Feedback on Peru Itinerary, Please

Jan 12th, 2014, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Feedback on Peru Itinerary, Please

We are planning a trip to Peru for November. We are mostly interested in Incan ruins. Here is my plan:

Fly to Lima, arrive 11:30pm
Two nights in Lima (free nights at the Marriott)
Flight to Cusco
Three nights in the Sacred Valley (Tambo del Inka)
Three nights in Cusco (Free nights at the Marriott)
Hiram Bingham Train to Machu Picchu
Two nights at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
(we will visit Machu Picchu on three days)
Hiram Bingham Train to Cusco
Overnight in Cusco (free night at the Marriott)
Andean Explorer Train to Puno
Three nights at Titilaka
Fly to Lima
Fly home (flight leaves at 1 am)

Thoughts about the itinerary or the hotels? Any recommendations?
Kathie is online now  
Jan 12th, 2014, 11:37 AM
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Hi Kathie

A pretty good plan! - I would expect nothing less from you

JW Marriott, Lima- excellent location overlooking the Larcomar centre and the sea in Miraflores. Has a decent restaurant with an excellent lunch buffet. Great to start checking out Peruvian cuisine in the safety of your hotel! Lots more, mostly chain type restaurants across the road in Larcomar. A 20 min walk or 5 min cab to Barranco ( although you will probably want to spend a full day in the Centro Historico.

Tambo de Inka is in Urumbamba (as are most of the lux. Hotels). Not as nice as Ollantaytambo but far less touristy these days. The plaza de Armas and central market are worth a look for a taste of local life.

Sanctuary Lodge - hope you managed to get a deal,! One night in MP would be enough for me but November is the beginning of the rainy season so you are doubling your chances of getting good weather.

Cusco. Marriott is a nice property and as central as it gets. Some great buildings right on the doorstep. I would add at least a night to Cusco as there is so much to see given your interest in Inca ruins. In addition to the many sites of interest, museums etc. In the city, Tambo Machay and Sacsayhuaman should not be missed. Also Pisac is definitely worthy of consideration and is better reached from Cusco than the Sacred Valley.

Rather than taking the train to Puno, I would go via the Inka Express tour bus which takes around the same time but stops at many sites along the way before arriving in Puno at 17.00. It follows the same route as the train through the most amazing scenery but I feel you will see a lot more.

I think three nights in Puno is one too many. The trip to Uros and Taquile etc. Takes a full day. The only reason to spend an extra night is if you want a night on the islands. Puno itself has little to commend it IMO.

I have no doubt you will have a great time in Peru.
crellston is offline  
Jan 12th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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Thanks so much for you comments, crellston. It appears I can get the Sanctuary Lodge for much less than I originally thought. I don't yet have complete bids from agencies. We are combining expensive experiences with free nights. This will be my first post-retirement trip, so decided to splurge.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 12th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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Hey Kathie, surprised to see you here. Planning a trip to Peru and Brazil myself. I'm going late-July / early-August, as things calm down a bit after the World Cup. My Peru leg is similar to yours: 3 nights in Lima, 3 in the Sacred Valley, 2 in Aguas Calientes, 3 or 4 in Cuzco, and then onto Iguazu Falls and Rio. First time going to South America, so I'm pumped.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2014, 07:55 PM
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Looks like a good plan! I agree with Crellston's comments (haven't been to Puno so can't comment on that.)
Be sure to spend time in Pisac - I think their ruins are second only to MP. Also loved Ollantaytambo and is worth exploring the village and also has nice ruins.
yestravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 06:20 AM
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Thanks for your comments. I think we will add another day to Cusco. There is so much to see and do in the area! I'm sending out our itinerary today for bids from two local companies.

This is our first trip to South America. I had planned a trip to Machu Picchu for 2001, but was in an car accident and realized I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted there. I had no idea how long it would be before I planned the trip again!
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 06:39 AM
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So does this mean you would take the train/bus to Puno, spend that night, the next day and night and then fly to Lima the third day? That is a long way to go for one full day. Perhaps I am misunderstanding.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 07:55 AM
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No, we would spend three nights in Puno (or actually, outside of Puno). So we take the train to Puno, have two full days (and three nights) there, then fly to Lima the next afternoon. I know, it is still a long way to go, but we are expecting the train ride to be spectacular (and comfortable).
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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You know what they say, Kathie. Better later than never. I'm working with a company called Andean Treks for the Inca Trail portion of our trip and so far they've been quite responsive; we're only going to do a one-day trek, but plan on climbing MP Mountain. In the Sacred Valley, we're going to hire a car and driver.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 09:45 AM
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Okay I thought perhaps you were taking your extra night in Cusco from Puno.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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cold, I have flexibility in terms of time (since I'll be retired), so adding an extra day is no problem.

I've sent out my proposed itinerary to two local agencies, so I'll be interested to see how they compare.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 11:25 AM
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Hi Kathie!

My husband and I are going to Peru for 8 days in April so I'm doing some planning right now myself.

We'll have 4 nights at the Tambo del Inka first (arriving there via overnight flight through Lima to Cusco on day 1), so I'll be able to tell you how it is. We'll go see MP from there and explore the SV from there.

Then we have 2 nights in Cusco at a small hotel and then 2 nights in Lima at the Westin before flying home. Both SPG hotels are cash plus points which is nice. Unfortunately, the SPG hotel in Cusco was not available for C+P for our nights.
I'd love to stay at the Sanctuary Lodge, even for a night, but it was unavailable for the night I really wanted, and other nights around that time were starting at $1450 per night on their website!

Question about your itinerary...why start in the Sacred Valley, then go to Cusco, then back to SV to go to Machu Picchu? Seems like unnecessary back and forth. Why not go up to MP from Urubamba after your stay at the Tambo? Is it so you can take the Hiram Bingham train or is there another reason?

Also, I know how much you like taking your time exploring ruins, but I wonder if 3 days at MP might not be overkill? Are you planning on climbing Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain on one of those days?
Kristina is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:30 PM
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Hi Kristina,

We are starting in the Sacred Valley because it's at lower altitude and hopefully will make acclimation easier. From what I've read, since we are taking the Hiram Bingham, either the Sacred Valley or Cusco will work. However, I'm open to suggestions, if something different works better.

BTW, Esme wrote a great review of Tambo del Inka - take a look at her report.

No, not planning on climbing Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Have you seen the stairs of death? www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ezgkaRyVe8 Convinced me not to climb!

We will find out if 3 days at MP is overkill. A trip I wanted to take many years ago had two nights at MP.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Hi -- I just realized you are "the Kathie" who has given me such great advice on the Asia board.

In trims or order, is there a reason you have split your time in Cusco? It may make sense for you to go from Scared Valley to MP and then put all your time in Cusco after MP.
yestravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Yestravel, I do mostly hang out on the Asia board. I'm amazed at how many "Asia people" are here!

It might make sense to do it that way - that would eliminate the single night in Cusco between MP and Puno. I'm awaiting feedback from the two local agents I sent this to. I'm not attached to this order of things, just to the destinations and a goodly amount of time in each. I also may find I have some restrictions in terms of availability of places I want to stay. I know I have to time my Andean Explorer train right as it only runs three days a week.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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Kathie I just posted an answer on your other question. Re Puno. We took the bus from Cusco to Puno and the scenery was fantastic. We spent one night in Puno because we arrived so late and then one night on the island of Amantani Island and then late back to Puno and and overnight again before we flew out.
We are in Chile now and doing the reverse, heading to Bolivia and then Lake Titicaca, again will overnight one night on the island and take the bus to Cusco. I plan to spend a couple of nights in Cusco, one night in Ollyantambo and a night in Agua Calliente (Macchu Picchu town) instead of the Sanctuary this time.
I doubt you are thinking of doing this, but just in case, you can also stay on one of the Reed Islands on Lake Titicaca as well. I would not suggest it, the huts are damp, moldy and I dont think it would be a great experience in my opinion
One other hint. I have never been so cold in my life as the night I spent on the island of Amantani. Bring warm socks and sweater to sleep in. We were there in June the first time however., but this time we are prepared for cold nights.
South America is fantastic. I love Asia as well, but we are having a blast here now.
Happy planning. .
live42day is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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Glad to hear you are having such a good time. I look forward to reading your report.

We are not going to do the homestay at Lake Titicaca. And the hotel we have chosen, the Titilaka, has heated floors!!! One of the reasons we chose it. Still, everyone has said it is cold at the lake and we will try to pack accordingly.
Kathie is online now  
Jan 13th, 2014, 03:39 PM
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Kathie - I agree with crellston about taking the bus rather than the train. The train actually takes longer and the bus makes several stops on the way. We really enjoyed it - and were fortunate to have a bus that was only about half full.

I would definitely recommend an overnight stay on one of the islands. We used All Ways and would recommend them (although that was 7 years ago). Puno itself isn't worth much time - it's about getting out on the lake.

I'd also suggest considering staying in Ollantaytambo. A big advantage is the train ride to MP from there is significantly shorter than Cusco. And if you're staying in the Sacred Valley anyway, go directly to MP from there. I'd do that even if you stay in Urumbamba and take a cab to Ollanta to catch the train.

Don't miss the little museum at the bottom of the hill from MP. The bus driver will drop you off on the way back to town if you ask (and you'll have to walk back to town - but only about a half hour). Make sure the museum is still there - my info could be out of date. We loved it.

Lastly, if you'd like a guide/drive I'd recommend Percy Salas. Check my trip report for his contact info. He can do as much or little as you want. We really enjoyed our day going to the salt pans and Moray - the concentric circles. I think you'd really like that.

I think you'll love Peru.

Karen
althom1122 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 04:03 PM
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Another guide to consider is David Choque who is a delight. I think he really enhanced our visit. http://www.cuscotoptravelperu.com
yestravel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 04:22 PM
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I had no idea there were so many Asia Board regulars planning trips to Peru.
This will be our first trip to South America (our 6th continent!) but in July we are headed back to Cambodia (4th trip) and Burma (first time) because we just can't stay away. If anyone of you have been to Burma in the last year or so and have advice, let me know. I hear things change mighty fast there.

Kathie-I've seen Esme's review of the Tambo and it looks great. We are currently debating taking the train up to MP right from the hotel or going earlier from Ollantaytambo. The train schedule from the hotel is a bit limiting.
And YES, I've seen the stairs of death and there is NO WAY I'm climbing up there!
I'd be interested to hear what the tour companies suggest re: Cusco in between SV and MP.

Karen- I just read your trip report, it was great! Do you think the guide you used is still around? Do you have any current contact info for him? Or do you think he still uses that Hotmail address?
Kristina is offline  

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