Feedback on Peru Itinerary, Please

Jan 13th, 2014, 04:29 PM
  #21  
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Hi Kristina, yes, I'm amazed at how many Asia board regulars are here!

We were last in Burma in 2011, but you may still find my trip reports useful. Burma is one of my favorite destinations! Have a wonderful time.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 04:57 PM
  #22  
 
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South America is the new Asia.
crosscheck is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 05:02 PM
  #23  
 
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Kristina - you can contact Percy via Facebook. He's Percy Salas Alfaro.
althom1122 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2014, 05:53 PM
  #24  
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Hi crosscheck! Any advice for me?
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Jan 13th, 2014, 11:12 PM
  #25  
 
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"South America is the new Asia." I am getting that printed on a tee shirt!!
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Jan 14th, 2014, 02:08 AM
  #26  
 
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Great Itinerary. I did almost exactly that in 2006!

Have an amazing time
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Jan 14th, 2014, 12:35 PM
  #27  
 
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Hi Kathie,

Although I go to S. America often, I haven't been to Peru since the mid '80s. On that trip I did the extreme 8-day Salcantay trek to MP (could NEVER handle that now), went to Arequipa for Halley's Comet sightings, and also visited Puno, Lake Titicaca, Lima, the Sacred Valley (exceptionally sacred and tourist-free then) and Lima. Other than a horrific earthquake in Cusco, it was one of my best trips ever.

We planned to go back last year for our older son's college graduation trip. But our younger son broke his finger the night before we were leaving and needed several procedures, so we had to cancel. (Yes, the same kid who fell off the elephant. He's fine now and instead we had quality family time in New Mexico.)

I did a lot of research and didn't use an agency. We are now thinking about re-booking for this summer, so I feel somewhat qualified to weigh in on your itinerary, since I spoke to many friend who had just gone and compulsively checked out every hotel, restaurant and activity:

1) Sacred Valley - Agree with everyone who says that you don't need to return to Cusco from the SV to get to MP. You can take the shorter train from Ollantaytambo and still experience the HB on the return to Cusco.

2) 3 days at MP - Knowing your passion for ruins and Cheryl's photography skills, three days are probably not too much. You can always hang out in Aguascalientes for the last half day.

3) 4 nights in Cusco - Good call. Magical city. Plenty to do there, and great side trips. My friends just spent a year going around the world and it was one of their top ten cities where they would like to live.

4) Bus vs. train to Puno - We took the bus and loved it and the scenery...but that was 25 years ago and I think there was something wrong with the train. Can't remember where we stayed exactly, but it was indeed a cold hut. I think they had just invented fleece and we were happy to have it.

5) Guide - We booked Percy for last year's ill-fated trip and he was extremely sympathetic when I texted to cancel hours before he was supposed to meet us. Refused to accept payment even though he had turned down other work. He had also included some cool off-the-beaten places in our itinerary. Highly recommended for primo customer service.

We might be rebooking for August - If so, I'll be happy to do some reconnaissance for you.

So happy you're finally going, and congrats on your retirement - SO envious!
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Jan 14th, 2014, 12:53 PM
  #28  
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Thanks for your input, crosscheck. It is valuable.

While I don't usually use agencies, I heard that agents can do well on prices for luxury properties. If we don't get a better price quote than what I can do on my own, I'll just go ahead and book myself.

We are quite willing to splurge on this trip (as you can tell from our accommodation choices). And I thought we should do the Hiram Brigham, as it's likely the only Orient Express train I'll ever be able to afford!

Anyway, I got a price quote from one agent and am awaiting another. The first agent also (at my request) gave some suggestions for making the trip less expensive. One was to stay at the Inkaterra in Aguas calientes rather than the Sanctuary Lodge. It is a much better hotel at less than half the price, but then we don't get to stroll from breakfast to MP, etc. He also suggested the Libertador Hotel at Lake Titicaca, but I don't think I'm willing to consider that.

Cheryl and I have plenty to talk about tonight!
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Jan 14th, 2014, 01:08 PM
  #29  
 
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As a minor comment on the bus versus train, we took the bus. It was pleasant and the stops were interesting. But it was still a very long day. And I personally would rather be on a train than a bus, cost issues aside.
colduphere is offline  
Jan 14th, 2014, 05:12 PM
  #30  
 
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We spent three days at the sight, mp, when we were there a few years ago and just sat at different locations and marveled at it. The first day we had a guide, (we hiked the short inca trail) and then we were on our own. we were amazed at the groups that would just come for a couple of hours and then leave.

Having been to many of the same places as you in Asia I don't think that three days will be too much for you.
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Jan 15th, 2014, 06:36 AM
  #31  
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After discussing what was important to us about this trip, I think we have decided to cut Lake Titicaca.

Ironically, yesterday I received an email from the company that had the trip I dreamed of 20 years ago: www.incafloats.com/peru/peru11itin.html

This was a reminder that Lake Titicaca was not part of the dream trip. We will end up with a trip with more time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley at a much better price.
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Jan 17th, 2014, 04:53 AM
  #32  
 
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Kathie, go with your gut. I'm sorry you'll miss Lake Titicaca, as we enjoyed it so much and it was so different from the Cusco/Sacred Valley area. That said, I know trips are always about making hard choices. You'll have a great time!
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Jan 17th, 2014, 07:29 AM
  #33  
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Hi Karen, yes, it's always about editing, isn't it? We designed a new itinerary excluding Lake Titicaca but adding another day in Lima and two more in Cusco. We are now awaiting a response from an agent.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 12:19 PM
  #34  
 
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So Kathie, have you decided on a final itinerary?
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Jan 19th, 2014, 12:58 PM
  #35  
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Yes, we have:
Arrive Lima, spend three nights,
Fly to Cusco, go immediately to the Sacred Valley, three nights in the SV
Drive to Cusco, four nights in Cusco,
Train to Machu Picchu
2 nights at the Sanctuary Lodge (so three days admission to MP)
Train to Cusco, two more nights there,
fly to Lima and fly home.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 19th, 2014, 01:01 PM
  #36  
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PS all of our nights in Lima and Cusco are free with Marriott points. So while some of this is extravagant, some is very thrifty.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 01:35 PM
  #37  
 
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Kathie, that's awesome! Glad to hear that you've settled on your Peru itinerary. For me, my trips always feel that much closer when I finalize my itinerary and begin booking flights and hotel rooms.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2014, 03:05 PM
  #38  
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Yes, booking makes it real, doesn't it? We are awaiting final word on our reservations that the agent is making. We've made our own Marriott reservations. We won't book the flights to/from Peru until we get the word from the agent.
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Jan 19th, 2014, 04:09 PM
  #39  
 
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Indeed. I've booked my hotels for the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Cuzco, as well as my tickets for Machu Picchu (we're doing the one day Inca Trail and a trip up MP Mountain on our third day there).
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Jan 19th, 2014, 04:16 PM
  #40  
 
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That sounds great!

My hotels are booked and I'm about to book the train and MP tickets. We've also been in contact with Karen's guide Percy.
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