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Itinerary help needed Sacred Valley

Itinerary help needed Sacred Valley

Old Apr 4, 14, 10:59 am
  #1  
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Itinerary help needed Sacred Valley

I need some help figuring out our itinerary for a trip to Peru in September. I already have the airfare, train tickets for MP and reservations for MP. I do however have some questions about the Sacred Valley, where to stay, what to do, etc...

We land CUZ Sat at 2:20 p.m. This is after a red-eye from LAX to LIM.

It was my intent to base ourselves for the first two nights in Ollantaytambo, however I am using points to pay for our rooms (either through AmEx or another credit card I have with my credit union). My options are rather limited. I can stay at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba or Sonesta Posadas Del Inca in the Yucay Valley. I know TDI has great reviews but I am a little concerned that we will be in the middle of nowhere subjected to hotel prices for breakfast and dinner. Is that the case or are their places nearby where we can walk? I believe the hotel in the Yucay Valley is also rather secluded but it looks like their rate includes breakfast which is a huge plus for me. Although the hotel in Yucay seems to cater a lot to travel groups and for whatever reason, it makes me a little wary to book it.

In terms of seeing the ruins, does it matter if we are in Yucay or Urubamba as a starting point? They seem like they are pretty close to eachother, but maybe not walking distance.

We have all day Sunday to tour the SV. I don't want to spend the entire time going from ruins to ruins. I would like to focus on maybe seeing 2-3 sites and maybe the market in Pisac. Does anyone have recommendations as to what we should see? We are open to hiking or walking if that helps. I realize opinions may vary greatly.

We are taking the train to AC on Monday, leaving at 1:27 in the afternoon. I assume wherever we stay, either Yucay or Urubamba, there will be taxis available that can get us to the train station.

On Tuesday we will be taking the early bus up to MP to see it at sunrise. We have reservations to hike Huayna Picchu at 10:00 a.m. Our return train trip is scheduled for 2:55 to the train station in Ollanta. I'm not sure if we should get off the train and get into Cusco that night or if we should try to spend the night in Ollataytambo right next to the train station. Does anyone have experience with this? I'm wondering if the altitude of Cusco is going to be too much on us after hiking Huayna Picchu that day. If we do decide to go on to Cusco, I'm assuming their will be either taxis or busses that can take us into town. Any guidance here would be appreciated.

Lastly, does anyone have any hotel recommendations for Cusco? I have done a lot of research on Tripadvisor, and frankly my brain is a little fried at this point. We will be using points as well. The higher end places are going to be out of the question as we won't have enough points, but we could probably swing a Starwood property or something else.

Thanks for any assistance provided. I just want to make sure I'm booking the right places for what we need.

Last edited by SuperDudley; Apr 4, 14 at 11:19 am
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Old Apr 4, 14, 6:35 pm
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A lot there, I'll start with two wonders and an opinion:

“I already have the ... reservations for MP”. Well, no you do not. If you haven't successfully paid for them, you have expired reservations, they only give you 24 hours to pay them, then they are bye bye. Now if you have paid tickets, that is a different matter.

“On Tuesday we will be taking the early bus up to MP to see it at sunrise” Since the buses start at 7am, you are planning on a late sunrise? jeje More seriously, the sunrise as it become visible may take some luck if cloudy.

I would skip the Pisac market. You'll see the same stuff in Cusco. I like Moray agricultural site and Salinas de Moras salt pools... and the scenery getting to and fro.
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Old Apr 4, 14, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by bingocallerb22 View Post
A lot there, I'll start with two wonders and an opinion:

“I already have the ... reservations for MP”. Well, no you do not. If you haven't successfully paid for them, you have expired reservations, they only give you 24 hours to pay them, then they are bye bye. Now if you have paid tickets, that is a different matter.

“On Tuesday we will be taking the early bus up to MP to see it at sunrise” Since the buses start at 7am, you are planning on a late sunrise? jeje More seriously, the sunrise as it become visible may take some luck if cloudy.

I would skip the Pisac market. You'll see the same stuff in Cusco. I like Moray agricultural site and Salinas de Moras salt pools... and the scenery getting to and fro.
My typo...I have tickets for MP, already paid and printed them out.

Ah, I thought the buses started going up there much earlier. Good to know. Well maybe we'll get there after sunrise.

Thanks for the tips on where to go.
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Old Apr 5, 14, 6:23 am
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Do not know well the Sonesta, but the Tambo will require transport to Ollay, the hotel can arrange. Sad you cannot find a hotel in Ollay for points, more conveneient for wandering there. On your way back, yes, stay in Ollay but maybe not at train station, I've heard complaints about noise and fumes if you get a front room. I know a nice place walkable up the river a bit, almost a pardise, if you need a recommendation. By staying in Ollay on your return you can make an excursion to see some sites on the way to CUZ. Getting there is 1/2 the fun.

No problem transport to the train station from anywhere.

Interesting about the buses up to MP in the morning. You may well be 20th in line 1/2 hour before but by the time loading starts you will be 60th, funny how that works. But no matter, the second bus leaves exactly behind the 1st.

You did not mention your stay in Aguas Calientes?
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Old Apr 5, 14, 4:57 pm
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I can't help with everything on your list, but a few notes...

If you stay at Tambo Del Inka, getting to restaurants off site is not a problem. The town is pretty compact and walkable, and there are inexpensive moto taxis everywhere (they kind of resemble a Thai Tuk-Tuk). The hotel can arrange transport for you to pretty much anywhere using their own van (expensive, but good service and the vehicle was in good condition). They will also call you a cab if you wish.

In Cusco, if you can't find a place to make good use of your points, I liked the Tierra Viva Cusco Plaza a lot. Great location just off the main plaza, easy walk to Saksaywaman, and very reasonable (with breakfast included). Trip Advisor has lots of pictures.
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Old Apr 5, 14, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by bingocallerb22 View Post
Do not know well the Sonesta, but the Tambo will require transport to Ollay, the hotel can arrange. Sad you cannot find a hotel in Ollay for points, more conveneient for wandering there. On your way back, yes, stay in Ollay but maybe not at train station, I've heard complaints about noise and fumes if you get a front room. I know a nice place walkable up the river a bit, almost a pardise, if you need a recommendation. By staying in Ollay on your return you can make an excursion to see some sites on the way to CUZ. Getting there is 1/2 the fun.

No problem transport to the train station from anywhere.

Interesting about the buses up to MP in the morning. You may well be 20th in line 1/2 hour before but by the time loading starts you will be 60th, funny how that works. But no matter, the second bus leaves exactly behind the 1st.

You did not mention your stay in Aguas Calientes?
Yes, a recommendation in Ollay would be very appreciated.

We already reserved Terraza Del Inca for AC. Not the best place, but should suffice for a night.
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Old Apr 6, 14, 5:40 am
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[QUOTE=SuperDudley;22655231]Yes, a recommendation in Ollay would be very appreciated.

QUOTE]

Hotel Iskay, up the creek valley, beside the old Ollay part of town, walkable (or moto S/3-5), very pleasant intimate and green, smaller place, nice free breakfast, WiFi, around $30-40, professionally run, speaks English.
http://www.iskaygroup.com/hostal_isk...antaytambo/es/
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Old Apr 6, 14, 8:14 pm
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Originally Posted by ibdsux View Post
I can't help with everything on your list, but a few notes...

If you stay at Tambo Del Inka, getting to restaurants off site is not a problem. The town is pretty compact and walkable, and there are inexpensive moto taxis everywhere (they kind of resemble a Thai Tuk-Tuk). The hotel can arrange transport for you to pretty much anywhere using their own van (expensive, but good service and the vehicle was in good condition). They will also call you a cab if you wish.

In Cusco, if you can't find a place to make good use of your points, I liked the Tierra Viva Cusco Plaza a lot. Great location just off the main plaza, easy walk to Saksaywaman, and very reasonable (with breakfast included). Trip Advisor has lots of pictures.
Unfortunately neither one of my points sites, AmEx or dreampoints, has the Tierra Viva Cusco Plaza as an option.

Some of the options I have in Cusco are:
Novotel Cusco
Sonesta Hotel Cusco
Casa Andina
San Agustin Internacional
San Agustin El Dorado
Aranwa Cusco Botique Hotel
Casa Cartagena Botique and Spa
Palacio Del Inka
JW Marriott
Encantada Casa Botique Spa
Sonesta Posadas Del Inca

The dreampoints site through my credit union lists the price of the hotel along with the number of points required. It appears, in every situation, the price they are listing is higher than what is advertised.
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Old Apr 6, 14, 8:14 pm
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[QUOTE=bingocallerb22;22657185]
Originally Posted by SuperDudley View Post
Yes, a recommendation in Ollay would be very appreciated.

QUOTE]

Hotel Iskay, up the creek valley, beside the old Ollay part of town, walkable (or moto S/3-5), very pleasant intimate and green, smaller place, nice free breakfast, WiFi, around $30-40, professionally run, speaks English.
http://www.iskaygroup.com/hostal_isk...antaytambo/es/
Seems like a nice place. I'll definitely look into staying a night there.
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Old Apr 6, 14, 11:51 pm
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Just got back from the SV, here are a few thoughts:

If you do not want time to spend a ton of time traveling between sites, I would spend most of the day Sunday at Pisac. The ruins are rather large, and with it being your first full day of activity, you will likely be out of breath with some of the steep climbing. With a guide to show you around the site, it could easily take 3 hours to see everything at a leisurely pace, with another 45 minutes each way to get to the site. As bingocallerb22 mentioned, the market isn't particularly interesting, but if you do want to spend a couple hours haggling and picking up cheap souvenirs, that would be a good day to do it.

On the way back, I would try to find a way to spend the night in Olly, as it would really allow you to make the most of the day on Wednesday (although you don't say what you have planned). I would get up, take a couple of hours to see the ruins in Olly in the morning, then hire a taxi after lunch to take you to see the salt mines in Maras and the agricultural terraces at Moray, as bingocallerb22 mentioned above.

Olly's not an expensive town to stay in, so if you can swing it, it's worth the small cash outlay. We stayed at the train station, and really enjoyed it. Speaking to others while we were there, we also heard good things about the Tunupa Lodge, which looked very nice whenever we walked by.

Last edited by linglingfool; Apr 6, 14 at 11:57 pm
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Old Apr 7, 14, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by linglingfool View Post
Just got back from the SV, here are a few thoughts:

If you do not want time to spend a ton of time traveling between sites, I would spend most of the day Sunday at Pisac. The ruins are rather large, and with it being your first full day of activity, you will likely be out of breath with some of the steep climbing. With a guide to show you around the site, it could easily take 3 hours to see everything at a leisurely pace, with another 45 minutes each way to get to the site. As bingocallerb22 mentioned, the market isn't particularly interesting, but if you do want to spend a couple hours haggling and picking up cheap souvenirs, that would be a good day to do it.

On the way back, I would try to find a way to spend the night in Olly, as it would really allow you to make the most of the day on Wednesday (although you don't say what you have planned). I would get up, take a couple of hours to see the ruins in Olly in the morning, then hire a taxi after lunch to take you to see the salt mines in Maras and the agricultural terraces at Moray, as bingocallerb22 mentioned above.

Olly's not an expensive town to stay in, so if you can swing it, it's worth the small cash outlay. We stayed at the train station, and really enjoyed it. Speaking to others while we were there, we also heard good things about the Tunupa Lodge, which looked very nice whenever we walked by.
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of trying to take in Moray and the salt mines at Moras on Sunday morning and then perhaps hiring a taxi to take us to the Pisac ruins. I'm considering Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado, which I've ready is pretty close to both Moray and the salt mines.

On Monday, our train to AC doesn't depart until the afternoon so I was hoping to possibly see the ruins in Olly that morning. Anyone know if I can store my luggage at the train station while I tour the city?

I think at this point we are probably going to be spending the night in Olly on Tuesday night and take in a few sites on the way to Cusco. We'll have the rest of the day Wednesday and all day Thursday in Cusco. I was thinking of doing the cooking school there on Thursday afternoon, unless anyone has better recommendations.
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Old Apr 8, 14, 10:16 am
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PeruRail has a left luggage office that's open from 7-7 daily, so leaving it at the station shouldn't be a problem. Ruins are a 10 minute walk back along the river.

I highly recommend hiring a guide at the site, they congregate behind the entrance booth along the site's wall and are relatively inexpensive for the couple of hours they take you around for. The guide we had at Olly was the best out of all the ones we hired on our trip. (Put away anything flashy, though -- they size you up before quoting a price, and the other guides will follow their lead if they think you can afford to pay up.)
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Old Apr 9, 14, 4:48 pm
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Just back from the SV and Cusco. We stayed at TDI on points for 4 nights. As stated in a previous post there are tons of options in town just a couple of blocks away. We ate breakfast and dinner at a few places around town. Good Pisco Sours to be found as well. Taxis were readily available everywhere we went.
In Cusco we stayed at Hostel Pension Alemana in San Blas for $60 a night. I know that's not points but it was more than adequate, had great views, and came with breakfast. There's an empanada place run by nuns a block away that's amazing and cheap as well.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 10:45 am
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Thank you all for you advice.

I have decided to book us at Tambo Del Inka for the first two nights. The first full day there I think we're going to visit the salt mines, the ruins by the mines (sorry the names for these are escaping me right now) maybe visit Ollanta ruins and Pisac.

We'll spend night number three in AC at Terrazas Del Inca. We'll do MP the fourth day.

Nights four through six we are going to spend in Cusco at Aranwa Cusco Hotel. I thought if I got to Cusco after MP in the evening, it may give us a chance to acclimate while we are sleeping and possibly reduce the chance of altitude sickness. Plus the hotel pumps oxygen into the room.

If anyone has any suggestions for things to do in Cusco, as we have two full days, please provide them. I am thinking we will spend a few hours taking the cooking class but other than that we're open. Not sure if I want to visit any more ruins, unless they are a 'do not miss' kind of thing.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 12:33 pm
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Looks like a great schedule. Enjoy your trip in Sept!
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