Peru - Gringo Trail in August
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jul 10, 2012 2:40 AM Last Post By: Asiatraveller
Jun 11, 2012 7:54 AM
Peru - Gringo Trail in AugustHi guys!
planning to spend 2 weeks of vacations in Peru on the GringoTrail.
My ideal tour would be:
Lima (only as arrival base)
Nazca (for the lines)
Arequipa (to visit the city and the Colca canion)
The above could be to much to see in 2 weeks (arr Aug/11 pm - depart Aug/25 pm)
While reading the guide books and threads I already have a few questions for you:
1.Considering the pick season in Aug, should I buy the ticket for MachuPicchu on line through the gov site?
2.Is it "money saving" to base/sleep in Chivay to organize a visit to the Colca Canion or should I do it from Arequipa? (in both cases I will use a travel agency. Are there any able to do so in Chivay?)
3.How do I reach MP from Cuzco? It looks quite complicated if doing it through bus to avoid the expensive train.
4. In order to save time I was thinking to fly back to Lima from Cuzco. Anyone has ever bought tickets from StarPeru's web site? Any comments on the airline? Or alternative airlines?
5.Any suggestion for the panoramic flights over the Nazca lines? Should I buy them some how in advance hoping that no fog will appear that day? Seems that the airline companies' offices are only at the Nazca Airport. Where els can I buy the tickets?
6.Do you know if I will be able to withdraw money from ATM using a Visa Electron?
7. Which are the most risky bus trail on the gringo trail? (rubberies,assualt)
Thanks very much for now!
Jun 11, 2012 8:27 AM
1Alright mate, apologies for not answering all your questions, probably best for me to stick to what I know.
1) I would recommend using the governement website for your tickets. Its relatively easy to use but if you have a nose someone has put a link to a website on TT that talks you through booking on the goverment website to make sure you don't make any mistakes that could lead to dissappointment.
3) We caught the bus from Avenida Grau (Turn right off Avenida Sol as you head away from the centre down Kuychipunku just near the Kiricancha site museum, this becomes Avenida Grau).Get the bus from there to Urrabamba, hope over the bus station concourse and get a combi to Ollantaytambo, train from there. Its the cheapest way of doing it as far as I know. Its not as complicated as it sounds. You'll be fine if you chose to do it that way.
6) My Natwest Visa Debit card worked fine everywhere, and that was one for the basic bog standard account with no frills. I think you are fine with Visa Electron as well I seem to remember. Double check on that.
7) I don't think you'll find anywhere particularly risky on the Gringo Trail. Your biggest threat will be from petty theft. As long as you do nothing stupid like hang around dark streets whilst rat arsed waiving your iPhone around. Just be street smart like you would anywhere, I personally feel more threatened on the streets of any English town on a Saturday night than I did anywhere at any time in South America. We used the cheapest buses everywhere we went, which is not always a great idea given the risk of crashing, but that was all our budget allowed and we were fine. Another thread has recently recommended the likes of Cruz Del Sur, Oltursa and Ormeno for being good and reliable, Cruz Del Sur are the best but were out of the question for us as they cost twice as much as the alternatives.
Good luck and enjoy your trip. (You won't need luck to be honest. you'll have an amazing time).
Jun 11, 2012 8:49 AM
Jun 12, 2012 8:29 AM
3Condors fly in the morning, mosly before 11AM so if you left from Arequipa you would have to leave very early. Lodging in Chivay is more convenient. I found no combis or collectivos to the canyon at 5-6 AM in Chivay to the Canyon, only taxis. The 5:30 bus to the canyon never showed up. The 7AM local bus to the canyon was 30 minutes late. I finally got there around ten and saw some condors. Also one around noon. I would recommend arranging a trip the day before you go in Chivay. Do not believe people who tell you that you need a four wheel drive truck to go there. Vans and the local bus go several times a day. It is gravel and bumpy.
You can arrange a van to take you to and from Ollantaytambo to the train station and then on to Aguas Calientes. It may save you a little money The train station is on the outskirts of Cusco, in a small town. Several tour agencies are arund the Plaza de Armas. I think the train office is near a KFC on the plaza. You still need to arrange a ride in the morning to the station. As far as I know, the train is the ony way to MP.
Star Peru flight Lima to Cusco is around $100 if you buy the ticket in Peru.
Plane tours for Nazca lines are available on the main road leading into the town of Nazca. You do not have to go to the airport first. Costs around $85. They are near the bus stations and bus stops on the edge of the downtown area where the highway splits o go to Arequipa. It is probably a 5-10 min. walk from most hotels and hostals. Nazca is not a large town. The observation tower for the lines is not a very impressive.
I have posted several times about 4M bus company as the only direct bus I found from Cusco to Chivay and vise versa. .Very nice, safe and comfortable. They do stop on the way for site seeing and have an excellent lunch.
Jun 13, 2012 2:12 AM
4Hi and thanks for the info! I would buy the tickets for Cuzco-Lima in peru but I am afraid it would be too late then to find good prices. Do you know anything about LCPeru. It seems they started flights from Cuzco to Lima.
Sorry but it's still not clear to me how to get from Cuzco to MP...
Do you know if it is possible to reserve a bus from Lima to Nazca on line? I arrive late in Lima (8pm) and want to leave the morning after for Nazca but want to make sure I can get a bus for sure.
Jun 13, 2012 9:14 AM
Mate, regarding getting fro Cusco to Machu Picchu read what I put down for point 3 again in my post. I made one mistake, I spelt Urubamba as Urrabamba I think. It is dead easy, you get the bus to Urubamba, change on to a combi to Ollantaytambo, get the train from there to Aguas Callientes (Or Machu Picchu Pueblo as it is also called) and get the mini bus up from there. The train from Ollantaytambo to AC is much cheaper than from Cusco, you can book online on the Peru Rail website. If you don't like this option you can pay more by using a taxi to Ollantaytambo or I believe there are a few other companies who offer non bus services there in a combi. There is another route coming via Hydroelectrica but if you can't follow my one then the other may be a problem.
You can of course trek it, which I think is not exactly cheaper than avoiding the expensive train.
Jun 18, 2012 3:22 AM
6Thanks so much guys! I think it's clearer now: take a bus from Cuzco to Urubamba. Once there take a combi to Ollantaytambo and from there a train ( on the web site there is no Ollantaytambo-MP train. Only Urubamba-MP!!! ) to AC. From AC take another bus or combi to MP.
Can I do this all in one day from Cuzco?
Any suggestions to go from Cuzco to Cuzco airport? Have to be there at 8.30 or 9am.
Jun 21, 2012 3:49 AM
7Sorry guys but on perurail.com the only routes are from Cuzco, Sacred Valley and Urubamba. There is no route from Ollantaytambo!!!! Sighh... help..help..help!!
And anyway, can I do this all in one day from Cuzco or should I sleep in AC?
I am starting to fear that I get to Cusco and get stock there not being able to reach MachuPicchu. On top of that the web site were you but tickets to MP is not allwing visa payments and the are trying to solve the problem!!! Sighhh
Jun 21, 2012 6:03 AM
8On the Perurail web site Sacred Valley is the Ollantaytambo station. I would suggest after seeing Machu Picchu, to sleep in Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is a must-see.
I just recently flew on LC Peru from Lima to Huaraz r/t. Also flew on Star Peru last September. Both are great little airlines! For both airlines and for Perurail, you will need to have a Visa which is "verified by visa" to get an e-ticket. Or a Mastercard which is "secure-coded." Lots of other threads on here about these particular problems. If you get to that and find out it applies to you, run a search on here. You will find those threads.
As for the Machu Picchu ticket, in the past I heard of people having problems with that web site. When I used it last summer, I had no problem. Sometimes a hotel or hostal where you are staying can help you buy tickets to Machu Picchu, if all else fails, I would maybe try that.
Good luck. Have fun!
Jun 22, 2012 5:54 AM
9Yep.. I think That is what I'll do: bus to Urubamba and tehn combi to Ollanta and then train. A bit timeconsuming but for sure cheaper. I guess I will have to mandatorily sleep in AguasCalientes or Ollanta if I do it this way. What do you think?
Moreover, how long do you think I will need to dedicate to MachuPicchu visit it self?
How many train companies operate the route? (I found IncaRail, PeruRail,Machupicchutrain)
One more question: it is impossible to buy tickets to MP becasue of a website problem. Should I buy the train ticket in the meanwhile or it is risky to buy it since I still don't have MP ticket?
Jul 10, 2012 2:40 AM
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