Spontaneity in Cusco activities possible?

Old Jun 25th, 2016, 11:15 AM
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Spontaneity in Cusco activities possible?

We're arriving in Cusco on July 3rd, leaving out on the Inca trail on July 6th. I'm not really sure how the altitude will affect us and what we'll feel up to doing for our two free days. I was trying to arrange a private Sacred Valley tour but so far have been unsuccessful. If we're feeling good, we might even want to do something like a bike trip one day.

So my question is, can I wait until we get there on Sunday and schedule things through the hotel pretty spontaneously or do I really need to get something set up now?

BTW, the hotel we're staying at is the Tierra Viva Cusco San Blas, if that makes any difference.
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Old Jun 25th, 2016, 05:34 PM
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I have never used a guide in two trips to the Sacred Valley=Cusco=MP.

If you wanted to do something like rafting, horse or bike riding or a cultural tour then yes you probably should set it up ahead of time.

Otherwise you can use taxis and local transport to get around, a few spots but not all have English language guides.

A good guidebook and some internet research can substitute for that easily.

The website for KB Tambo used to have some good information, or he may have put it up for sale now.
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Old Jun 25th, 2016, 10:13 PM
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With just 2 days to fill it won't be hard to figure activities out as you go - historical center, Saqsayhuaman, a few museums, maybe a loop through the Sacred Valley. Have a great trip, whatever you decide!
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Old Jun 29th, 2016, 09:25 AM
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I would arrange the tours with a local travel agent a day in advance of when you want to go. As Ramiro says, lots of tours are available. Concur with Ramiro re booking everything for MP in advance.

I've taken two Sacred Valley tours and if you speak any Spanish, take a tour with a Spanish speaking guide because (a) your ability to listen in Spanish is probably better than a Peruvian tour guide's ability to speak English and (b) the people on Spanish-speaking tours have a lot more fun than English-speaking tours--not just around Cusco but everywhere in Peru. My first tour of the Sacred Valley had the best tour guide I've had anywhere, but I didn't write down her name, but both were very good.

You can do it yourself by local bus or you can hire a taxi to drive you around, but the tours know where to go and the guides can give you a lot of info that you won't pick up on your own.

As to altitude sickness, I pass on what a Peruana born in the mountains whose sister lives in Cusco told me and which two people, one her daughter, have confirmed: on the day you arrive, plan to do little or nothing. Particularly, don't eat anything during the day. Drink some of the coca leaf tea at your hotel when you get there, and whenever else you feel like it--it really helps. If you feel like it, you can have a bowl of soup for dinner. If you follow that regimen, you should be good to go the next day. You will find it hard to climb stairs, hills, etc. no matter how long you stay.

From my own experience, I think glucosamine tablets help but I've no medical proof.

One thing you could do during your first day is to find a bookstore and try to find a copy of Frost's "Exploring Cusco". It may be out of print, however, but will almost certainly cost less than trying to find one on the internet.

You won't need a guide to Cusco proper; they used to sell a pass for entry into many of the things in Cusco and in the Sacred Valley, so if those are still available, get one before your Sacred Valley tour: The Koricancha is particularly worth a visit, as are all three of the churches on the Plaza de Armas.

One neat thing to do during your stay in Cusco that won't require a tour is to walk or take a cab up to Sacsayhuaman to look at the ruins of the fantastic Inca fort there, look out over the roofs of the City, etc. Last time I was there, there were alpaca weavers located near Sacsayhuaman with a number of alpacas on display in front, and with handmade alpaca fabrics for sale.

!Buen viaje!
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Old Jul 8th, 2016, 05:48 PM
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We just got back from Peru. In Cusco we got a cab in the plaza to take us to Pisac and Ccochahuasi one day spontaneously. It was a great and cheap afternoon, no official tour required. Our day to Moray & Maras (from Ollantaytambo) was also not planned before hand. I just found a cab in the plaza the evening before. No official tour necessary. We also stayed in San Blas and walking downhill into Cusco was not usually a problem. But walking uphill into San Blas could be, so a couple times we easily grabbed a cab in the Cusco plaza for 10 soles to take us to our hostel. Totally worth it when we were tired. Which altitude-wise was our main issue. Tired and thirsty and mild headaches.

We loved our Peruvian cooking class one afternoon and our Chocomuseo chocolate class another afternoon. Neither requires walking, so a good choice if you don't have energy.
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