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6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

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6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

Hi All,

I am sure this has been dealt with previously but was just wanting to get some advice.

I will arrive in Cusco on Sep 14th and leave on Sep 20th. I am going to do the classic Inca Trail, probably with Llama Path.

My plan is as follows so far:

Day 1 - Arrive Cusco at lunchtime

Day 2 - Travel to Sacred Valley and stay in Ollantaytambo

Day 3-6 - Inca Trail and direct back to Cusco after

Day 7 - Leave Cusco in a later flight to Lima

I suppose my main worry is that I am trying to do too much in a short period of time. However, I really want to do the Inca Trail and my time is unfortunately limited. I am just wondering if it is a good idea to stay in Ollantaytambo at all. Maybe I should spend 2 nights in Cusco before heading off early on Day 3 for the Inca Trail.

Also, I don't think I can spend a night in Aqua Calientes due to my limited number of days in the area. I am worried that we will be very tired after the trek but we should be ok hopefully? (we are a reasonably fit couple in their 20s).

Any thoughts??

Pensacola, Florida
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1. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

Best to go to SV 8900 ft www.ollantaytambo.org to adjust to altitude

and see the sights Cusco 11000 ft too high most get sick

if they do not spend a day or 2 lower...www.apulodge.com nice there

Altitude sickness may develop in travelers who ascend rapidly to altitudes greater than 2500 m, including those in previously excellent health. Being physically fit in no way lessens the risk of altitude sickness. Those who have developed altitude sickness in the past are prone to future episodes. The risk increases with faster ascents and higher altitudes. Symptoms of acute mountain sickness, the most common form of the disorder, may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, malaise, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Severe cases may be complicated by breathlessness and chest tightness, which are signs of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), or by confusion, lethargy, and unsteady gait, which indicate cerebral edema (brain swelling).

Altitude sickness may be prevented by taking acetazolamide 125 or 250 mg twice daily starting 24 hours before ascent and continuing for 48 hours after arrival at altitude.

www.mdtravelheralth.com Peru

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2. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??


We just did the trek with llama path. We went directly to ollanytatambo and stayed 3 nights before doing the inca trail.

I took altitude pills and had no problems with altitude sickness. My brother( 47) and had a bit of trouble on the hike. It just depends on the person my nephew 21 and my husband 60 had no problems at all.

We did the exact same schedule as you except we had one more day in Ollantaytambo. If you could possibly acclimatize another day that would help. Altitude sickness can be very serious

The hike is very difficult but well worth it and llama path were excellent.

I really enjoyed Ollantaytambo. Two in our party did not do the hike and stayed in Cusco 2 nights. They preferred Ollantaytambo over cusco.

Hope this helps


North, South...
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3. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

We returned last week and I was bothered with altitude sickness the first day. Stayed 3 nights at the Apu Lodge in Olly, a great place to stay. I would recommend spending extra time in the Sacred Valley and less time in Cusco.

Many nice places to visit in the Valley. Cusco is just a busy place and two days are enough.

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4. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

Most of the companies want you to spend at least two nights in Cusco. Since you can't you might look into the Diamox.

Don't underestimate the altitude effects. They are unrelated to age or fitness levels.

Edited: 26 May 2010, 10:48
San Francisco...
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5. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

I spent 4 nights in Olly and loved it, using it as a base for activities in the area (Sunday market in Pisac + climbing down from the ruins above; makes for a full day), including a long daytrip by train to/from Machu Picchu. In retrospect, it was the right thing to do since I found Cusco relatively less appealing with all the traffic and touristy establishments and commercial activity. I did spend two nights in Cusco and that was enough for me to see the sights, which were very interesting in their own right. But again, Cusco is just another 'big' city; the Sacred Valley was special with its scenery and things to do that felt unique.

I also hired a car and driver from the Plaza de Armas in Olly for an afternoon trip to Moray and to the salt mine/s. I believe it cost about $20 for 4+ hours. Absolutely worth it. The scenery was unreal.

Good luck and happy travels.

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6. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

I agree Ollantaytambo is great, but the OP is planning on hiking the Inca Trail and it is better if s/he spends a few nights at the higher altitude of Cusco if possible. I think Ollanta is 2000 feet lower than Cusco, more or less.

Yorktown, Virginia
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7. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

I agree with mlgb, stay at least two nights in Cusco. Most trek companies require you to stay 2 days in Cusco before the trek, for good reason. A customer who completes the Inca Trail is usually a happy one. A customer who has to turn back or be rescued from the Inca Trail due to altitude sickness is not a happy customer.

Before our Inca Trail trek, we stayed 3 nights in the Sacred Valley (at the Kuychi Rumi in Urubamba), then moved to Cusco for 2 nights before trekking the Inca Trail. In retrospect, I would recommend 2 nights in the Sacred Valley, followed by 3 in Cusco (or 3 & 3 if one has time).

Staying first in the Sacred Valley made acclimatization much easier, but before the trek, another night there might have helped us. The altitude on Day 2 of the trek still hit us hard, even with Diamox.

Altitude sickness has no connection with general physical conditioning & health status. Many very healthy young people, even marathoners, can be laid low by altitude sickness.

You are really pushing it with such a short trip length. If you could add a few days, I think you would enjoy your visit more. In your case, with such limited time, I would stay both days in Cusco. And check with your doctor about taking Diamox to help acclimatization.

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8. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

We did not spend anytime in Cusco (3 nights in Olly) and off to do the Inca trail. I had not problems but did take altitude meds. Only one in our party of 7 had problems but he did complete the hike.(He did not take altitude meds due to glucoma) One of our group pretty much ran the inca trail and had absolutely no troubles and he did not take any meds. Like I said it depends on the person.

9. Re: 6 nights - Sacred Valley or not??

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