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How to get Started?

CA
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120 posts
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How to get Started?

Hi everyone, my husband and I will be in Peru in December around the holidays. We are thinking about planning a SHORT trip to Cuzco/MaPi (leaving our 2 yr old in Lima with family). It's been about 15 years since I last traveled to Cuzco (and things have apparently changed--drastically--since then). I dont even know where to begin. I've read that tickets to the park should be booked first (and I'm assuming train tickets must come in a short second?)... I'm nervous about purchasing the wrong thing on-line (wrong train, wrong hotel, wrong location)...Also, my husband is nervous about altitude sickness; so, we were thinking: fly from LIM to Cuzco on the 25th (Christmas) morning and head straight to Olly (sacred valley?) stay the night the 25th and train into MaPi the morning of the 26th. Stay all day at the park and night in Aguas. Head back to Cuzco on the 27th early morning and spend the day in the city (maybe even out to Sac) and fly back to LIM on the morning of the 28th. Is Macchupichu closed on Mondays/Holidays? Does this itinerary work? What about getting from point to point? Are some trains better than others? We'll probably not be going back to Peru for some time; so, we're trying to give ourselves a moderate budget to do it right! Any recs, appreciated!!!

Los Angeles
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1. Re: How to get Started?

Check out www.andeantravelweb.com for great info about the Sacred Valley and MP. Consider using one of the guides recommended here to book your hotel, MP tix, train, and transport to Olly, etc. The cost is very reasonable and worth it to avoid hassels and worries. Also check out the posts here.

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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2. Re: How to get Started?

Check this forum for recommended hotels in the Sacred Valley, you will be surprised with the variety and prices in which Olly does not host the best.

Contact Sophie at sofiabarreda@gmail.com for her to arrange hotel,transport and whatever you need at a reasonable cost.

Check this forum for comments on her.

CA
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3. Re: How to get Started?

Will do--Gracias!!

Lima, Peru
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4. Re: How to get Started?

It sounds like you want to do exactly what I did when I was there last December, and it worked out perfectly. My family and I immediately drove to Urubamba to help adjust to the elevatiom. My mother is a little older and it really did the trick I think. We stayed at the Kuychi Rumi, which I highly recommend. Its an absolutely beautiful location, and we were all in 2 story, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom homes. I can't say enough about this place, I hope to go back really soon. They even arranged everything we needed to go to Machu Picchu and all the surrounding sites, and it was so much easier than trying to figure it all out online. It was much cheaper than going through a travel agency as well, and the service was better. We had a nice train, much better than I thought it would be. It wasn't the backpacker's one and not the first class either...it was somewhere in between, was very clean, and lots of room. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't believe Machu Picchu is closed for holidays. I'd ask the hotel or one of the agencies listed above and they can tell you everything you need to know.

Cusco, Peru
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5. Re: How to get Started?

Hi

What you could do to get ideas is look at the pages of any tour operator who does tours to Peru, just work out how many days you have and look for packages of a similar length.

Whether you want to use an operator or not is up to you ( it would take some of the stress out of the trip for you but cost your more) but regardless of that you will start by looking at a few to see a common them for instance how many days most people take to visit places

So that is a good free source of information to get you started then we can answer specific details on here.

Macchu Picchu does not close on Mondays by the way

Andean Travel Web does have good information but as they are owned by the same person as Peru Trek they are not going to be quite as impartial as they say but there is a lot of information there nonetheless.

I hope that helps

CA
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120 posts
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6. Re: How to get Started?

Thanks for your suggestions. I found the andean website really helpful for starting my planning and this forum has been helpful in narrowing down hotel options (and room suggestions). The only thing that I need to secure now is the peru-rail tix (since I wasnt able to do that on-line due to my lack of VERIFIable visas or mastercards). I spoke with a nice representative who reserved my request over the phone and now I just need to fax/email my credit card/passport info (which I have some trepidation for sending that kind of info out into the ethos)... I reserved the train ticket that includes bus ride up to MaPi + entrance + brunch (the "Special?")...a little bit nervous about all of that (since I havent read a lot of first hand accounts about that package).

But our current plan is to (off the top of my head):

1. fly into CUZ (12/25 get there at about noon)

2. drive to Olly (stay the night at the Albergue), see some local sites

3. 12/26 @ ~7:30am Peru Rail (special package) to Aguas

4. @ ~9:30 bus up to MaPi (all day there--brunch included)

5. over night in Aguas (at Hatun Inti?)

*6. 12/27--back up to MaPi early morning (worth it $)? or tool around Aguas?

7. ~10:30-11am Peru Rail back to Olly

8. lunch in Olly

9. drive to Cusco (I'm guessing it will be around 4pmish at arrival)

10. Cusco hotel still to be determined

11. time for Sacs ruins?

12. Dinner in Cusco

13. flight out of CUZ to LIM at about 1pm on the 28th.

Michigan
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for Peru
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7. Re: How to get Started?

Wow, that is pretty tight.

I would return to Cusco from Aguas Calientes on the same day of your visit to MaPi and use the following day to visit the different sites in Sacred Valley and/or Tipon, Piquillacta, Maras, Moray. There is so much to see near Cusco, unless you want to hike Huayna Picchu (then spending an extra day in AC would become useful).

8. Re: How to get Started?

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Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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9. Re: How to get Started?

Have lunch in Urubamba instead of Olly.

Try Los 3 Keros or Huacatay, they are much better than anything you will find in Olly.

Langley, Canada
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10. Re: How to get Started?

We just returned from our trip which I booked completely independently of any tour agencies thanks to these TA forums and the wonderful helpful people. We had an incredible time. The only part of the trip that did not go as planned was the leg of our return flights from Lima to Miami on AA. We were 2 hours late leaving Lima due to some maintenance issue so missed our connecting flight in Miami. However the new flights that AA put us on resulted in a shorter layover on the next leg of our flights so we actually arrived home in Vancouver 2.5 hours earlier than the original schedule. Now that is the kind of change in plans that I love!

Anyway, for our Peru portion of our month in South America, we flew from Lima to Cusco arriving just after noon and had one of David Ramos (recommended on these forums) drivers meet us to drive us to Ollantaytambo. We stopped in Pisac to see the market and ruins on the way. We did feel a little lightheaded climbing the ruins in Pisac (just over an hour spent there) and went at a much slower pace than we would at home. We did not take anything for altitude sickness during the whole trip. We had 3 nights in Ollantaytambo at El Albergue which is right at the railroad station (loved it), spending the first full day leisurely exploring the town and ruins. The second day we took the 0610 train to Aguas Calientes and bus up to MP. Spent the morning and early afternoon up there and hired a guide at the entrance for the first 2 hours. We then spent the late afternoon and evening in Aguas Calientes until our return train to Ollantaytambo. The next day we had one of David's drivers pick us up for our return to Cusco and we stopped at Salineras, Moray and Chinchero on the way. We had 2 nights in Cusco at Rumi Punku which is just a couple bocks off the Plaza De Armas (loved that hotel too). I booked all our hotels, flights, Peru rail, Machu Picchu tickets and David's drivers on line very easily. I have posted a link to my travel website, which includes my itinerary, journal some photos, links etc. if that is any help for your planning. …shutterfly.com/southamericabrazilargentinap…