Must sees on peru trip

Old Jun 5th, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Must sees on peru trip

My husband and I are are traveling with my sister and friend in July to finally go see machu picchu! So excited but need a little help. Hostels are already booked, Just need activities to fill out days.

Currently out itinerary is get into cusco and then head to ollantaytambo for 3 nights. I know there are a lot of ruins there, but what are the must sees in that timeframe?

Then we venture to aguas calientes for 3 nights. The plan as of now is to get there and see something small for the day then get a goods nights rest and do machu the next day. Any ideas for 3rd day? Is it worth it to stay in aguas that long?

Then heading to cusco for 2 nights.

Lastly lima for a few nights.

Please any hikes or sites to see, even restaurants with foods we need to try. Anything you think that was overrated or underrated from guide books? Any advice would be appreciated since I'm basically the one planning trip! Don't want to disappoint ; )
cee828 is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2015, 02:15 PM
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Well a guide book is always a help. But sometimes I look at Viator to see what activities they have tours for. I don't always book on Viator but at least you know what a bunch of people find interesting.
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 04:11 PM
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Firstly, I think you have too many night in Aquas Calientes. Th wonky reason for being there is to see Machu Picchu and the only requires 1 night, 2 at most. I would add an extra night to Cusco.

Ollantaytambo is a great base for exploring the sacred Valley. Maras, Moray and Chinchero are easily reachable in one day ( hire a taxi for the days) and the twin itself needs half a day for the ruins but it is a lovely place just to hang out just wandering the streets of the old inca town.

There is great deal to see in Cusco and by the time you get there you should be acclimatised to the higher altitude. Even with an extra day you need to be selective which is where a decent guidebook comes in handy. There I are some great food options in cusco from market stalls to fine dining. Researching your options in advance will reap dividends as there are a huge number of place to choose from

One of the best hikes I have done is along the old inca paths from Tambo Machay back to Cusco via Sacsayhuaman. Easy walking, amazing views and could be combined with a visit to Pisac. Get the bus to Pisac in the morning, explore the ruins there and then get the bus back to drop,you off at Tambo Machay and walk from there.
More details and photos of this walk are on our blog, entire 18 & 19

There is also an account of a very long day out around the SV on a much earlier trip at

Overated or underrated? we have spent a lot of time in the area over the years and it never fails to impress and I can think of nothing, in terms of sightseeing that was overrated. Plenty of restaurants were over rated , but that is always the case. as a general rule we found the best food in some of the most unassuming restaurants and market stall. It was almost the case that quality and taste were in inverse proportion to price!
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 09:08 PM
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Thanks this was all very helpful!
I was kind of getting the idea that aguas calientes was just for machu picchu and there wasn't much there besides that. So glad I asked. We will be taking off a day there.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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Agreed on cutting a day from Aguas Calientes. It is really only a "base camp" for Machu Picchu.

We spent a couple of days around Colca Canyon just outside Arequipa before going on to Cusco - it was great because it's about half way up in elevation between Lima and Cusco, so it gave us extra time to acclimatize, and we never felt sick. We actually hiked down into the canyon, stayed at the bottom, and then hiked back out the next day (well, my husband hiked out - I hurt my knee, so I rode a donkey - highly recommended!). They also have the giant Peruvian Condors that you can see gliding over the canyon - a very cool sight to see. So, if you have time to add an extra stop, this is what I would recommend!

We didn't spend too much time in Lima, either - only a couple of days at either end of our in-land adventuring, and this seemed to be enough - we didn't feel the need to spend longer. One of my best memories from Lima was sitting in a cafe drinking Pisco Sours (a must do!) and eating ceviche (also a must do) while watching the paragliders taking off from Miraflores.

Overall, I don't think you can go wrong - we really loved our whole time in Peru. Enjoy!!
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 02:25 PM
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There are two mountains within the MP complex (MP Mountain and Huana Picchu) and one free mountain (Potocusi) just a short walk from Aguas Calientes that you can climb if you're into that sort of thing. If you want to climb at least two of them then at least two nights in AC are recommended. You can theoretically do Potucusi in the afternoon after doing one of the other mountains inside MP in the morning, but I don't recommend that. You'll definitely get to see three entirely different views of MP if you climb all three!

I personally don't mind AC. When I was there last May, there was this huge (but gentle) grey dog that ran around the town in the evenings; The sight of this massive thing hauling itself over the public fountain to get a drink was quite comical to see.
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Old Jun 11th, 2015, 04:39 PM
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Actually the rim of Colca Canyon (e.g. Chivay) is about the same elevation as Cusco. And you go over a very high pass on the bus, which affects a good percentage of passengers, if not all. So yes it's a nice place to acclimatize, but not because it is halfway in elevation! I heard quite a few people say that climbing out of the Colca Canyon kicked butt more than the Inca Trail.
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