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a VirtualTourist member from Juiz de Fora asked on May 7, 2013


Advise for couple travelling for 6 (or 9) days in Peru

Hi, my girlfriend and I are taking a trip to Peru this month.

We're planning on arriving to Cuzco May the 28th early in the morning and leaving at July the 3rd, at 15h40.

That's our main plan, but if absolutely necessary in order to be abble to se what we want, we may be abble to get there at May the 25th, at 11 AM.

So, in the most probable scenerario we'll have 6 full days to spend there. In the other scenerario we'll have 9 days.

My doubt is about our itinerary. There are things I absolutely would like to see, but they are so far apart. Machu Picchu, are the number one, of course. But I'd love to get to know Titicaca and the Nazca Lines.

Is that even possible in our timeframe?

What would you guys recommend us as a rough itinerary for those days?

Thanks a lot guys!

15 Answers

answered on 5/7/13 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

Do not forget that you may find it hard going in Cuzco because of the altitude and may need a day to acclimatise. I have been to all 3 places and found there are quite a few things to see, but would put Lake Titicaca ahead of Nasca, mainly because of the beautiful scenery and the tranquility on the lake. Puno is nearer and if traveling by bus it takes around 7 hrs whereas Nasca takes 14hrs, unless you fly, and the flight details i will leave for someone else.
Nasca. what to expect? check in to your hotel and then take a flight over the lines. That is it, you have seen them. It took 30 minutes. At Titicaca you cab enjoy a day on the lake and another day exploring some Inca ruins that are dotted around the area.
28 may acclimatising and wandering around the town, visit market and San Fransisco church and Square. . Arrange train tickets to MP, could be busy--important to book ahead.
29 may more exploration of the city--see the narrow streets and Inca Walls, Museo Inka , Santo Domingo Church and Coricancha. Go to San Blas in the evening, wabder around the cobbled streets and eat at a restaurant.
30 may trip to MP
31 may Sacred Valley trip. Possibly on an organised tour.
[original link]
1 July Maras Salt Mines terraced salt mines--amazing scanery.
2 july have you thought about renting a bike an explore yourself--Pisac Market, the animal sanctuary and visiting smaller villages around Cusco.

Should you wish to take the 9 day option just add 3 days on the end of this and visit Puno and Titicaca, one day on the lake , one day exploring the nearby ruins and allow a day fro travelling. Possibly take the expensive train from Cuzco to Puno and return by bus. The train trip would be spectacular ---a 10 hour trip but very much worth doing.
[original link]

answered on 5/7/13 by
a VT member from Penticton

You say you are arriving on the 28 of May in Cuzco and leaving on the 3rd of July. that is obviously a mistake. We'll use June 3rd instead. Are you leaving from Cuzco or where?
most buses leave early in the morning from Cuzco to catch the train at Ollantaytambo for Macchu Pichu. So you can't go until the 29th if you have arranged for that previously. You can get back the same day as most tourists do.
Then on the 30th you can take a bus to Puno on Lake Titicaca. Now you have to arrange for a day tour on the lake which you can take on the 31th of May. This too will take all day. On the 1st of June you can take the bus to Nazca and arrive there on the 2nd. You likely will not get to go to see the lines until the 3rd of June. From here you have to either get back to Cuzco or Lima. You will need all the extra time that you can get to see that what you want.
So if you can leave on the 25th of May it is doable but not if you leave on the 28 fth of May.
Maybe another traveler has a different way to go but I have done this a number of times before. You should take the extra few days if possible

Gerry, The utchman

answered on 5/8/13 by
a VT member from Hannover

Hi :-)
it´s few time but generally enough for the 3 places you´d like to see.
Anyway I´d recommend you to try all possible to get 9 days as it is worth it to stay more time, to see more of Cuzco and surroundings etc.

But first of all one question: did you reserve the visit of Machu Picchu already??? I am not sure at all, but I think there´s only a limited number of visitors allowed a day. At least the Inka trail hast to be booked months before.
So, well, you can take the train to Machu Picchu early in the morning and visit that place on one day,
you can take a bus (~ 8h) or train to the lake titikaka (Puno)... the train is much more beautiful, but takes more time. by the way, you can always travel by night (bus travel), so you save money for the hotel and time as well of course.
A ride by bus down to Nazca takes a bit more time, not sure at all, but I see there´s the info already with around 14h... hm, the Nasca lines are very famous and for sure interesting, but personally I would recommend you to spend your time on other places. Around half way from Cuzco p.e. Arequipa with wthe cañon Colca where you can observe the Condors flying and visit a beautiful scenery around this really deep canyon.
Anyway, wishing you a great time, as said, it´s possible in 6 days but really stressy in my eyes.

answered on 5/8/13 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

[original link]
This is the online site to purchase Machu Picchu tickets and as pointed out by Chancay there is a limit of 2,500 visitors a day.

answered on 5/8/13 by
a VT member from Juiz de Fora

Hi [VT member 93f85], thanks [VT member 93f85] all your answers. So, we changed our plans a bit. We'll be arriving at Cusco May the 27th by the morning and leaving June the 5th, also by the morning and also from Cusco.

I'm a bit concerned since I'll be arriving by Cusco and leaving from it and, since I'll have 9 days, it seems staying only at Cusco won't suffice (don't get me wrong, it would be nice to be abble to know another places, as stated at my original post). That means I'll travel away from Cusco but will have to get back to it at my last day.

Also, I'm confusing about which of those suggested trips near Cusco can be done during the day, returning to Cusco to sleep and which demands me to stay there. That will change my hotel booking.

Is the Sacred Valley trip made from Cusco or people sleep there? What about Maras Salt Mines and other trips you guys suggested?

I'm thinking about on following davidjo's advice and reserving or last 3 days to Puno.

Thanks [VT member 93f85]!

answered on 5/8/13 by
a VT member from Juiz de Fora

Hi Gerry, I'll be departing from Cusco.

PS: I've miscliked and thumbed down your post. How can I undo it? So sorry!

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Juiz de Fora

Hi [VT member 93f85], an update on our plans.

We'll be arriving at Cuzco May the 27th at 15h and leaving at June the 5th, early in the morning.
So, we'll have 9 full days to spend there.

I've started working on an itinerary but I'm stuck in some things. Here is how it stands right now:

27th Arrive at Cusco – Aclimatize, walk around by ourselfes - Sleep at Cusco
28th Citytour around Cusco - (Qorikancha, Catedral de Cusco, Saqsayhuamán , Q'enqo Puca Pucara, Tambomachay) - Sleep at Cusco
29th Tour at Vale Sagrado - Sleep at ?
30rd Go to Aguas Calientes - Sleep at Aguas Calientes
31rst Machu Picchu - - Sleep at ?

My main doubts are:

-Where should we sleep at the 29th of May? I've read some people stay at Ollantaytambo after the tour around Sacred Valley. Is that a must to? Is it preferable over going back to Cusco?
- After the visit to Machu Picchu is it possible to go back directly to Cusco or will it be too long?
- One day at Machu Picchu is enough? We would definitely like to go up to Huayna Picchu  )
-How would you guys recommend us about filling those remaining days? I thought about 3 days for going to Puno and coming back (our plane back home leaves from Cuzco).

Thanks [VT member 93f85] lot guys, we greatly appreaciate your help!

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Singapore

one day at Machu Picchu is enough... if u want to do Huayna Picchu u must book ticket in advance.. similarly for Machu Picchu.. it used to be able to get ticket on the day itself.. we spent half a day at Machu Picchu which is sufficient but then we did not do Huayna Picchu after a tiring 3 day Lares Trek the previous days and return to Cusco on the same day after but reach there quite late... u can stay at Ollantaytambo after MP.. its quite a pretty small town,.

btw, have u booked your train tickets too? because it looks like u are still at the planning stage... get your train ticket, Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu tickets sorted out first then u can fill in the blank subsequently...

the trip to Puno from Cusco is quite a distance... we went to Puno and Lake Titicaca but moved on to La Paz after that. Some will take flight back to Lima after visiting Puno..

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Juiz de Fora

Haven't booked the train tickets yet. I'm trying to figure out the Where we'll be staying. I didn't quite get if it's necessary to stay at Ollantaytambo before Aguas Calientes and after MP or not.

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Singapore

some ppl stay at Ollantay and take early morning train to Aguas Calientes... we stayed at Aguas Calientes and we were at Machu Picchu first thing in the early morning before the crowd start pouring in... it was nice to see the early morning fog at Machu Picchu.. we were done by 2pm and return to Cusco after that...

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Penticton

Any tour around Cuszo can easily be done in one day, including the Sacred Valley and even Machu Picchu. I was not aware that a ticket was required for the climb to the top of Huanay Picchu., but when I was 66 yrs of age (now 71) I did it in an easy 45 minutes. So, even that cam be accomplished on the same day you visit M.P. Like I said before, the bus to Puno take around 8 hrs. While there, a one day trip of the Uros , the floating islands as well as visiting Taquila and or Amantani islands can all be accomplished in one day. Even visiting the Chulpas at Sillustani will only take part of a day. Back in Cuszo, hire a taxi for the day and have a look at the Salt Pans of Maras (40 km from Cuzco) as well as the Inca agricultural amphitheater at Moray, just 7 km from Maras. These are just a few things to do in and around Cuszo and Puno. Go and enjoy, Gerry, The Dutchman

answered on 5/9/13 by
a VT member from Juiz de Fora

Those are amazing tipsm thanks a lot.

One thing: would you recommend the tour buses to Puno or the regular ones? Is there anywhere online I can look at their schedules and prices? I've seem lots of companies but none of their websites had any usefull info.

(Props on your physical health. A friend of 25 told me he had a hard time going up to Huanay Picchu)

answered on 5/10/13 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

Your plan sounds fine , but return to Cusco on the 31st then take the bus to Puno the next day, stay 1,2 and 3rd at Puno, one day on the lake and another visiting the various ruins in the area and get the bus back to Cusco on the 4th, in time for your early flight on the 5th. And , yes, stay in Aguas calientes and get to MP as early as possible to get there before the crowds. According to the Dutchman you won't have a problem climbing Huanay the same day , bur you should be concerned with booking all your tickets, train, MP and HP for the planned day!!

answered on 8/2/13 by
a VT member from Penticton

A few years ago (1996) when I was 54 yrs of age I climbed Huanay Picchu in 45 min. I climbed 3 min and rested for two, climbed 3 and rested for 2 etc,etc. I guess it depends as to what shape you are in and whether the altitude has an affect on you as a person. Gerry, the_dutchman P.s. That is me at the top and what it looks like once there.

answered on 11/9/13 by
a VT member from London

hi [VT member 93f85], Ive really enjoyed reading through your replies here and esp seeing your photos to reminisce the amazing trip around these places in November last year. Brave people to go up Huyna Picchu! I could see them from Maccu and it looked awesome....awesomely terrifying! OUr guide said someone had fallen a few days earlier but that it wasn't that unusual lol...which generally means certain death.
I was really struggling with the altitude so it was a real job to accomplish getting up to the Sun gate for excellent views over the area without the idea of Huyna as well....though we didn't have tickets and tickets are required/separate.
We stayed in Ollyantaytambo the night before we stayed at Aguas and I would totally recommend not missing a visit to the Olly Inca site - and agree with many before me say that the focus shouldn't all go towards MP as being the main. Pisac's site was also amazing. that was a hard job to trek right up to the top but the view was majestic as well. Had such a good time getting to the number of sites we did get to.
but I would so have loved to have got to the amphitheatre that I saw in a book of sites and now see in one of your pics here Gerry...envious!
I would certainly choose Lake Titicaca over the Nasca lines

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