June Trip Review

Jan 28th, 2019, 08:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 35
June Trip Review

We are scheduled a 7 day adventure to Cusco and Machu Picchu. We are to spend 2 days in Cusco with the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu via Inca Trail. We are planning to arrive in Lima on June 7 and leave for Cusco on June 10th. Our Trek is over June 16th. We would like to add on to this but we have to be back in U.S. by June 21st. So we are debating taking a one day tour of Sacred Valley and then going to Arequipa for a 2 day Colca Canyon tour. In reading some trip reports, one traveler said how they 'hired' a car and driver to get them from Cusco to Ollaytambo with stops along the way based on their interests. I don't recall how they got back or if they moved on to other locations. So my question is should I do the same and hire a car/driver to slow travel to Ollaytambo and spend the night there so I can explore the city or just do the one day organized tour. So it would be June 7 - 9 Lima, June 10 - 11 in Cusco, June 12-15 Cusco - MP-Cusco, June 16th one day Sacred Valley tour, June 17-20 Colca Canyon or two day self tour of Sacred Valley (June 16-17) and then June 18-20 Colca Canyon.
I know 'it depends' but I am interested in any comments. Thank you.
dhoffman14 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2019, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,226
I'm not sure how your timing would work for a Colca Canyon visit: If you are going to Arequipa, won't you want any time there? Then the 2-day tour from Arequipa really is two full days -- it starts out at 7 or 8 a.m. and doesn't end up in Puno until the following day, dinner time. And then you would be in Puno, and it sounds link you would need to leave for the U.S. at the crack of the next dawn -- if you can get back in time at all. Maybe those logistics would work for you, but they wouldn't have worked for me.

For tours from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, with stops in between (and probably with a return to the starting city, if that's what would suit you best), consult taxidatum.com. The usual day tour is a FULL day tour.

IMO, with so little time (either way) you will be skipping many delightful sites in the Sacred Valley and you will also be shortchanging Lima. You are also giving yourself very little time to acclimatize to altitude. But of course you can't see everything with the time you have and so will need to make choices based on what most interests you.

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
Praise for Peru A report of my solo month in this amazing country

Hope that helps!

Last edited by kja; Jan 28th, 2019 at 05:50 PM.
kja is offline  
Jan 29th, 2019, 12:01 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,195
You have detailed the dates of your Inka Trail but not the times so it is difficult to be precise. However, I am assuming that your trek ends in MP on the morning of the 16th you will clearly want time explore MP after which you would need to get the train to Ollantaytambo at some point in the afternoon.

I would suggest spending the night in Ollantaytambo. Depending upon what time train you get, I suppose you could explore the ruins in the late afternoon but more likely, first thing the next morning. Either way, the ruins will be free of the crowds of day tour groups and should be pretty quiet. The ruins are amazing and will take 2-3 hours to explore. The town is also one of the best preserved Inca towns and definitely worth a wander around the streets.

After visiting the ruins you could take a taxi tour of the main sites in the Sacred Valley on your way back to Cusco. A visit to Moray, Maras and Chinchero takes between 4 and 6 hours depending upon how much time you spend in each place. As mentioned above, taxidatum.com are good (although their drivers rarely speak English and are not guides). Alternatively, any hotel or hostal in Ollantaytambo or Cusco will arrange. If you speak decent Spanish and are a good negotiator, then the cheapest way is to head to the main Plaza and do a deal with one of the drivers there.

You would not have time for Pisac on that trip but on one of your two days in Cusco, you could get a taxi to Tambo Machay and hike the old Inca trails back down to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman via Q’enka, Puca Puccara Etc. From Sacsayhuaman back down into Cusco. It is an easy downhill or level hike taking around 3-4 hours and good prep for acclimatisation for the IT ( assuming the altitude on a arrival doesn’t knock you too much).

If it were me, I would forget about Colca Canyon as it would make it too rushed. I loved the place but it did take me three attempts to get there. The first two were foiled by earthquakes blocking the approach to the canyon. On our third attempt there was a major quake two days before but we did make it and it was amazing. If the flight timings work then I think you could do maybe a one night visit ( we used Killawasi Lodge) but I although I am a fan of independent travel, I did find it a lot easier just to get a tour, especially if short on time. It would also be a huge shame to miss out on time in Arequipa, one of the most beautiful and fun cities in Peru.

You could easily use up that time visting sites in the SV and Cusco and I would always want to spend the night before departure in Lima because of the possibility of flight delays ( not uncommon).

Some details and photos of our time in Peru in the places I have mentioned, which you may find helpful are on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/peru/
crellston is offline  
Jan 30th, 2019, 07:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 35
June Trip Review

Thanks for the suggestions as this has allowed us to rethink our trip plans. With a limited time span for our trip we don't want to cram things and miss out on the reason we are in Peru. As this is our first adventure to South America, let alone Peru, it is a little different than planning a trip let's say to France. I was looking how to get from Cusco to Arequipa and it seems flying is better. A bus would take 19 hours and it seems when I looked up train travel they want to make an excursion out of the trip. 3 days from Cusco via Puno to Arequipa. So air travel seems to be the better alternative. LATAM seems to be not as accommodating and Avianca a little better. We live in Western NY and are closer to Toronto than NYC. So we are looking to take Air Canada from Toronto to Lima. They have non-stop flights that don't take 10+ hours. So once again thanks for the input and I will review your trip reports.
dhoffman14 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2019, 05:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,460
It does appear that there are now a few daily nonstop flights direct Cusco to Arequipa. So you could fly there (morning, get a tour or taxi booked to take you direct from the airport to Colca Canyon, spend one night (two really better especially since you are hikers). The morning after you arrive go see the condors and some of the churches if they are open (there is one right in Yanque). I'd recommend contacting Killawasi to see what they can arrange. You then taxi or bus back to Arequipa (probably will need to spend a few nights, to have at least a day in AQP) and then fly to Lima the next morning. The 4 M Tourist buses to between Colca and Arequipa are quite good. Or you could first stay in Arequipa, and book a Colca Canyon tour from there. I'd recommend Giardino since their transfer includes some guided stops as well as a ramble in Corporaque near their hotel Mama Yaachi. What I did was book the two day 1 night tour and ask them to end my tour in Chivay and then I spent a night at Killawasi in Yanque. Took the 4-M bus onward. But they can probably arrange the whole thing for you. I liked spending a night on each side of the canyon. Looks like they have some longer tour options also.


I would likely skip L. Titicaca.

BTW you can also visit Pisac from Cusco, and walk from the ruins down into town, in addition to or instead of the walk via Sacsayhuaman suggested by crellston.

Be aware that May is the end of rainy season so it's not a bad idea to stay a little flexible.

I don't know about Air Canada...my single experience was less than stellar. But a nonstop flight is always worth a try.

Avianca going through San Salvador is pretty efficient, though.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 30th, 2019 at 05:23 PM.
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