Planning Trip to Machu Picchu

Old Sep 19th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Planning Trip to Machu Picchu

We are trying to plan a trip to Machu Picchu for January, beginning about a week or so after New Year's Day, (hoping for good weather in MP)! We prefer to depart from Newark, but can fly from JFK if better airfare. I have been reading the great advice on this forum; but so far I have not been able to find an attractive airfare, (checked Spirit, LAN, etc.). Of course we'll also need flights to and from Cusco, and we might want to stop in Miami for a few days on the way home too. Any suggestions for how to get the best airfare?

We are hoping to plan this trip ourselves, using the excellent advice from all of you. How many days are recommended for the MP, Sacred Valley, Olly, Cusco journey? Then how many days would be best to enjoy Lima at the end of this? We hope to hire either Percy or David Choque as our guide; I wonder who would be better. How does this work.... does he make all the reservations (hotels, train, etc.) and arrangements for us? Is it best to commit with the guide first and then get airfare, or vice versa? (Either way is tricky, I think).

Also, what would be the best day of the week to depart from NY/NJ area in order to reach certain markets/areas in Peru, that are only open on specific days of the week, if possible? Or any other reason for a certain day of the week? Or is this not important?

Sorry for all the many questions. We would greatly appreciate your help and expertise. In advance, I thank you all very much for your help.

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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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You will probably do better from JFK. Do you happen to have American Airlines miles? You can use them on LAN airlines to Peru, including a connecting domestic flight. I would also check mid week for a few weeks when the sales start.

If you leave midweek you will have plenty of time to get to Cusco and work in the Sunday markets and Machu Picchu. Allow at least a week in this area.

A few days and nights at the end in Lima will be fine. Not everyone loves's a bit sprawly city but if you like to eat and shop you may want to make it three days two nights minimum.

I prefer Barranco (Second Home Peru is great) and now that it is on the Metropolitano it's even better.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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The cheapest we can find on our own from Miami to Lima return was $700 plus tax (Mid-October departure and mid-November return). If you want to fly TACA with one stop, it can be cheaper. Unfortunately, January would be more expensive, by anywhere between 15-20% .

We will be flying out of Miami to Lima next month, on LAN. That would be our first time on LAN. We are also flying from Lima to Cuzco and then Puno. Since we are not fluentin Spanish, we let our TA arranged everything for us. The cost was about $1750 for all our flights while we were there, inclulding ground transportation with English speaking "guide".

The price includes flights from Miami to Lima, Lima to Cuzco, Cuzco to Puno, Puno to Lima, small plane flight over Ica (Nazca Lines), Lima to Quito, Quito to Baltra Island, San Cristobal (Galapagos) to Guayaquil, Guayaquil to Miami. The best price we can get on our own was about $2,000 so we galdy took teh $1750 from our TA.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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We are flying from LA on LAN in October. I booked the flights Lima/Cusco/Lima at the same time as the LA to Lima flights as you will get better pricing when it is all purchased as part of one itinerary. But with LAN flights you have to keep checking to see if they change your flight times. Our Lima to Cusco has already been changed once.

As for number of days, consider two for MP, 2-3 for Sacred Valley (Pisac, Olly, Chincero etc.), 2-3 for Cusco, plus travel days. On arrival in Cusco we go directly to Pisac for the night after seeing Awanacancha (for acclimatization); the next day is the Sunday market in Pisac. Then we do Olly, MP and Cusco. We fly from Cusco to Lima on Monday morning and then have a half day tour of Lima. Then we fly to LA on Tuesday. This allows for potential flight delays from Cusco to Lima.

I plan to post a trip report on our return.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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I leave tomorrow! I watched ticket prices for along time before buying by checking all the travel websites . Prices were about $1500 on Lan (Boston, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado and back). Then one day, a new route thru Miami appeared and the price went down to $1200. I never saw the lower price on Kayak and only found it on and AAA. So, be sure to check all the websites for best prices.

I also ended up buying a ticket for my nephew from Star Peru for the his domestic flights. In retrospect, I stressed myself out over that ticket, but, in the end, it was not all that difficult to purchase. So, that's an option if you don't go with Lan.

I booked hotels and guide after purchasing the place tickets. I went with Percy as a guide. Will let you know how it all works out.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 04:38 PM
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Thank you all very much for your prompt and helpful replies!

Jackie, have a wonderful and safe trip, manana! I see that you booked hotels (after plane tickets); but did Percy book train tickets, or anything else? How long will you be in each place? Enjoy it all!

Mglb, many thanx. No, we don't have American miles. I will check mid-week for sales, as you suggested. Is there a certain order to go to these places, in order to hit the market on a Sunday? (Are they all very closeby to one another?) Better to depart from NY on a Tues. or a Wed. to accomplish this? A week in that general area and then a few days in Lima sounds good. I like good food too.

Eschew, we went to Galapagos a couple of years ago. Great trip, loved it! Enjoy. Thanks for the flight info.

Hmelman, thanx - we will book flights (when we can find good fare) all at the same time. Do you fly to Cusco same day as arrival in Lima? Did you arrange for a guide? Looking forward to your trip report! Have a wonderful time.

Again, many thanks to all.
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Old Sep 19th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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I booked the train tickets and hotel myself. I have seen posts here where people had him to all the planning. Hotels were easy enough to book myself. Train was a little more difficult.

I will be in Ollaytambo for 4 nights, Cusco for 3 nights and Puerto Maldonado for 4. We are only in Lima for layovers.
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