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Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Pawleys Island...
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Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Please your thoughts--

Company we are talking with recommends we stay one night in Lima, then fly to Cusco the next day with an afternoon tour in Cusco (due to flights). Stay a night in Cusco. (Hotel Monasterio)

Then they say to head to Sacred Valley for 2 nights (Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo) take train to Machu Picchu for afternoon and next day.

THEN back to Cusco for one or two nights.(back to Hotel Monasterio)

We love the hotel choices--just not the what seems to be wasted time back and forth to stay in Cusco.

We've read we could fly to Lima, spend night, fly to Cusco next morning and take private transfer or taxi to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, then go to Cusco to stay 1-3 nights.

This also would seem to make more sense with altitudes.

WHICH OF THESE OPTIONS MAKES MORE SENSE????

From there we plan to go to Juliaca, transfer to Puno for one night, then Lake Titicaca Isla Suasi.

From there fly to Lima onto Guayaquil for 6 or 7 nights in Galapagos. Then home.

Please share advice on these options and our itinerary. Thanks so much !!!

Cusco, Peru
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11. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Out of the two options, I would head to the SV first; if your flight arrives early you could do this

First day: Hire a car upon arrival, visit Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, Pisac and end in Ollantaytambo, Stay the night in Ollantaytambo.

Second day: Morning train to AC, day at Machu Picchu, stay night in AC

Third Day: Morning train to Ollantaytambo, Hire car to take you to Moray, Salt mines of Maras and Chinchero ending in Cusco, Spend the remainder of you time in Cusco before leaving for Puno.

As far as the altitude goes, it is better to start low and work up, but in my opinion not a requirement, the odds of contracting Severe AMS are low and a large number of people travel straight to Cusco every year with little to no problems …wiley.com/doi/…full

Mi Wuk Village...
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12. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Lyle. Do you mean to hire a car and driver? Not a huge cost difference and not sure if I'd tell a newbie to start right a way driving the roads of the Sacred Valley.

Willemstad, Curacao
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13. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

We just came from a trip in Peru and we stayed in Cuzco than SV/MP and back to Cuzco. That travelling back and forth is a waste of time. Better head directly to SV/MP and spent some consecutive days in Cuzco afterwards. I would have done that if I had to repeat my trip. For the altitude it would be better also to go directly to SV not that the altitude in Cuzco is a major issue but some people tend to have problems with that.

Hotel Monasterio perfect location in Cusco(we did not stay there but nearby).

Enjoy your trip

You will love Galapagos (my opinion book a 7 day cruise in the Galapagos)

Cusco, Peru
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14. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Sorry if I wasn't specific 103billw, but yes, I meant a car with driver. Aside from the actual driving aspect, it is usually cheaper to hire a car and driver, than it is to rent a car and drive yourself anyway.

We can get a car and driver for S/200 Soles a day and the cheapest car rental we have found is S/100 Soles a day, if you factor in the gas for the rental, the cost is about the same.

Mi Wuk Village...
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15. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Don't forget folks, if you hire a car and driver for a day... feed the driver when you eat. Those guys make very little and won't buy meals in restaurants. Tip also. Especially you Europeans.

Umeå
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16. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Highly selective reading in # 11 : the group ( 900 + persons ) described in the study was NOT a group where all had gone straight to Cusco . Key conclusion for the whole group was :

" AMS was common and adversely impacted plans of one in five travelers" - with higher numbers for those that went straight to Cusco , were under sixty years , and didn't use Diamox.

The most basic factor : the majority reported headaches , which is easily avoided by planning the first night(s) lower.

…wordpress.com/2013/01/12/highly-rational/

Edited: 3:47 pm, September 11, 2013
Cusco, Peru
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17. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Hi vistet, I was wondering if you would chime in.

I agree that some of the participants may have gone to the Sacred Valley prior to staying in Cusco, but some of these individuals may have been scored with AMS as well. As they did not provide a breakdown of this there is no way of knowing what percentage that would be.

One in Five travelers changing their plans still supports my statement that "a large number of people travel straight to Cusco every year with little to no problems" as 1 in 5 is 20%, meaning 80% of travelers plans were unaffected.

Umeå
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18. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

How many times have we been over this , since I first posted the study in the Journal of Travel Medicine on this forum ?

30.5 % had visited other high and medium altitude cities in the near past before going to Cusco - the article gives a detailed breakdown on how many had been to Arequipa , Quito , La Paz etc first .

Early AMS stages is hangover country : sixty percent mentioned headaches , one in three had GI symptoms ranging from poor appetite to vomiting. Anyone who avoids getting sloshed on the flight out because they feel it could waste the first time on an expensive trip does wise in also avoiding spending the first night over 3000 meters. Where I spend most of my travel time it gets more complicated making a good plan for this ( in the winter the only way to reach Leh is by plane , and nothing below 3100+ ) , for Peru tours there is no rational reason to start in Cusco.

Cusco, Peru
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19. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

Yes but unfortunately it does not give a breakdown of AMS incidences based on going straight to Cusco, Staying in the Sacred Valley, and visiting a higher altitude first. We can assume that those that had visited higher altitudes or stayed in the Sacred Valley had a lower incident of AMS, but they don't provide that data.

As for a rational reason to go straight to Cusco there are many, but the one that come to mind right now is someone on a short trip that wants to take group tours. We have had several guests like this, one recently that only had 4 day and had booked their Machu Picchu trip on the Hiram Bingham, which departs from the Poroy station. For this couple it would have made absolutely no sense to go to the Sacred Valley.

As I have said before, I agree that the risk of AMS will be reduced by going to the Sacred Valley for a few days first, there are just a few posters that always make it sound as though people have to go their first or they "WILL" get AMS, this of course is not true and the point I am trying to make is that the odds are low of suffering Severe AMS that will affect their plans.

I can tell you that going to the Sacred Valley offers no guarantee of avoiding AMS. This past July we had a doctor from Cusco come and stay with us during the festival of the Virgin del Carmen festival, while he didn't know the exact numbers, he did say that travelers in the Sacred Valley are regularly treated for AMS, not as many as in Cusco though.

I really hope that the next study done will break down the odds by group; it would be nice to know things like the odds of suffering AMS if you take acetazolamide, go to the Sacred Valley or go straight to Cusco. For now all we know is that out of the 991 participants, 827 had less than Severe AMS, but they don't show how many of those 827 people, went to the Sacred Valley first, used acetazolamide or visited higher locations first.

20. Re: Stay in Cusco or go straight to Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu

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