Sunday, July 14, 2019

Travel Bucket List :: Our Peru Itinerary

We're heading to Peru in a few short weeks to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. I am so excited! Our anniversary is in September but we're taking the trip before school starts to make it easier for my parents. This is the 6th destination on our travel bucket list (Hawaii, France, Italy, Alaska, Banff and now Peru). This trip took a lot of planning so I thought I'd break it down to several small posts. Today, I am sharing the itinerary. I will do several recap posts once I am back from the trip. Thanks to a couple of friends who have helped us tremendously when it comes to planning. We started planning in March (will tell you why in a bit). The itinerary below took us almost 4 months to plan (and to save) but regardless, we enjoyed doing it and can't wait to experience Peru.

Day 1: Getting there
  • Travel day - 3 flights (CMH - ATL, ATL- LIM, LIM - CUZ). Total travel time: 16 hours. We'll be arrived in Cusco, Peru approximately 6:00 a.m the next day
  • The hotel offers a free pick up from the airport. You can get a random cab from the airport for approximately 30 soles ~ $9.
Day 2: Spending the day in Cusco
Day 3: Heading to Ollantaytambo from Cusco
  • Natura Vive will pick us up from the hotel but if you don't want to book a tour, you can get to Ollantaytambo by bus. From the hotel, walk to "Calle Pavitos" to take a small bus from Pavitos St of Cusco. The bus will arrive at the main plaza in Ollantaytambo. Cost per person: 10 soles ~ $3. This trip takes approximately 1.5 hour via the Chinchero route.
  • Zip-lining in Sacred Valley: We booked a zip-lining tour with Natura Vive. I'll talk more about the zip lining tour once I get back. 
  • After the zip-lining, Natura Vive will drop us off at the Ollantaytambo train station so that we can continue our journey to Machu Picchu. 
  • Take VistaDome 603 to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). It's a 2 hour train ride via PeruRail. Departs at 3:37 p.m. and arrives at 5:02 p.m (must be at the train station 30 minutes prior to start the boarding process). Cost per person: $86
  • Spend the night in Aguas Calientes. The hotel we'll be staying is 3-minute walk to the bus station heading to Machu Picchu. Still need to buy tickets for the bus at the Consettur bus ticket office in Aguas Calientes. This costs $24 each for round trip tickets. We plan to buy the tickets after we check in to the hotel so that we don't have to do it in the morning heading to Machu Picchu
Day 4: Hiking the famous Huayna Picchu 
  • Our journey starts at 5:00 a.m. We booked a half day private tour guide. Cost: $100. Our tour guide will meet us at the hotel. We'll take a 30-minute bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu
  • Buses operate from 5:30 a.m - 3:30 p.m (no set times for departures)
  • At the Machu Picchu entrance, take a 20-minute walk to the Huayna Picchu entrance. This is where you'd want to purchase your tickets 6 months in advance. There are total of 400 people allowed to climb Huayna Picchu per day. 200 people at 8:00 a.m and 200 people at 10:00 a.m. Tickets sell out quickly. We purchased our tickets in March and there were only 62 tickets left for the desired date in August.
  • The first group of hikers can enter the entrance at 6:00 a.m.
  • Our tour guide will be with us to guide. I am looking forward to learn more about one of the 7 wonders of the world. We'll start with the ruins on the way to the Huayna Picchu, then the actual hike, then the rest of the Machu Picchu ruins. We probably will be done around noon
  • Take the bus back to Aguas Calientes
  • Looking at the picture below, I freak out a little!!! I know it's going to the toughest hike that I will ever experience in my entire life but I also know it will be worth it. I am mentally prepared for it.
Day 5: Heading back to Cusco
  • Take the Expedition 72 PeruRail train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Costs $54 for the train tickets one way
  • The train departs at 8:23 a.m and arrives at 10:52 a.m
  • Have lunch in Ollantaytambo
  • We booked a half day private tour guide as well. Cost: $100. The tour guide will take us to visit Salineras De Maras (the salt fields) and Chincheros to see how the textiles are made. There are many souvenir shops here. This is the best place to buy Peruvian textiles
  • We will be back in Cusco by approximately 6:00 p.m
  • Spend the night in Cusco

Day 6: Travelling back home
  • Travel day - 3 flights (CUZ- LIM, LIM- ATL, ATL- CMH). Total travel time: 19 hours =( 

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