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Seeking Help With Planning A Visit To Machu Picchu

Seeking Help With Planning A Visit To Machu Picchu

Old Dec 5th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Seeking Help With Planning A Visit To Machu Picchu

I wish to visit Machu Picchu and wish to request help with planning and suggesting an itinerary. There’s a lot of info on visiting Machu Picchu and surrounding destinations, but I am just starting my research and find the info a bit overwhelming.

I understand there are two seasons, dry and wet. Prefer to visit during the dry, which I understand to be between April and October. I understand crowds might be busiest during July, and August, and will avoid traveling these months. I’d prefer to travel sooner rather than later, so I am thinking maybe mid-may, or early June. Which would be recommended for dry weather, and fewer crowds? Or, would you suggest some other period?

As for the number of days I am interested in traveling, I would say a max of 10 nights/11 days. However, this includes a day of travel to Peru, and a day for return travel home. I also wish to visit Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, as well as any other suggested destination you might recommend, in addition to Machu Picchu. Given this, what itinerary would you suggest/recommend?

In addition, I see that there are an overwhelming number of tours. I also see that some people do their own independent travel. We are interested in taking day tours, guides, but hoping to save money by doing our own independent travel as opposed to booking a package. I do have frequent flier miles that I hope to use for booking flights to Lima/Cusco on either American or Lan, and I have hotel points with Hilton and Starwood hotels, that might help save me money for a hotel in Lima. As for Cusco, I’d probably have to make my own hotel reservation, but in Sacred Valley, it appears I could save money by using my Starwood hotel points to stay at the Tambo del Inka Resort, which appears to be in the Sacred Valley area. So, what I was hoping, was to find tours or guides to show us Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, but hoping to find such tours or guides for showing us these destinations, but not book a hotel included package so we can take advantage of using our hotel points for discounted stays in Lima and Sacred Valley.

As for visiting Machu Picchu, we want to see everything there is to see and do there, how much time would we need? Should we overnight at Machu Picchu, or return to a hotel elsewhere, such as the Tambo del Inka Resort in Sacred Valley? Which train is recommended, and what time should we arrive?

Given the information I’ve provided above, I’d appreciate a suggested itinerary, what to see, when, and can I book lodgings on my own, yet find tours to show us around the various destinations and sights, without a packaged tour?

Appreciate any help and information, thank you so much.
swdke is offline  
Old Dec 5th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Odd timing as I just completed a conversation with my daughter discussing admission into Machu Picchu. I do not know if anyone can confirm what she has heard but supposedly there has been a change of the admission policies to the ruins in the following manner: whereas before one could walk the grounds of the ruins, this is no longer allowed. Instead, there as a viewing bar to which people may arrive to look out over the ruins, and going past that bar is prohibited. I have not been able to find anything with a google search that discusses this but if the new policy is what she believes it to be, the trip my wife and I had planned to Machu Picchu will be foregone. If we cannot gain admission to the ruins proper, why bother going?
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Advisor01, I knew of the 2500 persons a day limit, but is it true that people are no longer allowed to walk the grounds of the ruins? Is it true that the 2500 persons are now required to stay behind the viewing area of a bar set-up to allow only viewing over the bar? Please respond to this. If what my daughter has been told (and by a native of Peru) then there are many tourists, like me, anyway, who simply will not go at all, even if one of the lucky 2500 during the peak season.
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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MP is GREAT do go by all means.

May is best for me weather2travel.com Climate guide.


Most follow theGringo Trail tosee it all.

Perubesttours.com Mike Ancientsummit.com reputable folks to

help if needed...

When there last did the Gringo Trail to Cusco then the

Inka Trail into MP with Flavio of inkalandadventures.com

from $300 personally would do something like that...

Lastly smartours.com BBB.org A rated good package prices

might save you a lot...

MANY scammers here(Quero) and there always pay with CC

insuremytrip.com andeantravelweb.com good general info.

Happy Planning!
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 01:37 PM
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Southwind Tours, Tom Damon. Top Notch. $$$
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 09:02 PM
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CAPRI- I think it might be a good idea to stop spreading such a rumor until you have emailed the park to see if there is any factual basis or if your DD's friend is just pulling her leg. I may be wrong, but can't see this happening, at least without a lot of public notice.
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Old Dec 6th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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I was just there in October and we were allowed to explore the ruins. the main changes were you now require a permit to climb Wayna Picchu. If you can afford it, stay at the Sanctuary which is the only hotel just in front of Machu Picchu. Otherwise most people stay at Aguas Calientes which is a 20 minute busride to Machu Picchu. You can spend all day inside the Machu Picchu complex, however the washrooms, and rest areas are outside the entrance. There is no shade in Machu Picchu so you will most likely be thirsty, or hungry before you're Machu Picchu'd out. Pack your lunch unless you want to spend $10 US for coffee and $17 US for a hamburger.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 03:34 PM
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I was just in the Sacred Valley for 10 days in October. Please see my trip report on this site for a great itinerary that you could pare down a bit. I highly suggest using Yure Chavez of www.perutrek4good.com. He will help plan for you and provide any tours you want and you can also decide how much alone time you want. He can book your hotels, train, MP tickets, etc. but also not book whatever you want to do. I especially found it easy to use his guide and car as transport from town to town (Cusco to Pisac to Ollanta to Pisac) so we didn't have to deal with any transportation issues. I personally do not understand the recommnedations of the Sanctuary Hotel. All of the buses from Aguas Calientes stop right in front of the door. There are no pretty grounds and no view of the ruins. You can't get in any earlier. We stayed at Inkaterra Pueblo in AC and thought it was gorgeous and worth taking the 20 minute bus trip up and back. I suggest you review this site and the trip reports for many answers to your questions.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 01:04 PM
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with 11days I suggest the following:
day 1 - Lima to Cusco - see pisac ruins and market on the way to your hotel in the SV. contact [email protected]
day 2 - visit moray/maras, chinchero
day 3 - visit Olly and afternoon train to MP spend night
day 4 - MP and late afternoon train to Olly then to Cusco
day 5 - city tour
day 6 - fly to Arequipa do city tour and visit convenant
day 7 and 8 - Colca Canyon late afternoon flight to Lima
day 9 Lima visit Paracas and do Nazca lines
day 10 Lima city tour
day 11 fly home
recommended agencies: www.trekperu.com www.waykitrek.net www.quechuasexpedtions.com condor travel
for private car/guide [email protected]
spiritual tours www.cuscowahca.com
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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I can't endorse the itinerary listed by waylluy, it is far too much for the amount of days you have available. Probably just a ruse to post links to travel agents.

Yes by all means use your Sheraton points in Lima, the Sheraton Lima is now located virtually next door to a stop on the Metropolitano transit line and is a reasonable walk to the center of Lima, plus I believe they also run a shuttle to the overrated tourist district of Miraflores. Tambo del Inka is getting great reviews although I really enjoyed Ollantaytambo, if I had points I would probably just use them. At least try to visit Ollantaytambo in the morning or late afternoon, before or after the majority of tours arrive. (You may however find that they will overcharge you for transfers and meals, so it may be worthwhile to make contact with an another agent for some local touring in the Sacred Valley).

I think May will be fine, in fact I am going back myself. One thing to be aware of is that Lima in May can be foggy and gloomy (but often the international airfares are lower then). This can disrupt flights into and out of Lima, so do build in at least an extra day around each flight in and out, including those between Cusco and Lima.

I was happy enough to just take the earliest train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo and came back around 3 pm that afternoon. Unless you plan to hike to the Sun Gate or Huayna Picchu it's plenty of time. The buffet at the Sanctuary was fine and a nice break, although packing lunch is another option. Be careful where you eat in Aguas Calientes.
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