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Machu Picchu Questions-Need help :-)

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Mar 20th, 2013, 08:39 AM
  #1
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Machu Picchu Questions-Need help :-)

Hello,

Our trip is booked May 24th through June 3rd. Thank you everyone for the great recommendations from my other post.

On May 30th we are we will take the Sacred Valley route (we are staying in Ollantaytambo) Peru Rail to Machu Picchu. I am trying to decide the best way to go and would appreciate any recommendations.

1. Is it worth it to take a 5:00am train to see the sunrise at MP? If not, what time do you recommend?

2. We want to make the most of the day there. Should we stay until they close at 5:30pm or is that too long? What have others done?

3. Vistadome vs. Expedition train? Is it worth the extra money for Vistadome?

4. Tour guide or alone? Our hotel can arrange a private guide to meet us at the train station for $60. Is this a good price?

5. The climb Huayna Picchu, is it worth $60 per person = $120 for me and my husband? Has anyone done this?

Thank you!

-Jessica
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Mar 20th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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1) I went in May last year, but a bit earlier in the month. The morning was foggy until around 11 am. If you can get up at 5 am it still may be worthwhile so you have more time while the site isn't crowded.

2) I stayed the full day. If you want to do hikes, I would allow the full day. If not, half a day is fine.

3) I don't think Vistadome is worth the extra, personally.

4) Not a good price, really. You can hire guides at the entrance for much less. But I don't especially think they are necessary if you have the time or interest to read up on MP yourselves, there are some good special purpose guidebooks. An there will be dozens of guided groups when you are there, if you want to listen as they pass through you will hear a different story from each one.

5) I went up to the Sun Gate instead. Easier, free. I don't like exposed drop-offs.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 11:05 AM
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Thank you for the feedback!
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Mar 20th, 2013, 03:07 PM
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1. Is it worth it to take a 5:00am train to see the sunrise at MP? If not, what time do you recommend?
>> I also went in May last year and the first morning we were there it rained until after lunch. The second morning it also rained all morning. So... it's up to you, but be prepared you might not see the actual sunrise.

2. We want to make the most of the day there. Should we stay until they close at 5:30pm or is that too long? What have others done?
>> I would definitely stay the whole day. They actually start herding you out around 4:30. The park empties out in the afternoon and also the sun will likely come out, so it'll be a great time to explore. Also agree with mlgb - If you're hiking, definitely stay the whole day so you have plenty of time.

3. Vistadome vs. Expedition train? Is it worth the extra money for Vistadome?
>> If you're staying the whole day, it'll likely be dark on your train ride back, so Vistadome will not be worth it.

4. Tour guide or alone? Our hotel can arrange a private guide to meet us at the train station for $60. Is this a good price?
>> We had a tour with our Inca Trail guide, so I can only tell you what fellow travelers told us: Guides there are hit and miss. Usually cheaper than $60, but could not tell you anything more than you already know. Or they could be spectacular. It's a gamble.

5. The climb Huayna Picchu, is it worth $60 per person = $120 for me and my husband? Has anyone done this?
>> We did Montana Machu Picchu instead. My husband also does not like exposed drop-offs so we decided HP was out. The hike to the Sun Gate isn't too difficult (not too steep) and would give a nice view if the sun's out. Montana MP wasn't crazy hard, but it's a steep climb up stairs. We did it in the rain and only got a short glimpse of the site, but it was fun.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 04:07 PM
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Hello Shutterbug85, thank you for the information. I found it very helpful.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:06 AM
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Hi!

Just to add something extra to everyone else's replies if you get the 5am train presumably from Ollantaytambo? You definitely won't get to Machu Picchu in time for sunrise. You really need to be at Machu Picchu by 6am to see sunrise, however very often it is cloudy and misty early in the so its just the luck of the draw.

In terms of guides, again it competely depends on the quality of the guide. $60 for a guided tour of Machu Picchu with an excellent guide seems like good value if theyv are top shelf guides so make sure you check with your hotel how good they are. You can find much cheaper guides at the entrance but quality isn't always great.

Happy travels!
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:22 AM
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When I went several years ago, stayed overnight at MP and got up early to see sunrise, etc., Definitely worth it to have the place to myself for a while.

If you only have one day, take the earliest possible train there and the latest possible back as there is quite a bit to see, even if you don't get to see the sun rise.

I didn't and wouldn't pay for a guide as long as you have a good guidebook. And I would probably pick one up at the entrance, after quizzing him or her about her or his knowledge.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:47 AM
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The other reason to talk to the guide first is to see if you can understand his accent.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:49 AM
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They start to sweep the site at about 5 pm and you need to be out by 5:30 pm. It takes about half an hour to get back down into town. So you really don't need the latest possible train, just one after 6:15 pm or so.

Staying late is nice, too. There were some viscachas that had snuck out and were nibbling on the grass near the central courtyard when I was there.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 04:50 PM
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I've been on both Vistadome & Expedition trains and except that the Vistadome snack comes in a nice reusable basket, not a disposable tray, they are interchangeable. They follow the same track, they have the same views and windows.

I would definitely do Huayna Picchu hike. It is fabulous on top. And I would definitely hire private guide. Think about all the money you spend to get there! Going without a guide is like watching TV without the sound.

Wait until you are there to decide how late you want to stay. They will sweep you out by 5. But you may feel like leaving sooner. Take snacks & water. The only food concession is the open cafe at the main entry. I like the sandwiches. They are fresh made. Some complain about the price, but it's better than any food I've seen in some national parks elsewhere.

Have a blast!
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Thank you everyone for all of the great advise and feedback!
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Apr 1st, 2013, 12:45 PM
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"5. The climb Huayna Picchu, is it worth $60 per person = $120 for me and my husband?"

The ticket web site (http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/) shows S/128 for the Machupicchu ticket and S/152 for Machupicchu + Huanypicchu. The difference is S/22 or $9.26.

Where did you get $60? I have not bought my tickets yet, I want to be sure I am not missing something.
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Apr 1st, 2013, 01:42 PM
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You are correct mptl13, if you can buy successfully from the official site.

Some people can't get it to work and they wind up buying through a travel agent which jacks the price up.

But I think maybe the OP missed that the HP is not a separate ticket, but sort of an upgrade from the basic admission.

If you are hiking the Inca Trail, however, you do have to buy another full ticket. You can't just pay for the add-on to HP.
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 12:06 PM
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1. Is it worth it to take a 5:00am train to see the sunrise at MP? If not, what time do you recommend? unless you go the day before and stay in aguas calientes you may be able to see the sunrise depending on the weather...my suggestion is to go one day before, there are no train services before 5am and the trip lasts about 4 from ollantaytambo train station or 3 from poroy train station you wouldnt make it for sunrise leaving cusco on the same day.

2. We want to make the most of the day there. Should we stay until they close at 5:30pm or is that too long? What have others done? unless you have a train ticket that's leaving aguas calientes to ollantaytambo or poroy train stations and from there to Cusco far after 5:30 pm its ok to stay...my suggestion is come back sooner...its usually crowded if you come back later.

3. Vistadome vs. Expedition train? Is it worth the extra money for Vistadome? my suggestion vistadome in the morning service and expedition for the night return to Cuzco...

4. Tour guide or alone? Our hotel can arrange a private guide to meet us at the train station for $60. Is this a good price? No is not, the local guides are authorized archaeologists or anthropologists they charge around 15 bucks...those that charge less don't know what they are doing...

5. The climb Huayna Picchu, is it worth $60 per person = $120 for me and my husband? Has anyone done this? the difference between the ticket that allows to climb the HP and the one that doesn't is about 10 dollars don't pay more than that. And unless you want to loose time making lines in each one of the government offices to buy your tickets I suggest you hire an agent...if you want a name just write again...
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 01:24 PM
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The trip from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is about an hour and a half. Not 4.

At the moment and for the remainder of April the service from Cusco is now a split bus/train service.

More and more people are reporting success using the official website www.machupicchu.gob.pe for MP tickets. However they suggest using the Spanish language version to do the actual transaction. You do need a verified by Visa cc and good idea to call your bank and warn them of the overseas transaction.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...co_Region.html
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Apr 4th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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We just got back from MP. We took Vistadome there and Exp back, but we did stay the night in Aguas Calientes. If you are able to stay the night, I would suggest it as I thought it was a cute little town.

For the trains, Expedition is fine. Only real diff is that the Vistadome came with a mini sandwich and more offers for drinks and the Exp has less options for food. Other than that, the views and comfort were similar.

We had hired a good English speaking guide (Arranged by our B&B in Cusco) and saw the site from 7 to 9:30 with the guide. It was great. You really need the guide to explain the site to you and to guide you where to go. After that, our plans were to climb Wayna Picchu but b/c of rain, it was temporarily closed. So we climbed MP mountain (fairly steep) and then rested, then did the hike to Sun Gate which was very easy. We were back down by 2 pm to grab a quick lunch and back on the train to Cusco. I would have like more time at MP , but in the end it was really enough to take in all that we wanted.

When we arrived Olly, we saw beautiful rainbows over the valley heading back to Cusco. Not sure where your train tickets are from but some of the stations are closed so you may want to check and change to Olly if you can.

Enjoy your trip.
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Apr 7th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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P6 - thanks for the update. I've been following this thread because we're putting together a trip for mid-May. A few Qs:

-How crowded was MP?
-Did you take the earliest bus from AC, or was that not necessary because of the rain?
-Did you stay in the Sacred Valley before going to MP? We were thinking of 3 nights in Olly, 1 night in AC, and 2 in Cusco. Does that sound right?
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Apr 7th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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One more Q: If we arrive at 3:30pm, can we spend an hour at MP and then go back the next day using the same ticket? Or if we don't enter, can we hike to the Sun Gate for sunset?

travelgrl, sorry to hijack your thread!
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Apr 7th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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no you will need another ticket
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Apr 7th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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You need a ticket each day. And the Sun Gate is inside the park, so yes, you need at ticket for that.
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