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Planning trip in September - Lima and Machu Picchu

Planning trip in September - Lima and Machu Picchu

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Old Mar 21, 16, 8:05 pm
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Planning trip in September - Lima and Machu Picchu

Hi all - this sub forum doesn't seem super active but thought I'd ask.

Flying in and arriving LIM on a Wednesday night. Departing the following Tuesday around midnight, so have 6 full days. The main priority is Machu Picchu, and a couple days in Lima.

A friend that used to live in Lima suggested that we leave to go to Cusco straight away on Thursday morning, but I'm a bit confused as to where the best areas to stay are, how many days we should allocate based on getting used to the altitude, etc. There are a couple nice SPG properties in Cusco and between there and the mountain, and a new cheap Hilton in Cusco.

Any guidance/links would be great!
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Old Mar 21, 16, 8:11 pm
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Lima is worth a day at most. Cusco is much more interesting, spend at least 2-3 days there.

If you have time, Lake Titicaca is a unique place to visit, but with only 6 days, that might be adding too much to your trip.
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Old Mar 21, 16, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
Hi all - this sub forum doesn't seem super active but thought I'd ask.

Flying in and arriving LIM on a Wednesday night. Departing the following Tuesday around midnight, so have 6 full days. The main priority is Machu Picchu, and a couple days in Lima.

A friend that used to live in Lima suggested that we leave to go to Cusco straight away on Thursday morning, but I'm a bit confused as to where the best areas to stay are, how many days we should allocate based on getting used to the altitude, etc. There are a couple nice SPG properties in Cusco and between there and the mountain, and a new cheap Hilton in Cusco.

Any guidance/links would be great!
How the altitude will affect you in Cuzco is very much dependent upon you - what others experience may be completely different. Personally, I was miserable in Cuzco for 3 days, and never came remotely close to getting aclimatized to the altitude. I was thankful that Aguas Calientes (the base village of Machu Picchu) is much lower in altitude than Cuzco is, and I was able to recover from my altitude sickness during my evening there prior to ascending to Machu Picchu - which is itself still MUCH lower in altitude than Cuzco is:

FYI, Cuzco is 11,100-11,400 feet,
Aguas Calientes is 6700 feet,
and Machu Picchu itself is 7900-8300 feet.

Personally, were I to do the trip again, I would arrange to spend no more than a day in Cuzco before heading to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, and then, once I had spent a couple of days at the 6700-8000 feet of that area, only then attempt to do any sightseeing in Cuzco itself.
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Old Mar 21, 16, 10:39 pm
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Sorry to hear of lhrgrngrd1's problems with altitude, but I think most people get by with maybe a little headache and slightly restless sleep. Just stay hydrated, have a little coca leaf tea.

As far as where to stay in Cusco, I'd recommend somewhere close to the Plaza de Armas, kind of the nerve center of town, with lots of restaurants, etc. Take a tour of the historic sites in town and of Sacsayhuaman.

If you can swing it, stay at the Maccu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge at the top of the mountain within the park; you get the ruins to yourself in the evening and morning when the tourists aren't overrunning the place. One of my favorite stays anywhere ever.



(P.S. You might contact galapagosholidays.com, a really super travel agency out of Toronto, to set things up like your hotels, transport, train tickets, and tours within Peru. They did a fantastic job for me.)

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Old Mar 21, 16, 10:53 pm
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Do a split of 4 days in Cuzco and 2 in Lima. You may go back to Lima, but chances are that Cuzco will be only once; therefore, to me, better to have extra time. I side with your friend in leaving Thursday morning--arrive on Wednesday and overnight at the Costa del Sol, then fly Thurs. early morning. As for stay, Marriott's El Convento was quite nice while Tambo del Inka really impressed me. In Lima, stay in Miraflores (get Uber from the airport). Stroll through Larcomar and el malecon, and of course, take a day for Centro de Lima. Enjoy the trip!
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Old Mar 22, 16, 5:25 pm
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Great information. We plan to go in Nov/Dec timeframe.
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Old Mar 23, 16, 12:40 pm
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As others have mentioned, Cuzco may be way more interesting than Lima. What Lima has are museums, malls, those kind of things. Cuzco is a place to walk around.

Uber is definitely a safe transportation method, safer than the airport cabs I'd say. And it's not that expensive. Miraflores is a nice area to walk around, and is safe at night.
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Old Mar 23, 16, 6:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
(P.S. You might contact galapagoholidays.com, a really super travel agency out of Toronto, to set things up like your hotels, transport, train tickets, and tours within Peru. They did a fantastic job for me.)
Small correction to that url - http://www.galapagosholidays.com

I have no affiliation with this outfit and have never used them.
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Old Mar 26, 16, 9:33 pm
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Planning trip in September - Lima and Machu Picchu

I was in Lima after Easter Island and the highlight was a cooking class at SkyKitchen and the Water Fountain Park. The bike tour was interesting and traffic is a real live version of Frogger. The Lima Westin was wonderful.

I have Lima posts on philatravelgirl blog http://philatravelgirl.com/category/travel-2/south-america/lima-south-america/
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Old May 8, 16, 10:21 pm
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BUMP! How do you know what tickets to buy for Machu Picchu tickets? I mean I see this on the official site and am confused?

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Old May 9, 16, 12:41 am
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
BUMP! How do you know what tickets to buy for Machu Picchu tickets? I mean I see this on the official site and am confused
There are several tours around Machu Picchu. These include Machu Picchu, Huayna Pichu (another small mountain), a walk around the mountain, and several other variants. Depends on what you wanna see that day.
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Old May 9, 16, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by joseeantonior View Post
There are several tours around Machu Picchu. These include Machu Picchu, Huayna Pichu (another small mountain), a walk around the mountain, and several other variants. Depends on what you wanna see that day.
Ahh OK. Got it (I think). Is it worth spending 2 days up there? Say...

Day 0: Arrive Cusco, spend the night at the Tambo del Inka
Day 1: Take train up early AM, visit MP, stay night in Aguas Calientes
Day 2: Other sights all day, take train back to Cusco in PM and spend night there
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Old May 9, 16, 11:42 pm
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
Ahh OK. Got it (I think). Is it worth spending 2 days up there? Say...

Day 0: Arrive Cusco, spend the night at the Tambo del Inka
Day 1: Take train up early AM, visit MP, stay night in Aguas Calientes
Day 2: Other sights all day, take train back to Cusco in PM and spend night there
Just to mention, in order to get to Huayna Picchu you need a tour to Machu Picchu, so you're not able to do MP one day and then HP the other day. Staying the night in Aguas Calientes is a great idea if you're not in a hurry, since you'll be able to get the most of your tour, calmly and with no one hurrying you.
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Old May 10, 16, 8:49 pm
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Originally Posted by joseeantonior View Post
Just to mention, in order to get to Huayna Picchu you need a tour to Machu Picchu, so you're not able to do MP one day and then HP the other day. Staying the night in Aguas Calientes is a great idea if you're not in a hurry, since you'll be able to get the most of your tour, calmly and with no one hurrying you.
Good stuff. Might look to get a MP ticket for day 1 when we arrive by train, and then MP + HP ticket for day 2.

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Old Jun 6, 16, 9:29 pm
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Just got back from a week in Peru. The Hilton Garden Inn in Cusco is very nice and about a 10-15 walk from the city center. They have a free shuttle in the morning and at 9pm. The area between the hotel and downtown is safe and quiet, but be warned that the hotel is uphill. It is actually a great primer for MP. The taxi from the airport is around $6-7, while the taxi from the hotel to Ollantaytambo is 100 Soles. I recommend the 7 AM Huayna Picchu ticket to avoid the heat. There will be plenty of daylight at 7AM. (BTW, it is called Huayna Picchu on the ticket, but Wayna Picchu on the signs inside the park, one of the many truly screwed up things that you will encounter when traveling btw Cusco and MP).

I feel like one day and one evening in Cusco is adequate. I found Ollantaytambo to be much more charming, but it is very small. Aquas Caliente is a truly horrid place, and the lodging leaves much to be desired, much like the companies that run the rail service and M.P. They get away with being horrid because they have a monopoly on Machu Picchu and they know it. Personally, I had zero issues with altitude sickness (I live a few blocks from the ocean). Coca tea is quite abundant (freely offered in many hotel lobbies), and there are other coca candies you can buy. I did get exhausted while climbing up Wayna Picchu, but I had a backpack with all of my stuff and despite not being overweight, I'm not really in great shape. I had no problem going downhill or walking across a level surface.

I actually really enjoyed Lima more than I expected. I walked all over the historical city center during the day, and I walked over pretty much all of Miraflores, San Ysidro, and Barranco during the day and night. I recommend staying in Barranco or Miraflores. There is a BTS bus that offers a convenient but crowded option for traveling around Lima. It has dedicated traffic lanes, so it is quicker than a taxi and only 2.50 Soles per trip. I would not bring any valuables or baggage on board, but it is great for getting downtown and back as long as you do not mind a bit of a squeeze. I was actually quite surprised at how large the affluent part of town is (pretty much everything including and between San Ysidro and Barranco). There is a very stark contrast in wealth in the city, and I felt truly poor while walking around much of it. Also, be sure to check out Huaca Pucllana in Lima (Miraflores). They have day and night tours. The night tour does not go to the top, but the beauty of the contours and shadows in the light made it more enjoyable for me.
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