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Cusco/Sacred Valley/MP - thoughts on 5 day trip?

Cusco/Sacred Valley/MP - thoughts on 5 day trip?

Old Mar 27, 15, 9:57 pm
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Question Cusco/Sacred Valley/MP - thoughts on 5 day trip?

I'm trying to plan a trip to Peru in September, and hoping to get a bit of advice on how to spend our time after we fly into Cusco. We're there for ~5 days total and are doing the 2-day Inca Trail hike as part of the trip. Looking for some advice on how to split up the rest of the nights. Our basic itinerary is as follows:
  • Mon - flying LIM-CUZ ~11 AM
  • Mon/Tues/Wed night are unplanned - looking at either Cusco or Sacred Valley
  • Thurs - Machu Picchu (leave early morning from Cusco, or can pick us up on the way)
  • Fri - Machu Picchu (return late evening to Cusco or points in between)
  • Saturday - fly out of CUZ ~12 Noon

We'll essentially need accommodations for 4 nights (Mon/Tues/Wed/Fri). We're trying to figure out whether it's better to stay in Cusco for the whole time and use that as a base, or split our 4 nights between Cusco and somewhere else.

The 2 specific hotels we were looking at were the JW Marriott in Cusco, or the Tambo del Inka (SPG) in Urubamba. We're essentially looking at 2 options:
- Spend the 4 available nights in Cusco at the JW Marriott; would be easiest from a logistics perspective, and could do some day trips?
- Split them between Cusco and Urubamba - likely 2 nights at each. Would require some extra taxis, but could be a chance to explore the valley a bit more

Any suggestions or thoughts?
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Old Mar 29, 15, 10:27 pm
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Get out of Cusco as quickly as you can! OK, that needs to be explained. Cusco is one of the highest altitudes you'll spend time at, and if you start there, you'll miss out on any chance to get used to the thin air. It could hit you like a brick. That's not going to be the case for everyone, but why take chances?

My daughter and I took the 11am flight to Cusco (after overnighting in Lima), and had a driver pick us up directly from the airport and take us to Ollantaytambo, stopping off along the way at Chinchero along the way. Next day we did the local stuff, including the salt ponds and later got dropped off at the train station for the trip to Machu Picchu. Spent the night at Machu Picchu, the next day exploring the place, then caught the 5pm train back to Ollantaytambo. Next day saw the local ruins. By the time we made it back to Cusco, the altitude wasn't an issue at all.

So whatever time you wish to spend at Cusco, do so at the end.
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Old Mar 30, 15, 9:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Get out of Cusco as quickly as you can! OK, that needs to be explained. Cusco is one of the highest altitudes you'll spend time at, and if you start there, you'll miss out on any chance to get used to the thin air. It could hit you like a brick. That's not going to be the case for everyone, but why take chances?

So whatever time you wish to spend at Cusco, do so at the end.
Thanks for the advice. I'd thought about the altitude, but given that we live at ~3500 feet elevation already and haven't had issues before at higher elevations, it wasn't a big worry. That being said, I guess it's best not to chance it and risk ruining a vacation.
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Old Mar 31, 15, 6:32 pm
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Originally Posted by gcashin View Post
I'd thought about the altitude, but given that we live at ~3500 feet elevation already and haven't had issues before at higher elevations, it wasn't a big worry..
Well Cusco is three times that altitude, so there's a considerable difference. But if you didn't have issues at higher elevations, you'll probably be fine.

Wether you spend time at Cusco city at beginning or end of the trip, I do recommend enjoy it anyway. There are lot of beautiful places to see at Cusco (temples, churches, narrowed streets, etc.).
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Old Mar 31, 15, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Villavic View Post
Well Cusco is three times that altitude, so there's a considerable difference. But if you didn't have issues at higher elevations, you'll probably be fine.

Wether you spend time at Cusco city at beginning or end of the trip, I do recommend enjoy it anyway. There are lot of beautiful places to see at Cusco (temples, churches, narrowed streets, etc.).
+1. We spent only a few hours, at the very end of the trip. Definitely a city worth more time to explore. The altitude felt fine at the end, much better than when we stepped off the plane and waited for our driver. If possible, use a combo driver/guide and you'll gain more appreciation for what you're seeing. Don't think it was worth the 45 minutes doing the tour inside the cathedral on the square though (would have been fine if we had more time in Cusco).
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Old Apr 30, 15, 10:26 pm
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I written a guide for Machu Picchu, including how to get there. You can see it here: http://www.diytravelshow.com/machupicchu accompany with a step by step video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWW4OyQk1gw

Its one of the favorite places on earth I am sure you'll be in love with it too. Make sure you like, subscribe and share my videos.
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