Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

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angelescrest
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Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:14 pm

We are struggling with our plans to visit Peru in mid spring. I haven’t had this much difficulty working out a travel itinerary in the past, and I think it’s in part because of the fact that we are traveling with young kids—pre-K and first grade—in an adventurous part of the world with elevation challenges, and also like everything else because we are trying to manage a tight budget while still being comfortable.

The trip would max out at about two weeks, though we are considering 11-12 days as a slightly shorter itinerary. We are also able to afford this largely through points. United air miles (40k round trip) for four people, and tons of SPG (and Marriott transfer) points. While we want to have a nice adventure, we do want it relaxing. Can’t do much hiking and we are okay with that. We would like to stay in nice lodging for this trip for a variety of reasons, in part because we can use up points if lodging is there.

The itinerary is our biggest challenge. We have largely decided to not do the Amazon, first because the cost is so high for decent accommodations, and second because it’s such a different landscape and environment that we would consider doing elsewhere in the world, or say on another side of the Amazon in the future if that’s the rainforest we want to really see.

Here’s what we are currently thinking (EDITED):
Day 1-5 - Fly straight to Cusco, head down into the Sacred Valley (hotel in Urubamba), and spend 2-3 days acclimating and visiting sites and ruins there in that area, like Pisac, Moray, Ollantaytambo. On about the fourth day or so we would take the train up to MP and do the afternoon there. We would return back to our same accommodations. Due to recommendations here we are considering overnighting in Agua Calientes--either before or after. Btw, new regulations allow visitors to only go in the AM or the PM with their pass; you can't do the whole day and need to choose during booking which you prefer. That is why we originally planned to just go up and leave on the same day by bus+train.

Day 6-8 - Three nights in Cusco at the Marriott, just taking our time and enjoying an ancient city. This first half of the trip is intentionally long, and the part we are looking forward to the most, by far. We like the idea of a home base since so much to see and do are in the same area.

Day 9-10 - Fly to Titicaca and do up to two nights there. We could also take the train, but aren’t sure if that’s the best use of time and money. We love trains a lot, but it’s $680 for four, and ten hours with no stops. We are leaning against it because we would get the train experience going up and down from MP, about two or so hours each way, which will be a nice treat. The flight would probably cost us just a little less. Has anyone done this, and would little kids enjoy (as opposed to simply tolerate) such a long train trip? Are they jam packed, or have lots of space to roam? I’ve taken a one year old on the Alaska line previously, and it just felt really relaxing, in part because it wasn’t full and there was plenty of area to roam. And it was half the time. I think we'll sleep in Puno, go in the morning on the speed boat (1.5 hours to Taquile), which will also let us have a full day visiting several spots, and spending less time on the boat. We like the idea of the boat ride, but 9 or so hours on the boat in a single day is I think a bit much for kids. Then back to Puno for a second night there before heading out.

Day 11-12 - Travel to Arequipa by bus, and spend a couple nights there. Considered Colca, but leaning against it due to all the time on a windy bus drive going from stop to stop. Sounds miserable leaving at 3AM with at least 7 hours on the bus. Anyone try that?

Day 12-14 - Fly to Lima, and spend two nights there (one full day) again using hotel points in Miraflores area. Visit a playground or two, eat, rest up, and fly home on the final morning.

Traveling with kids stresses us out if it’s not well thought out. Thoughts? I’d appreciate feedback from those of you who have been there and can imagine having your young ones with you.
Last edited by angelescrest on Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

cadreamer2015
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by cadreamer2015 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:35 pm

We went on a Gate1 trip to many of these places a couple of years ago (although in reverse order, starting in Arequipa, then Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Sacred Valley, Cusco, Macchu Piccu). There were lots of interesting countryside, wildlife, historical sites on the bus drives between these places that I would not have wanted to miss. Really gave a better feel of the country than flying from place to place. Although you wouldn't be able to use your hotel points, I would strongly recommend you at least consider an escorted tour rather than doing it on your own.
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angelescrest
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:50 pm

cadreamer2015 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:35 pm
We went on a Gate1 trip to many of these places a couple of years ago (although in reverse order, starting in Arequipa, then Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Sacred Valley, Cusco, Macchu Piccu). There were lots of interesting countryside, wildlife, historical sites on the bus drives between these places that I would not have wanted to miss. Really gave a better feel of the country than flying from place to place. Although you wouldn't be able to use your hotel points, I would strongly recommend you at least consider an escorted tour rather than doing it on your own.
The costs of a guided tour will be 3-4x higher than our plans from what we have checked.

What were your thoughts of Arequipa/Colca, and Titicaca? I’m reading about Colca canyon now, and am wondering if it’s all that impressive and enjoyable, if even with one night there it sounds like a lot of time on a bus and just unloading/loading at vistas.

obgraham
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by obgraham » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:20 pm

Small tip unrelated to your plans: Save your shopping for local "stuff" till the end. The Indian Market near Miraflores in Lima has all the same stuff you can find in Cusco, OT, etc. That way you avoid schlepping your souvenirs all round the country.

The exception being, if you have the chance to stop in the village of Chinchero, between Cusco and Urubamba, they have some great stuff there!

InMyDreams
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by InMyDreams » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:27 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:14 pm

Day 1-5 - Fly straight to Cusco, head down into the Sacred Valley (hotel in Urubamba), and spend 2-3 days acclimating and visiting sites and ruins there in that area, like Pisac, Moray, Ollantaytambo. On about the fourth day or so we would take the train up to MP and do the afternoon there. We would return back to our same accommodations.
Your Machu Picchu day will be a long one. We did it with Overseas Adventure Travel, arriving on the train at midday. Our guide gave us firm instructions to identify our luggage immediately on arrival (we spent the night in Aguas Calientes), and then move quickly to the bus stop to go up to MP. The bus line quickly filled up with the arriving train passengers. Since you won't have luggage, you may get to the line more quickly, but we didn't have to stop to buy tickets for the bus.

It was good to have a guide thru MP, I don't know how a guide book would compare? Peru in general is well-geared towards tourism, and it looked like there's plenty of opportunity to hire a guide on the fly at MP.

We spent the night in AC - probably the most primitive of the hotels on the trip (probably a converted office building ????!) I understand AC's accommodations are few and quite expensive. But spending the night allowed us to go back to MP in the morning and do two small hikes - out to the sun gate and to the suspension bridge.

We did go to Ollantaytambo while in Urubamba. And explored Cusco. We went to a lesser-traveled Inka site named Tipon and a town/village near it known for its bread-making. It was a good day, but I don't think I'd sacrifice the other sites you named to see it. Wish I had gone to those!

We were there in the second half of March. Scenery was beautiful - lush and green, clouds peeking around mountains ==> it was the end of rainy season. Bring rain gear.

Are you experienced overseas travelers? I am, but still found the pre-trip appointment with the Travel Clinic quite useful. And people in my group did experience altitude-related problems.

tenkuky
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by tenkuky » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:37 pm

I have done all the sites you plan, with a 5 year old but in slightly different order:
Lima-Arequipa-Puno/Titicaca-Cusco/MP-Lima. 12 days.
So many things to input, feel free to PM me, but I'll take a stab at 2 questions:
1. Do not skip Colca: yes it's a long ride, but in fact, the trip from Arequipa has overnight stop near the canyon. Yes, it leaves around 3-30 AM, but you'll mostly sleep on the bus and get up in time for a magnificent sight, the condors ascending the thermals around 7 AM. One of the main reasons to put down the camera and smart phone and let your eyes take in the majesty. The hotel in Arequipa makes all the arrangements for the 2 day-1 night excursion.
2. Do not skip Titicaca/Taquile: We loved it, but it is quite the stress on your capacity, 16,000 ft + and only place we got mild altitude sickness despite going from 9000 in Arequipa and with Diamox. But the boat ride, stop on Uros and climbing Taquile were memorable. No need to stay overnight on the Uros (just a bunch of reeds and huts but with satellite dish!), stay in Puno. Daytrip Taquile.
We flew Arequipa to Juliaca (gateway to Puno) and took private car from Puno to Cusco.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by cadreamer2015 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:12 pm

A great part of our trip was seeing the countryside, the villages, going into small farms, seeing the wildlife. One of the highlights was the trip to Colca Canyon. We spent 2 nights there as I recall, with a full day of exploration. The condors were impressive. We waited at Condor Point for quite a while - many of the other tour buses left without seeing the condors. But our guide knew we should wait a little longer, and we had the time. Sure enough, after 80% of the people had left to go to their next stop, the condors started flying. It was pretty special seeing the big birds in flight, especially without the crowds of people at the lookout.

I agree that there is no need to spend the night on the floating islands. It was a great visit, but it's 12,500 feet there and I'd much rather spend the night in a hotel than out on the lake.

We took Diamox and it seemed helpful. Drink plenty of water, and have some coca tea.
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:19 pm

obgraham wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:20 pm
Small tip unrelated to your plans: Save your shopping for local "stuff" till the end. The Indian Market near Miraflores in Lima has all the same stuff you can find in Cusco, OT, etc. That way you avoid schlepping your souvenirs all round the country.

The exception being, if you have the chance to stop in the village of Chinchero, between Cusco and Urubamba, they have some great stuff there!
We were wondering a great deal about this. If this is the case, it would be really helpful! But we would still want to support local trade in certain spots, especially when connecting with a particular local family or individual. We are very much into textiles.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:33 pm

Thanks for the replies thus far. I’m going to edit my post to reflect some potential changes in planning.

So two more votes for Colca. No naysayers? I just found there’s a bus from Puno to Chivay (town near Colca), that’s 5.25 or 6 hours long depending on when you take it. The thought occurred to us we could there first and overnight in Chivay or Yanque, and then explore the canyon while making our way to Arequipa. Seems more reasonable than 5 hour bus from Puno to Arequipa, and then 3.5 hour bus the next day.

If we went straight to Chivay, can we book a tour of Colca there, say through our hotel, plus the ride to Arequipa, or should we try to arrange it in advance?

Regarding Titicaca, we are starting to feel we need to do this. So either Fly Cusco to Juliaca, or take the train? We found a speed boat that can go to Taquile and do one or two other interesting stops for $50-69 a person, all in one day. Cuts down on the boat ride (1.5 hrs vs 4 each way), which I think would be good for the kids. Then that would mean we would be in Puno for two nights, one upon arrival, and the second before we leave. Would then cancel the overnight on floating island.

If going in the daytime, is it better to ride on top or bottom level or the bus?

I booked a hotel in the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa that looks promising.

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angelescrest
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:37 pm

What should I be budgeting for food every day? I have no sense for what meals cost, both in hotels and out.

Any financial surprises?

obgraham
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by obgraham » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:24 pm

There is tremendous variety of food in Peru, from street food up through world class cuisine.

My experience is that it is priced a bit below what we might pay in the US. As an example, in the Larcomar Center at Miraflores there is a Tony Roma's (!) with the very same menu we see in the US. What was $14 in US was about $11 there.

That said -- in Peru it's Ceviche, Causa, Loma Saltado, and "Chifa"!

tenkuky
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by tenkuky » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:30 pm

obgraham wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:24 pm
There is tremendous variety of food in Peru, from street food up through world class cuisine.

My experience is that it is priced a bit below what we might pay in the US. As an example, in the Larcomar Center at Miraflores there is a Tony Roma's (!) with the very same menu we see in the US. What was $14 in US was about $11 there.

That said -- in Peru it's Ceviche, Causa, Loma Saltado, and "Chifa"!
Don't forget cuy!
Image

obgraham
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by obgraham » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:50 pm

No cuy for me! My Peruvian friends claim cuy is just to upset the tourists!

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by soitgoes2 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:11 pm

This all in all sounds good. Personally I did not like Puno at all and I would rather have that time in Lima and or Arequipa. However I see an argument that if there one should see Lake Titicaca.

InMyDreams
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by InMyDreams » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:51 am

obgraham wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:50 pm
No cuy for me! My Peruvian friends claim cuy is just to upset the tourists!
The Peruvian girl seated next to me at the lunch table where cuy was being served told me it was her favorite meal.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by snackdog » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:26 am

My thoughts -

1) You are trying to pack in too much, especially with kids. You will be on the run the whole time. I suggest trimming some major parts of the itinerary.
2) I would acclimate to the time zone on arrival by staying 2 days in Lima. There is not a lot to see but the food is simply astounding. Best in the world by most accounts.
3) We did two days on the Amazon river near Puerto Maldonado in a luxury jungle camp with guided nature excursions three times a day (morning, afternoon and night). It was really cool and I recommend it.
4) The seat of the Incan empire was Cusco so this is the logical place to get grounded in the history. Start your Incan tour here for 2 days. Use a guide as they are cheap and terrific. Prepare for major altitude sickness by bringing drugs and drinking coca tea like mad. If it hits any of your party, it is rough. I had it in Cusco it could barely move a couple evenings.
5) Use a guide to the Sacred Valley sites. These can be 1-3 days, depending on your interest. It can be very affordable on a guided bus or even with a private guide and driver.
6) We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes so we could dash up to MAPI first thing in the morning. I recommend this. A day is plenty to see it (unless you want to hike but not recommended with kids). Hire a good guide at the entrance. Guides are cheap and plentiful.

Uber is cheap and really convenient in Peru but taxis are even cheaper.

invest_early
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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by invest_early » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:41 am

Assume you have looked through the Tripadvisor Peru forum. There is a wealth of information out there. We did a 2 week Peru trip over 2017 Christmas/New Year with an itinerary similar to what you outlined. Our kids are little older. We had a fun trip. We did all the planning / booking on our own. Was pretty easy and things worked as planned. Far cheaper than the packaged tours and gave us flexibility to do what we wanted to do.

Link to our Trip report --> https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g ... -Peru.html

You can do Puno - Colca - Arequipa trip...rather than Puno-Arequipa-Cola-Arequipa. Much easier and avoids the 3am start. We did the bus ride from Cusco to Puno. 10hrs but with interesting stops. We found the scenery quite interesting and engaging.

Any questions, PM or ask.
Last edited by invest_early on Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:30 am

snackdog wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:26 am
My thoughts -

1) You are trying to pack in too much, especially with kids. You will be on the run the whole time. I suggest trimming some major parts of the itinerary.
2) I would acclimate to the time zone on arrival by staying 2 days in Lima. There is not a lot to see but the food is simply astounding. Best in the world by most accounts.
3) We did two days on the Amazon river near Puerto Maldonado in a luxury jungle camp with guided nature excursions three times a day (morning, afternoon and night). It was really cool and I recommend it.
4) The seat of the Incan empire was Cusco so this is the logical place to get grounded in the history. Start your Incan tour here for 2 days. Use a guide as they are cheap and terrific. Prepare for major altitude sickness by bringing drugs and drinking coca tea like mad. If it hits any of your party, it is rough. I had it in Cusco it could barely move a couple evenings.
5) Use a guide to the Sacred Valley sites. These can be 1-3 days, depending on your interest. It can be very affordable on a guided bus or even with a private guide and driver.
6) We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes so we could dash up to MAPI first thing in the morning. I recommend this. A day is plenty to see it (unless you want to hike but not recommended with kids). Hire a good guide at the entrance. Guides are cheap and plentiful.

Uber is cheap and really convenient in Peru but taxis are even cheaper.
You think it's too much? We are going to be in the Sacred Valley/Cusco area for about 9 days, and it will be pretty low key other than the Machu Picchu excursion. Lots of time relaxing/swimming in the hotels. The latter part of the trip we do have some concerns. We've decided we can't miss Titicaca, but if we take a flight that's not too bad. The only bus ride at this point is going to be from Puno to Arequipa, and we are leaning against doing Colca. It doesn't sound like there's a whole lot in Arequipa other than to relax and soak in the culture, and eat good food, oh and visit Santa Catalina convent. Then we fly to Lima for two days to rest up before we fly. We aren't going to be doing a whole lot of day trips, except Titicaca, and some around the Sacred Valley area of course. I don't think we can squeeze in the Amazon. If we cut anything out of the trip, it would be Arequipa, but then we would probably just add a day to Lima and then cut our trip short by a whole day.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:07 am

Tickets are booked. Had a bit of a scare as the dates we were planning on changed overnight from United's website, but I was still able to get a saver award by switching the dates by a day. Saver awards are tricky. It required having to take off another couple days from work, but thankfully the boss approved.

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Re: Help plan MP, Sacred Valley trip

Post by cadreamer2015 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:57 am

In Arequipa I also recommend visiting the Museo Santuarios Andinos to see the frozen mummies found high in the Andes:

https://www.ucsm.edu.pe/museo-santuarios-andinos/
De gustibus non est disputandum

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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by steadyhand » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:50 am

Wanted to add to this thread with an itinerary we plan to take. Hoping previous posters here including the OP who must have completed his/her trip will chime in.

We are a family of four (including two 8-9 year old children) planning a visit to Peru in mid June. I would appreciate any feedback on the below itinerary

Day 1: Land Lima early morning, stay at a hotel and relax and see some sights

Day2: Take a flight to Cusco late morning. Take a taxi to Ollantaytambo and stay there and see local sights

Day3: Try to tour sacred valley area and sights (not sure if there are tours starting from Ollantaytambo)
Day 4: Travel to MP and back to Ollantaytambo

Day 5: See some more sights near Ollantaytambo, check out of hotel in the afternoon and head to Cusco. Drop our luggage at a hotel in Cusco where will stay later (but not check in). Take a Peru Hop overnight bus to Lake Titicaca

Day 6: Tour the lake area, see a bit of Puno and board the tour bus for another overnight journey back

Day 7: Check in to hotel (where we left bags) and take in sights around Cusco

Day 8: Continue Cusco area exploration

Day 9: Take a flight to Lima in afternoon. Spend time around Lima

Day 10: Explore day trips from Lima

Day 11: Explore day trips from Lima

Day 12: Fly out of Lima early morning

What part of the itinerary looks like a mistake if any? Anything we are missing? Are we spending too much time in the Olayantambo area? We have some diet restrictions and generally have more food options in bigger places. We also do not speak Spanish except the basic greetings (trying to learn some in the few months we have). Any advice will be appreciated.

InMyDreams
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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by InMyDreams » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:16 pm

Are you staying in Ollantaytambo, or Urubamba? We stayed in the latter, and visited the ruins at the former.

Do you live at altitude? We had several who had altitude sickness symptoms in Urubamba. The guide really wanted everyone to rest on the day we arrived in Urubamba. A couple of us didn't, and one paid for it. Going back to Cusco, there was a return of some of the signs and symptoms.

We only spent two nights in Urubamba, and one in Aguas Calientes. Spent one afternoon (on arrival) at MP, as well as the following morning (we spent the night in AC). MP was wonderful.

We took in the sights at Cusco, buy also made a side trip to Tipon. I think everyone enjoyed it, despite the drizzle, at least in part because it was less touristed.

Still recommend visiting a Travel Clinic.

Do you have a translation app on your phone?

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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by steadyhand » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:49 pm

Urubamba is close to Ollantaytambo; we are thinking of the latter so that we are close to train to MP. But perhaps there is a easy transfer between these towns. Wondering if there is a easy to tour the entire sacred valley area staying at one of these towns. Most tours seem to originate back in Cusco.

We do not stay at a high elevation, so yes, altitude sickness is something we are concerned about. That is why we plan to head away from Cusco to Ollantaytambo as soon as we arrive. We will take the advice on this seriously about rest and travel center visits.

The tickets to MP are now based on an hourly entry slot with upto 4 hours inside. We are thinking of just visiting MP and leaving back from AC the same day.

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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by InMyDreams » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:04 pm

steadyhand wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:49 pm

The tickets to MP are now based on an hourly entry slot with upto 4 hours inside. We are thinking of just visiting MP and leaving back from AC the same day.
It will be a busy day. Even with the two-part visit that we had, we rushed to the bus stop when we got off the train. Most people getting off the train are going to MP, and if you hurry to the bus stop you will wait less time to catch a bus. The next morning, most of my group (11 peeps) chose to catch the earliest bus to MP. We left midday and caught the train back to Urubamba and then on back to Cusco.

We were in a group, so many of the logistics were handled for us: baggage transfers, getting to the train, etc.

AC was an odd place to visit - apparently they lacked adequate hotel space at that time (only 4 years ago). I swear the hotel we stayed in was a converted office building. Hands down, it won my award for least favorite hotel on the trip.

Tourism is a major industry in Peru, and I think I understood correctly that you can actually have a college degree in things like being a guide. There are guides for hire when you get to MP. The first day we toured the ruins with the guide, the second day we were on our own, with the suggestion of doing one or both of two hikes - walk out to the sun gate, or walk out to the suspension bridge. The bridge is closed (you can look) but the views along the way were great. So were the views out to the gate.

Mickey7
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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by Mickey7 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:59 pm

So much to see, so much to do, and in some places so little air.

It definitely seems that your itinerary is quite full, but since you are in control it will always be fine to deviate from it if you must.
Basically on my trip, I flew into Lima on day one and made it to Cusco on the second day and acclimated there for a couple of days. Remember that Cusco will have more elevation than MP and Ollantaytambo. Stayed right on a side street right off the Plaza de Armas. Research all the places that will interest you and your family. Do try to get out there and catch the Last Supper with the coy on the side. Have a llama dinner at night (much better). Marvel at the architeture and see how the Spanish repurposed many buildings. Don't leave without a trip to Sacsayhuama. Ask your kids how they moved the blocks.

The trip getting to Pisac and Ollantaytambo, plus spending time there and the later luxury train trip to MP on the Orient Express was outstanding.

I customized my trip to spend several days in MP, but then again you could spend full days there. The time will really fly there and for myself the whole reason for the trip was for this. You will shoot a ton of shots. If you can swing the time hike up to the Sun Gate.

Also got a private guide for extra time in the Sacred Valley. The salt mine in Maras was unworldly.

I really admire all you are going to see. There are several places on your list, that I could not squeeze in (especialy Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines), maybe next time.

Enjoy your time and make sure you carry cash, many local places don't do cards.

steadyhand
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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by steadyhand » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Thanks for the tips. Will see how it goes. Feeling quite prepared at this time; time will tell if that pans out.

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Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by angelescrest » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:20 pm

Op here. At first glance I’d say the middle of your itinerary sounds tiring. Having the first day to rest in Lima is a good move, and I would recommend just taking it easy. Any driving around Lima can be exhausting and time consuming with all the traffic, so I wouldn’t try to do a lot that day. I’d recommend staying close to the airport so you can avoid the driving back and forth. Staying in Miraflores that night would probably be a mistake. I don’t know what “see the sights” means, but that could be make or break as it could be the difference between exhausted unhappy kids and a great time.

Urubamba was nice, a large part because we stayed in world class accomodations. There is a train you can take from Urubamba. I wouldn’t sweat which town you stay in. This is probably heresy, but other than the social pressure, I would take Pisac over MP. It was not at all crowded, was more my kind of beauty, and you have this great hike you can down into town, or vice versa. You can explore as you will, and doesn’t feel like the tourist trap that MP is quickly becoming, sadly. Don’t get me wrong, MP is magical, but something has been lost, and it still remains in Pisac. There is also a fun animal sanctuary nearby, so I highly recommend that for the age of children you are bringing. Urubamba is closer to Pisac, too, and the taxi takes longer than you’d like. So that may be a reason to be over in Urubamba as opposed to Ollantaytambo.

We didn’t stay in AC, but it might have been a more restful experience if we had. But the way we planned our accommodations, it worked out for us since we were going back to the same hotel, and didn’t have to worry about luggage.

I’d recommend skipping Titicaca based on the two nights of buses. Our family is super adventurous, but if we were to do it again, even we wouldn’t schedule it that way. What do you want out of Titicaca? Puno has nothing to see, and Uros I’d only recommend if you could go back in time 30 years. If that’s all you have in mind, skip it. If Taquile or Amantani are high on your list of things to see, then it’s a worthwhile trip, though it’d be even better if you slept on one of those two islands. Definitely schedule a high speed boat as you will have such a short time there, and having two nights on a bus split up with sitting on a boat the entire day just sounds miserable. I would also say it’s worth the very cheap flights to fly to Juliaca (closest airport to Puno). Flying in Peru is cheap, and saving time to avoid weariness on a family trip with young kids is always worth it imho.

Cuzco was just wonderful—especially staying near the square or in San Blas. There are a lot of trendy restaurants, and honestly, I’d encourage you to save money on the touristy restaurants and find places more popular with locals. You’ll save money and eat just as well. We would gladly trade more days in Cuzco for less time in Lima. Lima we did not find interesting for families, though the food of course was the highlight.

We packed really efficiently, and this made life a lot easier traveling with kids. Very little to carry around. We were surprised by how hot the weather was, but we were also coming from Northern U.S. winter/spring. So I would have ditched a jacket or layer or two. Your kids are older, though, and maybe the perfect age to take to Peru, so I am sure you will have an amazing journey! It will be awesome.

steadyhand
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Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:56 am

Re: Help plan [Machu Picchu], Sacred Valley trip

Post by steadyhand » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:25 pm

All went well. Ollantaytambo is a fabulous town by itself and has great hiking for at least a day. Also charming cobbled streets and restaurants. Cheaper than AC too.

The Inka Express bus to lake Titicaca was also comfortable even though some of the additional guided stops were not. Lake Titicaca is not bad and our itinerary turned out reasonable in the end.

Thanks again for all the feedback before we went.

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