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gopinathpc Sep 12th, 2009 09:01 AM

Going to Peru in December - Need help with itinerary!
We ( a family of 4 with 2 teenagers) are traveling to Peru this Dec.
I have never been to South America before. But we wanted to cover all
the wonders of the world - one of which is near Peru.
We will be in Peru from 26th through Dec 30th.
Can someone please suggest a good itinerary for these 5 days?
We would certainly like to visit Machi Pichu.


qwovadis Sep 12th, 2009 02:28 PM Cusco/MP tour all you have time for...

crzn1 Sep 13th, 2009 09:14 AM

Do you have 5 full days or does that include travel arrival and departure days? Are you arriving by air? in Lima? With a few guidelines we can offer some suggestions.

gopinathpc Sep 13th, 2009 11:23 AM

I have 5 full days and it excludes arrival and departure days. We will be arriving and
departing from Lima international airport.

Aguadito Sep 13th, 2009 08:01 PM

Mr:Vance Nelson
[email protected]
He and 10 friends from USA were in Peru on 2009 Spent 5 days in Peru they can help You

crzn1 Sep 13th, 2009 09:00 PM

I would fly directly to Cuzco , then on arrival avoiding altitude issues skip Cuzco and take a taxi to Ollantaytambo, rest up a bit, see the local ruins at Ollantaytambo (nearly as good as MP).Ollantaytambo is a charming town...Be sure to have a least one meal at Puka Rumi Restaurant (its the one in KB Tambo Hostal). Spend the next day sightseeing in the Sacred Valley. The next day take the first train from Ollanta-MP, and a late train back that night. I would stay that night in Ollantaytambo also taking a early taxi to Cuzco perhaps visiting additional S.V. sights en-route. Lots to see in the greater Cuzco area, don't miss Sacsayhuaman, Awana Kancha ( kind of a weavers co-op with Llamas etc..),Qoricancha as well as the Cathedral.Make your train reservations ahead of time on, You need to turn the e-ticket in for a real ticket when you arrive at Ollantaytambo. Overall, we had such a great time and would recommend Peru to anyone. The Peruvian people were very friendly and welcoming! If you have some time in Lima take a city tour. If you want I can recommend a great private guide for Lima.

Diane60030 Sep 14th, 2009 04:59 PM

I agree 5 days will give you only Cusco and MP. I used Peru Best Tours and they managed to cram all of the things I wanted to do in the time I had available.

Unless you are hiking I´m not sure that staying in the SV makes any difference over Cusco. It is probably a little cheaper, but there is less to see / do at night.

I respectfully disagree with crzn1, Ollantayambo is nice, but not even comparable with MP.

mlgb Sep 14th, 2009 05:34 PM

I would agree with crzn to go directly to Ollantaytambo. Not only is it lower in altitude (significant, actually) but there are many more trains to MP. Book at least two nights. So you can rest tje first then the next day go to MP on an early train and return on a late train. Spend night 2 in Olly. The next am see the ruins there, and hire a taxi to take you thru Moray and Salineras on the way back to Cusco. You then can see Cusco for a day and do a day trip to the outlying sights and Pisac.

gopinathpc Sep 14th, 2009 09:14 PM

Thanks for all the replies
I would like to spend at least a day in Lima to see the city. I would like to avoid
museums and hiking, since my family is not interested in this.

How does this itinerary look?

Lima - 1 day
Cusco - 2 days
Machi Pichu - 2 days

Are there good airlines between Lima and Cusco?
I checked Taca and they charge about $150 RT per passenger.

mlgb Sep 15th, 2009 08:10 AM

Taca is fine and now less expensive than LAN, although they only have one flight per day.

I think it is better to see Lima the last day of your trip, not the first. Then if you have any weather delays you will not miss your international flight.

I would go


gopinathpc Sep 26th, 2009 09:25 AM

I am trying to finalize the itinerary. Please let me know your thoughts on this:

Arriving Lima - 25th Dec 3 PM
Leaving Cusco - 26th Dec 10 AM
Spend 27th Dec in Cusco
28th - Visit Machi Pichu
29th Dec - Take the flight back to Lima
30th Dec - Visit Lima

Can someone tell me what do I do in Cusco (for a day)? Are there any places close by?
Is there a tour operator I could use?
For MP, which train should I take? For MP, do you recommend
going alone or going through an organized tour?

Can I visit Lima city in a day?

Thanks in advance

mlgb Sep 26th, 2009 09:54 AM

1) Take the earliest available flight on 26 Dec.
2)As advised above go straight to the Sacred Valley Ollantaytambo, Urubamba etc. It is easier to handle the altitude. You can ask the taxi driver to stop at the Salinas on the way, if staying in Ollantaytambo they have the best ruins outside of MP. There are many more trains from Ollantaytambo.
3) Yes MP, take the very early train from Ollanta. Return to Cusco that day (take an afternoon train all the way back to Cusco if you are not traveling with large luggage). Otherwise you might need to stop in Ollanta to retrieve your bags and take a taxi back.
4) you can visit around the Plaza de Armas in Cusco at night. In the morning the next day you can see Qorikancha and the Cathedral.
5) If you return to Lima (there are no late flights btw) I recommend a tour of the colonial center by double decker bus and also a visit to the fountains. Have a seafood late lunch such as Pescado Capitales.
6) Before your return to the US you should visit the Rafael Larco museum in Pueblo LIbre, Lima.

I would try to travel with a small overnight bag only. It will make your fast trip a lot easier. Many hotels can do laundry for you at small cost if needed.

gopinathpc Sep 26th, 2009 11:27 AM

Thanks a lot for the suggestions.
To visit Machi Pichu do I need a guide? Are there any relaible guides I can find?
Looks like there are more trains from Poroy to MP. Should I take this train?
How far is Poroy rail station from Cusco?

mlgb Sep 26th, 2009 11:37 AM

If you try to select Cusco-MP you will get the same trains as if you select Poroy-MP. (My understanding was that they are now using the Poroy station which is maybe 20-30 minutes by taxi from Cusco).

If you select Ollanta-MP you will see many more trains.

If you do decide to travel from Cusco/Poroy to MP you won't have more than about 3-4 hours up at the citadel.

I again advise you to travel to Ollantaytambo and take the 5 am is worth it!

But if you are not willing to do that then I would not hesitate and book your other trains now. They are going to sell out over the holiday.

gopinathpc Sep 26th, 2009 12:53 PM

Do you know how far is Olionto train station from Cusco?
I will go ahead and book on this train.
Do you know of any good hotels (4 star) in Cusco?

mlgb Sep 26th, 2009 01:06 PM

Ollantaytambo is about 1 hr 45 minutes by taxi. If you go the day you fly in you can see some sights in the Sacred Valley on the way.

I recommend that you stay in Ollantaytambo, not Cusco the night you arrive. The elevation is significantly lower. If you are insistent on staying in Cusco, be sure to ask your doctor about getting some Diamox for the altitude (you will need to start it a few days before you arrive).

Hotel Pakaritampu has the highest rating, however if you are taking the early train I recommend staying in El Albergue since it is on the platform.

For one night you don't need 4-stars.

Read some the trip reports for other traveler's impression of Cusco versus Ollantaytambo.

gopinathpc Sep 27th, 2009 08:01 AM

Is it advisable to take a day trip to MP from Ollantaytambo? Or will it be too hectic
and need to stay overnight?

What will be the weather like in Dec in Lima and MP? Do we need summer clothes or will it get too cold in MP?

mlgb Sep 27th, 2009 08:29 AM

If you are asking if you need to stay overnight in Aguas Calientes, I didn't think it was necessary. I had about 5 hours of no rain in the main ruins and I thought that was the right amount of time. I didn't do any of the longer hikes such as to the Sun Gate or to Huayna Picchu, though.

After you arrive, it takes about another hour between buying your tickets in town, standing in line, and taking the bus to the top. You must leave the top of mountain about an hour before your train departs.

If you are spending the night before/or after in Ollanta, that cuts about an hour each way from your travel time so it's a little less of a full day than from Cusco. (But to me the main reason to stay in Ollanta is to take the first train, and because the altitude is lower). Also you can see the town itself and ruins on your "resting" day without booking a tour or taxi in advance.

It's warm and humid in MP that time of year, and it does rain (you can bring or buy a cheap rainponcho). Ollanta and Cusco are pleasant during the day. However because of altitude you will find that it cools off at night, and Cusco will be the coolest location since the elevation is 11,000 feet. For nighttime you will probably want a fleece jacket (or buy an alpaca sweater). Definitely bring hats, sunscreen and bug repellant. When it isn't raining the sun is quite strong at altitude. Long pants and long sleeves are a good idea at MP, there are little invisible bugs that bite and if you are allergic they leave a big ugly welt.

dominicinco Sep 28th, 2009 07:40 PM

Hey goinathpc, it looks like we are travelling to Peru on the same dates, but will be leaving a little later on Jan 3.
Originally we were going to stay in Lima on Dec 25th for 3 nights, then fly to Cusco for 5 nights. After reading about airline schedules and the thought of missing our int'l flight(btw, did this in Paris, not fun)we thought about flying to Cusco right after we land in Lima on Dec 25 at 4pm, however there are only morning flights to Cusco, like you, our only option is to fly out the next morning on Dec 26.
Our itinerary looks the same as yours, this one if tenative if we can find cheap flights LIM-CUS, so far its $200pp

25th Dec 4PM - Arriving Lima
26th Dec 10AM - Arriving Cusco, stay in Ollantaytambo
27th Dec - Tour of Sacred Valley
28th Dec 9AM - Train & visit to Machu Picchu, stay in AC
29th Dec 5AM- Visit Huyana Picchu/Machu Picchu, stay in Cusco
30th Dec - Visit Cusco sites
31st Dec - Take flight back to Lima
1st Jan - Visit Lima
2nd Jan - Visit Lima
3rd Jan 2PM - Leave Lima

mlgb Sep 29th, 2009 11:31 AM

Hi dominicinco, Have you tried TACA for your Lima-Cusco fares?

They should have the lowest price. Their flight to Cusco is early enough that you will have pretty much a full day in the Sacred Valley on the 26th, so you can see Ollantaytambo that day. On the 27th you can see some of the other sights such as Pisac, Salineras & Moray (or Ollantaytambo if you were having altitude adjustment on day 1).

I think I would spend NY Eve in Cusco. Lima is crazy enough, it might be too much excitement..unless that is what you are looking for!

dominicinco Sep 29th, 2009 09:31 PM

Hi mlgb, I've been looking at StarPeru for flights from Lima-Cusco. They seem to have the best fare at $300RT for 2 adults. I think we are going to keep our original itinerary of staying in Lima first, then going to Cusco.

gopinathpc Sep 30th, 2009 06:08 AM

Is 5 hours good enough time to cover Machu Pichu? I am planning to take the
8:50 train from Ollanta and would reach MP at 10:30 or so and would like
to take the 6 PM train back to Ollanta. Assuming the bus ride from the train station
to MP is about an hour that would leave me with 4 or 5 hours. Will this time be sufficient?

mlgb Sep 30th, 2009 07:29 AM

Yes it's enough time. Hopefully though it will not be raining which it is apt to do in the afternoon (It started about 1:30 when I was there). Hence another reason to try to take the early train, especially if you manage to stay in Ollanta.

If you can't manage to take the early train it might be better to overnight in Aguas Calientes and then have the morning in MP.

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