Quick trip to Machu Picchu in November?

Old Aug 5th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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Quick trip to Machu Picchu in November?

I'm looking to put a flight voucher to use at Thanksgiving and am wondering if a quick trip to Machu Picchu is doable. I know that only a few days would never do MP justice, but I'm wondering if it's possible to arrange a quick first trip with the hope of coming back to do the full Inca Trail hike at a later time. Something is better than nothing, right?

Some background info: I'm in my late 20s, in good shape, and speak Spanish fluently. I lived in Argentina for a year and have traveled to Europe and Central America.

I could fly into Lima late Wednesday (Nov 25) and catch a flight to Cuzco the next morning (depart 5:49 arrive 7:14 am). I would need to fly out of Cuzco on Saturday (Nov 28). at 12:10pm. So basically that gives me all of Thursday and Friday and a few morning hours on Saturday.

I haven't yet done much research (I want to find out if the trip is possible first), but I'm thinking I could use Thursday to acclimatize a bit and see some sights in the Sacred Valley, take the train to Machu Picchu on Friday, a bit more site seeing in the Sacred Valley on Saturday morning, and a bit of site seeing in Lima on Saturday afternoon.

Advice? Suggestions?
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 02:41 PM
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Doable but very rushed.

www.hotelsanantonioabad.com best hotel Wed PM free airport pu

Fly into CUZ from LIM early Thursday

www.traficoperu.com cheap flights

book a short Cusco/SV/MP tour 2 days

fly back to Lima Sat...

Way too tight for me but doable.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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If you are coming into Lima late and leaving early I would not go to San Antonio Abad. Chances are you will wind up with one of the very noisy rooms, won't get a lot of sleep, and it eats up nearly two hours of travel time. Either use one of the cheap hotels near the airport, the more expensive Ramada if you can afford it, or just sleep at the LAN gate. The seats don't have armrests so you can stretch out.

I would use LAN since they have more flights, if there are delays then better chance at being rebooked. Many people have recently been able to book the less expensive internal airfares using the Peru Version of lan.com, so you do not need to use traficoperu if you are able to also do this. The Base and Base Plus fares are what you are looking for. Since you speak Spanish you should be able to navigate the website, read all the conditions.

Make your train reservations ahead of time on www.perurail.com, select Poroy-MP or Ollanta-MP. You need to turn the eticket in for a real ticket when you arrive in Peru.

To avoid altitude issues skip Cusco on arrival and take a taxi to Ollantaytambo, rest up a bit, see the local ruins at Ollanta (nearly as good as MP).

I would take the first train Friday from Ollanta-MP, and a late train back Friday night. Spend the night in Cusco and take an early flight back Saturday, you don't want weather delays to make you miss your international flight.
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Old Aug 5th, 2009, 07:34 PM
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Great advice from mlgb. Ollantaytambo is a charming town. You will have plenty of time at Machu Picchu with the first train in and a late train out... take the train from MP back to Poroy where a bus will be waiting to take you to Cuzco (time saver).If you have some time in Lima take a city tour. If you want I can recommend a great private guide for Lima. It will be rushed but I would do it, you will have a fantastic trip.
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Old Aug 6th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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Thanks for all of the advice; I'm convinced! I'm going to do some more research and come back with specific questions on hotels, itinerary, etc.
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Old Aug 6th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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I agree. You can do it. When you get back to work on Monday and people ask you how your weekend was, you can say "I went to Machu Picchu."

Don't try to rush too much though. If you have to fly out of Cusco at 12:10 pm on Saturday, you won't have "a few morning hours." You have to check in for your flight sooner than that. If you decide to base yourself out in the Sacred Valley, say Ollantaytambo, that's a good two-hour trip to get to the airport.
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Old Aug 6th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Yes, better to go back to Cusco on Friday night.
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Old Aug 6th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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I liked both my lodgings modestly priced and conveniently located. Roughly $50/nt including breakfast (both had quite a good breakfast, not just bread and jam).

Ollantaytambo El Albergue (on the train station platform, great for taking the first train).

Cusco El Balcon Inn (Hostal) a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas but quiet (up a bit of a hill, like most everything in Cusco).
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Old Aug 6th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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Be sure to have a least one meal at Puka Rumi Restaurant (its the one in KB Tambo Hostal)in Ollantaytambo. We had our best meals in Peru there.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 08:41 PM
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We really liked the Ollantaytambo Lodge because the location was just a block from the center of town. We preferred being in the center of town than down by the train station. I agree that Puka Rumi is a wonderful restaurant, and we also loved the Hearts Cafe. The fortress in Ollanta is amazing!
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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I am thinking of planning a quick trip to Machu Picchu also. Is it doable if I only know a little Spanish? Does a visit require fluency in the language?
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Old Aug 14th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Not really, they call it the Gringo Trail. A little Spanish is helpful with taxi drivers and others not connected with the tourism industry. A simple phrase book is helpful (you can use it in reverse, if necessary,too).

If you reserve your hotels you can ask them to prearrange the transfers between airports and hotels. A little more expensive but probably worthwhile.

There are English speaking guides at the major ruins, or you could hire a Peru-based travel agent/tour guide. They can buy your internal flights for you at a savings.

Read thru some of the trip reports here and you'll come up with some good advice and some travel agent names.
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Old Sep 12th, 2009, 11:07 PM
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Hi there. I'm looking to do a bit of the same with a ticket I have to use by November 20, 2009. I found your question and wanted to know if you've booked. thanks!
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