One Week in Peru!

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Aug 5th, 2013, 09:01 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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One Week in Peru!

I will be traveling with my husband to Peru for one week in March. We arrive in Lima around 4:30pm on a Sunday and fly back from Lima at 4:30am on Saturday (we know it's insanely early, but we redeemed frequent flier miles so our options were limited at the lowest mileage tier.) We reserved a place to stay in Lima for Sunday night and will fly to Cuzco on Monday morning around 9:15am, arriving an hour later.

Our Monday is open for suggestions. We thought about exploring Cuzco for the day, but I've heard wonderful things about the towns on the way to Machu Picchu. What does everyone recommend? We will also need to find somewhere to stay on Monday night, and on Tuesday we begin the journey to MP. We have a hotel reserved in Aguas Calientes for 2 nights, from Tuesday-Thursday. We hope to see MP at sunrise on Wednesday.

Once we depart on Thursday morning, we are looking for more suggestions - we fly out of Cuzco back to Lima at 1:30pm on Friday, so Thursday night accommodations are needed as well. We hoped we could just check our luggage for our flight back to America (since it is only 14 hours later) - would this be possible? Or are there luggage lockers we could use?

I would also like to get our MP permits as quickly as possible but am having trouble finding how to do that. Any help with that also is greatly appreciated! Going to MP has been a *DREAM* of mine for a long time now, so I want to guarantee that we will get those permits!

Thank you!
undergrace is offline  
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Aug 6th, 2013, 09:30 AM
  #2
 
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First thing I would suggest is to read through the free Fodors excerpts in their Travel Guide section for MP, Cusco and the SV, and Lima

http://www.fodors.com/world/south-america/

When you arrive in Cusco, you fly into 11,000 feet in elevation. If you immediately descend to the Sacred Valley, you will drop down to about 9,000 feet.

For Monday night, stay in either Urubamba or Ollantaytambo. I like "Olly" for that first night, since you can rest a bit when you arrive, then see the sights within walking distance (the ruins and the old town sector). Also, many more trains leave from Ollantaytambo than from Cusco. I have stayed at El Albergue which is right on the train platform, but there are many others. Be aware that some of the hotels in the old town sector do not have vehicle access.

Go to www.PeruRail.com to see train schedules and book your trains online.

In my opinion, unless you are staying at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, which offers onsite activities, there is no reason to spend two nights in Aguas Calientes, especially since you are missing a lot in the SV.

But if you are already locked in to the hotel, take an early train back to Ollantaytambo. Then hire a taxi to take you via the beautiful high road and visit Moray/Salineras/Chinchero on the way to Cusco, where you have a half day of sightseeing. Spend the night in Cusco. There are a number of major chains in Cusco now, give a budget and you will get suggestions.

You will have time to see some Cusco sights on Friday morning (since the airport is very close to the center).

In Lima it's worth going to the Plaza de Armas and visiting a museum (Larco is popular). Have a great meal there, seafood is fantastic.

Many people have trouble using the official website for ticket purchases, but you can give it a try and hope (using a Visa credit card).

If your hotel doesn't offer this service, the people on TA have had good luck using Jessica at Pachatusantrek (expect to pay a fee on top of the ticket cost). Do not use Cuscocity..many problems with them.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...co_Region.html

There is luggage storage at the Lima airport. I don't think they will allow you to check it that early. What are your plans for your half day in Lima?
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Aug 6th, 2013, 06:15 PM
  #3
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Thank you for your AWESOME reply! My thoughts for staying in Aguas Caliente for 2 nights is that I figured we'd be arriving in the town later in the day in order to spend time seeing other places. We would wake up in the morning, see Machu Picchu and the other ruins, and then would be able to sleep in the same place again (thus not needing to find somewhere to put our luggage during that day). We would then check out the following morning and have Thursday to see some other things on the way back to Cuzco. Does that make more sense? Or is there a better way to do it?

We did not have anything specific in mind in Lima. Due to the early morning flight time on Saturday we are considering not renting a hotel on Friday night and just spending time in Lima (with our luggage stored at the airport) until fairly late at night, then going to the airport and sleeping a few hours until it's time for our flight. Is there anything inadvisable with that plan? I don't know how difficult it would be to have transportation to the airport late at night.

I will definitely be researching the places you recommended and look forward to any other advice given Your response is making me even more excited and anxious for March to hurry up!

Thanks again!
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Sep 1st, 2013, 11:15 AM
  #4
 
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I second the recommendation for Jessica at Pachatusantrek. She booked our train and MP tickets for me and everything went very smoothly. Her fee was very reasonable.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 12:30 PM
  #5
 
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The "towns on the way to MP" are in the Sacred Valley. The train is really the only way to get to MP from Cusco, and stops but once--at "Olly". So you could stay there as recommended above and catch the train to MP.

I also think that one night in Aguas Calientes is plenty. Whether you stay one night or two, take the train back to Ollantaytambo and then do the "Sacred Valley" from there or from Cusco. I've booked tours a couple of times and the tours are good and were then quite inexpensive. You learn a lot more than you would with a cab.

I would spend at least a full day in Lima. It's got several world class museums where you can learn something about the pre-Inka cultures of Peru, some colonial architecture around the Plaza de Armas, Barranco, which is a sea-side touristy town with seafood and music and has a number of good hotels. I don't recommend staying near the airport. El Acuario restaurant in Surco (near Barranco) has (or had) very good inexpensive seafood.
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Sep 6th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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I agree with everyone about not spending two nights in Aguas Calientes. Its nothing but a tourist town, full of overpriced restaurants, markets, and people chasing you around trying to sell you things. Spend the night there Tuesday, wake up at the crack of dawn and get to MP for sunrise, and get a train back to Cusco or Ollantaytambo Wednesday night. All hotels and hostels there will hold your luggage for free while you're climbing Machu Picchu, and you can pick it up when you get back down.

I would definitely make Cusco your home base. It's a beautiful city, and you can easily spend a day wandering around, taking a free walking tour, visiting the markets or town square, and having wonderful meals in one of the restaurants. Stay near the historic town center- it's safe and charming. If you're done with the city after one day, there are countless day trips you can take nearby. You can get to the Sacred Valley in an hour and a half, or you can go on a helicopter, 4-wheeler, horseback, mountain biking, farting, or ziplining excursion. Or, you can just spend another day exploring the city.

If you don't want to focus all your time in Cusco, spend a night in Ollaytaytambo, or another town in the Sacred Valley. There's amazing scenery, and if you're more of a nature person you'll prefer it to the cobblestone streets and historic churches of Cusco.

Something else to note: Cusco is a home base for people going to MP, and they know it. You can check your luggage (no charge) at your hotel and hostel for a few days while you travel to MP. I left my luggage there for the day and a half I was visiting MP, and just took a small day bag with 1 change of clothes, toiletries, and snacks and water. It's actually much easier than bringing your huge suitcase the entire way, when you don't need it.

As far as getting your Machu Picchu permits- you can buy them online, but it's tricky. Check out this site for step-by-step instructions (and no surcharge): http://www.visitingmachupicchu.com/g...rance-tickets/

The site also has information on train schedules and other helpful stuff about MP: http://www.visitingmachupicchu.com/g...cchu-in-a-day/
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Sep 7th, 2013, 07:45 PM
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@Undergrace, We are planning a trip to Machu Picchu in November. We will arrive Monday, late evening, in Lima, then spend the night at the Costa del Sol Ramada at the airport. Through the Ramada website, they have a 20% AARP discount.

Tuesday, we will take a mid-morning flight to Cuzco. A taxi arranged by KB Tambo in Ollantaytambo will meet us and take us to KB Tambo. Another poster mentioned "El Albergue". I've seen good reviews, but I don't really want to be right by the train station. KB Tambo has excellent reviews on Trip Advisor, so we felt very comfortable trying this out as a base of operations in the Sacred Valley. The website for KB Tambo is a wealth of information. We will spend Tuesday night there, acclimating to the altitude. We have been advised that we are welcome to leave any baggage we don't want to carry to Aguas Calientes at KB Tambo.

Wednesday, early afternoon, we will take a train to Aguas Calientes, get checked into our accommodation at the Rupa Wasi Eco Lodge--near to the highly rated Tree House Restaurant.

Like your plan, the next day (Thursday) we will tour Machu Picchu. Like your plan, we will spend a second night (Thursday) in Aguas Calientes, then take a train back to Ollantaytambo the next day, Friday, where we will stay three additional nights at KB Tambo.

On Friday, after checking back in to KB Tambo, we will have the day at leisure, probably tour the ruins at Ollantaytambo or just enjoy the town and explore/chat with people.

Saturday, we will take the half-day Abra Malabra bike ride (all downhill). Other activities that afternoon as our energy and interests dictate.

On Sunday, by taxi ($109 for up to 8 hours) we'll visit the ruins and market at Pisac. Then visit the ruins at Moray and the salt mines of Maras.

On Monday, we'll take a taxi Ollantaytambo to Cuzco, with some touring en route and stops in Cuzco. Fly Cuzco to Lima that afternoon. Overnight again at Costa del Sol Ramada.

Tuesday, Fly Lima to USA.

So, that's the plan. We'll try to post afterwards to let you know how the plan worked out! Best of luck in your planning!
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Sep 9th, 2013, 12:55 PM
  #8
 
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I think you should plan a full day in Cusco, donnagal.

On Sunday, I would suggest ending in Cusco and not returning to Ollantaytambo. There really is no point in that.

You could see the Salineras, Moray, Chinchero Market, then Pisac, and end in Cusco.
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Sep 13th, 2013, 09:06 PM
  #9
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Thank you everyone for your wonderful replies! There have been some changes in our itinerary and I'd appreciate any additional input

We decided to take everyone's advice and are eliminating a night in Aguas Calientes. The debate now is what we should do with that cancelled night. Should we travel back to Olly? See Urubamba? Or return to Cuzco for the last 2 days of our trip.

As a reminder, we are landing in Lima on a Sunday afternoon, traveling to Cuzco on Monday morning, flying back to Lima Friday afternoon and leaving Peru early Saturday morning - so really only 6 days total.

We are corresponding with Jessica, per the advice received here, and she really is wonderful! She will assist us with our MP and train tickets, which is a great help. Thanks again to everyone who suggested her!

The current (but flexible, all of our accommodations have free cancellation) schedule we are considering:

Monday: Land in Cuzco, travel to Olly. We took mlgb's advice and will stay at El Albergue on Monday night.

Tuesday: Explore Olly. We will depart for Aguas Calientes in the evening. Stay at a hotel in AC.

Wednesday: Machu Picchu bright and early, maybe late lunch in AC, then take a train to ????? **We need help here!**

Thursday: Open for suggestions! Travel to Cuzco at some point.

Friday: morning in Cuzco, fly to Lima around 1:00pm.

Thanks again everyone, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Sep 14th, 2013, 06:16 AM
  #10
 
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It is easier to leave luggage in Olly and return there from MP. You can either take a taxi to Cusco or wait til the next morning after breakfast ( do the drive daytime, the scenery is worth seeing). I would end in Cusco. Thursday you can see some other SV sights or Cusco. No need to book this ahead, just ask your hotel to arrange a taxi or you can walk to many sights in Cusco.
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Sep 15th, 2013, 08:22 AM
  #11
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We decided to stay in Olly that evening and spend Thursday taking our time getting to Cuzco. mlgb, do you know anything about KB Tambo? We are interested in doing this: http://kbperu.com/more-info/area-sights/ We would like to do the Super Full Day tour, the first option. This would allow us to see many of the sights/places we are interested in while journeying from Olly to Cuzco. We also like the idea of having a driver who is authorized to transport us and guard our belongings while we are exploring.

I noticed El Albergue offers baggage storage - we were thinking of leaving our bags there when we check out for MP (and only taking a small bag, like some of you suggested) and then retrieving them when we return to Olly the next day. We are not able to stay at El Albergue when we return - do you think they would have a problem with that?
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Sep 15th, 2013, 08:25 AM
  #12
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dwdvagamundo, after re-reading your reply it seems like we are going to do almost everything you suggested! Could you give me more details about the tours you booked?

Thanks for your input!
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Sep 15th, 2013, 07:39 PM
  #13
 
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Hi undergrace. I have stayed at KB Tambo and El Albergue both. Either one will store your luggage (all the hotels do it, no problem). I think the tour you are linking to is just to hire a taxi for the transfer for the amount of time you need. They will know the safe taxis but KB does not have their own drivers, you will be hiring someone to drive you and stay with your luggage. El Albergue has the same service, you can check their prices as well.

Another option might be to see if you can contact one of the guides such as Percy Salas, I think he charges a similar price and also speaks English!

The taxi drivers have gotten together it seems and prices are fairly standard, although you might save a bit if you hire them directly,especially off season, I doubt it will be much.

BTW if I did not mention it is best to write directly to KB thru the email on their website since he is really the only one that speaks much English at the hotel, so if he is away then it can be hard to communicate what you need.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 07:42 AM
  #14
 
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Thanks undergrace. Problem is that my second visit, I couldn't find the guide who did my tour the first time around and the second, while good, was not nearly as good as the first.

Whatever you do, don't book a tour until you get to Cusco area and ask the company about the tour.

I see that mlgb gives a suggestion which I would follow up.

One other idea--if you speak Spanish at all, book a tour with a Spanish guide. I've found that I can translate spoken Spanish better than the guides can speak English (not just in Cuzco), and the Spanish-speaking guides are more enthusiastic.
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Sep 21st, 2013, 04:20 PM
  #15
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I am very glad we were made aware that the tour guides will speak Spanish - all 3 of us remember basic vocabulary, but not to the extent that we would feel confident with a Spanish-only guide. We contacted Percy Salas and this is what he is offering to do for us:

Monday - Transfer & Sacred Valley tour, Visiting Awanacancha, place where you will see the native animals like , Llamas, Huanacos, Alpacas and Vicuñas, after arrive to Pisaq Ruins and market, lunch time, go through the Valley to Ollantaytambo and drop you off at your hotel.

Cost : $.150.00 USD include :Car and private tour guide for three people.

Thursday - Sacred Valley tour.- visiting Ollantaytambo ruins, Maras salt pans, Moray experimental farming terraces, Chincheros Inca townwhere you will see the weaver´s center, arriving in the afternoon to Cusco´s hotel ..

Cost : $. 150.00 USD. include: Car and private guide service for three people.

Friday - City Tour .- am. Visiting Sacsayhuaman, Quenko , Pucapucara, Tambomachay, Qoricancha ( temple of the Sun).

Cost : $. 90.00 USD include: Car and private tour guide for one or three people.
Pm. Free time to walk by yourselfs in the City.

We need to be at the airport by 11:00am so we will work with him on modifying the Friday plan. Does this look like a good idea to everyone? I'm sure we could "get it cheaper" but money really isn't an issue for us (and we think $50pp is very reasonable for an English-speaking, full-day tour with someone recommended by you guys!)

Since we have are working in such a small timeframe this really seems to get us a multitude of experiences at a great price! And I really like the idea of interacting with some animals and seeing the culture of the smaller villages.

We're intending to hire Percy - is there anything we should verify with him before doing so?

Thank you!
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Sep 22nd, 2013, 06:16 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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This guy gets great reviews, altho you might consider not doing a tour on the day you leave unless those sights are a high priority.

You can visit Qoricancha on your own (they have guides for hire). Wander the Plaza area a bit.

Also I might substitute a short visit to Sacsayhuaman instead of Awana kancha, on Monday (assuming everyone feels okay on the arrival). You will learn about weaving on Chinchero anyways.
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Oct 7th, 2013, 01:05 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: May 2013
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We just returned from the Sacred Valley. My husband and I throughly enjoyed Pisac and stayed at Pisac Inn. The food there was fantastic. We went straight to Pisac to stay at a lower elevation when we arrived. Pisac Inn arranged a driver for $35 to,pick us up in Cuzco. We used the greatest travel company for a few details of our trip.They had purchased our tickets for Machu Picchu, climbing permit for mount Machu Picchu, and the bus. RESPONSIBLETRAVELPERU...ask for Agnes or Saby, use our names, Patti and George. They can also arrange a driver, Hugo who speaks very good English! Any way before we drove to Pisac we picked up all of our tickets. We stayed in Pisac and then the next day went on to Ollantaytambo.

Agnes or Saby can arrange a Great home stay! This was wonderful. we went to Julia's coffee farm. We were picked up by Hugo in Ollantayambo and he drove us through amazing country to Julia's. What a lovely family and so very interesting! If you have other interest than coffee, just ask. They are a terrific company!

I can recommend this company 100%... I ended up getting altitude sickness and was hospitalized in Cuzco. The care we received from Hugo and Responsibletravelperu was amazing..and we had to ask for nothing. They were there to care for us. We had to end our trip and head to Lima(sea level)after two days in the hospital, six LONG days! I live in Park City, Utah and had been hiking at 9500 feet all summer...it is unpredictable. I never had a headache...but ended up with only a count of 70 for my oxygen level.

If you have any needs for a tour company big or small they are more than willing to help and offer a vary wide range of services.
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