I have planned a trip through South Amreica in Jan - Feb 2005. During this trip I would really like to see Machu Pichu and other Inca sites. Because of the time of year, I don't know if it would be really pleasant doing the trail, unless it is strongly recommended that is. I have read that there are four sites to see near Cuzco and many around Machu Pichu. I was wondering how much time is needed to see Machu Pichu properly and is specifically good to see there. Also, are there any recommended activities or places to stay in Lima and Cuzco. I would prefer to stay in hostels (they are cheaper). I would appreciate any advice. I have also read that in HI hostels I would need some sort of bed cover, is this right? Thanks,
I can't help you with the hostel or the trail questions but I recommend visiting the Sacred Valley even if you can't hike.
My daughter and I were there in April 2003 and it's one of the places I would love to go back to with more time. (We photograph virtual tours of travel destinations and spend most of our time looking for good shots rather than seeing the sights through our own eyes.)
We flew into Cusco (11,000 ft.) and headed to down to Urubamba (9,000 ft.) in the Sacred Valley about halfway between Cusco and Macchu Picchu. From there it was an easy drive (45 min) to the Pisac ruins and the Pisac market, one of South America's best. Its about 1/2 hour in the other direction to Ollantaytambo, a small town with interesting ruins.
If you spend time in Urubamba, visit Seminario Ceramicas, a gallery and workshop around the corner from the Incaland. It's not well marked but ring the bell and you'll be welcomed.
From there we headed down the valley to Machu Picchu on the Sacred Valley Railway which leaves from a station at the Incaland Hotel in Urubamba. It arrives at Machu Picchu earlier and leaves later than the train from Cusco so you have more time to explore Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes. It stopped along the way to let people who were hiking the trail off.
We ended our trip with a few days in Cusco and by then had acclimated to the altitude. I've talked to many people who started out in Cusco and were miserable for the first few days so, if altitude bothers you, consider doing it in this order.
I wrote a story about our trip for our website:
Sacred Valley Railay website:
Hope this is helpful. Where else do you plan to go?
Thankyou for the suggestion. The sacred valley souds like a great place to visit. Your sites were detailed and useful too. Do you know if there are cheaper places than hotels to stay in, in Urumamba? I will be travelling on a budget and would prefer not to spend more than AU$30 (Approx US$25) per night to stay anywhere for the night if I don't have to.
Sorry, I didn't reply to your question.
I also plan to spend some time in Buenos Aires and have set aside 3 - 4 weeks to see as much of the coast of Brazil as I can. I would like to see the falls at Foz Do Iguacu and see the Amazon rainforest from somewhere in Brazil.
I just wrote to a friend in Cuzco about hotel/hostel information in the Sacred Valley. I'll pass it along when I hear from him.
Buenos Aires is a great city. I would love to be there now.
How are you traveling around in Brazil? I produced TAM Brazilian Airlines' North American website. This might interest you:
They only put the cities they think Americans want to visit on their site. We have most of the cities they fly to on ours:
You'll find city info by clicking on the Brazil Airpass digital brochure at the bottom left.
Brazil is really cheap right now. I've been there twice this year. Four star hotels are US$40 - 45. There are lots of less expensive options that I'm sure are very nice.
[ Edit: Couple too many links in total... ]
I am planning to fly from Buenos Aires to as far North in Brazil as I can (with the knowledge that I have only one month to get to Rio by bus, including stopovers). I have a world ticket with Quantas. This ticket will get me flights with American Eagle, American Connection, TWA LLC British, Mediterranean, British Regional Airways, CityFlyer Express, Comair, GB Airways,
Loganair, Maersk Air UK, Regional Air, Sun-Air, Zambian Air Services, Air Nostrum Lan Express, LanPeru, QantasLink. So unfortunately I cannot fly with TAM Brazillian Airlines. From Feb 4 - 8 there is a carnival in Rio so if I book now I might get accomidation there at that time. Then go North by bus, I won't get as far as if I start in the North but I will see the Carnival. I will have to fly back to Australia from Rio at the end of my trip so maybe I will be in Rio de Janero twice. What things are there to do in Buenos Aires? I read there is paragliding for $40, that sound pretty good to me.
I'm not a very active traveler so I don't know anything about paragliding. B.A. is a great city to explore on foot and by subway. There are lots of neighborhoods, each with its own character. Lots of cafes, great food (steak) and wine. The fine arts museum is first rate. As far as active sports -- I'm the wrong person to ask.
I would strongly consider doing the Inka Trail Trek. Beacuse of regulations and permits, it is a bit expensive (about $250US), but then it includes a lot of stuff you'd be paying for anyway... three night's lodging, all meals, entrance fees and a train ticket back to Cusco. One of the advantages for you is that you get to see/explore 5-6 "lesser" Inka sites along the way. The scenery is spetacular, adn MP is not to be missed.
SAS travel took us last year (Aug. 03), and they were top notch. Check them out at http://www.sastravelperu.com
Thanks for the suggestion Mike.
I would like to do the Inca Trail, money may be an issue. If it is US$250 for the 5 days then great (I checked out the website you recommended but only of deposit of US$150 was listed, the overall price was not). I can't really afford more than that. (Considering my money is in Australian dollars and AU$1 = US70c. Does anyone know if the weather is much of a problem in early to mid January?
Together with my girlfriend we would like to do The INKA TRAIL to Machu Pichu. An organized tour costs ca. 250USD/person and has to be booked 4weeks in advance. So we are looking for some other backpackers to do the trip together and hire a privet guide (trekking alone, without guide is prohibited). We are starting on 27th July. Is there anyone to join us?????????????