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Should we go to Machu Picchu too?
Old 04-17-2017, 04:55 AM   #1
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Should we go to Machu Picchu too?

DW and I are already pretty set on taking a (probably) once in a lifetime trip for a 16 day, professionally led photography workshop to Patagonia, home to some of the most awe inspiring landscapes on the planet. It is over $6K per person, but we can use airline miles to get most of the way there. It is pretty inclusive after that.

What I am really pondering is, if we are going to be "in the neighborhood" so to speak, should we spend another $2K or more to visit Machu Picchu. I know it is a large site in a rare mountain setting. However, we have seen a lot of ancient stone built sites - castles, Mayan ruins, smaller stone age cities, etc. Is one more worth the added expense? I have some input from friends and family but thought I would also try "the community". What say you?
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:04 AM   #2
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We thought along the same lines when we went to the Galapagos in May, Machu Picchu to us was just to close to pass up. Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, the train, the trail it is't just the destination, but the journey getting there.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:09 AM   #3
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I say do it! and bring me with you.
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Old 04-17-2017, 06:41 AM   #4
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Tough call. If I were younger, had the money, and going solo, I wouldn't think twice. Of course I'd go! Now, DW would be exhausted after three days, let alone 16; and I've noticed that I can only put up with so many museums, or similar experiences, before getting bored. I'd hate to risk getting bored and blasé about Macchu Piccu.

If DW is legitimately excited, and you are both honestly up for that much traveling, then I say go. Just pace yourself and keep a serene mindset to avoid burning out the first couple of weeks. I believe it's a better risk to not have a great, yet still epic trip, than to short yourself that opportunity.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:02 AM   #5
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I've been there twice and would definitely recommend it. The altitude is high though and taking extra time to adjust makes it more pleasant. The Sacred Valley is worth the trip all on its own.

One option would be to set up your own extension since you will be there anyway and take a little more time. I found it easy to arrange for local guides once there, though I booked hotels in advance.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:52 AM   #6
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I'd hesitate to make it a "throw in" to a 16 day Patagonia trip. There is so much to see and cover. (We are allotting 8 weeks to Peru this Sept/Oct, 3-4 weeks of which will be at altitude, and fear that we are cutting it too close...)

When is the trip? If 2017, you may be too late for Inca trail reservations....
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:54 AM   #7
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I've always wanted to see Machu Picchu, but I probably never will, mostly due to expense. I've seen quite a few historic sites in the USA, Europe and parts of Asia - and they never get old, it's not if you've seen one, you've seen them all IMO. But whether you should see it or not, depends on you alone.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cooch96 View Post
If DW is legitimately excited, and you are both honestly up for that much traveling, then I say go.
This makes sense to me. I'm fine with being away from home for a month or so, but DW can't tolerate more than two weeks. You have to know your limitations. No reason you couldn't do another trip later.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:36 AM   #9
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I would definitely recommend Machu Picchu but whether you do it as an addition to your Patagonia trip or separately depends on your situation. When I did it, I suffered from a day of mild altitude sickness in Cusco which is at about 13,000 ft. altitude. Machu Picchu is considerably lower and I had no problem there.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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If money is a concern then I would do it. You are not getting any younger. I also have a limit of how long I want to be away from home. I reached my limit last year. Everything was blaze after 4 months. Never again. I will try 2 months max now.
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by grasshopper View Post
We thought along the same lines when we went to the Galapagos in May, Machu Picchu to us was just to close to pass up. Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu, the train, the trail it is't just the destination, but the journey getting there.
+1

In '88 we hiked the trail to macchu picchu, a somewhat grueling 3 day backpack that takes you through deep valleys, peaks, and a lot of jungle. Along the way it has numerous ruins and structures. You really get a sense of how skilled these inca civil engineers were. Amazing where they put things. It is truly the best way to get there, but it takes committment and a level of fitness. We bought some coca leaves in the market and chewed on them through the hike. They helped a lot with the soroche (altitude sickness), and gave us some extra energy for those hard sections. Made tea from them nightly in our camps. Unfortunately most people take the train and miss out on the entire journey.
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Old 04-17-2017, 12:46 PM   #12
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We haven't been to Machu Picchu but remember that the Galapagos is also "in the neighborhood" and is a spectacular trip, especially for photography. Tourism is slowing ruining the place, though, so going sooner rather than later would be a good idea.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:08 PM   #13
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Machu Picchu is on my short list. I'd go in a second.
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Old 04-17-2017, 03:42 PM   #14
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If I were you, I would not make it part of this trip--stick to the original itinerary as it seems pretty long and the ruins in Peru could blend right in with Patagonia, diluting both experiences. But talk to the trip organizers and see what they say. DH is a big fan of killing two birds with one stone when it comes to travel and the results are often exhausting

Perhaps a future trip: A friend used a groupon from this site www.gate1travel.com for ten days to Peru for less than $2K per person including r/t airfare from Chicago (the groupon saved only $200, so not a big deal).
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:07 PM   #15
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If you are in good shape I would go now .You never know what next year will bring .
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:08 PM   #16
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Do it! It is an experience of a lifetime. If you are up to it, climb the trail to Aya Picchu, the mountain.
Also, if you are taking the train from Cuzco to MP, sit on the left side, so you can see the Urubamba River. If you sit on the right side, you will see nothing but rocks!
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:20 PM   #17
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It's on my list, I briefly investigated but went to Vietnam this past Feb instead.

Is there a way to drive or train all the way to the top?

Have no interest in doing extreme hikes.

I just got back from Mallorca and there were a lot of seniors riding bicycles in the hilly roads. I got to the same places they were going fine in a rental car. I was interested in the place, not doing some cardio-vascular challenge on a vacation.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:33 PM   #18
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There is a bus that takes you from the train station up to the entrance up a switchback road
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:34 PM   #19
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It's on my list, I briefly investigated but went to Vietnam this past Feb instead.

Is there a way to drive or train all the way to the top?

Have no interest in doing extreme hikes.

I just got back from Mallorca and there were a lot of seniors riding bicycles in the hilly roads. I got to the same places they were going fine in a rental car. I was interested in the place, not doing some cardio-vascular challenge on a vacation.


There is a very nice and modern train from near Cusco that takes you to Aguas Calientes at the base. From there, buses take you up to the ruins. One needs advance reservations.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:35 PM   #20
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DW and I are already pretty set on taking a (probably) once in a lifetime trip for a 16 day, professionally led photography workshop to Patagonia, home to some of the most awe inspiring landscapes on the planet. It is over $6K per person, but we can use airline miles to get most of the way there. It is pretty inclusive after that.

What I am really pondering is, if we are going to be "in the neighborhood" so to speak, should we spend another $2K or more to visit Machu Picchu. I know it is a large site in a rare mountain setting. However, we have seen a lot of ancient stone built sites - castles, Mayan ruins, smaller stone age cities, etc. Is one more worth the added expense? I have some input from friends and family but thought I would also try "the community". What say you?
By now you probably know that Macchu Picchu isn't just more ruins to wander through. It's quite amazing and spectacular. So, I am thinking the following:

You want to go.
You can afford to go.
You have the time to go.
You aren't getting any younger, and there are some physically demanding things to do there that perhaps you won't be able to do when you are 75 (like walk the Inca Trail).
If you don't go, you will always wonder if maybe you should have done that.

Seems crystal clear to me... GO!!! And have a great time.
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