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Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

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New Jersey
posts: 20
reviews: 10
Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

My husband and I decided to take a last minute trip to Peru with our 11 year old son the first week of December. I am use to planning most of our trips but this one is a little more difficult due to all of the extra travel that is involved because of the distance between destinations. I need a little help figuring out how many days I need where and what else I might be able to fit in. Our trip is 12/01 -12/09 but we lose the first and last day to travel. We already booked our round trip flight from Lima to Cusco so that solidifies some things. We are going to try and hike Huayna Picchu one day (tickets are still available). We thought we would look into a day to tour the Sacred Valley but prices are too expensive in the US, not sure what they will look like once we get there. Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!

12/02 Monday: 12:05 am arrive in Lima

6:00 am flight to Cuzco

Spend the day acclimating to the altitude

12/03 Tuesday:

12/04 Wednesday:

12/05 Thursday: Machu Picchu?

12/06 Friday: Hike Huayna Picchu?

12/07 Saturday: Flight from Cuzco to Lima at 3:10 pm **not sure how much time I need to get to Cuzco or what we might fit in afterwards**

12/08 Sunday: Explore Lima/Miraflores

12/09 Monday: 1:45 am flight home

california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,327
reviews: 143
1. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

Why are you staying the whole time in Cusco? I think most tourists doing their own plan would start with a few days in the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo or Urubamba), then visit MP (Overnight in Aguas Calientes), and end with a few nights in Cusco.

Look at andeantravelweb.com to get a better idea of what is involved. It looks like you are under the common misconception that you need to start in Cusco to "acclimatize". This is only true for Inca Trail trekkers. MP and Aguas Calientes are LOWER than Cusco.

As far as tours, using your hotel you can hire taxis for transportation and there are free lance guides available at the entrances.

There are also a few private guides that are often recommended here, such as Percy Salas who can be hired for a day or two of touring. Search the forums for other ideas and email a few.

I strongly recommend against the package group bus tours that leave from Cusco, especially with three people. Too much wasted time picking up a busload if people, eating at expensive mediocre buffets, and visiting stores that pay kickbacks (aka commissions).

Cusco, Peru
posts: 1,547
reviews: 33
2. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

For starters, there are currently tickets still available for Huayna Picchu on the 6th. Just to check, you are aware that you will have to purchase 2 Machu Picchu tickets for each person for your listed itinerary?

There are several ways you could visit the Sacred Valley as well as Cusco and other sites. Not sure what kind of prices you have found online, but here you can easily get a Sacred Valley group tour for around S/.35.00 Soles per person, if you would prefer a private tour, these can run right around S/.200.00 Soles per group/per day. Additionally you could use taxis or local buses/colectivos to visit the sites. There really is a plan for every budget or interest.

Overall your plan looks pretty good, putting the days in Lima at the end is a good idea as this will give you a cushion in the event of any flight delays. For Tuesday and Wednesday you could do any number of tours if you are interested in seeing the sites that way, if so these can easily be booked once here. As it is also slow season you may be able to get your Machu Picchu tickets or tours at the last minute as well, but as you are interested in doing Huayna Picchu, I would try and purchase those tickets in advance, if you haven’t already done so.

Another thing to consider if you have concerns about the altitude, or just plan to visit the sites on your own, would be to stay the first night or two in the Sacred Valley, then visit Machu Picchu, and end your trip in Cusco. This will of course require you to move around a lot, but there are those that plan their routes this way as well.

New Jersey
posts: 20
reviews: 10
3. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

Migb, I was not planning to do all the days in Cusco but a mix of there and the Sacred Valley. We're just not sure in what order we should be seeing things and how many days we may want in each place. I definitely don't want to do the big bus tours, that would be a nightmare.

London, United...
posts: 37
4. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

When you get to Cuzco head on to the sacred valley, we stayed in Ollyantaytambo which is a lovelly place. From there you could do a tour of the sacred valley and trip to Machu Picchu, this area is lower in altitude than Cuzco so its best to start here than the other way around.

As for tours of the sacred valley we got our hotel to book us a taxi for the day, it cost $90 for the taxi and the driver while not a tour guide did try to give us some details about the sites, we had already read up though so that helped us.

have a great time it realy is an amazing place.

New Jersey
posts: 20
reviews: 10
5. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

My flight arrives into Cusco Monday morning at 7 am. Are there buses available first thing that could take us to Ollanta or am I stuck finding a taxi? If both options are available, what price should I expect for each? Thanks again for your help.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 6,359
reviews: 75
6. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

For a taxi, you can either ask your hotel in Ollanta to have a driver meet you at the airport for about $50 or you can pick up a taxi outside the airport. That can save you a little but you will have to pick one out and negotiate a price. There are not buses, but there are collectivos, which are like shared vans that leave when they fill up. I did not take any so will let others explain how they work as I don't think you can get them at the airport but rather have to take a taxi into Cusco to pick one up.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 1,547
reviews: 33
7. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

There are buses as well as the colectivos but it would take a while to travel this way, we had some guests that went from here to Pisac with the buses/colectivos and it took them over 3 hours. I would go with a Taxi for your arrival day; a taxi from Cusco to Ollantaytambo should run around S/.100 Soles (about $37 USD). Your hotel will most likely charge more, but it should save you the time of negotiating a taxi on your own. If you do plan to get one on your own, go to where taxis are dropping off passengers and negotiate with one of them, they tend to be cheaper than the vultures hanging around the arrival area. There are of course the "safe" taxis in the arrival area, but these would be the most expensive option.

New Jersey
posts: 20
reviews: 10
8. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

So after a last minute trip to the doctors, I've been told Huayna Picchu and some of our other hikes are a no no for me, so we had to revamp the itinerary. I am not going to Cusco first based on the recommendations of everyone here. Can you guys suggest a better way to split up the Sacred Valley over our week? I definitely want to go to Maras and the market, those are the biggest for us. This is what we have right now:

12/02 Monday: Arrive in Cusco and head directly to Ollantaytambo, spend the day relaxing

12/03 Tuesday: Pisac Market (What else small should we fit in?)

12/04 Wednesday: Stuff in SV (not sure what) then we are looking to take the afternoon train to MP

12/05 Thursday: Machu Picchu and then train back to Ollanta, bus to Cusco

12/06 Friday: Cusco

12/07 Saturday: Flight from Cuzco to Lima at 3:10 pm

12/08 Sunday: Explore Lima/Miraflores

12/09 Monday: 1:45 am flight home

Thanks for all your continued help!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 6,359
reviews: 75
9. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

12/02 If you have the energy for it, you can see Maras, and if you want Moray and Chinchero, on the way to Ollantaytambo. Or you could spend it walking around Ollantaytambo. Maras is right on the way and does not require a lot of hiking and you can see it very quickly.

12/03 Pisac is over 1 hour drive from Ollantaytambo. While there you should see the Pisac ruins as well as the market, which means this could be close to a full day.

12/04 See the Ollantaytambo ruins in the morning before catching the train.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 1,547
reviews: 33
10. Re: Itinerary Suggestions -- 7 days in December

When you go to Pisac on the 3rd, see if your driver knows where Urco is (close to Calca), this is a small pre-Inca site and a quick stop. You could check it out on the way to or from Pisac.