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Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

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New Castle, IN
posts: 34
reviews: 4
Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Peru next month. We have both been looking online for tours in the Cusco area, specifically to Machu Picchu, and we are having trouble compromising. I'm not crazy about hostels with no hot water and shared bathrooms, and I definitely don't want to camp, but he doesn't want to break the budget on hotels. He has already booked flights, and our itinerary so far is this:

We will come into Lima late on May 10 and have a hotel booked. Then, we will travel to Cusco and arrive the morning of Sunday May 11th. Then, we will be there until late that Thursday. After that, we have a tour in Iquitos. We will return to our Lima hotel on Sunday morning and leave for the US on Monday morning.

We are mainly looking for a tour during our time in Cusco. We are probably thinking 3 day trip - or 3 single day trips. He wants to include: *Machu Picchu* (of course), zip lining, great views, hiking, maybe some biking, kayaking, fairly budget friendly. I would like: horseback riding, photo opportunities, and I really want a safe and clean hotel/lodge/b&b with hot water and private bathroom. I will pretty much give in on anything he wants if I can have a relaxing place to sleep at night! It doesn't have be fancy, I just want to take a hot shower and feel safe. We would both enjoy: hiking and we both love to kayak (not rafting). Learning about the local culture, shopping for some local bargains (I think we would really would love Pisac market), maybe spending a morning or afternoon volunteering if possible.

Anyone have any ideas? Should we go through a tour company? Is it safe to wait until we get there and look for a tour agency? We don't really speak Spanish (we struggle, but can catch some basics). Based on some of the other tours we have found, I think my husband is hoping to spend around $500 for the two of us to spend the 3 days in Cusco. He wants to book something right away - if I don't find an alternative to the tour he likes, he's going to book the one with no hot water and a shared bathroom - I'm not ashamed to admit: although it beats camping, I am too much of a wimp for that! Please help!

(Also any recommendations of fun things to do in Lima would be great!)

Western Australia
posts: 10
reviews: 128
1. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

We are currently in Ecuador having just left Peru. Having never been here before we shared many of your fears. After advice from this forum we decided to book David Choque as a tour guide and left everything to him. We gave him our timeframe and budget and he arranged the rest. Whilst our tour was different to what you explain here his company does offer some adventure stuff.

My biggest concern was getting ripped off. David is the real deal. A lovely man with great experience and knowledge of the Inca and the ruins etc. He booked our hotels after I accepted his itinerary.

An example (we are a family of three) was a two night stay at Pakaritampu Hotel in Ollanaytambo which was a gorgeous little boutique place with a complimentary breakfast and hot shower for $55 each and two nights at Unay Tambo hotel in Cusco fir $45 each with complimentary breakfast. Well located, clean and simple but shocking small bathrooms I must say (I'm 220).

Anyway David can do custom itineraries for you for very reasonable rates. In our case we wanted the personal guide services which were on average about $60 - $70 each a day. It was just us and David and his son Omar. We don't speak Spanish and having David smoothed everything along very nicelly. He also arranged our guide for Machu Picchu named Guido who was superb. I believe having a good guide enhances the experience. Your husband sounds like an adventure man, try Huayana Picchu whilst you are there (search trip advisor for more). It's a challenge but the views are unmatched with anything I have seen.


Contact David from the above website. Whether he can assist with what you want I don't know but you have nothing to lose trying him, you don't have to book. He comes with my highest recommendation. Just be clear about what you want and enjoy Peru.

2. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

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Chicago, Illinois
posts: 7,454
reviews: 74
3. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

Just as an example, we stayed at very comfortable hotels with private bathrooms and hot water in Ollantaytambo for $65 a night and in Cusco for about $95 a night. Nothing fancy, but comfortable. I know Urubamba has a lot of hotels, too. Those would all be good bases for a trip to MP. This was all booked ourselves. We were looking for mid range places so you could probably find cheaper. They all had included breakfasts.

If you stay in Agua Calientes, the town next to Machu Picchu, it's a lot more expensive, so you may want to do MP as a day trip from Ollantaytambo.

Also, keep in mind the train ticket is something like $100 each person round trip plus $15 or $30 round trip, I forget which, for the bus ticket from the train station in Agua Calientes to the entrance to MP. And the tickets for MP are another $50 to $100 each person. So it will add up fast. Especially if you add in kayaking or zip lining tours.

Pisac market is not exactly a place for bargains. It's very touristy.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 2,042
reviews: 43
4. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

The best way to save money is to do everything yourself, there are plenty of resources available to plan your trip, and plenty of reasonably priced lodgings as well, doing the trip on your own can save you at least 50%.

If you don’t mind moving around a bit you could arrive, visit Pisac in route to Ollantaytambo, then go to Machu Picchu for 1 or 2 days. After Machu Picchu head to Cusco and visit Salineras de Maras, Moray and Chinchero along the way.

If you would prefer to work from a central location, then just stay in Cusco and visit everything from there.

There are many agencies that offer different activities like Bicycling, rock climbing and zip lining, and at least one that does kayaking in the lake up above our tow, although I don’t know the name of the company.

Brussels, Belgium
posts: 1,941
reviews: 152
5. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

Peruvian hotels charge about 50 to 100 soles for a double room with bathroom, hot water and cable TV. There are a huge number of such hotels. Cheap restaurants are everywhere too, from 1 or 2 $ a meal.

The real cost id the train to MP and the entrance fees.

New Castle, IN
posts: 34
reviews: 4
6. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

Thanks for all of the great feedback!

Any suggestions on good local markets? Is Peru similar to most other countries as far as the language goes (meaning, anyone who wants to sell you something can probably speak English)...?

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 7,454
reviews: 74
7. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

English is spoken anywhere there are tourists.

posts: 957
reviews: 165
8. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

Main markets are Santa Clara which is close to to Plaza de Armas. There are also a lot of smaller street markets I the surrounding streets which are worth a look. Wanchaq market is a bit further away from the centre, maybe 20 mins walk. Both are great places to spend an hour or two. El Molino is a short bus ride away and is the place for black market goods and fakes etc.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 2,042
reviews: 43
9. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

If you are going to go to Wanchaq, go on a Saturday, they have a large market in the main plaza and you will not be likely to see many other tourists.

The San Pedro market is also interesting and open every day and for a good local marked on Sunday, consider Izcuchaca, it is about 30 minutes away by colectivo and you won’t find any other tourists there, down side is you are not likely to run into anyone that speaks English either.

London, United...
posts: 196
reviews: 31
10. Re: Cheap Machu Picchu tour without camping or hostels?

remind your husband that it is winter here. while there won't be snow in most places, it is cold-ish at night and very cool when the sun disappears. and most places in the cusco area don't have indoor heating.

hot showers are non-negotiable.

i'm not sure where the santa clara market is?

i can't comment on prices because we're here for several weeks and found a place on air b'n'b.