As we live near sea-level (Florida) we have been warned, by people I trust, to not take altitude sickness lightly. It has been recommended that upon our morning arrival in Cusco we immediately make arrangements to get to Ollantaytambo and sit back and enjoy the local tea. It appears (although no money has yet changed hands) we will need to be back in Cusco the second night in Peru, to be picked up the next morning to go on a Manu Tour. Is it necessary to go all the way to Ollantaytambo to reach lower altitude? (Our friend has some kind of connection to El Alberque Hotel)
What should the cab fare for two people be for this far of a ride? (Our friend also recommends paying the $65.00 fee to be picked up by their reliable driver rather than chancing our Spanish to haggle with a local cabbie)
Is there an overnight option that is lower in altitude without traveling that far?
Will altitude sickness affect us immediately upon arrival?
Would we be safe to "tour" our way over to Ollantaytambo and then "tour" our way back to Cusco the next day? Or is this too much, too soon?