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Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Los Angeles...
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Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Hello. I've spent the past week reading as much on this forum as possible to plan my upcoming trip to the Sacred Valley. Our itinerary looks like this so far:

Monday:

Arrive Cuzco around 7:00AM (first flight from Lima)

Tour SV

Overnight Ollantaytambo

Tuesday:

Tour SV

Train to Aguas Calientes (afternoon vs evening)

Overnight Aguas Calientes

Wednesday:

MP

Train to Ollantaytambo

Overnight Ollantaytambo

Thursday:

Tour SV and Cuzco

Overnight Cuzco

Friday:

Depart Cuzco

Questions:

1. On Tuesday, is it better to go to AC in the afternoon, or would it be worth taking more time touring the SV before taking an evening train to AC? The options we are looking at are 13:27-14:49, 15:37-17:02, or 19:00-20:43. Right now, the only advantage I can see to getting to AC during the day is to buy our MP tickets a day early and not have to deal with it the next morning while trying to get on the early bus. What time do they stop selling MP tickets in AC? Is it possible to buy MP tickets elsewhere? Maybe a stop somewhere in Cuzco before going to Ollanta?

2. Returning from AC to Ollanta, we are looking at the following departures: 16:22-18:08, 17:27-18:56, or 18:45-20:18. Realistically, is there anything to tour in Ollanta in the evening after we return? We’d rather have the option to spend more time in MP and take a later train if we would just return to the hotel in Ollanta to have dinner.

3. Alternatively, would it be worth considering going all the way back to Cuzco on Wednesday when we train down from AC? Maybe a better question to ask: Is Cuzco worth a whole day by itself within our time frame at the trade off of more time in MP and the SV?

4. Any recommendations on what order to tour the SV sites would be appreciated. Things we want to see: Ollanta Ruins, Pisac Market, Pisac Ruins, Chinchero Market (I think not possible because we won’t be there Sunday), Moray, Salinas de Maras. How much time is reasonable to allot to these places?

I really wish we had more time, but we don’t. The only thing that is pretty fixed is the overnight in AC before going MP the next day to try to get a chance to hike HP.

Norfolk, Virginia
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1. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

I just followed virtually the same itinerary a couple weeks ago so I'll make some suggestions. If you arrrange it you can see a lot of SV on the way to Ollanta on Monday, e.g. Moray, Maras, and the ruins at Ollanta once you arrive. I would leave for AC earlier on Tuesday to get there by early afternoon. That way you can quickly check in, get your tickets and see MP for a few hours before it closes in the afternoon when it is quiet. Go back up early the next morning for a few more hours then take an early afternoon train back and spend two nights in Cusco so you will have a full day in Cusco. Your schedule right now shortchanges Cusco. Also, I think that while it does add to the cost - MP is much better in two shorter visits that avoid the most crowded times in the middle of the day. I tried to absorb it all in one long morning and I wish I had spread it out.

Lima, Peru
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2. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

I agree with fourblackston... recommendations, they would enhance your trip.

Regarding Pisac and Chincheros, there will always things to see even if it is not a market day, it will take like a full day to visit if you want to do the Pisac Ruins.

Usually one would leave Cusco, go to Pisac, then Moray, Maras and to Ollanta. On the way back one takes another road to go Chincheros and then Cusco.

Beckenham, United...
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3. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Hi

After an early flight arrival in to Cuzco, if you follow the advise above and start in Pisac I can highly recommend Ulrikes Cafe for breakfast! It was lovely, cooked to order and not too expensive. Its in the main square in Pisaq and its just a short walk to where you can arrange to take a taxi to the ruins, the walk from the ruins back to the town was nice but you should allow a few hours for this, not 30 mins as my guide book suggested!

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Thanks for the suggestions!

I've realigned the itinerary to look like this:

Monday

- Arrive Cuzco airport

- Tour Chinchero, Maras, Moray

- Lunch in Urubamba

- Tour Ollantaytambo Ruins

- Overnight Ollantaytambo

Tuesday

- Tour Pisac Ruins and Market

- Lunch in Urubamba again

- Return to Ollantaytambo to get afternoon train to Aguas Calientes

- Overnight Aguas Calientes

Wednesday

- Machu Picchu

- Afternoon train to Ollantaytambo

- Taxi to Cuzco (no touring)

- Overnight Cuzco

Thursday

- Tour Sacsayhuaman, Q'enko, Puca Pucara, Tambomachay, Qoricancha

- Overnight Cuzco

Friday

- Depart Cuzco (7AM, no time to tour)

Comments? I know we are hitting the ground running and that altitude sickness may force us to change some of the plans, but with such limited time, I don't see that we have any other choice but to make all the days count.

How does one go about arranging a driver to do these things? I've e-mailed some of the popular guides mentioned here, but the quotes seem very high. I don't know if we really need or want the kind of private guide service they would provide. Really, all we need is a trustworthy driver who won't take off with our luggage, but I don't think jumping into the first cab we see at the Cuzco airport we be the best way to get someone like that.

Norfolk, Virginia
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5. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Overall, I think that looks like a very good plan. You will be pretty busy on Tuesday morning backtracking to Pisac and trying to do the ruins and market. Start early! Also, why lunch in Urubamba on Monday and Tuesday instead of Ollanta? Better to just make Ollanta your base. Hearts Cafe is good and supports a very worthy cause. I liked Puka Rumi even better. I ate at a number of high-end restaurants in Peru but their simple chicken burritos were one of the best meals I had. Besides, the restaurant is just outside the entrance to the ruins that you want to tour in the afternoon.

I would definitely prearrange a car and driver for your itinerary. I used DUP Tours (email is duptours@hotmail.com I think). The cost of a guide will drive the price up.

Lima, Peru
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6. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

Suggestions:

Monday: Ollanta overnight

Tuesday: Aguas Calientes overnight

Wednesday: Urubamba overnight

Thursday: Pisac, Tambomachay.....etc overnight in Cusco

Friday: LIma

Hope this helps you!

Los Angeles...
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7. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

@fourblackstone: What price did you pay for a driver? I'm not sure what is reasonable for a prearranged car. Where did you come across DUP Tours? I can't find anything on them.

Norfolk, Virginia
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8. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

I want to say it was around $35 for two for the Cuzco to Urubamba transfer with a stop in Pisac. I can't remember for the other transfers. We were staying at the Tambo del Inka for three nights using Starwood points. I read hotel reviews on the flyertalk.com forum (Starwood program -> hotel reviews -> Peru -> Tambo del Inka) and there were two postings recommending two different companies. DUP tours responded first so I used them. They responded by email but sometimes it took a day or two. The concierge at the hotel knew the company right away when I mentioned them. I thought they were good - not great. Our driver spoke almost no English but we got by with my limited Spanish.

A guide will definitely add a fair amount to your cost; however I think it would be worth it if you are trying to fit a lot into your limited time. Have you asked your hotel about options?

9. Re: Please comment on itinerary - 4 days in the Sacred Valley

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