Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Cusco
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Feb 27, 2013 6:59 AM Last Post By: the_next_bruce_...
Feb 12, 2013 7:19 PM
I have a number of questions related to a trip that a group of us are planning to Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Cusco, and I would very much appreciate relevant info from knowledgable posters:
1. I am interested to know more about short hikes / treks that one can do from Machu Picchu. I have read about the Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain hikes, and about Intipunko. Are there others? Is there a webpage or other reference where I can get a comprehensive list / descriptions of these possible short hikes, and time estimates for completing them?
2. I understand that one has to get special tickets or passes to do these hikes, which are limited to a certain maximum of people per day. Which of these hikes require special passes? And how do I reserve these passes in advance for the days that we will be in MP? If such reservation is possible, can I make these reservations now for our trip planned for the last week of April?
3. I have seen that some hotels / tour companies offer packages that include transport to MP, entrance to the ruins, and even guides. If such a package is bought in advance, can the hotel or tour company acquire the tickets for entry to MP, and the special passes needed for the short hikes?
4. One day trip we want to do is to start from Cusco, do a full day of touring in the Sacred Valley, and then stay the night in Ollantaytumbo. We have thought of arranging our own itinerary and tour for this day trip for our group. Can anyone please recommend a reputable tour company or guide who we could work with to make the necessary arrangements for transport, food, etc.?
Thanks in advance to all who may offer help or suggestions.
Feb 14, 2013 4:33 AM
11. Putucusi climb: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putucusi
2. Check out http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/ for tickets but reserve through the hotel you'll stay at in Cusco or through someone you might know in Peru. Friends of mine haven't paid any commission at the hotel we stayed at last summer while many travel agencies or tour operators would try to sell you a full package. You need to book the Huayna Picchu climb two weeks in advance.
4. Try your hotel first, then travel agencies. Chances the hotel is cheaper are high.
Feb 15, 2013 2:27 PM
Feb 18, 2013 9:57 AM
Feb 27, 2013 6:59 AM
Firstly, I'd like to correct post 4 - you can go into Machu Picchu without a guide - you can go completely by yourself if you like. It is the Inca Trail you can't do without a guide.
Now to your post:
1) Times to complete the walks:
Huayna Picchu: 1hr30 roundtrip - allowing for a bit of time at the top - reserved for 200 people 7-8am and 200 people 10-11am. Accessing this will also give you access to the Inca Bridge - much more of a hike - 3 or 4 hours.
Machu Picchu Mountain roundtrip - 2hrs - limited to 400 people.
Inti Punku (Also known as Sun Gate) - 1hr15 or so. From here it's worth walking back along the inca trail for a bit to check out the Sun Gate on the other side of the mountain, which has a great view over the Urubamba river and valley below. No limit on numbers
2) I wouldn't necessarily book anything until you are here in Cusco. Then you can find a company to go with and usually with 3 or 4 days in advance you can get what you want in terms of entrance ticket. Alternatively, book what you want now, and any tour company will deduct the price of entry off their price, since you're saving them something to do.
3) Of course when you book in advance, the hotel/tour company will do everything themselves so you turn up at the hotel/their offices and pick everything up in one go, and get information about transfers etc. They will need a 50% payment and passport photocopies to ensure no mistakes are made. Your ticket with passport info etc will need to match your ticket exactly (can't enter without passport)
I would also argue that Hotel Prices are higher. I work for a travel agency here in Cusco and have some hotels using us - they need to get their commission too... so they put 10% on our prices or similar. Other hotels will also just go straight through travel companies.
4) What you suggest here is a really nice trip. Ollantaytambo is a gorgeous little town with amazing ruins overshadowing it. Any tour operator doing the Sacred Valley tour will be able to drop you off in Ollantaytambo, since this is where people get the train to Machu Picchu from. When I did this trip myself, we hopped off at Ollantaytambo, saw the ruins, had a bite to eat before getting the evening train to Aguas Calientes in time for the MaPi trip the next day.
You could do as above, or this:
day 1 - Sacred Valley Tour (most include a buffet lunch in Urubamba - really nice!) stop in Ollantaytambo. Night here
day 2 - check out the town, catch an afternoon train to Aguas Calientes
day 3 - Machu Picchu trip and evening train & transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.
You can get guides outside Machu Picchu site, but the best work with reputable companies in Cusco directly.
A recent blog was posted by a client who used my company for their Sacred Valley trip (as well as quad biking). It is short but informative and I reiterate that it is very common to hop off at Ollantaytambo when the tour returns to Cusco. You will find a link to the company there. Please don't hesitate to Private Message me if you have any questions.
All the best.
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