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Old Mar 29, 05, 3:47 pm   #1
 
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From Cuzco to Machu Picchu. Options.

Hello. I am planning this trip. I e-mailed PeruRail to book the Hiram Bingham up the hill and back. With regret they have not yet responded. I am getting close to the date which I must commit for my award air ticket. Can someone please comment on other options to reach Machu Picchu from Cuzco? Is it correct you can only book the Bingham via e-mail? Any comments appreciated. Thanks
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Old Mar 30, 05, 9:22 am   #2
 
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I did receive a reply. FYI. It is necessary to wire $ for your trip to Peru.
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Old Mar 31, 05, 2:43 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTWSTARALLIANCE
It is necessary to wire $ for your trip to Peru.
Really? I am going next week and this is what they told me:

About payment, please it has to be cash only (american dollars or local currency) (total bill is USD 202.32) and you can buy the tickets until one day before the day of your trip (in the morning). In order to buy the tickets you will need to bring your passport and of course your reservation code number.


Are you trying to get the tickets pre-paid because you will not be in CUZ the day before your trip?
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Old Mar 31, 05, 11:19 pm   #4
 
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Yes. I will only arrive into CUZ the afternoon before my trip on the Bingham. Peru Rail confirms only cash or wire. Where are you getting this lower rate please? Thank you
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Old Apr 1, 05, 8:08 am   #5
 
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Ah, you are on the Bingham. I didn't catch that. There are three train options:

(from: http://www.orient-express.com/web/tp..._thetrains.jsp)

1. Backpacker train. Cheapest, "roughest" $65.45 pp
2. Vistadome. This is the one we will take. It is about $101 pp. Free snacks.
3. Hiram Bingham. Leaves later than the others, $476pp. Includes meals, bus and entrance fees.

I have figured that the Vistadome plus the required 20 minutes bus ride (about $10RT), admission ($20) and meals (?) is the best way for us. We also prefer traveling in more of the local style when possible (although I realize that in this case there really are virtually no "locals" going to MP). I also am not interested in paying $476 pp!

If, like me, you are not using a tour company, you might want to check with the hotel you will be staying at to see if they can pick up the train ticket for you. Be aware that flights to CUZ are frequently delayed or cancelled, especially in the afternoon. You may want to plan your trip so you arrive in CUZ early in the morning the day before your trip to MP, or you may find yourself missing out. Our flights are screwed up already, and I expect them to get worse. Lan e-mailed me about a schedule change for our CUZ-IQT flights:

Origen: CUZCO
Fecha Salida: 12APR2005 (0730 hrs.)
Destino: LIMA
Fecha LLegada: 12APR2005 (0850 hrs.)
--------------------------
Origen: LIMA
Fecha Salida: 12APR2005 (0750 hrs.)
Destino: IQUITOS
Fecha LLegada: 12APR2005 (0935 hrs.)

The fact that our new connecting LIM-IQT flight leaves an hour before we arrive in LIM seems irrelevant to them. Maybe they expect a really late departure from LIM!

I am now re-booking our LIM-CUZ flight and returning IQT-LIM flight. The CUZ-LIM-IQT I will worry about later. I think the best way to handle a trip to a relaxed culture such as this is to expect nothing to be as scheduled and roll with it.

Last edited by tharris; Apr 1, 05 at 8:11 am. Reason: correct spelling
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Old Apr 1, 05, 8:46 am   #6
 
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Thank you for the fine information. A fellow FT has a friend who just came back from the Bingham. I am expecting a call from her. If anything interesting I will advise herein. I will take another look at my CUZ flights. I am only in-out of LIM to CUZ. Regards
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Old Apr 14, 05, 2:26 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tharris
Our flights are screwed up already, and I expect them to get worse. Lan e-mailed me about a schedule change for our CUZ-IQT flights:

Origen: CUZCO
Fecha Salida: 12APR2005 (0730 hrs.)
Destino: LIMA
Fecha LLegada: 12APR2005 (0850 hrs.)
--------------------------
Origen: LIMA
Fecha Salida: 12APR2005 (0750 hrs.)
Destino: IQUITOS
Fecha LLegada: 12APR2005 (0935 hrs.)

The fact that our new connecting LIM-IQT flight leaves an hour before we arrive in LIM seems irrelevant to them. Maybe they expect a really late departure from LIM!

I am now re-booking our LIM-CUZ flight and returning IQT-LIM flight. The CUZ-LIM-IQT I will worry about later. I think the best way to handle a trip to a relaxed culture such as this is to expect nothing to be as scheduled and roll with it.

I hope your trip went well, and hopefully you'll have a look at this when you get back. How did these flights work out?

We have a trip planned in August, and have those exact flights booked - CUZ-LIM-IQT.

How did you get round it?
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Old Apr 14, 05, 3:22 am   #8
 
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Arrrggghhh !! I always get upset when I hear of someone taking the train. You should do the walk !! Even a person of below average fitness can do it pretty easily ....
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Old Apr 18, 05, 11:38 am   #9
 
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We just got back from our trip and had an absolutely amazing time. I think the highlight was our days at Muyuna lodge upriver of Iquitos. Our guide (Usiel) was incredible. He told us that April was one of the best times for the trip as the water was at a good level to see stuff like monkeys. He also said that some of the "premier" lodges closer to Iquitos had very little wildlife left. He said that the guides had to "make a big deal about some ants or termites" because there wasn't a lot more to see and that at some of these lodges the guests wanted a refund because they didn't see what was promised (he also said that some of the lodges promise the guests will see everything including polar bears) :-). He recommends Muyuna or Yarapa; Yarapa is more expensive and much "plusher", but is in the same area.

Our flights were as to be expected. We wound up with Lan LIM-CUZ and CUZ-LIM and Tans LIM-IQT. Our Lan IQT-LIM flight was cancelled. There was a pretty big mess, but Lan got us on the over booked Tans flight so we could catch our return international flight (this did not make some people happy).

I brought nice, crisp $100 bills. When we arrived, we learned that the series starting with CB was not accepted due to counterfeit problems. I was told that it is common and it changes quickly. You may want to check with your hotel or some other booking the day before you go and see if there is a series that is banned (not that it won't change) or at least make sure you have a variety of series. I met a woman who only had the CB series. I had to contact my bank because my ATM card didn't work, most places I went didn't take credit cards (or charged a fee) and I ran out of non-CB series money.

Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Oh, and Ozzie, I would have loved to have hiked the trail. From the age and condition of some of the people I saw heading out, I figured it didn't have to take too much effort. We just didn't have the time. With only a week, we chose to visit the Iquitos area instead of hiking the trail. I would love to do it sometime.
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Old Apr 20, 05, 6:37 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tharris
Oh, and Ozzie, I would have loved to have hiked the trail. From the age and condition of some of the people I saw heading out, I figured it didn't have to take too much effort. We just didn't have the time. With only a week, we chose to visit the Iquitos area instead of hiking the trail. I would love to do it sometime.
I guess with a week I understand. It is just such a sight seeing the sun rise over the site from the sun gate, I don't know how anyone could miss it !!
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Old Apr 25, 05, 9:10 pm   #11
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Lightbulb Peruvian Amazon - Tambopata Research Center!

For my money, I'd rather fly to Puerto Maldonado and take a boat up the Madre de Dios and Tambopata rivers to Tambopata Research Center. Even jaguars are not uncommon there, never mind red howler monkeys, and 14 species of psittacines. The early morning kaleidoscope of colr with all the macaws and parrots arriving at the collpa (red earth riverbank) to eat dirt is unforgettable. Check out Rainforest Expeditions - the Center is a lovely rustic place to see wildlife and birds, walk the miles of trails, support the research and training going on there benefitting the Peruvian people, and the nearby Eseieja community. I even saw Pacaranas here - they had been thought extinct, and my photos were requested by the Smithsonian Insitution (I gave them gladly); a nice thrill.
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Old Jun 28, 05, 8:34 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTWSTARALLIANCE
Thank you for the fine information. A fellow FT has a friend who just came back from the Bingham. I am expecting a call from her. If anything interesting I will advise herein. I will take another look at my CUZ flights. I am only in-out of LIM to CUZ. Regards
How was the Bingham? Was it worth the $$$?
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Old Jun 28, 05, 9:19 pm   #13
 
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With regret I had a conflict so this is probably going to be a Fall trip.
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Old Jun 30, 05, 12:13 pm   #14
 
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Well, in my opinion, the Vistadome was very nice. Small meals both ways in a comfortable, fairly new car. I am sure the Bingham is even better, but the Vistadome was almost what I expected the Bingham to be like. I would not hesitate to take it again, even for a special trip like a honeymoon. It was very similar to a low priced airline flight. I would much prefer to find ways to put the extra money in the pocket of locals (who really need it) rather than Peru Rail.

When you return you can take the train all of the way back to Cuzco or get off early and take a bus for the last leg. The bus only costs a few dollars at most and saves something like 1/2 hour. Some tour packages include the bus for a fee that can be 10X what you can buy the bus ticket for at the station. We stayed on the train the entire way. There were only 2 other people in our car and this wound up being a very special part of the trip. We returned to CUZ at night and it was great to be able to see (and photograph) the city at night. I would have paid extra to STAY on the train.

Terri
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Old Jun 30, 05, 12:20 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzie
Arrrggghhh !! I always get upset when I hear of someone taking the train. You should do the walk !! Even a person of below average fitness can do it pretty easily ....
I must be of very below average fitness. I thought the hike was pretty tough.
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