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Tentative Itinerary for Peru with Children

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Jan 7th, 2013, 06:44 AM
  #1
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Tentative Itinerary for Peru with Children

I have three boys aged 8, 14, & 15. We are planning a trip to Peru this summer (and Galapagos as well) and would love your feedback on the Peruvian portion. We are well travelled and prefer to travel independently and to have flexibility in our schedule. We will travel in July.

Day 1- fly to Lima & spend night at airport hotel
Day 2-4 fly to Cusco and spend three nights here; Check out Cusco on the first day and then Pisac and other areas close to Cusco. Do you think it is reasonable to find a taxi to take us where we would like to go once we are there?
Day 5-6- Take train to Ollantatambo and surrounding areas-- book a mountain bike and/or horseback riding tour
Day 7-8-- Train to Machu Picchu- We are considering the 2 day hike. Any recommendations for companies to take us on this?
Day 9- train back to Cusco
Day 10- Fly to Guayaquil

I would love your feedback on this and suggestions for hotels, restaurants, activities, etc.. Thanks.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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Reverse your itinerary so that your LAST 3 nights are in Cusco. It has the highest elevation so staying there last will help adjust to the altitude. With 5 of you, the odds are one or two will have some altitude sickness.

Machu Picchu site actually has a lower elevation than Cusco. The only reason to start in Cusco is if you plan on hiking the Inca Trail which goes up to abt 13,800 feet and then descends.

Personally I would not do the two day Inca Trail. You can hike from the main part of Machu Picchu up to the Sun Gate (where the Inca Trail hikers enter). If you want more extensive hiking consider hiking down from the top of the Pisac ruins, or some of the trails around Ollantaytambo. If you want to visit native communities there are other ways to do this.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 05:39 PM
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mlgh, I am leaning towards not doing the 2 day hike as it seems so expensive-- around $375 PER PERSON. Hard to justify this type of cost (it does include lodging and food but the hotels are not expensive ones). I honestly would prefer to do the hike with a guide and take care of all the other arrangements myself but this doesn't seem to be an option.

I actually purposely put Cusco first as I will very likely have altitude sickness. I get it almost anytime I am above 5000' (I can only remember once, on a trip to Mexico City, where I did not get sick from the altitude). I figured if I start with the highest altitude, I shouldn't have any problems when I go lower-- whereas if I start low, I will probably be sick every time I go higher. Make sense? I have never taken medication for it and am considering this option as well as I get excruciating headaches that make me very nauseous (interestingly, I don't feel out of breath at all in a higher altitude...).

Do you agree with Ollantaytambo as a good location for us?

We have considered one of the hikes from MP and would love your advice on it as well as the 2 day hike portion... my husband has injured his shoulder and will likely need surgery for it. He has had this surgery before and it took quite a while for him to recover. Is there any portion of either hike where he would need to pull himself up?

What is the cost of hiking up to the sun gate?

Do you happen to know what the cost of taking a taxi is to Ollantaytambo? I am thinking that it may be less expensive for us to take taxis where available vs a train. Also is it common to find taxis that can accommodate 5?

Thanks so much for your wisdom. I have enjoyed reading your posts .
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Jan 7th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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I don't know about your altitude sickness plan, but given that you get it I definitely would reconsider the hike. I have done okay with starting in Ollantaytambo (just resting for an hour or so on arrival). Besides being a cute little town, another nice thing about Olly is that you can walk or take a moto taxi to the ruins.If one if you is under the weather for the day, no need to cancel touring plans. The others can easily visit the ruins while (you) take it easy. The main ruins are part of the Boleto Turistico system which has several "circuits" good for two consecutive days, or a full ticket which I believe is good for 5 or 7 days. a good website for general info that is kept updates is www.andeantravelweb.com.

There is no extra cost to hike from inside Machu Picchu up to the Sun Gate, it is part of the regular $50 MP ticket. The path is pretty easy for the most part a slight incline and only a few short bits with a drop off (I am not crazy about exposure and I was okay on this path).

If you are coming from the airport and going to Ollantaytambo, you can get a van sent by your hotel, or you can find the white minivans waiting at the Cusco airport. El Albergue charges $60, KB Tambo charges $45. If you hire it directly at the airport it should more like $40 to $45. However if you tend to get disoriented at altitude then I would recommend arranging for a pickup.

I don't really think you need to use your arms on any of the treks, but legs and cardio will get a workout with all the steps.

I think when I was negotiating for taxi transfers the prices ranged from 60 to 180 soles depending on the distance and day of week. For some routes the drivers have learned not to undercut each other. In Ollantaytambo it's pretty safe to arrange your own transfers from the drivers waiting in the main square or by the train station. You can also ask a local or hotel for assistance. Everyone in Olly is friendly and protective of their tourists. I had lost my jacket and thought it had been pinched in a restaurant. I wandered down to the tourist police to report it and my hotel maid came running with it, she had picked it up from under the bed in the morning. The expats that I spoke to in "Olly" said the locals are honest and no one believed it had been pinched.

The Pisac walk is really nice and is mostly downhill if you take a taxi from town to the top of the ruins. It is also an "Inca Trail" and the locals still use it to come down from villages into town. There will be people along the way or at the top who will be willing to lead you for a small fee. The only cost is the Boleto Turistico.

I'm sure you have seen the rave reviews on other trip reports about Percy Salas. If I was traveling as a family I would contact him for a day's worth of touring in the SV.

Even if you take at taxi to Ollantaytambo, you still have to take the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. There really isn't an alternative (although you may read about the Jungle Trail).

What some of these alternative treks do is have you hike up to Machu Picchu along the public trail from Aguas Calientes(which is free). I would rather spend the time inside the Sanctuary.

Things are a bit different in Cusco where you do need to be more careful with taxis and can ask your hotel to call one for you.
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Jan 8th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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Thanks again for your advice! I shouldn't have any problem with altitude sickness by the time I leave Cusco which is why I want to start there vs lower so I should be good to go in Ollantaytambo! And based upon the cost of the taxis vs trains, it definitely looks like it makes sense for us to use a taxi where it is available since we are five and it has the added benefit of giving us some flexibility .

I have seen Percy's name mentioned but will have to go through previous reviews to see if I can find his contact info.

Any restaurant suggestions?
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Jan 8th, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #6
 
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In Cusco I liked Greens and Los Toldos chicken.

In Ollantaytambo Hearts Cafe for simple meals and breakfast (the service can be slow).
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Jan 8th, 2013, 09:24 PM
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If you want to do some hiking, other options are to add on Huayna Picchu or Montana Machu Picchu to your trip. They are an extra cost, but less than doing the two-day Inca Trail. We did Montana MP. It was a rainy morning, but a nice hike all the same. Heard great things about HP.

We used Percy - he's amazing. Totally worth it. Here's his email: [email protected]. Give him a few days to respond because he could be out with clients.

I second Los Toldos - super delicious and also casual and inexpensive.
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Jan 10th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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Thanks shutterbug85 for his email address and your suggestions.
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Jan 10th, 2013, 08:26 AM
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Shutterbug85, I just tried to send an email to him and got a response that this isn't a valid email address. Do you have another address for him?
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