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Is this trip to Machu Picchu nuts??

Is this trip to Machu Picchu nuts??

Old Jan 10, 15, 1:54 pm
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Is this trip to Machu Picchu nuts??

What do people think? Due to a unique job situation, I have limited time and I'm trying to make this work. I'd like to spend more time in MP, but I'd rather go for a day than not at all.

Day 1:
Arrive LIM at 1:30A
Fly to CUZ at 5AM
Spend rest of day in CUZ

Day 2:
Day trip to MP
Take first train from CUZ to MP
Take second to last train from MP to CUZ

Day 3:
Fly to LIM early morning
Depart LIM at 11:30PM
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Old Jan 10, 15, 4:34 pm
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Depending on how you tolerate altitude (or not), I'd recommend heading to Ollantaytambo or Aguas Calientes from CUZ (the former two are much lower in elevation). With your time of arrival at CUZ, you could also take a car to Ollantaytambo and get a train to Machu Picchu pretty early (earlier than if you took the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes).

That done, you can spend day 2 heading back to Cusco (there are interesting things to see along the way), spend morning of day 3 in Cusco/surrounds and flying to LIM in the late afternoon/early evening (with whatever margin you feel comfortable in leaving for the connection).
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Old Jan 11, 15, 9:24 am
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Very doable yes. I agree with YVR...even though I had no problems at the high altitude of CUZ, if you have concerns take a car down to the sacred valley. You can train from there.

You can see the site and many of its vantage points in a solid 3-4 hours. You'll want longer if you want to climb any of the adjacent mountains. The other thing to remember is it gets crowded and you'll need entry tickets. Depending on time of year, it might make sense to get to, and overnight at the site (Lodge adjacent to park, or Inkterra at the base town) so you can be up the mountain before the trains arrive with day trippers. You can then get out to CUZ earlier and see the sites there. Tripadvisor has some good perspective on Cusco and lodging near the ancient city.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 1:06 pm
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Ditto both about altitude sickness. I was fine with it but I met others who had it very bad. It seems like a super short trip? Id definitely recommend staying some time in CUZ before heading to Machu Picchu.

If time does not permit, probably staying in Aguas Calientes could be a good option. That way, you are also not in a rush to bus or hike to the site.
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Old Jan 11, 15, 2:29 pm
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Just an FYI: CUZ is at abut 3,400m so the altitude/air pressure equivalent is about 4,000' or so higher than an aircraft cabin is pressurised to (~8,000' ASL in anything usual other than a 787). Your body may be in for a shock going from low elevation and being dumped at 12-13,000' ASL. Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes are quite a bit lower: 2-2,300m ASL or about 7-8,000' ASL so a bit easier to get used to (your body takes about 2 weeks to adjust so no hope in your situation unless you blood bank).
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Old Jan 15, 15, 9:36 pm
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If money isn't an issue...

With so little time, I'd scratch anything-Cusco off the list except for getting in & out. Avoid any potential altitude issues entirely. This itin is quite different from others proposed, putting you in Aguas Calientes (MP) for the night. My daughter and I found that made for a really nice day. There are some pretty nice places in Aquas Calientes that will set you back about US $150.

Day 1- Arrive LIM, fly to CUS, hire cab to Ollantaytambo, train to MP. One heck of a travel day. Spend night in MP.

Day 2- Explore MP after a good night's sleep. You might actually feel good, and it's a lot nicer exploring a place if you feel good rather than fighting off that almost-a-headache feeling from lack of sleep. Take late afternoon train to Ollantaytambo.

Day 3- Explore Ollantaytambo ruins for a couple hours in the morning (walking distance from many hotels), hire cab to take you directly to Cusco, take 1pm flight to Lima. Leaves you about 5-6 hours to visit a museum or two and have a nice dinner in Lima. Recommend Largos Museum & Restaurant.
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Old Jan 25, 15, 12:20 am
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
With so little time, I'd scratch anything-Cusco off the list except for getting in & out. Avoid any potential altitude issues entirely. This itin is quite different from others proposed, putting you in Aguas Calientes (MP) for the night. My daughter and I found that made for a really nice day. There are some pretty nice places in Aquas Calientes that will set you back about US $150.

Day 1- Arrive LIM, fly to CUS, hire cab to Ollantaytambo, train to MP. One heck of a travel day. Spend night in MP.

Day 2- Explore MP after a good night's sleep. You might actually feel good, and it's a lot nicer exploring a place if you feel good rather than fighting off that almost-a-headache feeling from lack of sleep. Take late afternoon train to Ollantaytambo.

Day 3- Explore Ollantaytambo ruins for a couple hours in the morning (walking distance from many hotels), hire cab to take you directly to Cusco, take 1pm flight to Lima. Leaves you about 5-6 hours to visit a museum or two and have a nice dinner in Lima. Recommend Largos Museum & Restaurant.
+1 about going to AC directly from CUZ airport. Also take AZT tablets with you.
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Old Jan 31, 15, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by desi View Post
+1 about going to AC directly from CUZ airport. Also take AZT tablets with you.
Acetazolamide (Diamox) has been successfully by some (and can be purchased in Lima orb Cusco "farmacias").

More importantly, possibly, is keeping super well hydrated. That's probably the best effect of the coca tea offered in that area.
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Old Jan 31, 15, 4:29 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Acetazolamide (Diamox) has been successfully by some (and can be purchased in Lima orb Cusco "farmacias").

More importantly, possibly, is keeping super well hydrated. That's probably the best effect of the coca tea offered in that area.
Bolding mine. The symptoms of altitude sickness and dehydration are very similar, nearly identical in fact. As I've said many times, higher altitude causes dehydration, unless you are aware of the need to drink more. But typically don't drink more because they tend to drink not so much because they're thirsty, but because they have a routine. You have to alter that routine. You have to force yourself to drink more, because every single breath you take (actually each time you exhale), you lose water. And you're taking more breaths at altitude.

Also keep in mind that, for some, Diamox does have side-effects. My daughter became the poster child for them on our recent trip. They ended after about 24 hours, but it wasn't too pleasant for her.

Last edited by Mike Jacoubowsky; Jan 31, 15 at 4:39 pm
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Old Feb 2, 15, 9:25 pm
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When are you going? If is not rainy season, less risk of delayed flights and no risk of closed road to MP. But if it's during january to april, there is always some risk.
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Old Feb 2, 15, 9:39 pm
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Remember to breathe. I was getting headaches at altitude and would forget to slow down and breathe.
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Old Feb 3, 15, 8:32 pm
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As someone that is used to doing a city/day, I think your plan is nuts lol.

Here's what I mean, if you're not used to a higher altitude, when you try to breath, it'll feel like you're trying to breath out of a straw. The headaches are one thing, but pills and coca tea won't make up for the fact that your body isn't accustomed to having less oxygen and you'll feel out of breath quickly and often.

I would say, skip on the trip for now and do it when you have at least 4-5 days. You'll have way more energy and enjoy it more.
The 1st day may as well be a write off since you'll be moving around slowly.

If you do insist on going though, take it easy. Go slow.
I would HIGHLY recommend that you DON'T do the Wayna Picchu view. Just walk around Machu Picchu and if you're early enough, walk up to the sun gate and you'll get a nice picture/view of Machu Piccchu.

I went to MP and did the Inca Trail and had 2 days to acclimatize before the hike and it was barely enough. By the time I finished (but more so on day 3) I had no issues with the higher altitude, although I did blow out my knee in the process but that's a whole other story...

Anyways, I would say, spend the time in Cusco over Aguascalientes. More to see/do and feels a bit more authentic. Aguas is more or less backpacker central with jacked up tourist prices.

As for MP, I felt, 3-4 hours was more than enough. It was cool and all, but it's not a huge site by any means. Then again, because I did the Inca trail and saw various other sites along the way it was a bit less of a surprise perhaps?

In any case, good luck, but still think you should wait until you have more time to go.
And avoid the Scotiabank kiosk in the main square! That thing never gives you money, but you still get charged!
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