Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 16, 12, 8:34 pm   #16
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: AMS & WAS
Posts: 28
Seen Machu Picchu today, on to Easter Island!

Let me add my thoughts and tid bits to this report on Peru and Machu Picchu (MP).

I purposely went a bit early to acclimatize in Cusco (Cuzco). I had difficulty but that is because of past history. I found the coca tea which is ubiquitous quite helpful, perhaps psychologically but also because you are also meant to drink more at a higher altitude and really nothing other than water. The tea is soothing and contrary to other discussions it has not a trace of the dreaded derivative, thank goodness. Remember alcohol dehydrates, and stay far away from coffee.

Cuzco is higher (almost 1000m) than Aguas Calientes, so you will feel better after leaving it and dropping down considerably. The little altitude jolt you might or will get in Cuzco will prepare you for the climb up to MP, so that is nice.

Since I did this whole trip a la carte and on my own, the multiple costs and expenses to get to Machu Picchu from Cuzco on were a little irritating. I would recommend getting everything arranged beforehand not only for the comfort it would provide, but you would not incur the silly stuff I went through. For instance some of the trains in the schedule were sold out and I had to improvise and go early and stay overnight in Aguas Calientes. Remember getting to MP is a geographical hurdle. Maybe if you postpone it a few years, you will fly into the new airport the regional government wants to build. It would simplify things but obviously destroy the competition and existing setup. Lastly, you can only buy tickets up and into MP from the assigned Federal Peru office in Aguas Calientes. I think off-season they never turn away people. But I counted several nationalities away from the usual crop, so be prepared that it might get very tight in the future as the whole world shows up.

I roughed it in terms of accommodations, I stayed in hostels and was also prepared for couchsurfing.org; despite some strange mix-ups, e.g. a different outfit came out to meet me at the airport; it was all very pleasant. Peruvians are friendly and pun intended accommodating!

I felt it was not necessary to do the additional climbs up in MP for two reasons, it is difficult and not worth it - if it is to be a cloudy day. It rained today and most of us in and above MP hung around just to get the magical picture when the clouds drifted away (and the sun shone). There are multiple spots around MP for the proverbial Kodak moment, and often no one is in the way. I think my pictures were just as good inside the main compound at MP without rushing off to some other promontory.

NB. or PS. If asked I will post some pictures on my return to prove it all. Now, it is off to Lima and overnight Nov 18, LA 848 to Easter Island (IPC). Note: LAN has a special fare to IPC until April 30, 2013. If you are on their email, they will also inform you about their specials, including the one I benefited from, a so-called ´Thanksgiving sale´; I could take another 15% off, and include flights inside Peru or the rest of South America. Maybe it's the season, but these were good deals, and I assumed that they would best any other option using miles. Although, I would've like to do a trifecta and go to Tahiti too, therefore transiting either way in Hawaii!

Cheers, ciao, and safe flights and a nice time on the ground.
Pondflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 6:52 am   #17
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,335
I read that the best time to visit is May and September.

I think you went in July?
Bretteee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 6:55 am   #18
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,335
Pndflyer

How much was your special fare to Easter Island?

I noticed it's expensive to get there.
Bretteee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 8:10 am   #19
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: ORD and LIH
Programs: AA: 2 MM
Posts: 54,540
Beautiful pics. Lima's Plaza de Armas is a lot prettier and greener than I remember it. Of course, sunshine helps. How did you manage that?
__________________
Another ankle biting chihuahua always ready with inane and incomprehensible apologia!
ILuvParis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 11:01 am   #20
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Helsinki
Programs: A3 Gold, BA Silver, LANPass Premium, SK, FB, Hilton Gold
Posts: 644
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bretteee View Post
Pndflyer

How much was your special fare to Easter Island?

I noticed it's expensive to get there.
What do you mean by expensive? 400 USD is quite typical fare from Lima to IPC (sometimes 300 USD). Considering that it includes ~120 USD of real taxes, it's not very expensive for 5 hour flight. If looking for flights from SCL, remember to use the Chilean site.
miikkak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 12:39 pm   #21
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, Florida
Programs: Delta Skymiles
Posts: 219
As an addition, here's the video I was speaking of regarding the stairs of death. Take a look...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ezgkaRyVe8


Can we embed YouTube videos here?
ChiefNWA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 5:24 pm   #22
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: UA 1K, AA Exec Plat, SPG Plat, HH Diamond, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Gold, PC Plat Amb, Fairmont Premier
Posts: 8,239
Oh my. I get dizzy just looking at it!
__________________
Great miles think alike.
Thunderroad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 8:52 pm   #23
akp
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Flyover Territory
Programs: Hilton Diamond
Posts: 655
Thanks!

Awesome post, thank you.

Husband, me and 3 kids are going on a similar itinerary in June so your thread and pics are very helpful.

Anita
akp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 17, 12, 11:11 pm   #24
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: YKF
Programs: AC*S100K
Posts: 95
Nice pictures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
3. What were your favorite and least favorite places to visit in the Sacred Valley?
We just got back a week ago. I really liked the walk up to Pisac (which is fairly unpopular; most people take a taxi up, but I think that you get better views by walking up. Some people do walk down.) After that, we stayed in Urabamba, which is not a great place to visit or to stay, although we did find a good cafe in its Plaza de Armas. We also bailed on Chinchero after getting off the combi and deciding that we didn't want to visit the Inca site there after all. The terrasses in Moray are interesting.
plammm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 12:36 am   #25
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: Amex Plat, CX Gold, VA Gold, BA paeon, VS rabble, NZ A$ bru
Posts: 235
Awesome TR! Really makes me want to go.

Would you pick Star Peru again or would you choose a different airline?
__________________
twitter:@thatjohn // Blog: travel, music, food & wine, in photographs: 44john.com
ThatJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 12:34 pm   #26
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: UA 1K, AA Exec Plat, SPG Plat, HH Diamond, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Gold, PC Plat Amb, Fairmont Premier
Posts: 8,239
Quote:
Originally Posted by plammm View Post
We just got back a week ago. I really liked the walk up to Pisac (which is fairly unpopular; most people take a taxi up, but I think that you get better views by walking up. Some people do walk down.) After that, we stayed in Urabamba, which is not a great place to visit or to stay, although we did find a good cafe in its Plaza de Armas. We also bailed on Chinchero after getting off the combi and deciding that we didn't want to visit the Inca site there after all. The terrasses in Moray are interesting.
Thanks for these observations!
__________________
Great miles think alike.
Thunderroad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 1:57 pm   #27
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, Florida
Programs: Delta Skymiles
Posts: 219
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatJohn View Post
Awesome TR! Really makes me want to go.

Would you pick Star Peru again or would you choose a different airline?
No, I would go with LAN. We didn't choose the airline, we booked through a travel agency as they took care of the tours and hotels etc so they put us on Star Peru. I would not recommend them (the airline that is).
ChiefNWA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 2:42 pm   #28
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Programs: SPG Gold, HH Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 175
Excellent trip report.

We did a similar trip last September and absolutely loved Peru. We had never been to South America but now we would love to go back. We also stayed three days at the Sandoval Lake Lodge outside of Puerto Maldonado and it was amazing! For the Sacred Valley, we based ourselves in Ollantaytambo and loved it. It was very convenient to get everywhere and we felt very safe walking around town, even late at night.

If you are not in good shape, I would skip Huayna Picchu. We are in our twenties and it was more difficult than people made it sound. It was beautiful, but we were dead tired after and it was the only time I felt we were affected by the altitude.

We chewed Coca leaves to help with the altitude, but like you I didn't think it helped.

If anyone is interested, a lot of places had donation boxes for the people in the area (example is Hearts Cafe in Ollantaytambo). They collected warm clothes, hiking shoes, and school supplies. The people in Peru were amazingly gracious. One other thing to keep in mind is that while bargaining is expected in the markets, these people are generally poor people trying to make a living. Is it really worth it to haggle over to a couple dollars? This is especially true when you are dealing directly with the craftspeople who are selling their own wares. We bought a beautiful woven piece that I was bargaining for, when my SO told me to just pay her the price she wanted. I was so into the bargaining, but he was right. The $40 made very little difference to me but she was so happy when she made the sale and it probably did make a difference in her life.
sweetz_21_83 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 4:06 pm   #29
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: UA 1K, AA Exec Plat, SPG Plat, HH Diamond, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Gold, PC Plat Amb, Fairmont Premier
Posts: 8,239
Question Do the Sacred Valley before Cuzco, to acclimatize?

Since this very interesting thread is attracting interest from folks who have been to Peru, I thought I'd post a question here. In starting to plan my wife's and my trip to Peru for next year, I'm wondering whether we should spend time in Cuzco first (for a few days) or in the Sacred Valley first (for about at week, though no hiking from place to place -just walks and hikes we'll do at specific towns and sites we'll visit, including MP of course).

All things being equal, I think I'd like to do Cuzco first to spend time in the town before being more in the countryside. But since Cuzco is appreciably higher than the Sacred Valley, might it be better to acclimatize by doing the SC first? I'd imagine walking around Cuzco would be easier after a week in the SC. But I'd very much welcome folks' thoughts on this.

FWIW, both my wife are pretty fit, but in our 50's. We've both been hiking in high altitudes before without any ill effects, trekking in Nepal. But that was many years ago and of course the we gradually ascended by walking rather than the sudden leap of flying into Cuzco.

Thanks for any help!
__________________
Great miles think alike.
Thunderroad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 18, 12, 5:43 pm   #30
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, Florida
Programs: Delta Skymiles
Posts: 219
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
Since this very interesting thread is attracting interest from folks who have been to Peru, I thought I'd post a question here. In starting to plan my wife's and my trip to Peru for next year, I'm wondering whether we should spend time in Cuzco first (for a few days) or in the Sacred Valley first (for about at week, though no hiking from place to place -just walks and hikes we'll do at specific towns and sites we'll visit, including MP of course).

All things being equal, I think I'd like to do Cuzco first to spend time in the town before being more in the countryside. But since Cuzco is appreciably higher than the Sacred Valley, might it be better to acclimatize by doing the SC first? I'd imagine walking around Cuzco would be easier after a week in the SC. But I'd very much welcome folks' thoughts on this.

FWIW, both my wife are pretty fit, but in our 50's. We've both been hiking in high altitudes before without any ill effects, trekking in Nepal. But that was many years ago and of course the we gradually ascended by walking rather than the sudden leap of flying into Cuzco.

Thanks for any help!
The majority of people have no problems with the altitude. Yeah, you'll run out of breath faster, etc but as long as you don't do anything extraneous you'll do great. I personally like the idea of doing Cusco first as you get to see the modern side, then move onto the Sacred Valley after that. Alot of people do Cusco, then Sacred Valley, then Machu Picchu as the Sacred Valley is closer (especially Ollantaytambo) to Aguas Calientes. In the end it comes up to you, but I enjoyed covering Cusco first.

If you're both fit and hike regularly then I foresee no problems. Are you guys interested in Huyana Picchu aswell?

In reality though, if you didn't have many issues before at other altitudes then you should be fine. But remember, everyone's body reacts differently.
ChiefNWA is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 1:56 pm.