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Peru Itinerary Input

Peru Itinerary Input

Old Sep 29, 15, 2:04 pm
  #1  
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Peru Itinerary Input

Hi all,

I have an unfortunately short 6 day vacation in November so I'm trying to make the best of it.
Day 1: Arrive CUZ at 10:30AM Either ollaytambo or take the train straight to aguas calientes
Day 2: Machu Picchu, cusco at night
Day 3: Cusco
Day 4: Puno
Day 5: Colca Canyon - Arequipa
Day 6: Fly to LIM and check out the city, return at night to depart

My Questions are:
Anyone recommend a good bus/tour company for going from cusco-puno-arequipa?
Do I have to buy tickets for machu picchu online or can I buy it at the gate?
Any tips in general? Where to exchange money?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 30, 15, 8:28 pm
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My opinion is that you are trying to see way too much in too short a time. You'll be spending most of your vacation on busses. If I recall, the bus from Cusco to Puno is 6 hours. The bus from Puno to Colca Canyon is another 4-5 hours and the bus to Arequipa is 5 hours. So on your last 2 days you'd spend 15 hours on busses.

With only 6 days, I would concentrate on Cusco, MP, Sacred Valley and Lima. Cusco and the Sacred Valley area are beautiful and deserve 4-5 days, which would leave a day for Lima. Plan to go back and see Colca Canyon some other trip when you have time to hike into the canyon or stay at one of the villages nearby for a few days. And Arequipa is also worth a day or so.
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Old Oct 1, 15, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by vandykes44 View Post
My opinion is that you are trying to see way too much in too short a time...
...I would concentrate on Cusco, MP, Sacred Valley and Lima.

Agreed. Puno is nice but ehh--not important enough to include in your particular itin. The same with el Colca. With only 6 days, I would encourage you to do 3-4 days in Cusco and 2-3 days in Lima. Getting back to Lima is easier; for Cusco, on the other hand, take as much time as possible and really enjoy.
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Old Oct 1, 15, 9:51 am
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i decided Puno over Colca, but I have 10 days. Titicaca is something a schoolboy reads about in Geography and dreams of going to.... but agreed, best stick to Sacred Valley & Manchu Piccu.
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Old Oct 1, 15, 10:51 am
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You can buy Machu Picchu tickets in Aguas Calientes rather than at the gate but there a limited number of tickets that are sold for each day. We purchased our tickets on line before departing to Peru since we were visiting during a busy time and wanted to climb Huayna Picchu as well. The ticketing website is run by the Peruvian government and it is a two step process that requires you to first reserve your ticket and then pay for it in the second step. We also made reservations on the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes to make sure we would not get stuck in Aguas Calientes for an extra night ... again we were there during high season.

Based on your short itinerary with only one day/night near Machu Picchu you probably want to stay in Aguas Calientes so that you can spend as much time as possible at Machu Picchu during your visit day rather than sitting on the train for a couple of hours from Ollantaytambo in the morning.

We used the ATM in the baggage claim area at the Lima airport to "exchange" money; we tend to to use that method as our bank does not charge us any ATM fees and you get competitive exchange rates at ATMs.

I agree with the other replies that you should limit your visit to Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley. Although not in this order, we spent an afternoon in Lima, a day in Cusco, a day around Cusco and a couple of days seeing the Sacred Valley - aside from Machu Picchu we really enjoyed Moray, the salt mines (Salinas de Maras), and the towns in the valley (Pisac, Ollantaytambo). We added Puno/Lake Titicaca in our trip that lasted 9 days and flew from Cusco to Puno. After two nights in Puno with one day on the lake that we really enjoyed we flew from Puno back to Lima and connected to our return flight. Our friends spend another 3 days in the country and drove to Colca Canyon/Arequipa from Puno which took somewhere around 5 hours.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 10:36 pm
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Peru Itinerary Input

In Lima I did a bike tour, SkyKitchen cooking class and Water Fountain park over three days but you could do all in one day as the flights tend to be quite late back to the US. I have info on my philatravelgirl blog.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 9:31 am
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What about my itinerary?

We're going to Peru in a month!

Day 1: Arrive Lima 7pm
Day 2: Hang out in Lima for a morning, 3pm flight to CUZ
Day 3: Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo 8:30am; MP in the afternoon
Day 4: MP in the morning and climb up Huyana Picchu. 3pm train to CUZ
Days 5-6: Cusco
Day 7: Cusco in the morning; train to Puno
Day 8: Puno/Titicaca
Day 9: Puno, then fly to Lima
Day 10: Lima
Day 11: Return to US

What do you all think of this? We're not enamored of Puno or Titicaca, so open to other ideas for those days. Also, any suggestions on where to stay in Lima?
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Old Oct 7, 15, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
We're going to Peru in a month!

Day 1: Arrive Lima 7pm
Day 2: Hang out in Lima for a morning, 3pm flight to CUZ
Day 3: Train to Machu Picchu Pueblo 8:30am; MP in the afternoon
Day 4: MP in the morning and climb up Huyana Picchu. 3pm train to CUZ
Days 5-6: Cusco
Day 7: Cusco in the morning; train to Puno
Day 8: Puno/Titicaca
Day 9: Puno, then fly to Lima
Day 10: Lima
Day 11: Return to US

What do you all think of this? We're not enamored of Puno or Titicaca, so open to other ideas for those days. Also, any suggestions on where to stay in Lima?
The 3PM train from Machu Picchu (you actually board the train in the town of Aguas Calientes in the valley below the site) to Cusco will be tight unless you climb Huayna Picchu during the 8:00AM slot; you do need a separate ticket for access to Huayna Picchu and I recommend buying that before you leave since the spots fill up fast. By taking your time on the climb and enjoying the view you can easily spend 2 hours and it will probably take another hour to get back to Aguas Calientes (Huayna Picchu is on the opposite end of the entrance so you have to walk through most of Machu Picchu and potentially wait to board a bus for the 20 minute ride back to town for the train).

As an alternative to Lake Titicaca, consider taking the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and spend 2 days in the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo and Urubamba are good base locations to explore several Mayan ruins (Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Moray), salt mines, local markets (Pisac), and rest up a bit. You can then continue to Cusco and complete days 5-6 of your current itinerary before flying back to Lima. From an altitude acclimatization perspective this may help as Machu Picchu is at about 6,000 feet, the Sacred Valley at about 9,000 feet, and Cusco at 11,000 feet. We enjoyed Lake Titicaca and spent one day seeing the floating islands as well as Taquile but Puno was nothing special ... we did feel the altitude here as you find yourself above 13,000 feet.

Any hotel in the Miraflores area of Lima will work. We have stayed at the Hilton and the Doubletree (using points each time) and had good but not necessarily memorable stays. On a side note, the Marriott in Cusco is one of our favorite hotels in the world, great location, great architecture, and fantastic service.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 8:51 pm
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We hiked Huayna Picchu at the 10a slot and had 3:48p train last month. Here's our timeline:

At gate before 10a to line up
10:08a passed gate with signature
11:20a very very top
12:30p back at gate
~1:00p at entrance to use bathroom and buy coke
The line for the bus was fairly long, even if it did move. We cheated a bit with one person waiting in line, two going to use bathrooms and buy drinks
1:40p get on bus
2:05p back in town

Our 3:48p Vistadome started boarding at 3:18p (it does take a while to board, as passports are checked), and we arranged our hotel to deliver our bags at 3p. So, we still had 45 minutes for lunch and coffee at the train station.

We were not fast hiker, but we also didn't waste too much time here and there. If your train departs closer to 3p, you need to budget time carefully if your Huayna Picchu ticket is for 10a.

In fact, our Inca Trail guide did mention to us we should get back to main entrance by 1p for bus for our 3:48p train. Maybe he was a bit cautious, but we'd rather be safe than sorry.

---

I also want to mention Lima hotels. We arrived from HKG after about 30 hours at 7am, and flew out at 10a next morning. We wanted to sleep and visited historic center and not some new parts of town or the waterfront. So, despite knowing all its issues, we chose the Gran Hotel Bolivar at Plaza San Martin. I will just say that I did not regret the decision.

Last edited by rkkwan; Oct 7, 15 at 8:57 pm
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