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Need help for Machu Picchu trip!

ramon2006 924 4,113 March 14, 2016 at 11:02 PM
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Anyone here that has been there?

Planning a trip this coming June and just wanted to ask
1. Can we finish Machu Picchu in one day? Do we need to visit/explore the town of Aguas Calientes?
2. Will altitude sickness be a real factor here? Should we stay in Cusco first to acclimatize?
3. Can we just hire someone as a tour guide when we arrive there?

Thank you in advance

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#2
Yes, you can finish Machu Picchu in one day. Aguas Calientes is a tourist trap and not very interesting or pretty. I suggest you stay in the town of Ollantaytambo instead and take the train to Machu Picchu from there. It is a nice small town that has ruins and is convenient for day trips like the salt mines (Salinas) and Moray. You can hire a driver for the day at a good rate to take you to both and back.
We stayed in the Albergue Hotel which is actually in the train station and is a very nice hotel, look it up on Trip Advisor. Catch an early morning train directly to Machu Picchu and an evening train back.

Local tour guides offered their services at the ruins but we did just fine with a map.

Make sure to book tickets (train and Machu Picchu) before you go if you are traveling in the summer. If you pay in US dollars make sure the bills do not have the tiniest tear or they won't accept them.

As for altitude Machu Picchu is lower than Cuzco. You will need to fly in to Cuzco and then arrange for transportation to the town you are staying at (our hotel did that for us). I would not suggest staying in Cuzco first; you need to slowly acclimate to the altitude. I myself suffered from a horrible migraine and nausea just from arriving at Cuzco! My son got bad nosebleeds. Drink lots of water, eat light and give yourself a day to take it easy.
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#3
1. Machu Pichu is a full day activity, but I agree with mags, Aguas Calientes is a crap hole...stay anywhere else. But, definitely take the train!
2. I was sick as a dog in Cuzco and Pichu. In Cuzco they kept the coca tea coming (completely legal there), very mild, but helps A LOT with altitude sickness.
3.I would highly recommend against anything guided. Read the guide books and explore. But, realize that if you tailor an entire trip around Machu Pichu (though it may be spectacular) you may be let down a little. There is a lot to do in Peru, from the Amazon to Lovers Beach in Lima. I highly suggest picking a few things to do while you are down there.

Also, try the cuye! Nowhere else in the world do they serve you guinea pig and call it a specialty. They are available all over Cuzco.
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