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Flight and itinerary advice

chicago, il, usa
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Flight and itinerary advice

My husband and I are traveling from Chicago USA to Peru in November. We will be hiking the Inca Trail Nov. 28-Dec. 1. I've been trying to figure out our itinerary as well as the best way to fly there. My first question is, should we fly to Lima and stay overnight, then take a morning flight to Cuzco the next day or just fly directly to Cuzco? It looks like most (maybe all?) flights are overnight, so I'm thinking it might make the most sense to stay over in Lima and then go the next morning to Cuzco. It also seems like it might be more economical to fly to Lima, then purchase tickets to Cuzco through one of the Peruvian airlines. I would love any advice on this issue!

My other question is regarding whether to stay in Aguas Calientes after hiking to Machu Picchu. My main reason for staying overnight there would be so we could take our time at Machu Picchu and not be rushed to get back to Cuzco with our hiking group. Is this a good idea?

Here is our trip itinerary I've come up with so far. Please let me know any thoughts on this.

Night 1: Lima, then fly to Cuzco the next morning (or fly directly to Cuzco??)

Nights 2 & 3: Sacred Valley

Nights 4 & 5: Cuzco

Nights 6-8: Inca Trail

Night 9: Aguas Calientes

Night 10: Cuzco (or Lima?)

Night 11: Lima

Thank you so much for any advice! We're very excited about this trip!

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

We flew from Chicago to Cusco last May. We went through Lima. Our flight, booked all through American Airlines, was ORD-MIA-LIM-CUS. We left Miami in the evening, landed in Lima about 4:00 am and connected on a flight to Cusco a few hours later. We did not stay in Lima overnight. Since our flight landed in the morning, we decided to head straight to Cusco.

Also, by booking it completely through AA as a multi-city itinerary, the internal flight, which was on LAN, was free. The cost to fly Chicago to Lima was the same as the cost to fly Chicago to Cusco, through Lima. So make sure you check this option.

If you buy the tickets separately, and the flight from the US to Lima is late, and you miss the flight to Cusco, you're a no show and could be forced to buy a new ticket. So if you do book the tickets this way, you should leave ample time to make the connection in case of delays.

We did not do the Inca Trail so can't help you there. While I'm sure it's great, we decided with a limited amount of time for the trip, we did not want to spend 4 days on one hiking trail.

New England
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2. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

On the last day of our trek we toured MP from sunrise until very late afternoon and then took a 6:30pm train back to Ollantaytambu and a bus (part of our trek booking) back to Cusco arriving there late at night. It was a long day but we felt that we had enough time in MP, that there really isn't much in Aquas Caliente that made it worth staying there and that we were able to sleep on the train and bus. If you did that on night nine you could fly to Lima the next day and have some time to explore there before flying home.

Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

There is nothing much to see in Lima so you could just fly directly to Cusco.

Aguas Calientes is a small town with nothing much to do or see. Most people stay here only because they want to go to MP early in the morning. There are a few hot springs you can enjoy.

chicago, il, usa
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4. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

Thank you everyone for your help!

indianapolis
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5. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

We just got back from our Peru trip - which included all your stops. We did use Star Peru for our flights from Lima to Cusco (and back) and they worked fine - but I did buy the tickets about 4 weeks ahead of time - if you are going to use a peruvian airline - I wouldn't wait until that day to get the tickets.

Also - we did the 4d/3n trek - which was a once in a lifetime bucket list experience - so wonderful and beyond words. We personally did not stay that long at MP - maybe 2 -3 hours at the most - we did the guided tour with our guides, wandered around a little bit andthen took the bus down to AC. While MP was wonderful - I wouldn't say it was the highlight of the trip - all the stuff you see while on the Inca Trail is absolutely amazing and you get to see it by yourself - instead of with thousands of other tourists. So - I guess that is my long way of saying, I wouldn't have wanted to spend the night in AC after the trek. Others may have had different experiences though. In fact, if we could have - we probably would have taken an earlier train back to Cusco that very day we finished the trek.

chicago, il, usa
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6. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

Thanks ILnative! We've decided not to stay in AC after the trek. We'll head back to Cusco.

7. Re: Flight and itinerary advice

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