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  #1  
Old 07-11-2014, 10:51 PM
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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Has anyone done this? I just booked my flight to Peru for the end of May 2015 and will be fulfilling one of my bucket list inclusions by hiking the trail.

Not sure whether it's worth spending a couple of days in Lima or seeing more of the Cuzco area.

Any tips please? I've Googled a lot already but am just curious if anyone on here has any opinions.

Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:05 PM
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Stay in Cuzco for a few days to acclimatise.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:35 PM
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The guide books warn you about altitude sickness, alcohol and breathing difficulties. It's bollocks. I've got asthma and got absolutely shitfaced on the first day in Cuzco and suffered no ill effects. Having said that I got a stomach bug and vomited copious amounts of green stuff on Machu Piccu. **** trekking, get the train.
Eat grilled guinea pig ('cuy') while you're out there. Tastes a bit like hamster but bigger.
Nazca lines were a bit shite.
Stay a few days in Lima. It was a while back but I seem to remember a ton of bars and great nights out in Miraflores. Top place.
I should be a travel writer.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:17 AM
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How many days have you got in Peru?

Plus, are you visiting Chile?
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:46 AM
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Crap I'm drunk! I read that as Ince trial to Machu Picchu!

I was thinking I thought he just went to Notts Forest on loan!
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:22 AM
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They're trying to restrict tourist access. Check in advance, you have to buy tickets that are available to very few and get there early.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:17 AM
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Altitude is very unpredictable in the effect it will have on people, age and fitness aren't always the main factors and even the same people can be effected different at different times. Beyond that it depends what you want to do I spose, not visited myself but I would imagine Cuzco will have more in the way of ancient sites and mountain landscapes.

There is also more than one Inca trail, one option if you had extra time could be the High Inca trail that passes right under Salcantay(6200 meter mountain covered in glaciers) although I would guess that needs a proper tour to do safely unless you very experienced(goes almost 5000 meters up).
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:17 AM
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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Misread thread title as: Ince on trial at Machu Picchu. Seemed plausible.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:45 AM
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Cuzco over Lima all day long. If you do stay in Lima make sure you stay in Miraflores.

I rated the Nazca lines although worth getting in and out of town ASAP as it's a dump.

If you've got the time a trip to Arequipa and the Colca canyon is well worth it.
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:32 AM
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As Cusco is higher altitude than Machu Picchu you may as well acclimatise when you get there, over a few Piscos, and miss Cusco as it ain't much.

Didn't do the trail but talking to people who did, it is knackering in parts and you can miss the scenery as you stare at your feet to try and avoid missing a step on the narrow bits.

I liked Lima and want to return especially to try some restaurants/bars etc in the Barranco district.

I missed doing the Sacred Valley in Peru which many said was a good accompaniment to Machu Picchu.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:48 PM
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Cusco is definitely better than Lima, plus you can acclimatise whilst there.

Arequipa is nice for a couple of days. Nazca was okay for a flight over the lines - you can literally get a night bus to the town, get an early morning flight over the lines and then get a but out in the afternoon/evening if you want!

I really enjoyed Lake Titicaca if you have time to get there. Head to Puno and do a trip to see the floating reed islands on the lake.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:14 PM
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They're trying to restrict tourist access. Check in advance, you have to buy tickets that are available to very few and get there early.
Restrict is not quite the word. Limit is better. I understand for ecological reason there is a cap to the number of visitors. Although I'm not sure whether this exists to protect the site (and the walks) or to get foreigners to pay exceesive fees because they ahve to book in advance.

Not as many people as you would expect take the 4 day walk option. Most go up for the day. I suspect it shouldn't be too hard to book on the 4 dayer. Make sure you look around and compare prices - and make sure you get a seat on the train back to Cusco.

There is also a longer walk to get there, taking in more of the sacred valley - seven days I think - Craig David did it.

There are also a couple of great train options - one to Machu Picchu from Cusco, another from Cusco to Puno (Lake Titicaca), and another from Cusco going towards one of the Andes sources of The Amazon if you want to take a first look at jungle. There's a train website - I'll dig it out later.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:37 PM
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This time last year I was just finishing the Inca trail. Some thoughts.

I suffered form altitude sickness quite badly. I met up with a group of people who had been in South America for a few months, whilst I had flown straight into La Paz in Bolivia. Through my time in Peru I suffered in varying degrees from altitude sickness. Apparently there are tablets you can buy beforehand which may help. Otherwise it's buying coco leaves and chewing on them and coco tea, but to be honest I didn't find it worked. Unfortunately on the Inca trail I was violently ill and can only put it down to eating something dodgy just before the trail started.

There's the classic Inca Trail but I walked an alternative trail. Speaking to various people the classic inca trail can be quite full of tourists. The trail we walked was a trail way off the beaten path and we didn't see any other tourists, and maybe only a handful of shepherds. Either trail you have to be relatively fit.

Machu Picchu. Wow! Amazing. You will not be dissapointed.

There are so many other amazing ruins worth visiting. Ollantaytambo is worth a visit and not far from Machu Picchu.

From visiting both Lima and Cuzco definitely spend more time in Cuzco.

Here's me at Machu Picchu. As I said you will not be dissapointed.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:03 PM
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Go up huena pichu (opposite Jesus in photo above) - good fun and great views across the site.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:48 PM
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Lima was a dump, Cusco is a nice town well worth a few days and a visit to the Pisco museum is a must. The Sacred Valley is not to be missed and then you can take the train up to Machu Pichu. Going up Huena Pichu needs a bit or oganising as they limit the amount of people each day. I think you need to get there early to put your name on the list. I was too late.

Also speak to a local company Go to Peru, they were brilliant and arranged all our connections for us. Their organising saved us few wasted days and they get better rates in hotels than Joe Public. It also helps that they are all from Peru. Nazca Lines were pretty awesome but for the extra travelling I'd give them a miss unless you have loads of time there.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:36 AM
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Poor Lima. It's getting some bad press on here! Relative to some other places I've been so far it's got a good few things going for it. However, the basic issue is that you do Peru to do the ancient sights. If you just take in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and maximise your time drinking those in, then that is a good trip. I'll add to TAKs recommendation of Go to Peru who did an ace job sorting out all the travel including pickups at airports. If you want to do a few places and see the country and have the time then you could ask them to include coach trips as these have 1st class facilities that are a very comfortable way to travel while inevitably involving long road journeys.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:52 AM
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Honestly if it was me I would visit Machu Picchu via train then do some trekking in Northern Peru around Huaraz.

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Old 09-11-2014, 11:46 PM
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OK I think I'm decided here, thank you for the replies...differing opinions but from TripAdvisor, here, and other sites I think I'll go straight to Cusco. I am a bit worried about the altitude, although I live at 5,312 ft, it's nowhere near the 11,152 ft that Cusco stands at but also I guess it's not as drastic as coming from sea level!

Once again everybody's opinion is very much appreciated, I'm extremely excited to go in May.
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Old 10-11-2014, 07:07 AM
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OK I think I'm decided here, thank you for the replies...differing opinions but from TripAdvisor, here, and other sites I think I'll go straight to Cusco. I am a bit worried about the altitude, although I live at 5,312 ft, it's nowhere near the 11,152 ft that Cusco stands at but also I guess it's not as drastic as coming from sea level!

Once again everybody's opinion is very much appreciated, I'm extremely excited to go in May.
The sacred valley is a bit lower, a lot of people fly in and stay there for the first day or two.
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Old 10-11-2014, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by welshneil View Post
OK I think I'm decided here, thank you for the replies...differing opinions but from TripAdvisor, here, and other sites I think I'll go straight to Cusco. I am a bit worried about the altitude, although I live at 5,312 ft, it's nowhere near the 11,152 ft that Cusco stands at but also I guess it's not as drastic as coming from sea level!

Once again everybody's opinion is very much appreciated, I'm extremely excited to go in May.
Definitely back the idea of Cuzco over Lima, in terms of aesthetic appeal. Re altitude sickness, I got it pretty badly but I think I was over-confident and ate too much rich food.

Overall, though, I think you'll love it. Machu Picchu is one famous site that has to be seen as photos simply don't do it justice.
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