Peru/Sacred Valley/MP

Old Mar 6th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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Peru/Sacred Valley/MP

Hoping for someone to share their wisdom and experience: is it crazy making to fly into Cusco on an early am flight from Lima, and get straight on the train to Aguas Calientes? The idea is to then rest in AG and visit Machu Picchu the following morning/day. Also hoping to tour Sacred Valley the following day (if possible, does one simply go from AG to Ollantaytambo and tour the Sacred Valley from there?) We realize this is a whirlwind plan (not normally whirlwind people), but very limited this time and would like to give our teen a glimpse of that area. Hoping to return soon! Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 6th, 2019, 07:01 PM
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I can't say that this plan will NOT work for you, but I would suggest that this plan could prove non-viable, primarily because you would not be giving yourselves much time to acclimate to the altitudes of these various places.

Honestly, I would encourage you to consider whether the risks of problems with altitude make this plan worth it for you. Surely, you have alternatives that would give you a greater certainty of a rewarding experience?

If you decide to proceed, consider using taxi-datum for your visit through the Sacred Valley. I trust that you realize that you can't see it all in a day?

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
Praise for Peru A report of my solo month in this amazing country
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Old Mar 7th, 2019, 12:05 AM
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Firstly, unless you want to pay a couple of visits to MP, I would not stay in Aguas Calientes. It is not an enchanting place and exists purely to service visitors to MP.

Instead, I would get a taxi straight to Ollantaytambo from the airport and stay overnight there and get an early train to AC and late train back to Ollantaytambo the same day. You would need to book either a morning or afternoon entry slot for the citadel.

On arrival in Ollantaytambo you can use the time you have to explore the ruins and village which are second only to MO itself (IMHO). Mid to late afternoon is probably best when the tour groups from Cusco have departed and there will be far fewer visitors at the ruins. By 4-5 you will often have then pretty much to yourselves.

The next day you could incorporate an exploration of the other Sacred Valley sites into your return to Cusco. You can do this by organising ataxi via your accomodation or https://taxidatum.com/chincheros-maras-moray-taxi-tour/ are very good.

Some info and a lot of photos of both Ollantaytambo and touring the SV can be found on our blog @ https://taxidatum.com/chincheros-maras-moray-taxi-tour/

That is about as whirlwind as you can get but will cover the primary sights to see and, by the time you get back to Cusco you should be reasonably well acclimatised to Athens higher altitude there.
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Old Mar 8th, 2019, 10:52 AM
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Thank you for the response. This is very unusual for us as we are not usually "hit-and-run" kind of travelers. We need to be in Peru for another reason, so thought we would give our teen a glimpse of MP as a "taste". We've always hoped to go to several places in Peru, for a minimum of 2 weeks total, but will have to settle for now. I have been to MP before, but it's been 20 years... There's no easy way to get there from DC, so some of our time will get eaten up by flying. Thank you for the taxi suggestion: I did not know about that company. We now plan to extend our stay around Cusco for at least another day, so that we can see some of the Sacred Valley.
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Old Mar 8th, 2019, 10:53 AM
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Very helpful, thank you so much!
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Old Mar 8th, 2019, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bonojack2 View Post
Thank you for the taxi suggestion: I did not know about that company. We now plan to extend our stay around Cusco for at least another day, so that we can see some of the Sacred Valley.
Thank crellston, from whom I learned about taxidatum.

I don't think you'll regret an extra day.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2019, 09:02 PM
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Check out CDC's guidelines related to altitude sickness. Lima is at 505 ft, Cusco at 11,152 ft, an ascen of over 10,000 ft. If you are short on time and will make the ascent to Cusco in one day you may want to check with your health care provider to get an Rx for some acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) to take as a preventative. My friend who visits Peru often tells me you can buy it in Lima pharmacies, but should start it the day before you ascend. He also says to absolutely drink the coca tea, but do not try to bring any home as it is considered illegal.
I'll be visiting in a few weeks and plan to take the medication.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 09:49 AM
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I second the advice for Diamox and drinking coca tea and munching on coca candy. I had no issues whatsoever while some friends (much, much younger) had major issues.
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Old Mar 24th, 2019, 10:00 AM
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Diamox and coca tea and coca candy helped me, but I was still never able to breathe properly at altitude. People really differ in their reactions!
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