you only have one week. The highlight for us was the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We also had no altitude problems because we took it slowly, but met others along the way who were sick from trying to go too quickly to Cusco or Puno. You do feel the altitude the first few days and get winded easily. Drink lots of water.

Good luck.

Karen
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Karen - note that we have 10 days, not just 7 (we extended). Following your itinerary, not sure why we'd take the train back from MP to Ollantaytambo and then have David drive us the rest of the way to Cusco. Why not just take the train back to Cusco? Presumably if we wanted to add Lake Titicaca, we could do it after Cusco and then fly directly back to Lima at the very end. I agree this makes more sense from an altitude-adjustment standpoint! Thanks!
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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Hi althorm1122

I'll jump in on the AC to Ollantatambo instead of Cusco train question - it's actually faster to drive from Ollantaytambo - there's a long switch back as the train comes into Cusco that adds a lot of time.

So we took the one hour train from AC to Ollantaytambo and then David drove us to Cusco - which was just over 90 minutes - saved at least an hour I think.

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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Here was our itinerary - it could easily be 10 days with one less day in Cusco and MP or Ollantaytambo.

Arrive Cusco around noon from Lima (overnight flight to Lima from Canada)

David picked us up at the airport and transferred us to Ollantaytambo - 4 nights
(touring SV/etc)

2 nights in Machu Picchu (at Sanctuary Lodge -loved it)

3 nights in Cusco (could have been less - we weren't big Cusco fans)

One night in Puno (Lake Titicaca) then one night on Amantani then one night in Puno - 3 nights in total

Flew from Juliaca to Lima

So our total was 12 nights.
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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Yes, I like that itinerary. As you say, we'd just drop a night here and there. Looking at flights, we prob won't get to Lima until nearly midnight, so we'd spend the first night there and then take a morning flight to Cusco before transferring to the Sacred Valley. How much of the time do you actually need David? We're pretty independent and like to be on our own. Obviously, though, we'd need a driver (or taxi, anyway) for traveling around. We like to wander on our own with a minimal amount of "tour guide" details about architecture and history. (Some yes, but not a lot.)
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 04:55 PM
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We've very independent travellers like you and really liked the balance we had with him - have you looked at our blog? You'll get a sense of the itinerary.

Basically in Ollantaytambo we did a day trip/tour each day - highly recommend a guide (he is the driver as well) as the history is fascinating and the information slim at the sites.

Then we went to MP on our own - David actually joined us for a day but it's not necessary (I enjoyed it though) - there's a great self guided book for MP - here's a link to Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/un29k

Cusco we were on our own and then we went to Puno and Amantani in David's comfortable van and he brought a lot to it......so with him you get the transportation and as much (or as little) information as you like. And the costs are pretty reasonable.
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Old Jan 4th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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Elizabeth - I just read your blog. WOW. The Lake Titicaca portion appeals to me almost more than any other part of your entire trip! I think my daughter (Julie) would like it, too. I think I'll contact David and see what we can work out for April. Thanks! (Wish we had time for the Galapagos. Another trip, I guess.)
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Old Jan 5th, 2007, 04:57 AM
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David really talked us into the Lake Titicaca portion - we were very ambivalent about it but I'm so glad we did it - in many respects it was the highlight of our trip to MP and SV.

But, as I say, it's not for everyone and we were blessed with a wonderful family to visit and good weather.

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