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Machu Picchu - With No Time Off Work

Machu Picchu - With No Time Off Work

Old May 24, 11, 10:43 am
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Machu Picchu - With No Time Off Work

No vacation time off but I want to see Machu Picchu next April. Thoughts on this plan.

Friday, April 06, 2012
  • MIA 4:35 PM LIM 9:20 PM

Saturday, April 07, 2012
  • LIM 5:40 AM CUZ 7:05 AM
  • Hiram Bingham Train 9:05 AM - 12:24 PM
  • Explore Machu Picchu

Sunday, April 08, 2012
  • Explore Machu Picchu
  • Vistadome Train 10:55 - 12:32 PM
  • CUZ 3:30 PM LIM 4:50 PM
  • LIM 10:35 PM MIA 5:30 AM
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Old May 24, 11, 2:09 pm
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I wouldn't risk it...Flights to Cusco are often delayed due to fog, etc...Cusco is also a wonderful city by itself and you have no time scheduled there. Also on recent occasions the train has been unrelaible some times due to nature (Mudslides) others track work.

On the other side of the coin Machu Picchu is magnificent and everyone should see it in their lifetime. Still I recommend holding off..maybe go over new years to cram in another day off work.

I personally went over Memorial Day last year and only took off one day but it was tight and slightly rushed where you are trying to do it in 1 less day.
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Old May 24, 11, 2:19 pm
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Does the train you want to take actually leave from Cusco? do any trains actually leave from Cusco? Have you seen a timetable that quotes Cusco as the departing station? Is it part way on a bus or an organised transfer?

I think there is a lot of general confusion about this, I bought my tix at the station in Cusco but had to leave from Ollatambayo. If you have to get from the airport to Ollatambayo in 2 hours then it is a bit of a squeeze and a risk bearing in mind that CUZ has some slippery weather conditions and there are occasionally delays.

Also spending an afternoon and a morning at Machu Picchu surely means you have to pay the inflated gringo prices twice to enter and have to spend a night in Aguas Calientes which is the devil's toilet. Plus the next day you are entering Machu Picchu and only staying for a couple of hours.

Say you arrive at Aguas Calientes at 12.24 and manage to get up to see Machu Picchu at 13.15, then ideally I would suggest you try to see it all in the same day then get the train back at night. That's definitely a push but depends on how thoroughly you want to see it.
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Old May 25, 11, 7:43 am
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I don't think your Sunday itinerary is possible. The actual MP-Cusco trains leave late in the afternoon. I'm looking at the Peru Rail schedule and that Vistadome train takes you only as far as Ollantaytambo.

I would also never count on a 3:30 flight out of CUZ if I absolutely had to be in Lima that night. That's the time of day when there are frequent cancellations because the winds start to pick up. CUZ has no late-afternoon or evening flights in or out for that reason.

The Cusco station is in Poroy, about 15 minutes outside of Cusco.

I agree that there is so much to see and do in Cusco that it would be a shame to go all that way and not have some time for the city.

I admire you for wanting to attempt this, but even if everything could click, it sounds exhausting.
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Old May 25, 11, 9:57 am
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I will heed to your advice and take a day or two off in addition.
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Old May 27, 11, 1:21 am
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Keep in mind, too, that Cuzco is 11,000 feet above sea level, and Lima is at sea level. You need time to acclimate before heading off to Macchu Picchu (expect headaches, fatigue, etc, the first day -- though you can avoid the worst of it by drinking lots of Cuzco's 'special' tea). Most folks will spend a day or two (ideally two) in Cuzco before taking the train to M.P. It's an amazing place, and an amazing trip to take, but if you're gonna do it, do it wisely -- even if it means holding off a while until you can give it the three days it really needs. I also recommend doing the whole trip on an organized tour -- they'll take care of all of your transfers and get you on assorted tours during your stay. I'd also recommend the Vistadome train. Peru is a unique country (with some of the best food on the continent). Whenever you do go, enjoy!
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Old May 27, 11, 10:54 am
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Actually, MP is quite a bit lower in elevation than Cusco:

Cusco: 11,000 ft
Machu Picchu: 8,000 ft
Aguas Calientes: 6,500 ft

If the OP's itinerary were possible, the altitude adjustment would be a lot less than if he stayed in Cusco.
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Old May 27, 11, 11:33 pm
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Ah, good point! Now that I think about it, the altitude didn't really hit me until I had been in Cuzco a good chunk of the day. But then it hit, all right (at least until the food helped me forget it).
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Old May 29, 11, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by SJOGuy View Post
Actually, MP is quite a bit lower in elevation than Cusco:

Cusco: 11,000 ft
Machu Picchu: 8,000 ft
Aguas Calientes: 6,500 ft

If the OP's itinerary were possible, the altitude adjustment would be a lot less than if he stayed in Cusco.
Two bits of advice that I've heard are:
1. Stay in the Sacred Valley (Ollanta, Aguas Calientes, Pisac) your first night or two to acclimate. Then you can go up to Cuzco if desired.
2. High altitudes are OK in the daytime, but try to sleep at lower altitudes until you acclimate.
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Old May 29, 11, 9:53 pm
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High altitude

You haven't left any time to acclimatize to the high altitude in Cusco...this is crucial. You need a few hours rest and some coca tea and you should be fine. Altitude pills will also work but they are not without side effects. The last thing you want to do is chance ruining the adventure of a lifetime. This is a trip you want to be able to savour...it is amazing! Please take some extra time and enjoy.
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