Machu Picchu/Amazon Trip Report

Old Aug 16th, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Machu Picchu/Amazon Trip Report

We began our trip (my 18 y/o son and myself) on a red-eye from Miami June 8th,2009 connecting to a Lan flight to Cusco the next morning. We were picked up in Cusco by David Choche-guide([email protected]). I originally booked all my hotels and David assisted me with sight seeing itinerary in the Sacred Valley. I say this because there was a itinerary change on June 10th and David handled this beautifully. Until this trip, I have always handled my itineraries but without David, we would have been up a creek without a paddle.
Our original itinerary was this:
June 9th-Sightseeing with David-Moray and salt mines ,overnight at Hostal Sauce .
June 10-Sightseeing with David-Pisaq ruins,Awanacancha,Pisaq market, overnight at Hostal Sauce .
June 11-Train to Aguas Calientes-I booked this on the internet-overnight at IncaTerra Pueblo-booked on internet. I stayed here to see the amazing grounds and the speckled bears.
June 12- Machu Picchu-Overnight at IncaTerra. I did not book a guide at Machu Picchu
June 13-Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.Pick up by David and return to Cusco.Overnight at El Balcon.
June 14-Sight see Cusco.Overnight at El Balcon.
June 15-Bus to Puno InkaExpress-Overnight at El Colon.
June 16-Lake Titicaca overnight with All Ways Travel.
June 17-Return to Puno-Fly to Lima-Overnight at Sheridan
June 18-Home

Changes to Itinerary-My son had a meltdown on the first sightseeing day. Moray and the salt pans are quite a drive and he was tired and bored. He was not in favor of the Puno bus ride and thought he would be bored with the boat and overnight Puno which started on June 15. This was going to be an issue with changing the itinerary so drastically but I spoke with David. David said changing the itinerary was doable and also might work in our favor as a strike was possible starting on June 13. The strike would affect buses and trains and we might have a problem not only getting to Puno but also MP. He suggested going to MP on the evening of June 10 so we didnt get stuck in Ollantaytambo.He also suggested going to the Amazon instead of Puno as this area would not be affected by a strike . I would never have known this without him and these changes made our trip incredible. He handled the changes with ease and we will always be grateful for his contacts and knowledge..

New Itinerary:
June 10th-sightseeing with Fidel to Sacred Valley as above(He works with David) wonderful guide.Canceled 2nd night at Hostal Sauce without charge and went to MP on train in evening. Stayed at Presidente Hotel-David booked for us.Spoke with David and made changes for Amazon. David handled our air travel changes and Amazon stay while we were hiking and having fun in MP..
June 11th-Waynapicchu hike to summit with Fidel. This was amazing and we would not have been able to do this if not for David and Fidel because we would not have known the logistics of time constraints to get tickets for this.Overnight at Inkaterra Lodge
June 12th-on our own at MP and hanging out enjoying the Inkaterra Lodge.
June 13-Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.Pick up by David and return to Cusco.Overnight at El Balcon. David took me to two factories that sell Alpaca and native wears so I could shop a little. My son hates to shop so this was quick!!
June 14-Sight see Cusco.Overnight at El Balcon.
June 15- picked up by David and taken to airport for flight to Puerto Maldonada, the gateway to the Amazon. We were greeted by someone from the Lake Sandavol Lodge and transported to the boat for the one hour ride up the Amazon. We then put on wader boots and hiked two miles to get to another boat, man oar powered across Lake Sandavol to the Lodge. What a place. We hit the motherlode with our itinerary change and loved our three nights here.
June 16-Lake Sandavol. The lodge is all inclusive and has a schedule of hikes and activities. Amazing place.
June 17-Lake Sandavol.
June 18-plane to Cusco-Lima and red eye home.

Things I would differently a second time around:
I would not go Moray . It takes a long time to get there and there are agricultural terraces at MP and at the Pisaq ruins. I would only go to the salt mines if I had extra time. I would stay closer to the Cusco square instead of at El Balcon. El Balcon was off the beaten path and I did not feel comfortable walking back from the square after dark although I liked the hotel and the staff.

Things We loved:
InkaTerra Lodge-
Lake Sandavol Lodge
Machu Picchu
Greens-organic restaurant in Cusco by the square.
Watching a local soccer game in Cusco-Fidel got us tickets---
Hiking WaynaPicchu

Again David Choque [email protected]

If you have any questions, ask and I will try to answer..
freespirit61 is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2009, 03:26 PM
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thanks for posting good stuff...
qwovadis is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for the report freespirit61.

I plan on going to Peru in mid-Sept. Plan to buy plane tickets this week. Do you know if there are concerns that the strike will continue into September and disrupt public transportation? I plan on being in Cusco, do the Inka Trail and then spend a few days afterward in Ollant and Pisac. I don't think the strike will disrupt any Inca Trail hike, but since I plan on checking out the Sacred Valley afterward I'm just concern about the public transportation.

How does hiring a guide works? Did you just emailed him your itinerary and then he responded with suggestions/advices and the services he provide? I'm not sure if I'll get a guide yet.

Did you book everything on the internet from home prior to leaving for Peru?

Wayna Picchu is not the same as Huayna Picchu, right? I get them confuse, but you don't need a ticket to climb Wayna Picchu, correct?

Did you get to see interesting animals and scenary in the Amazon portion of your trip?

Thanks for advices.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 07:55 PM
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We had a wonderful time with David and his family - he is a great guide and handles change extremely well....glad you enjoyed yourself!
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 10:56 PM
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Wayna Pichuy and Huayna Picchu are the same.

I stayed at El Balcon. It is one block to Plateros and another block to Plaza de Armas. It is a quiet street and not right on Plaza de Armas, but as Rosa at the desk pointed out to me, it is safe because the tourist police are at the end of the block.

I felt completely safe staying there. I guess perception is everything.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 06:38 PM
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Alex2DP,
I found out about the strike from David Choque(our guide)and he assisted us with our itinerary changes. I found out abour David from this forum and contacted him via email. I sent him my wishes and he made suggestions as well. He charged me according to the day and outlined what would be included. I feel the price was fair and certainly it was nice to have safe reliable transportation. Peru driving is frightening.. I did not use him everyday and it was nice to have downtime to just hang. I booked everything on the internet prior to traveling to Peru. As I stated, David was golden when it came to the itinerary changes made. I do not know if WaynaPicchu has another name but you do need tickets to hike WaynaPicchu. There are a limited # of tickets given to hike this and you need to be in line as soon as MP opens. Ah, the amazon. We saw monkeys swinging from trees and feeding, several types of parrots, birds,spiders and plants. We did not see the elusive otters that had just had babies but next time. I hope this helps. If you have any other ?s, let me know and have a great time.

mlgb,
Not to spar about this, but I live in Miami and feel its better to be respectful of areas you do not know well.
El Balcon is about five blocks from the square and two of those dark at night. There is a unfinished hotel that is abandoned at the corner and this area is quite dark at night.
The hotel had a notice to take a taxi at night. I liked the hotel and the staff but felt being closer to the square would have been nicer.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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I grew up in Miami and live in LA. I talked to Rosa at the desk about safety and the sign to take taxis at night, and she said it was fine to walk to and from the Plaza de Armas even up to 10 pm at night. It really was not that dark nor was it that far.
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