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Machu Picchu
Old 07-10-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
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Machu Picchu

Well I've finally decided to go someplace I've wanted to go for many years now - Machu Picchu in Peru !
Plane tix purchased for next April and currently booking a tour through Marnella Tours of Raleigh NC.
Anyone out there been to MP ? Please tell me about your trip.
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Old 07-10-2007, 11:37 AM   #2
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machu picchu Videos | Online Travel Videos about machu picchu on Travelistic.com

Some good videos, along with a tag to Tony Bourdains trip there. Might give you some ideas.

You might also go to sg's web site and email him. IIRC he's been there a couple of times.
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thanks
Old 07-10-2007, 12:13 PM   #3
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thanks

excellent videos !

What is sg's website ?
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:53 PM   #4
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I hear the mall there is great with a decent food court.
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:04 PM   #5
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Isnt everything commercialized these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennevis View Post
excellent videos !

What is sg's website ?

A former poster...sg aka salaryguru aka sgeeee aka mike golio. Has a particular interest in archeology and IIRC mentioned trips to MP.

Golio Publications

Theres a link there to email him. Unfortunately I cant get the page to display properly in IE or Firefox.

Edit: my recollection seems good:
Things to do before I die...
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:23 PM   #6
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Daughter is there today, so avoid the place: it's overrun with high-school-age Americans.
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:38 PM   #7
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I hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu back in 1995. The hike is well worth the effort, but it can get crowded. Have fun!
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:56 PM   #8
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I hiked there in Sep 2002 -- the shoulder season as it transitions from dry (summer) to wet (winter). If you are hiking:
  • It can rain even in the dry season, so take a poncho and maybe rain pants. We were the only ones in our group who did so, and everyone else got drenched.
  • The groups like to arrive at MP near sunrise (if it isn't raining), for photo ops. This means that the last morning you start about 4 a.m. in the dark -- each person in your group needs an individual headlamp. You have to climb down thousands of steps on the approach to MP -- in the dark this is a little tricky.
  • You have to travel in an organized group. You can rent everything you need from the group, but the rented sleeping bags tend to be cold. Even in the summer, it's cool up there at night (say at 12,500 feet for our second campsite).
  • The usual arrangement for a group is to leave MP (by train) for Cuzco the same day that they arrive -- and the last train is at 4 p.m. This means you only get a few hours touring MP, and that's not enough. You can stay in a nice hotel in Aguas Calientes (the town in the valley below MP) for a reasonable price. The hotel right at the ruins is very expensive. (You take a bus down and up the hill -- unless you want to hike the 2000+ vertical feet.)
  • Tip the porters carrying the stuff well. They depend on it -- I think their base pay is only about $2-3 per day.
  • Don't hike if you are prone to altitude problems -- our group had an English girl with anemia and she fainted at about 14,000 feet elevation. Fortunately it was only temporary, but it was scary.
We had a great (if tiring) time. Don't forget extra camera batteries, toilet paper, powerbars, etc. And there are plenty of other good things to see in Peru. We took the train from Cuzco to Puno on Lake Titicaca, and visited Taquile island there. A very memorable place.
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won't be hiking
Old 07-10-2007, 03:18 PM   #9
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won't be hiking

hiking is not for my wife. We will take the train from Cuzco and the bus from
Aguas Calientes to MP.
Sounds like I should take my golf rain gear even if not hiking !
Also, we'll spend 2 nights in Lima, and 4 nights in Cuzco, with some day tours to Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:04 PM   #10
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We went in 2005. Macchu Picchu is, without a doubt, the absolutely coolest place I have ever been. You know how many times you see the pictures of a place in National Geographic and then go there and it doesn't look as good? That is not Macchu Picchu -- it is way better than the pictures!

If you can swing it, stay at the hotel right outside the gate, rather than down in Aguas Calientes. The reason -- the last bus down the mountain leaves at about 4pm. The first one up the next morning arrives about 10am. In between, you have the entire place to yourself. Only the people in the other 20-25 rooms in the hotel are there. Walking among the ruins when the sun comes up in the morning, when almost no one else is there, is truly incredible.

While I was out walking to the Inca Bridge (you'll learn what that is -- no place for the timid) the morning after our arrival, I came across a young American couple who had hiked up from Aguas Calientes at the crack of dawn. The young fellow asked if I would take their picture with the ruins in the background. While I was doing so, he whipped a ring out of his pocket and asked her to marry him. She said yes. It was a great day all around.

The hotel at the ruins is expensive and often full, but it is well worth the effort. We planned our entire trip around the one night when we could get a room there.

We took the Hiram Bingham train from Ollantaytambo to Macchu Picchu and back. Spend the money to travel in the fancy part of the train. The food is good, the service great and the view magnificent. An interesting thing is the "advance scout bus". It is a Volkwagen bus that has been fitted with railroad wheels. It runs ahead of the train to scout out rock falls and other problems on the way. I thought it was very cool.

In Cusco, we stayed at the Monasterio del Cusco, a 500 year old converted monastery/seminary. It was very nice, the rooms were good and the restaurant was great. Because it is at 11,000 feet elevation, you can have supplemental oxygen piped into your room. We tried it, but found that it made no difference. In general, we did not have much problem with altitude sickness. The first day in the mountains, in Pisac, I got pretty winded while hiking, but after that was not a problem -- although you will be moving slower than you would at home. Often, after climbing a set of stairs at 12,000 feet and pausing to catch a breath, I was amazed to see the local kids playing soccer.

In Lima, we stayed at the Country Club hotel in the heart of the city. Get a cab to take you down to the beaach at the foot of the cliffs. There is a restaurant that sits on a very long pier jutting out into the Pacific. I can't remember the name, but I'm sure the cabbies know it. It has the greatest ceviche. We also got a private tour of the city from a young woman who is an architect. Her father was a Peruvian diplomat, so she grew up in the US and other places. To supplement her income, she gave tours on weekends. We found it very interesting.

If you would like, PM me and I can give more details.

Gumby

P.S. - I would send a picture, but I cannot get one to upload.
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Old 07-11-2007, 05:37 AM   #11
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When we were in Cuzco, my wife bought an alpaca wool sweater from a street vendor. Now she wishes she'd bought 2 more. The wool is so soft and the price was so low ($10 I think).

Also, try the alpaca meat in a restaurant. We really liked it -- sort of like lean peppery beef. I suppose you'll have to try guinea pig, just to say you've done it, but it really isn't anything special.

Aguas Calientes means 'Hot Water' -- there is a hot springs there, so if you're interested, take a bathing suit.

Be careful with your stuff. We didn't have any problems, but a friend had a bag stolen outside a hotel while waiting for a taxi. Someone down the street asked her a question, she took a couple steps towards the person, then turned back to see her day pack gone -- all in about 2 seconds.
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:41 AM   #12
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We did the 4 day hike into Machu Picchu in April 06. The hike and Machu Picchu itself are amazing! It definitely lives up to it's hype. It's too bad you can't convince your wife to do the hike because we really enjoyed it. It's also not conventional backpacking since the porters carry most of your stuff for you. All you do is carry your snacks and water for the day. They carry the tents, bags, cooking stuff, food etc.

We really liked the place we stayed at in Cusco, let me know and I can look it up.

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When we were in Cuzco, my wife bought an alpaca wool sweater from a street vendor. Now she wishes she'd bought 2 more. The wool is so soft and the price was so low ($10 I think).
Excellent point Robert! We bought 2 sets of Alpaca sweaters and really wish we had bought some more. The Peruvians wool caps are very nice as well.

If you have time, see if you can head to Lake Titicaca (by Puno) close to the Bolivian border. It's a 6/7 hour bus ride from Cusco. The lake is incredibly blue because of the altitude and you can see the Bolivian 17k ft mountains in the background. There are several islands on the lake that have some native people you can stay with for a day or two. Very interesting experience. PM me if you need more info.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:40 PM   #13
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Ok, Gumby, you've convinced me.
I've asked the tour operator to set me up in the MP Santuary Lodge just outside the gate.
Watched Travel Channel last night; Samantha Brown was in Cuzco and Machu Picchu - really wetted my appetite for this trip !
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:24 PM   #14
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Order up a dish of cuy while you are there. It's a local favorite.

Look at the "As Food" Section.

Guinea pig - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


CFB - it is probably hazardous to your health to go to Peru... your cousin is on the menu.
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Old 07-12-2007, 09:26 PM   #15
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Awww...bunnies are way cuter and fuzzier than guinea pigs. Guinea pigs smell a bit funny.

And I'm sure I taste a lot better than a dang guinea pig. Go ahead...pull my finger...
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Old 07-21-2007, 02:25 PM   #16
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After a 6 weeks of long hours I have decided it's time to go on an adventure. I decided Machu Picchu has been on my list of places to visit so I went online to look for tickets from Buenos Aires (where I am currently living), low and behold they had a special, and we can fly round trip to Lima for $150. So my girlfriend and I are going to take a trip to Peru in mid-August to have a look around the country and hike up to Machu Picchu.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:53 PM   #17
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Well this is a bummer, I just checked the availability to do the 4 day hike and they are totally sold out for the month of August. I might have to reschedule Peru and go relax and drink some wine in Mendoza.
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:59 PM   #18
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I might have to reschedule Peru and go relax and drink some wine in Mendoza.
Awwwww. (Take me with you!)

Andy, you owe us an account of your travels, advice on living in BA, etc. You are doing what I dream about.
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:17 PM   #19
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I visited Machu Picchu as a 21-year-old in 1966. I then went back with my wife and two of my daughters in January of 2001. I love the place. I have been to 5 of the 7 most recently chosen Wonders of the World, and I would rank Machu Picchu #1 or #2.

In 2001, we stayed in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but I agree with the post about getting there early and staying late. OTOH, we saw about as much as we wanted to in the two days we were there. I hiked Huayna Picchu (the green mountain you see in the background) and loved it. See my picture of Machu Picchu taken from halfway up Huayna Picchu at the end of this post.

Give yourself a couple days to visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley. They are also spectacular!

Don't take the train all the way from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, but rather take a taxi or shuttle from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and then take the train from there on. It's an easier trip that way.

If you see an alpaca rug or a Peruvian doll that you want, buy it! Don't think that you'll see it again later. Oh, and when you barter, don't feel that you have to get down to the rock-bottom price. So what if you pay a few extra bucks, which means almost nothing to your budget but which means a heck of a lot to the budget of a Peruvian? OTOH, don't just accept the first price they offer, because they'll try to rip you off. Check with your guide or with others in your group about reasonable prices for things.

I really hope to go back there again some day.

Machu Picchu from Hayna Picchu




Ruins on the side of Hayna Picchu
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:42 PM   #20
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Nice photos! Here is a really cool image that I saw a while back:
Quote:
Scott Howard's 1,500 Megapixel Machu Picchu Photo

Total Resolution: 1500 MegaPixels (approx 60,000 x 26,000 pixels)
Camera Used: Canon 10D, Canon 100-400L lens
Total Photos Used: 404 (95% at 400mm, 5% at 100mm)
Time to take Photos: 65 minutes
Software Used to Create Image: Autopano Pro using SmartBlend
Time to Render Image:
Approx 11 hours
Final Image Size: 13.5 GB!
Web Viewer Software: Zoomify, with 31,805 demand-loaded images
Notes: This shot was taken at the end of the 4 day, 42km walk along the Inca Trail carrying over 10kg of camera equipment for the primary purpose of taking this photo!

Scott Howard's 1,500 Megapixel Machu Picchu Photo
Try zooming into the people (see attachment). It's really amazing how much detail is available.
Attached Images
File Type: gif zoom in.gif (115.8 KB, 21 views)
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