Peru Trip Questions/ Itinerary


Aug 17th, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Peru Trip Questions/ Itinerary

hello fodorites,
my husband and i would like to visit Peru for 9 days in october (16th - 26th) Firstly what are the chances of having rain during that time and also how are the crowds at macchu pichu on a friday or saturday. we will be arriving on a 7am flight into Lima and hoping to catch a 9am flight directly to cuszco with star peru. what are chances of fligts getting cancelled during that time of year due to weather. and is 2 hours enough time to go through immigration and get to the domestic flight. we are also concerned about acclimating to the higher altitude in cusco and having difficulties with altitude sickness. should we try to get to ollyantambo that first day??.. here's a rudimentary itinerary:

Day 1: wed : arrive from lima:take it easy / explore cuszco
Day 2: thurs: cab to olly....stop either in chinchero, moray or pisac for an hour or 2. any recommendations as to which we should do? how much would a cab be? .... should we have the cab wait for us ? wil our luggage be safe?? is there someplace we might be able to leave it while w explore the area?

day 3: MACHU PICHU (taking backpacker train in am /coming back late afternoon. we would like to do huanya picchu. i have a mild fear of heights...can i come back down hlf way trrough if the height prooves too scary for me? would i be inconveniencing other clibmers? also is 7 am or 10 am better .. will there most likely be fog in early am?

day 4: sat: would like to do 1/2 day white water rafting on Urubamaba river ...any recommendations ? how much would it cost? maybe cab back to cuszo later in afternoon

day 5: sun; Cuszo

day 6: mon Cusco

day 7: am flight to Lima . cab to Barranco neigborhood. thinking of staying at second home peru. is that a good base...or too far from everything

day 6: Tue LIMA: explore central district / miraflores

day 7:wed LIMA

day 8: LIMA flying out 12:15 am friday morning

will there be more to do in lima or cusco? any 1/2 day trips from either city we should consider?

sorry for the rambling and thanks in advance for advise/help
nycgal73 is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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I think two hours is risky to make that connection. They usually say they want you to check in for flights to Cusco two hours ahead of time.

It does start to rain in October in the highlands (not in Lima!).

I like to start my visit in Ollantaytambo or elsewhere in the Sacred Valley and save Cusco for the last night or two.

I like to allow the first day of arrival to go straight to Ollantaytambo and rest for a few hours, then see the ruins there if you feel okay. I do not feel like walking around when I get off the plane (and Chinchero, Moray and Salineras are even higher altitude than Cusco).

Day 1 (17th?) Arrive in Lima, fly to Cusco, take a cab from the airport to Ollantaytambo (about 80 nuevo soles or you can ask the hotel to book it for about $45 to $50 USD). Rest and visit the old Inka Town sector.

Day 2. Visit Olantaytambo ruins in the morning, do your rafting trip (or a bike ride downhill from Abra Malaga)

Day 3 see Machu Picchu round trip from Ollantaytambo. I might suggest doing the free trek to the Sun Gate instead of the Huayna Picchu. There are only a few spots that induce vertigo. You get a distant view, just from a different angle.

Day 4 Leave Ollantaytambo after breakfast and visit Moray and Salineras and Chinchero on the way back to Cusco.

Day 5 Sunday (21st), go to Pisac from Cusco in the morning, half day. Costs about $50 to have a taxi take you and wait. You can stop in Awana Kancha on the way back if you want or see more of Cusco in the afternoon.

Day 6 You could leave this for rafting trip if you didn't manage it, or see ruins near Cusco such as Sacsayhuaman, as well as Qoricancha, etc.

Day 7 (23rd) Lima mid-morning flight after breakfast
Day 8 Lima
Day 9 25th Lima and fly home (26th).

There is plenty to do in both places.

Lima has great museums and food, and a pre-Inca adobe pyramid. is a good website with info on what to see in Lima.

I like Second Home Peru (or 3B Hostal) in Barranco. Barranco is convenient for taking the Metropolitano rapid bus system which goes to the center of Lima (and there is a station near the water fountains.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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I'm with mlgb - 2 hours is a very tight squeeze to make that flight. When you go through immigration, they use a randomized counter to determine if you just go through or have to stop and have them go through all your stuff. If you get the red light, you might be there a while.

Again, agree with mlgb about Huayna Picchu. We hiked Machu Picchu Mountain, but our friends from the Inca Trail did HP and said there are some very scary spots if you don't like heights. The hike to/from the Sun Gate is worst right at the Sun Gate itself, but definitely do-able. My heights-fearing husband was okay. Plus, if you don't already have tickets for HP, they might be sold out at this point. I would look into that.

My husband and I are big whitewater rafting fans, but opted not to do it in Peru for two reasons. There are tons of archaeological sites to see in the Sacred Valley. We barely had time to squeeze them all in. But most importantly they do not regulate the industry in Peru, at least as far as I could research. If you do go, ensure you use a company many others have and check your safety equipment when they give it to you.

To show that we're not afraid of potentially dangerous activities, we did take a flight over the Nasca lines, which is also not well regulated.

There are many things to do in both Cusco and Lima. From Cusco there are many Sacred Valley sights within driving distance. In Lima there are many museums (recommend Museo Larco) and great churches as well. One with catacombs!

We stayed at Second Home Peru. Beautiful hotel, great people. They will call taxis for you, but be aware they use the highest level of taxi which is the most expensive. You can hail your own, but you might have to walk a few blocks to find one. There is also the bus system, which we did not explore this time around but many people say is easy to use.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 05:53 AM
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shutterbug85 and mlgb,

thanks for the advise guys:
i will change the connecting flight to Cusco to later hour ( just have to pay a bit more for peruvian airlines compared to star peru -- but they only have morning flights)

we may still stay first nite in cusco : after 7.5 hour overnite flight and dealing with domestic flight...may just sit around and drink coca tea and people watch in the plaza

i'll take your advise and do the sun gate hike and the hike the inca bridge instead of trembling it out on huanya picchu. shutterbug, how long/ difficult is it to hike machu pichu mountain? is that the sun gate hike??

feel great knowing you guys enjoyed secomd home peru.... lgb, thanks for the info on the metropolitan bus system....thats great to know! we're really walkers and public transportation types -- better to experience the local flavor.

considering pikaratampu to stay at in ollyantampo>>> bit expensive ..any recommendations we might consider for olly and also for cusco?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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We stayed at Hostal Sauce in Ollanta - the rooms with the view of the ruins are lovely.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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thanks eizabeth -- i'm gonna check them out!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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El Albergue or the upgraded view rooms at KB Tambo. They both book up far ahead of time, it isnt too early. Both have internet bookings or you can email.

I see good reviews of Apu Lodge but don't have any personal knowledge.

MP mountain is not the Sun Gate and also requires a supplemental fee ticket like HP.

You will have fewer altitude issues starting in Sacred Valley vs Cusco. You can ask your hotel to send a driver to the airport. It is about an hour and a half without stopping.

If you are okay with public transit and hanging with the locals there is a network of buses and combis between towns. The places that require a taxi or tour are Moray and Salineras).
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Aug 20th, 2012, 04:43 AM
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We went rafting with:

... and had a very good time. It will take you most of the day however.
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Aug 20th, 2012, 12:53 PM
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mlgb beat me to it... to hike MP Mountain you need a separate entry ticket, just like HP. However, it's not typically sold out so your chances of getting a ticket are better.

I've heard some people say it's harder than HP, some say it's easier. It's not easy. But neither is HP. It's mostly stairs. Up to the top, back down the same way to the bottom. We did it in the rain which made the steps slippery, but in good weather I'd say there's only one spot which is vertigo-inducing close to the top.

The hike up to the Sun Gate is much easier. Still going up to the gate, but less stairs and more slope. The path is decently wide (4-6 feet) so you can walk on the mountain side and not have to look over the edge.
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Aug 20th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Our guide told us the hike up MP mountain was definitely harder than HP. And from what I saw of HP from Machu Picchu itself I would never climb HP. But I am a wussy.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 08:39 AM
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I also recommend El Albergue in Ollantaytambo.

I also recommend going to Ollanta directly from the Cusco airport. You will not be so tired that you can't sit in a cab for an hour or so.

Altitude sickness is dangerous and can hit you in Cusco, at 11,000 feet, even if you are just sitting at a cafe not exerting yourself. Much better to start at a lower elevation - Ollantaytambo - and get acclimated. I will add that staying in Ollanta was for me one of the best parts of my trip. So interesting and such magnificent mountains and ruins!
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 02:33 PM
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>>to hike MP Mountain you need a separate entry ticket, just like HP. <<

When I was at MP in 2009, there wasn't any ticket requirement to climb MP Mountain. Did they recently implement this requirement?

The climb to both MP Mountain and HP take some efforts, depending on how athletic you are, but HP does have some steeper inclines than MP Mountain. I remember it took me 2 hours to climb MP Mountain, but I had climbed HP the previous morning and had arrived from the Inca Trail just the morning before that. So my quads were really killing me. But the view and less crowd on MP Mountain made it worth it.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 02:44 PM
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We were at MP last month. You do need to purchase a supplemental ticket to climb MP, although my understanding is that it is much easier to buy relatively last minute than a ticket to HP.
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 03:13 PM
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Many changes to ticket and entry procedures and costs since 2009!

Eg no more getting up at 4 am to be in line for HP free tix. They now need to be purchased before you head uphill, in combo with the general entry.
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Aug 23rd, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Just to reconfirm:

I was in Peru in May. We climbed Machu Picchu Mountain. You need a separate entry ticket. Purchased in advance.

I think jdp867 is talking about climbing to the entrance vs. taking the bus. To climb up to Machu Picchu itself from Aguas Calientes, you do not need a ticket. It's steep climb. We took the bus.
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Jan 4th, 2013, 08:40 PM
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We are also planing a trip to MP, is it really better to start at Ollanta then Cusco,am afraid of altitude sickness.
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Jan 5th, 2013, 01:31 AM
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Annunciation, yes it is much better to spend a few days in Ollantaytambo which is at a lower altutiude than Cusco. Even a day or two will give your body a chance to aclimatise. There is no way of predicting how you may be affected as it is not dependent upon such factors as age sex or fitness. I was affected by bad headaches and insomnia on arrival in Cusco but my wife had no ill effects at all.
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