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Lima-Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu first timers

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Mar 24th, 2017, 06:47 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Lima-Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu first timers

Hello all,

We’re planning a trip to Peru in late October-early November. We have traveled many times to Mexico and Europe but this is our first trip to South America and we are very much looking forward to it.

Us: late sixties and early seventies, good health, like to walk, speak grade C Spanish. History, art and archeology geeks.

Our draft itinerary for 11 nights in Peru:

Lima: arrive from JFK late evening, spend 2 nights. We want to catch our breath, be lazy the following morning over coffee, then wander around Barranco a bit, enjoy a good dinner. Staying at 3B Barranco, which crellston and mlgb have highly recommended (I’ve read many comments by them and others on this forum). Maybe visit Museo Larco and MNAAH in the afternoon during our one full day in Lima.

Fly Lima to Cusco, taxi to Ollantaytambo for 3 nights. Stay at El Albergue. I’ve read a lot about Wendy Weeks and her son Joaquin Rodrigo, watched several Youtube videos about the inn and the organic farm. Want to have the Pachamanca farm lunch, which I saw on a video, looks really interesting and fun. Walk all around the town, which seems to be one of the most authentic, still surviving Inca towns. Go out to Sacsayhuaman (can it be easily walked in 30-45 minutes? Any issues of mugging if there’s only the two of us out there?)

Then take a mid-morning train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, check in at Gringo Bill’s (we will have left our 2 small carry-on suitcases at El Albergue, taking only shoulder bags for an overnight with us). Buy bus tickets for MP, have lunch, then get up to MP around 1 pm.

MP: it looks like crowds thin out a little in the afternoon so that’s why we’re thinking of going at this time. Not interested in watching the sunrise and do not need to find the perfect camera shots with no people around. Want to walk around the main site for about 3 hours (not climbing the mountain), then catch the bus back to Aguas and stay the night.

Leave Aguas the next morning, train back to Ollantaytambo, pick up suitcases from El Albergue, taxi to Cusco, check in at El Monasterio for 4 nights. This is our big splurge. (“I want the last check I ever write to bounce” said one wise elder.) I reserved an oxygen-enhanced room because we want to minimize possibility/probability of altitude sickness. During our 4 days in Cusco we will walk around slowly and absorb some of what looks like a wonderful city.

After Cusco, fly to Lima, back to 3B Barranco for two more nights. Visit Museo Amano to see the pre-Columbian textiles, very much interested in seeing those. Restaurants in Lima: just beginning to scan for some good ones, Canta Rana for sure.

So that’s the early plan. I have booked all the hotels on booking.com with right to cancel without a penalty. Have not yet booked the Olla-Aguas-Olla train nor the MP tickets.

Some specific questions:
--weather seems like it will range from moderate to very cool at this time of year?
--nevertheless, sun will still be strong at mid-day so sunscreen etc etc?
--have a fair amount of soles in money belt for spending in various places? How much cash to carry, roughly? We won’t be buying rugs or alpaca sweaters or stuff like that, mainly visiting museums, bars, and restaurants
--is the Metropolitano safe to use during daytime hours from Barranco to historic center (Cathedral, etc.)?

Many thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions!
EYWandBTV is offline  
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Mar 24th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Looks like a good plan.

By the time you get to Cusco, you should be pretty acclimated to the altitude.

I'd go ahead and book MP tickets and train tickets.

Sacsayhuaman is near Cusco, not Ollantay, and it's a stiff up-hill walk, so save it for your last day. Maybe take a taxi to it, then walk back down.

Do get the Boleto Turistica del Cusco which will give you admission to many attractions both in Cusco and in the Sacred Valley. I'd take a tour of the Sacred Valley in Spanish, and, given that you have a lot of time, maybe take a bus or a taxi to Pisac.

--Late October is spring in SA, so while it will be cold in the mountains, it won't be that cold. And it's always around the 70s in Lima.

--sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat. Also, you might see if you can get some sun-block lip balm.

--defer on the question of how much cash to carry as it's been a while since I was there.

--don't know why the buses wouldn't be safe.

Cusco is a wonderful city--that whole area is one of my favorite places in the world---, and Lima is great as well, and I predict you're doing to have a great time.

!Buen viaje!
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Mar 24th, 2017, 02:21 PM
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I agree with dwd, it seems you have a good trip planned out.

To answer your specific questions as best I can:

--weather seems like it will range from moderate to very cool at this time of year?

Yes. It can get very cold at night and still pretty warm during the day. Pack with layers in mind and a decent waterproof jacket.
--nevertheless, sun will still be strong at mid-day so sunscreen etc etc?

Absolutely, regardless of whether it is cloudy or not, you are on the equator, the sun is strong.

--have a fair amount of soles in money belt for spending in various places? How much cash to carry, roughly? We won’t be buying rugs or alpaca sweaters or stuff like that, mainly visiting museums, bars, and restaurants

We lived well in Peru on less than $100 per day including accommodation, food, drinks etc. A dent meal can be had for 15-25 new soles. You can of course spend a lot more. Equally, a lot less. Biggest expenses will be train and entrance to MP, boleto touristico. Some entrance fees not covered by the bolero touristico can be relatively expensive. Prices can be found online.
--is the Metropolitano safe to use during daytime hours from Barranco to historic center (Cathedral, etc.)?

We have spend maybe. A couple of months in Lima in recent years and hardly used a taxi. The Metropolitano was a great way of getting from Barranco to Centre Historico. We found it absolutely safe. There were always staff or helpful Limenos around to help out if you didn't know which bus to get or which gate to stand at. Get the map and work out which lines you need to get for your planned route in advance.

As dwd has stated already, sacsayhuaman is very near Cusco and well worth a visit. A must do place. Perfectly safe during daylight but there have been reports or robberies at dusk. Get a taxi there, wander the ruins, take in the views of Cusco from above and stroll back down through San Blas for a well deserved beer!

Make sure to fit in Moray , Maras and Chinchero on your way to or from Ollantaytambo.
crellston is online now  
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Mar 24th, 2017, 02:57 PM
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Thanks, very helpful.

I just found out that we will arrive in Cusco Nov. 1, for four nights, and that the city really likes to celebrate Todos Santos both on the 1st and the 2nd, according to one of the local web sites. We were in Queretaro, Mexico, once for Todos Santos (Dia del Muerte), so looking forward to the Peruvian version.
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Mar 26th, 2017, 05:51 AM
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Mostly looks good.

Although only spending an afternoon at MP I might not bother with shifting hotels. There is a late train back which allows you to stay til MP closes.

$100 usually lasts me 2 or 3 days. If you eat in table service restaurants, credit cards are accepted, places that take cash mainly tend to be less expensive.

Metropolitano is fine.

My fave casual dinner option waking back from the metro to 3B is to takeaway sandwich (pavo/turkey) from Monstruos,just before the NW corner of Grau & Centenario

Enjoy Amano. My favorite. You might want to opt for the enhanced tour, I think they will pull drawers for you (they used to do this pre remodel).
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Mar 26th, 2017, 05:58 AM
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You can do Larco/Amano the same day.Amano is now good for general orientation. Take another part day to wander Barranco for murals, galleries. 3B has a map.
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Apr 2nd, 2017, 11:35 AM
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You've chosen a couple of really nice hotels (we stayed at El Albergue, but not at Monasterio). We did walk up to Sacsayhuaman (us then age 63, pre-6 day Salkantay Trail trek).
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Apr 3rd, 2017, 09:57 AM
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Hello all, again...

Just to correct what I said above about November 1st, and to add more info: in Mexico it is called Dia de los Muertos (not del Muerte, excuse my poor Spanish). And in Cusco and generally in the southern hemisphere, it seems that the tradition is different, since the southern hemisphere is entering springtime in early November, not autumn as is the case north of the equator.

Cusco celebrates two days: November 1 is the Dia de Todos los Santos Vivos (Day of the Living Saints), celebrated with favorite foods, and November 2 is the Dia de los Santos Difuntos (Day of the Deceased Saints), celebrated by visits to cemeteries.
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