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Day 9 - Day 17: On the Gringo Trail (Cuzco-Inca Trail-MachuPichu-Lima)

Day 9 - Day 17: On the Gringo Trail (Cuzco-Inca Trail-MachuPichu-Lima)

Old Oct 31st, 2010, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Day 9 - Day 17: On the Gringo Trail (Cuzco-Inca Trail-MachuPichu-Lima)

Here's the third and final installment of my trip report.......

Day 9: I headed to the bus station in Puno around 8:00 in the morning. I didn't want to spend almost the entire day on a bus so decided against taking "The Inka Express". "Tour Peru" was another recommended company with the first bus leaving Puno around 8:30 am and getting into Cuzco around 2:00 pm. There appeared to be some mix up with my reservations but managed to get a seat on the 8:30 am bus. My seat, as it turned out, was right in the front with the bus driver. The view was excellent, the bus ride the most scenic so far and the almost 6 hour bus ride was quite comfortable. Checked into Hotel Ninos (the one on Meloc) in Cuzco. The hotel is excellent in terms of service and value for money. It was amongst my favorite stays in Peru. I spent the rest of the day walking around the Plaza the Armas. Briefly stopped by the Peru Treks office to get a debrief for the Inca Trail hike 2 days later.

Day 10-Day 11: I spent the day exploring the San Blas neighbourhood, the Plaza the Armas, browsing textile stores and Centro Artesenal market. The next morning I headed to Pisac. I had intended to take a bus but found someone to share a cab with and it turned out to be a good deal. At Pisac, I bought the "boleto turistico" required for admission to almost all ruins in and around Cuzco and Sacred Valley. Walked down to the Pisac market from the ruins. Highly recommended. The walk takes only about 30 minutes. It's a bit of a knee-jerker but the hike descends directly into the Pisac market. Had lunch and then headed in the direction of Cuzco making pitstops at Q'enko, Pukapukara, Tambochay and Saqsaywaman. I found Pisac and Saqsaywaman to be the only ruins worth visiting.

Day 12 - Day 15: Inca Trail, Machu Pichu
This was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. Had booked the Inca Trail with Peru Treks and would recommend them to anyone whose considering the hike. The food was excellent and the camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags etc) was very clean and comfortable. The hike can get a bit strenuous at times. Almost everyone in my group hired a porter for the second day of the hike. It's also the longest hiking day. Fortunately no one got sick.
The 3 day hike to our final campsite - Winay Wayna consisted mostly of the following: Pizza, popcorn, good meals, a birthday cake, coca tea, a lot of uphill climbing...followed by a lot of downhill climbing (Incas sure liked steep steps), some more Inca ruins, breathtaking scenery, and some out of breath moments.
On the final day of the hike, we started from our camp around 4:30-5:00 in the morning, reached the Sun Gate around 7:00 and then there was Machu Pichu..... Machu Pichu lived up to all the hype and expectations. I enjoyed the walk around the ruins with the guides and fellow-hikers from Peru Treks. We decided to head back to Aguas Calientes around 1:00 to have lunch together. The train ride back to Cuzco wasn't until later in the day. The market next to the train station in Aguas Calientes and the streets lined with restaurants near the Plaza de Armas are worth a visit. Reached Cuzco fairly late in the night.

Day 16-Day 17: I had an early morning Star Peru flight to Lima. I reached the airport at 5:00 am only to find out that the flight had been delayed by a couple of hours. Got to Lima around lunch. Stayed at Second Home Peru in Barranco (one of many excellent recommendations I received on this forum. Thanks mlgb!). Spent the day exploring Miraflores, took a bus tour of the city at night. Mirabus offers 3 hour city tours. I wish there was some way of avoiding the one hour long fountain show which is part of the bus tour but apart from that the tour was quite good and the colonial buildings in central Lima looked spectacular at night.
I visited central Lima again the next day to walk around the Plaza and pay a visit to the Monasterio de San Francisco . Headed back to Barranco to pick up my bags and leave for the airport for my flight back home.
Nina3500 is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2010, 02:46 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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great report you chose wisely especially hotels for value

Thanks for posting,
qwovadis is offline  
Old Nov 1st, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Hi Nina, glad you liked Second Home Peru, one of my favorite overnights. Sorry you didn't like the fountains..I went on my own walked around all the fountains thought it was fun way to watch the locals enjoying an evening. I saw the tour group and they were kind of being herded toward that laser show which was cheesy. If anyone else is considering the fountains I recommend going on your own, you don't really need to see the laser bit.
mlgb is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2010, 09:40 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thanks for a great report!
Debbiekep2 is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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Nina - can you give me an approximate cost for your trip? I am talking to a tour operator asking for a little over $4,000 for 2 people (seems high to me). They include hotels (like Casa Andina) and buses everywhere except they have a flight from Cusco back to Lima included.
Also, did you book anything from home or did everything there in Peru? My apprehension is booking everything like trains and hotels, and then getting delayed by a day at a place (e.g. Nazca) and that may blow the rest of the itinerary - or should I not worry about it?
Our flight from Denver arrives late at 10.30; so its going to be like you did. Great reading your trip report. Thanks:
motu is offline  
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