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Help with Peru Itinerary! Cusco/Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley/Puerto Maldonado

Help with Peru Itinerary! Cusco/Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley/Puerto Maldonado

Apr 5th, 2011, 12:57 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Help with Peru Itinerary! Cusco/Machu Picchu/Sacred Valley/Puerto Maldonado

We are planning to travel to Peru in October. I have not made a a single arrangement, but have come up with a decent itinerary. Unfortunately, I have many holes and questions and would like some advice

Sat
Lax to Lima arrive late (11:30)
Overnight Lima
Hotel Ramada Costa Del Sol

Sun
Lima (7 am flight) to Cusco to Sacred Valley
Ollanytambo, Chincero, Pisac,
Overnight Ollanytambo
http://www.pakaritampu.com/en/

Mon
Sacred Valley continued
Ollanytambo, Moras, Moray
Train from Ollanytambo to Agua Calientes
Overnight Agua Calientes
Sumaq Hotel

Tue
Machu Pichhu
Climb Hayana Picchu
Train back to Cusco
Overnight Cusco
Casa Andina Cusco

Wed
Explore Cusco all day
Overnight Cusco
Casa Andina Cusco

Thurs, Fri, Sat
Fly to Puerto Maldonado
Reserva Amazonica 2 nights or Posada Amazonas?

Sat
Puerto Maldonado to Cusco to Lima
Dinner in Lima layover 4pm to midnight
Fly out of Lima midnight

1) I know we can sleep at the airport, but since we are starting our sacred valley tour right away, i'd like to get a good 6 hours sleep on a bed before arriving in cusco

2) We arrive Cusco in the am and would like a private driver to pick us up at airport and start sacred vallley tour, can I just find one at the airport? or does anyone have any contacts or tour companies they recommend? I've looked but most are group tours and start at a cusco hotel instead of the airport.

3) Thanks to the boards, I think we will stay at Hotel Pakaritampu, we want to do the half day moray/moras tour the next day from 9 am to 2pm that the hotel offers and then take train to agua calientes, but i did not see a sacred valley tour (but i have not contacted the hotel directly), nor pick up from airport

3) Cusco all day wednesday- there are a lot of group tours in the afternoon from 1-6 (which is fine, any recommendations?), and what to do in the morning?

4) Puerto Maldonado- i've been going back and forth between the two resorts, any experience with either resorts?

5) have 8 hour layover in lima from 4pm to midnight, would like to catch a cab and have a nice last departing dinner, is this feasible and any recommendations?
clelbong is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 01:43 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 74
Hi,

I would suggest booking your tours in advance as you might not be able to find exactly what you want upon arrival at the airport. You will probably end up losing some time and money by trying to find a tour guide directly at the Cusco airport.

Both Amazon lodges that you have selected are very nice, comfortable and provide knowledgeable and professional tours with english-speaking naturalists. While Posada Amazonas is only 2 hours away from Puerto Maldonado, and the most accessible of the two, Reserva Amazonica provides a unique experience in the heart of the jugngle. It is about 4 hours away from Puerto Maldonado by boat.

You have plenty of time to go in town with an 8-hour layover in Lima. You can leave your luggage at the airport if you don't want to carry them around. Since you are ont going to stay in Lima at all, I would suggest eating at the restaurant located within the ruins of Huaca Pucllana (restaurant of the same name). The food is absolutely delicious, with traditional Peruvian gastronomy on offer. And you can enjoy views of the lit ruins as you eat. Make sure to reserve in advance and ask for a table on the terrace to be sure to enjoy the view. This will give you a little taste of Lima and some of its culture.

Happy travels!

Hortense
Peru For Less
LatAmForLess is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 02:46 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Thanks Hortense, I see you are with Peru For less, Can i book a private guide through you? And if so what would be the cost?

Also, I've been looking at flights, should I do one flight from lax to cuz to pem to lima to lax thru LAN, or separate cuz to pem thru taca airlines? Would there be much difference in the price? thanks again!
clelbong is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 03:30 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,879
I agree with Hortense that waiting until you arrive at airports to find a guide is iffy. You'll find one -- there's almost always somebody hanging around at airports in Peru who can do something for you -- but who knows what the quality of the service will be with someone you find so randomly?

The combination of Days 1 and 2 looks exhausting to me. LAX-LIM is a long flight and will make for a tiring day. By the time you go through immigration and customs, it could be well after midnight. Granted, the hotel is a 20-second walk from the airport, but add time to get checked in and settled in your room. It's not going to be a good six hours of sleep that Saturday night. Then to turn around and fly to CUZ early the next morning AND immediately set out on a Sacred Valley tour that includes walking around the Pisac market (and presumably the ruins?) ... Just realize that you might be dragging by the end of that day.

Your Tuesday at MP ... Climbing Huayna Picchu means getting up there right away in the morning and making a beeline for that sector of the ruins and signing in. (You sign in and sign back out when return so that they know they don't have to go looking for you at closing.) People says it's 30 minutes up and 30 minutes down. No way. It'll take up a good chunk of the morning, which is time you won't be able to devote to the rest of the ruins. By early afternoon, you'll have to start thinking about getting back down to town to catch your train back to Cusco. Given your itinerary, I might consider just a regular MP visit, certainly amazing in its own right.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 05:56 PM
  #5  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Jeffcostarica- yes originally I had us arriving in cusco and staying in cusco for the night but some of the boards recommended going straight to sacred valley which is a slightly lower elevation and less likelihood of getting altitude sickness. Or should I switch Wednesday's to Monday's schedule? Or maybe then take a slighter later am flight to cusco so we get into cusco around 10? We still have the next day in sacred valley before we take the train from ollyantambo to agua calientes which I'm assuming will be late afternoon.


Do u have any recommendations for a good tour guide for sacred valley?

I thought if we stay in agua clientes we would just need to take the bus up to mp so if we start around 6am and finish by 2pm or so to go back to cusco is that not enough time to climb HP?

Thank you so much for your help!
clelbong is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:40 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,879
Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday are the three days of the week for the Pisac market, with Sunday being the most colorful day of the three. There is something going on other days, but on a much smaller scale. If you fly to Cusco too late that second morning, you'll miss much of the market. Morning is really the big time. I'm just saying I wouldn't pack as much into Day 2, considering that day 1 will be a tiring day. Maybe leave out Chinchero?

Sure. Take the first bus up in the morning. 6am-2pm is plenty of time to climb HP, but it will cut into your time visiting the MP ruins themselves. HP isn't ruins, per se. It's a climb up that sugarloaf mountain that you see in the background of all the standard MP photos.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 06:42 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,879
Let me clarify: HP does have ruins, but they're not as obvious and well preserved as those in the rest of the site. In the standard photo of MP, you see all those building structures. There's nothing that elaborate when you go up to HP.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 02:52 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Your itinerary is well crafted.

Do SV first 8000 ft like you are doing

then Cusco easy to book tours there though your hotel.

rumipunku.com casa-andina Classic both nice for price

inkaterra.com Reserva Amazonica best lodge but not wildlife

PM is dodgy flights expensive usually prefer Manu

Biosphere reserve cheaper better wildlife from Cusco

inkanatura.com manuadventures.com

Have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 02:54 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Nothing personal but Hortense is a LAFL commercial tout

here to sell you stuff almost always cheaper

better to book tours there through your hotel

so Caveat Emptor!
qwovadis is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 06:02 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 3,879
Except that neither lodge is in Puerto Maldonado itself. Almost nobody who goes to the region stays in town. (I do kind of like the town though.) Your lodge respresentative meets you at the airport, takes you to the docks in town, and off you go by boat to your lodge. Reserva Amazonica is a 45-minute boat trip; Posada Amazonas is two hours. The farther away your lodge is from town, the earlier you have to get up the morning of your departure to make it back to PM to catch your flight out.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 06:03 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
Visited Peru two weeks ago.
Stayed at Ramada Inn/ Lima airport hotel overnight.
Staff helpful and cordial but prefer U.S. dollars at the bar as do shops in the airport. Peru soles caused delays getting change.
Beds in airport hotel too short - my feet hung over the edge.
Not glamorous but clean. Buffet breakfast next day standard fair.
Flight to Cuzco just over an hour.
Stayed at Rumi Punku Hotel (nice)and not far from Plaza de Armas.
Never shook the altitude sickness unless taking an over the counter sinus pill (U.S.)
Air in Cuzco also smokey from cars and open fire cooking.
Plaza de Armas good location for money changing although Lima Airport advertised great rates and no commission (at bag claim area).
Plaza de Armas good for food and gift buying (vendors can be relentless but deals are great. Also vendors differ in prices and packaging of items (I got a silver chain to go with the pendant I bought with one vendor but not another, etc.)
Booked a tour of Cuzco and Sacsayhuaman ruins above the city.
Don't remember the name of company - booked through Rumi Punku hotel. Guide's name was Magda - very good/knowledgeable.

Was picked up and driven to Ollantaytambo. Stayed five days to explore that town's fortress ruins, the sacred valley (since it's IN the Sacred Valley) and from which to take train to and from Machu Picchu (not so far as from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. Stayed at Hostel Iskay for $20 a day. Clean, very friendly, buffet breakfast included and great view of Inca ruins across river. Town of Ollantaytambo a bit rustic. I walked everywhere - bring good walking shoes and if you're hotel suggests you get a ride to your destination - take it.
Train to Machu Picchu - took Inca Rail which was ok (nice, clean, snacks, etc.) but I finished with Machu Picchu six hours before the next Inca rail train back to Ollantaytambo. Peru Rail had many more scheduled trains - might want to take THAT company. It looked decent enough - lots more backpackers take it. Inca rail had more a business class feel.
Machu Picchu - my guide told me I couldn't climb H.P. because I wasn't staying on Machu Picchu overnight (??!!!!) Yes, he said I will have had to stay overnight. Now that might mean staying in Aguas Calientes overnight but I'm pretty sure he meant at the Sanctuary lodge - better look into that. He could have been wrong too but I don't think so. I was really disappointed about that.
Good you're getting to Machu Picchu early as the light is much changed as the day progresses and the dramatic light is lost after early morning.
Do you have your tickets to Machu Picchu, your bus tickets too?
I read it was a hassle getting them and suggest having the hotel do that for you. I did and all went well.
Good luck. Bring extra batteries for your camera.
Sun block, water, off but whatever you don't bring, vendors are apt to be selling it nearby.
Have fun.
backagainBill is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 08:01 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
ps
though the bed was short in Ramada Inn/ Lima Airport, it beat sleeping in three chairs pushed together in the airport and I am over 6 ft. tall.

Also I was lucky to have my passport on me at Machu Picchu - as it was asked for at the entrance.

Also if leaving Cuzco early in the a.m. be warned - the airport doesn't open until 6pm. Me and others had to wait outside at the gate in the rain for a half hour.

cheers
backagainBill is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 10:03 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Thanks for all the terrific responses.

BackagainBill- lol My husband and I are are both under 6 ft. Thanks for the info on MP, we are staying at agua calientes so hopefully we will be able to do HP, but thanks for the advice about the passport!

qwovadis- i thought with our time constraint (3days/2 nights), puerto maldonado would be the best option given the long treks to Manu but I will look into it. I'm still confused though deciding between Posaada Amazonas or Reserva Amazonica

I guess since we are staying at Hotel Pakaritampu the first two nights, I should contact them about pick up from airport and sacred valley tour from everyone's advice

Any other suggestions for dinner in Lima the last night?
clelbong is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 10:13 AM
  #14  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 91
Also in regards to the train, I thought since we were going "off-season" (end of october), it wouldn't be a problem, but perhaps i should look into the times and purchasing tickets before arriving in Peru?

I would need ollyantambo to agau calientes, then MP back to Cuzco the following day
clelbong is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 12:17 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16
sorry - I meant 6AM not 6pm for the opening of the Cuzco airport.
Also should mention folks I meant who stayed in Agua Calientes said restaurants were overpriced - just passing that along.
Also should mention that gift items I bought in Cuzco were less expensive than very similar ones I saw at the market near the Calientes train station but you can always bargain.
Also food at Machu Picchu park is on the pricey side but not too bad (small bottled water $3 U.S.) /Burger-soda-fries = 25 soles $7 - $10 (?)
backagainBill is offline  
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