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Well, that is the name the Lonely Planet gives a route that sticks to the UNESCO circut to the East and South. I found it to be a very fitting name. If you are going to follow it then do it on your own and stay away from the countless tour operator (aside from a few day trips) that you can pick up for cheap if you bargain with them and are pressed for time. This place is so geared for tourism that it almost feels fake at times..kinda like Cairo if you never get out of the tour groups and see the city on your own.
Unique Suggestions: Plan your own trips. You can buy just about anything there so no need to pre-purchase anything in the states except for your plane ride to/from home.
Fun Alternatives: Be flexible and talk to the locals. Dual pricing is big here as in most places. My girl friend went out her way to feed the stay dogs in Cuzco that the locals seem to ignore. They were not mean and were more gentle than our own dog at home. A local begger growled at us for not giving the food to him but he had a gut and the dog was skinny enough to where you could see his rib cage.
Updated Nov 29, 2009
It's a wonder of the world and a tourist trap all at the same time. Yes it's definitely worth going, but you can do it all in one day. You have to pay about US $80 each day to get in, with no discount for multiple days. The best way is to get the train from Cusco and arrive any time in Aguas Calientes, spend the night, and get one of the first buses up to MP in the morning. They start around 6a. You'll beat the crowds arriving on the trains, see lots of animals out in the early morning, and it's absolutely beautiful in the mist and early morning light. Spend an entire day, hike to Intipunku, and get an evening train back to Cusco.
Unique Suggestions: Bring your own food and water. The MP Lodge operates a snack bar by the entrance and it's very expensive...bottled water about US $4. They even charge to use the bathroom there!
Written Aug 5, 2009
When we visited Sacsayhuaman, as a short day tour from Cuzco while waiting for the « camino Inca » trek, we met a self proclaimed guide. Altough we didn’t really wanted him, we listened to what he had to say. A part of it which impressed me much was when he brought us to a low circle of rocks. He asked for a volunteer to go to the middle. Against my will, I was designed. He asked me to speak. Then, he asked me if “I felt the force of the location”… Hum, I felt nothing and I was not at all impressed by this classic sound effect at the center of the circle : the Greeks built their theatre this way many centuries ago. I mean : this is sound architecture, but not at all a proof of a so called “powerful sacred location”
But, the guide kept on, telling us that Pizzarro defeated a way larger Inca’s army because the Incas believed he was a God. From the start, I wondered about such an explanation. Didn’t make more sense than his previous “sacred force”. Only many years afterward did I discover that this story was made popular by an American historian named William Prescott. Well, this nice man, almost blind, did an incredible work to gather and synthesize an history of Peru after his “history of Mexico”. At the time, it was a real step forward in history, with the study of many archives.
But, today’s historians do not put much stress on this theory. One have to know the important fact that there was a rude war of succession just before Pizzarro met Atahualpa. Many people were unhappy with the rule of the Incas. The Spanish weapons gave them a large advantage in open land combat.
This theory of Conquistadores winning Peru because the Incas saw them as Gods did not originated from Prescott. But the man fostered it and the large popularity of his book made it widely believed. It is still a bit sad that a Peruvian will relay this short sighted explanation.
Updated Jun 3, 2008
Be willing to go a little further. Know as much of the worst things, be willing to trust locals, show no fear but always be aware of the possible outcomes. The people are on the whole very nice and will share experience with you, not normally seen, only for your honesty and willingness to show interest.
Unique Suggestions: Show fear.
Fun Alternatives: Go to somewhere else!
Written May 28, 2008
all cities in peru have shops for locals and the tourist shops,my friend and i played the gringo tax game,where as in the local markets i would stop and check out the price for an item then she would come up and ask about the same item and we would see how much the price difference was between the gringo and the local,tip is allways go with a local if at all possible to avoid the high price of being a gringo
Unique Suggestions: all the people ai met were very friendly and would go out of there way to make you welcome,and would go shopping with you to avoid you paying the gringo tax
Fun Alternatives: shop in regular stores where the prices are marked
Written May 18, 2008
At Cusco, Peru we booked a package trip to the inca trail and machu pichu. The trip was a one day trip to the inca trail by bus going to Pisac, and ollantatambo and then connect by train to aguas caliente for machupichu. The package included a 2 night stay at aguas caliente and when we landed there we found the hotel to be a crappy hostel. We arraived late at night so we could not even change it till next day.
Unique Suggestions: If you get the package, exclude the hotel and then when you get there, find your own. You will have no trouble finding a decent hotels in aguas caliente.
Written Jan 3, 2008
Being always positive and leading a healthy style of life, I could not believe I would have any problems with my breathing or with my stomach when I reach Peru. I have heard that every tourist experienced altitude sickness in Peru during first two days as there is not enough air to breathe high in the mountains. However, The terrible headache and diarrhea that accompanied me during my first week in Peru made me to believe in what I have heard.
Altitude sickness usually disappears as soon as the tourists go through acclimatization and adjust to the height. However, this altitude sickness is a little bit tricky. The altitude in Pery varies due to changes in landscape. ( Lima-about 2000 above the sea level, while Cusco is at 3500 above the sea) The altitude change results in headaches, problems with breathing and diarrhea Whenever a person moves from one city to another, he/she experiences problems with health as the altitude changes. Taken from Canada medicine-Imodium- didn’t help. You have to buy a special medicine in Peru.
Written Sep 13, 2007
I don't really know who is collecting all the money from tourists visiting Machu Picchu, but it is quite an amount. The ingoing fee is only 20$, but everything is organizated so that you have to pay everywhere royal prices from Cusco to MP, and back. When I noticed this, I cancelled my plans to visit MP. And I think I had the right, because Peru is not only MP.
Unique Suggestions: Look for all the information about Inca Trail and prepare to walk a lot. If you have plenty of time (or money!!!), there will be no problem.
Fun Alternatives: There are so many other attractive and more archeologically valuable places, Kuelap, el Brujo, Huaca de la Luna, etc... And still more undiscovered. So I'll suggest you try to discover own archeological archeological monuments, and get your name on the newspapers! You can do as Hiram Bingham did, he was asking the locals where could be some archeological monuments. Of course locals knew Machu Picchu, and they were advising him. So he was not really discovering Machu Picchu, but he was "el primer gringo" there.
By the way, many volunteers are needed for conserving old archeological monuments all over Peru. Make contact to archeologic societies!
Updated Jan 22, 2007
The beggers are always there, looking so poor and desperate that how could you go by without giving a dime, or two!? But in reality, they may be more wealthy than you!!! Generally, you may see the beggers in the wealthy or tourist places, as in the center of towns, or in San Isidro, Lima.
Written Dec 19, 2006
I am 80 years old and I am very contented of to have fulfilled a dream to go to the Inca Trail, my two children before did with SAS travel but when I consult by a space they do not had, now I have been able to find by recommendation of a friend to company ALL TREK TOUR OPERATOR (www.alltrekcusco.com) I am fascinated by the route and also by to have enjoyed the high meals but in my life and the marvillosos guides, I am recommending to this company is very good.
Written Nov 2, 2006
7 Reviews and 435 Opinions We did not stay here, but it was pointed out to us as the hotel used for some of the VIPs that came...
Hotel Monasterio Cusco Cusco
8 Reviews and 631 Opinions We didnt really think of coming here until we started mapping out a plan of our independant walking...
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