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1st Time Trip to Peru - Please Comment on Our Itenerary

1st Time Trip to Peru - Please Comment on Our Itenerary

Old Oct 29th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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1st Time Trip to Peru - Please Comment on Our Itenerary

Hello,
We have begun to plan our first trip to Peru and would really love to have some feedback on our itinerary. We are 2 couples in our late 30s - early 40s, planning to travel to Pery for 9 days in late May, around Memorial Day weekend.
Here is the itinerary that has been suggested to us so far by a US based travel agent:
Day 1 - Arrive to Lima (traveling from NYC)
Day 2 - Lima (Private tour of Colonial Lima, visit to the Magical Water Circuit in the evening.)
Day 3 - Fly from Lima to Cusco, visit the Awanakancha museum while en-route to Sacred Valley Hotel.
Day 4 - Private tour of Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley
Day 5 - Private tour of Maras, Moray and our friends in a local community
Day 6 - Machu Picchu! Private tour of the ancient citadel; Overnight in Machu Pichu (camping? - we are not clear yet on details on that)
Day 7 - Free day at Machu Picchu. Return train to Cusco.
Day 8 - Private tour of Cusco and surrounds (including the Sacsayhuaman Incan fortress)
Day 9 - Fly from Cusco to Lima in the afternoon, fly to NYC in the evening
Is this a good itinerary? Can we do any of the guided private tours our TA is suggesting just as well on our own? He mentioned staying overnight at Machu Pichu at some camping site (not sure yet about the details) but my friend is all excited about this.. has anyone done it and can recommend (or not)? Is there anything to do for 2 days in Machu Pichu if we are not hiking Huayna Picchu (which we are not going to do most likely)? Should we make Cisco our base for all the trips or is it better to stay at different places we visit?
Lastly, I read that you often get better prices booking through a local (Peru based) agent. Has anyone done that and can recommend one to us?
We would really appreciate any feedback on this!
Many thanks,
Anna
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Old Oct 30th, 2014, 08:28 AM
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oh yes, lots of comments! I can't say I like the itinerary all that much. And yes, I'm sure if budget is a concern you will save by shopping around. You can read through a lot of the trip reports here for suggestions on agents.

It is better in my opinion to return to Lima the day the international flight, not the afternoon for an evening flight!!

Ask to continue straight on Lima to Cusco. Book that leg all on one ticket so that if you miss the connection they put you on the next available flight. Then put your Lima touring at the end of the trip.

Day 3's itinerary is very light, as is Day 5. Day 4 is too much. I think this is the agent that includes a lunch visit at someone's house on Day 5? Is that something you want to do?

I know the SV has the big resorts that are loved by travel agents (and a few are very nice), but Ollantay is a lovely town. If you stay there overnight, you can see it without all the tourists and their buses. There are a few lodgings up in the old town sector, or you can stay near the train station.

If you are active you might want to save Pisac for a day when you have time to hike down from the top of the ruins into town (after visiting the market in the morning). Pisac is closer to Cusco, it's just as easy to do it from there.

Find out which day is Sunday, which is market day in Pisac and Chinchero. I think it's worth going on market day to either or both. Not so much for the tourist souvenirs but for the produce markets and the villagers that come in to town to do trade.

I would probably want at least a full 1.5 days in Cusco.

My itinerary would look something like

Fly to Lima, continue on to Cusco (allow about 3-4 hours connecting time at the airport).

In Cusco, transfer by taxi to Ollantaytambo, rest. If feeling good, walk to the ruins &/or through the old town.

From Ollantaytambo tour the Sacred Valley (Moray/Salineras/Chinchero, see the ruins in town if you missed them on arrival day) Or book a bike trip down from Abra Malaga, or a community visit with Awamaki.

Train to Aguas Calientes (early morning, full day in MP)
Overnight in MP, followed by half day the next day.
Train back to Ollantaytambo. Pick up luggage and taxi back to Cusco, by the high road (beautiful views so do it in daylight). You can arrange a taxi/tour to stop at Chinchero on the way if you missed it.

Tour to Pisac from Cusco (most of the day allowing time for the hike) (you can hit up Awakancha if you must). Personally I like this place in Cusco for information on textile arts, they usually have demonstrations there. You will see plenty of alpacas and llamas, don't worry.
http://www.textilescusco.org/

Tour the sites around Cusco.

Fly back to Lima morning before you go home. If you have an evening international flight this gives you a good 1.5 days for touring Lima.

Have fun, you will love Peru.
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Old Oct 30th, 2014, 09:47 AM
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Mlgb has Provided excellent advice and I agree with all tthe points made. I would only add that you could book all this yourself with a little research. Local agents will sort this out at a lower cost than you would get from outside the country. For a list of local agents visit http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/...dex.html#cusco
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Old Oct 30th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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Hi crellston.

I think I left out a few words re advice on returning from Cusco to Lima...go back the DAY BEFORE your flight back home, fly back on Day 8 (morning).

Just to help with looking at flights, travel time from the city of Lima to the airport takes about an hour (allowing for delays).

From Cusco city to Cusco airport, about 15 minutes, if that!

Allow a few hours to get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Most taxis won't charge for brief photo breaks. I don't recommend stopping and touring on the first day, and with 9 days you have time to take it easy that day.

For airport transfers to Ollantay, the going charge seems to be about $50 (per car, not per person). Several hotels in Ollantaytambo have transparent websites, with typical prices for tours.

If you'd like suggestions for what to see in Lima, let us know which days you would be there for 8&9. crellston and I have both spent a bit of time there!
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Old Oct 30th, 2014, 11:45 AM
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Yes, good advice from mlgb.

We used a local agent to book for us (always cheaper than an agent in your own country!). If you use a local agent, specify exactly what you want. For instance, we wanted a car and driver for our several days in the Sacred Valley, but did not want a guide. The company we used is Totally Latin America. Just google them.
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Old Oct 30th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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BTW OP you might want to read cindyjo's trip report, as she has just started in Peru so very current information.
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Old Oct 31st, 2014, 05:14 PM
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Thank you all very much for really useful feedback!
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