Thought of sharing our trip experience with you all
1. Get a copy of the latest edition of Lonely Planet
2. Plan the entire trip yourself. I was able to save around 1500 USD as compared to prices given by several tour operators. Moreover, you get to travel comfortably with your family at your own pace and not get ushered like cattle.
3. You don’t need a guide at all the ruins or cathedrals. You need one very much at Machhu Pichhu. We were lost at one point of time.
4. Most importantly, your kids should be capable of hiking. So I would suggest wait till they grow up a bit.
5. Book the hotels through booking.com before you leave US. Buy the tickets to the entrance to MP beforehand because they allow only 2500 visitors a day.
6. Book your domestic/international flights through LAN.com. We faced luggage problem though. The luggage arrived after 4 days.
7. Take train to MP. Book it through Peru rail much earlier during your plan. It gets filled up very soon. We had taken vistadome for going up to MP and expedition train for coming back. Vistadome is faster.
8. Little Spanish helps.
10. Peru visa is required for all green card holders.
11. We carried cash with us and converted to Peruvian Soles at Lima airport. That was a mistake. We should have done that at Cuzco. The exchange rate was higher.
12. Carry lots of pencils, candies and crayons for the kids in the Islands on Lake Titicaca. We will remember the smiles on their faces throughout our lives.
14. Pisco sour highly recommended. I got drunk almost every night.
DAY 01 -Dec 22 Saturday–5:35 am arrived at LIMA
Took flight to Cuzco at 9:45 am.
Lunch/Dinner recommended at Cicciolina (%23-9510; Triunfo 393,2nd fl; h8am-late). Drink Pisco sour (45% alcohol).
Visited La cathedral and Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha) One of the most famous paintings of the escuela cuzqueña is The Last Supper by Quechua artist Marcos Zapata, which is found in the northeast corner of the cathedral. Acclimatized and so we did not do any more tours on the first day.
DAY 02 - DEC 23 Sunday– EXCURSION TO THE SACRED VALLEY OF INCAS
Left early in the morning by taxi to Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins. Pisac market is on Sunday. You can buy a lot of stuff here.
Recommended Lunch at Tres Keros Restaurant Grill & Bar (%20-1701; cnr hwy & Señor de Torrechayoc;) at Urubamba Valley. Argentine food.
Recommended Dinner and stay at El Alburgue at Ollantaymabo
DAY 03 - DEC 24 Monday– MACHUPICCHU TOUR
Caught vistadome at 7:00am in the morning to Machhu Pichhu and toured the Citadel. We hiked to Intipunku (sun gate-2 hrs round trip and strenuous but very good view of MP) and Inca Drawbridge. Alternatively you can hike to Huyana Pichu (the tall mountain in the classic picture) for a breathtaking view of MP and the surrounding Andes. By 2 pm, there was less crowd and we had few people coming in the shots. Stayed in Aguas Calientes. We felt that we could have taken a late train back to Ollantaytambo.
DAY 04 - DEC 25 Tuesday- EXCURSION MARAS AND MORAY and CUSCO ruins TOUR
Returned to Ollantaytambo by train and hired a taxi to visit these sites.
Moray: Is one of the most spectacular views where there are four circular terraces of different sizes. Maras and Salineras. The salt mines, consisting of platforms based on pools of salt water that comes from pre-Inca, Inca, colonial times, at present the people of Maras are still working on the farm of salt.
Visited the ruins at Q’enqo, Puka Pukara, Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman outside of Cusco.
Recommended Dinner at Jack’s Café (%25-4606; Choquechaca 509; h7:30am-11:30pm)
DAY 05 - DEC 26 Wednesday: CUSCO / PUKARA / RAQCHI / ANDAHUAYLILLAS / PUNO
Had booked INKAEXPRESS bus, to Puno earlier.
The entire trip we enjoyed the beautiful views of Peru altiplano and visited important places like archaeological centers of Pukara, Raqchi, Sistine Chapel of Andahuaylillas.
DAY 06 - DEC 27Thursday: LAKE TITICACA -UROS ISLAND AND Taquile
We visited Uros Islands, there are about 40 scattered islands inhabited by families and are an important floating archipelago, even today some of them practice old traditions with a preponderant Aymara influence, their entire life is linked to the totora (reed) (aquatic plants).
We went to Taquile island after that and in the afternoon returned to Puno. Had dinner at Colores. Not at all recommended even though it was Lonely Planet’s recommendation. The food was horrible. You might try Tulipans (Lima 394) or Incabar (Lima 348).
DAY 07- DEC 28 Friday: PUNO -LIMA
On our way to airport, we visited the Necropolis of Pre-Inca origin; it is located on a small peninsular plateau in Umayo Lagoon, 32 Kilometers northwest from Puno. This is an interesting archaeological complex in contrast to the landscape, the majestic funeral towers of Kolla and Inca architectural styles.
Flight from Juliaca airport at 5:05 pm.
DAY 08- DEC 29 Saturday: LIMA
We had taken the city tour in the morning. In the evening we went to the Fountains and had a dinner show. Dinner show is a must. Highly recommended. The city tour was ok but the evening points of interest were awesome. Originally, we had planned to visit the Nazca lines and Paracas but by this time we were tired of ruins.
DAY 09 – 30 DEC Sunday: 12:50 pm Depart from LIMA