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Machu Picchu in 5 days?

Machu Picchu in 5 days?

Old Aug 21, 15, 1:17 pm
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Machu Picchu in 5 days?

If flying from Chicago O'Hare on a Wednesday morning to Peru, that would essentially give me a full day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and then Sunday I would fly back home. That enough time to see and hike Machu Picchu?
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Old Aug 21, 15, 2:45 pm
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Some unanswered questions here:

When does this itinerary get you to Lima? To Cusco? When would you fly from Cusco back to Lima? From Lima back to the U.S.? What time of year would this be?

CUZ has no flights after dark. Things begin to wind down there about mid-afternoon because of weather. I'll speculate that you won't get to MP until late Thursday afternoon, which means you won't get up to the ruins until Friday morning.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 3:28 pm
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Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing places to visit. But it involves getting to Cuzco and taking the train from there. Once you arrive in Cuzco this is a 2 day affair. That is, if you want any real time sightseeing the ruins. You could in theory take the train up and back on the same day. But you would only have a couple of hours to look around.

Ideally this is how the 2 days visiting would look like. Early day 1 take the train up from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes. This is the closest town to Machu Picchu and where the train station is located. Take the day to rest and adjust to the elevation. Early the next morning, Day 2, make the trek by bus or hiking to Machu Picchu. Take advantage of the day at Macchu Picchu. Afternoon back to Aguas, then ride train back to Cuzco.


Other data points:

1. Trains only depart from Cuzco no later than 10am. And return trips from Aguas Calientes in afternoon. (From what I've experienced maybe its changed)
2. You need a ticket to visit Machu Picchu. Additionally there is a daily limit sold. So buying well in advance is advisable.

Here is a link I found that is useful and pretty much goes along with the experience I had.

Getting to Machu Picchu by Train

Hopefully this helps you get an idea of how much time you need. And if visiting Machu Picchu fits your plans. TBH you'll be cutting it close.
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Old Aug 21, 15, 3:44 pm
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Is feasible but rushed! I did it on similar limited timeframe (but within a longer period in South America). But you better hope altitude sickness does not bite! My travel partner was on same itinerary as me and fell ill from altitude sickness on day after arrival in Cuzco. I nipped up to Machu Pichu and then had to arrange hospital in Lima, flights back etc as condition had deteriorated whilst I was up at ruins. I will say that partner was not ill completely due to altitude sickness - the altitude just made another ailment rear its ugly head.

I would not want you to fly from Chicago on such a short trip only to be flummoxed by altitude on arrival in Cuzco and unable to visit the next day which your itinerary necessitates... I met several others who struggled with the altitude there...

I doubt you can hike it in that time unless you are superman and chew a lot of coca! You will have to use the train in that time frame (or a flight if they still exist?). I took the train up in early morning and hitchhiked back arriving into Cuzco well after dark - not the best planning!

Last edited by groundops; Aug 21, 15 at 3:51 pm Reason: explaining altitude as "altitude sickness" for better clarity
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Old Aug 21, 15, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by SimonB77 View Post
1. Trains only depart from Cuzco no later than 10am. And return trips from Aguas Calientes in afternoon. (From what I've experienced maybe its changed)
That's true if you are departing from Cusco. Actually, the "Cusco" trains now depart from the town of Poroy, about 30 minutes outside the city. If you can get to the town of Ollantaytambo, about two hours away out in the Sacred Valley, you have your choice of trains that come and go at various times the rest of the day. Still, the soonest I could see the OP getting to MP would be late Thursday afternoon, and he'd have to use the Ollantaytambo option to make it that soon.

(or a flight if they still exist?)
They haven't existed for several years.

Altitudes:

Cusco: 11,000 ft
Sacred Valley: 9,500 ft
Machu Picchu (ruins): 8,000 ft
Aguas Calientes: 6,000 ft
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Old Aug 22, 15, 6:01 am
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
...

CUZ has no flights after dark. Things begin to wind down there about mid-afternoon because of weather...
Well... CUZ has abut 61 departures a day beginning at 5:25am until 7:15pm.
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Old Aug 22, 15, 8:24 am
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Ah so I think I was a bit aggressive with my plans. I actually want to hike into Machu Picchu which apparently takes 3 days minimum. Plus apparently I have to acclimate to the altitude for a minimum of 2 days in Cus. So I'm looking at a full week I think rather than the 5 days I was hoping for. Will have to ask my boss for extra time off, boo.
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Old Aug 22, 15, 8:33 am
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Macchu Picchu is lower than Cuzco by 3000 feet, ~8000 vs ~ 11000 feet.

OP, you will be very rushed, but if you can get train and site tickets, it is possible.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 2:22 pm
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I did this trip in a similar or slightly smaller timeframe in 2013. Flew ATL-IAH-LIM arriving very late Sunday night. Overnight at LIM, 7AM flight to CUZ Monday morning, taking a collectivo to Ollantaytambo and connecting to the train to Aguas Calientes, settled in and relaxed Monday afternoon/night. Early Tuesday AM bus up to MP, spent the several hours hiking up to the Sun Gate and wandering around the grounds. Took an afternoon train back to Cuzco and wandered around there for a few hours Tuesday night. Early Wednesday flight back to LIM delayed several hours but eventually got in, spent the afternoon at Miraflores and then a redeye LIM-IAH-DEN(to get my first flight on the 787)-ATL and home in time for Thanksgiving dinner with my family Thursday afternoon. Was it rushed? Maybe but it didn't feel like it. I did the trip solo and was going specifically to visit MP. Will plan a trip back with my parent/s or wife to spend more time and visit other ruins in the future.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 2:54 pm
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I haven't been to MP (yet), but I'd suggest getting some meds for the altitude, they really helped me when I went to Bogota. I got the prescription from my travel clinic (which I was at to get shots), and I was actually prescribed a common antibiotic for this. I can't remember which one, but I do remember that I paid $10 for it (with insurance). I started taking it 24 hours before leaving for the trip, and continued taking it 48 hours into the trip. I definitely did not have as much energy as I normally do, but I was not sick and was able to force myself to do a lot of sightseeing (even with the lessened energy).

Out of curiosity, did you find a good airfare for this? I'm in ORD too, and am curious how much flights to get there cost.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by EtoileFilante View Post
I haven't been to MP (yet), but I'd suggest getting some meds for the altitude, they really helped me when I went to Bogota. I got the prescription from my travel clinic (which I was at to get shots), and I was actually prescribed a common antibiotic for this. I can't remember which one, but I do remember that I paid $10 for it (with insurance). I started taking it 24 hours before leaving for the trip, and continued taking it 48 hours into the trip. I definitely did not have as much energy as I normally do, but I was not sick and was able to force myself to do a lot of sightseeing (even with the lessened energy).

Out of curiosity, did you find a good airfare for this? I'm in ORD too, and am curious how much flights to get there cost.
Decided to put the trip off a bit. I've got Boston, Bora Bora, California, and Japan trips set for 2016 and my budget can't handle a penny more.
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Old Nov 3, 15, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by EtoileFilante View Post
I haven't been to MP (yet), but I'd suggest getting some meds for the altitude, they really helped me when I went to Bogota. I got the prescription from my travel clinic (which I was at to get shots), and I was actually prescribed a common antibiotic for this. I can't remember which one, but I do remember that I paid $10 for it (with insurance). I started taking it 24 hours before leaving for the trip, and continued taking it 48 hours into the trip. I definitely did not have as much energy as I normally do, but I was not sick and was able to force myself to do a lot of sightseeing (even with the lessened energy).

Out of curiosity, did you find a good airfare for this? I'm in ORD too, and am curious how much flights to get there cost.
I have found that the ubiquitous coca tea really does help with the altitude. No need for chemicals.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 3:19 pm
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We're flying from LAX to Peru on May 3rd-May 12th Any suggestions where to stay or plan for our trip? We would love to see the Machu Pichu and maybe Lake Titicaca.

Last edited by ajandraschell; Mar 25, 16 at 1:49 pm Reason: Wrong dates
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Old Mar 26, 16, 1:42 am
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Originally Posted by ajandraschell View Post
We're flying from LAX to Peru on May 3rd-May 12th Any suggestions where to stay or plan for our trip? We would love to see the Machu Pichu and maybe Lake Titicaca.
So glad you've decided to come to Peru, all the way from my favorite city in the world (hehe, I love LA)!

To be completely honest with you, it would be a pretty tight itinerary. Both Machu Picchu and the lake are in different areas of the country. You would have to fly from Lima to Cusco, and then take a train in Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes in order to reach Machu Picchu. It can be done in a day, yes, but it's a bit tight. After that, you would have to fly back to Lima. You'd take a flight to Juliaca, a bus to Puno, and then go to the lake. All of that without mentioning altitude, you may want one day in each city to recover

If you are already working with a travel agency, I'd recommend following up in order to get the other flights into your itinerary. Otherwise, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to help you out. You may be able to squeeze both of them into the same itinerary, but I highly recommend one or the other.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 19, 16, 1:14 pm
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Originally Posted by joseeantonior View Post
So glad you've decided to come to Peru, all the way from my favorite city in the world (hehe, I love LA)!

To be completely honest with you, it would be a pretty tight itinerary. Both Machu Picchu and the lake are in different areas of the country. You would have to fly from Lima to Cusco, and then take a train in Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes in order to reach Machu Picchu. It can be done in a day, yes, but it's a bit tight. After that, you would have to fly back to Lima. You'd take a flight to Juliaca, a bus to Puno, and then go to the lake. All of that without mentioning altitude, you may want one day in each city to recover

If you are already working with a travel agency, I'd recommend following up in order to get the other flights into your itinerary. Otherwise, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to help you out. You may be able to squeeze both of them into the same itinerary, but I highly recommend one or the other.

Good luck!
Thank you so much for the info. We were actually in the Philippines for a couple of weeks for business and pleasure. Just got back into the routine. Ok, so is a travel agency recommended at either Cusco or Lake Titicaca area? I finally booked LIM-CUZ, so we are good, but my wife and I are looking to stay at the closest SPG hotel to MP which is in Urubamba. This is considered a part of the sacred valley right? We wanted to relax and acclimate over there for two days. We also wanted to hike to MP which can be done in either 1 day, 3 day, or 7 day set treks. We were debating between 1 or 3 days, but where do I find the price points for these? Should we just book through the hotel or is there a direct government website? Is it cheaper to buy in person and in S/.? My buddy just got back last week. His wife is Peruvian and they visited her family from there, but when the vendors found out that they were tourists, they gouged them for everything they had! I don't want to be them!!! haha
So, Lake Titicaca we would still love to see, but MP is priority. We want to be back in LIM by 5/11 in the afternoon, so we technically have 5/4-part of 5/11 (7 days) to play with for MP and/or LT. Thoughts?

Last edited by ajandraschell; Apr 19, 16 at 1:26 pm
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