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Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco - recommended order of travel and days allocated to each


We are not doing the four day inca trail, but rather day trips into MP. We would also like to explore the Sacred Valley and Cusco.

Please advise the best order of travel and why. Also please advise on the minimum number of days in each place as to fit in what attractions and the time allocated for each. WE have approx 7 days in total. WE arrive by plane into cusco at 1:30 pm. tyhe 7day trip should end with a night in Cusco for early departure the following morning.

Which is better:
from Cusco --> Ollanta --> MP--> Cusco
From Cusoo--> MP--> Ollanta-->Cusco

On another note we will be travelling to Puno by train (10 hours) and considering:

Puno two nights
Chivay two nights (or one night Arequippa)
Nazca one night
Lima two nights

SHould we add another two nights to the sacred valley stay and deduct the number of days in the second leg of our travel or should we leave it as is?

I look forward to your informative replies and advise.
Thank you!

5 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Province of Ontario

Cusco (and Puno) are "at altitude", so you may have some symptoms of altitude sickness at those locations. Machu Picchu is at the bottom of the Sacred Valley and is a bit lower down, so no altitude issues there.

I would head down the Sacred Valley and visit the Inca ruins at Pisac and Ollantaytambo before getting to Machu Picchu; they are quite nice, but really don't compare to what you will see in Machu Picchu, so seeing them first and working your way along would make sense to me. We spent one night in Ollantaytambo before heading off on the morning train to MP; and in retrospect perhaps we should have spent a night at Pisac as well; things were a bit too rushed the way we did them. There are also some very nice Incan and Spanish ruins in Cusco as well. I would suggest at least two nights at Aguas Calientes; we went up to Machu Picchu twice and that was probably just about right; we really got ourselves oriented on one day and then went back and had a good look on the second day. We took the train straight back to Cusco.

A full day of touring Uro, Amantani and Tequile Islands makes sense. We did a one night homestay on Amantani and that was quite enjoyable.

We did not do any of the other locations in Peru, rather we spent about a week in the Amazon instead; and that was quite interesting as well.

A few of my Peru links:

Pisac - [original VT link]

Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu - [original VT link]

Cusco - [original VT link]

Lake Titicaca - [original VT link]

Short Videos:

Train ride to Aguas Calientes - [original VT link]

Uros Floating Islands - [original VT link]

Amantani Island Homestay - [original VT link]
Pisac - [original VT link]

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Newark upon Trent

I wonder if you saw my post in your last post - to the effect that starting February and March, LCPeru are operating flights Lima-Pisco-Nazca-Cusco - which might or might not enable you to gain more time.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Peru


answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Minneapolis

I agree with for timing. The one city I would add to your stay in the Sacred Valley would be to line up some time in Pisac on Sunday, during their market. All the tour buses come in during late morning, but they come in only for about 2 hours. I found this market to be one of the most extraordinary markets I have ever visited in all of my travels! I just found it amazing people watching time. We also stayed at a bed and breakfast in Pisac that is a bit off the beaten trail, but still only minutes away from downtown. "La Casa Del Conde" It was perfect!
Grumpydiver is a great asset, he helped me plan my entire trip and it was perfect!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Whitewood

Well, if you have a choice, don't bother with Nazca and spend the extra time in the Sacred Valley just relaxing. The Nazca lines are way over hyped. There is nothing to see from the ground and they are difficult to see even from the air. The Youtube videos are much better that the real thing. Nazca is a long bus trip for a big disappointment. If you have to go south, see if you could spend the extra day in Pisco and visit its beach and take a boat tour out to the bird islands for 1/2 a day.


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