excursion to Macchu Picchu

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137 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Has anyone done the 2 or 3 day excursion from Lima to Macchu Picchu with Princess before? what was it like, how were the travelling arrangements, did anyone get sick with the altitude?

thanks in advance
The Beautiful California Central Coast
1,805 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
We took this excursion in 2003 but in the other direction, leaving the ship in San Martin and returning to it in Lima (Callao). We were on a charter flight (on a 727) to Cuzco. We were allowed one carry-on bag for this excursion. The altitude hits you right away when you get off the plane. Just move slowly. We were taken to our hotel (the Monesterio - excellent!) and offered coca tea. Drink the tea as it supposedly helps with the altitude.

After checking in we were given a tour of Cuzco. I did fine, but my wife was suffering a bit from the altitude. After the tour we went back to the hotel for dinner. It was our anniversary, however my wife couldn't handle the altitude and went to bed. I had a nice dinner with a bunch of strangers.

The next morning comes very early - 4am or so. You'll have a wake up call so you can be taken to the train for the ride to Aguas Calientes. At Aguas Calientes you walk through town to catch a bus to take you up to Macchu Picchu. Cuzco is at 10000 ft, the train takes you to 12000 ft, Aguas Calientes is at 7000 ft and Macchu Picchu is at 8000 ft.

You tour MP in the morning, have lunch at the cafeteria and if you choose can go back into MP after lunch for an hour or so. My wife had no problems altitude-wise at MP.

After MP, you're taken back down the hill to Aguas Caliente where you walk through town and all of the vendors back to the train station. After the train back to Cuzco you're taken back to the hotel. I think we got back around 7pm. It's a very lonnnnng day.

The next day you get up early again (but not as early as the day before) and head for the airport. For us we flew to Lima and had a city tour there before we headed back to the ship.

While the excursion was very expensive, I'm glad we went. MP is a place I wanted to see ever since I saw a picture of it in the 6th grade.

I don't want to minimize to altitude problems. My wife had some minor difficulties with it. For her it was mostly nausea and headaches. Others had this problem. For one man on the tour it was much more serious. He had seizures in Cuzco and then on the plane returning to Lima (he was sitting one row in front of us). One of the nurses from the ship was with us on the excursion and was very helpful in this situation. I don't know what happened to him after we returned to the ship.

I hope this helps.

Berner Oberland, Switzerland
1,767 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Thanks for the review.
We're thinking of doing MP independently pre-cruise in Mar 2007 before boarding the Regal in Lima. I found a local tour company on the internet and have a quote for a two night/ three day package (how does this compare to Princess? Any comments from anyone?):

Daily departure from Lima (groups of 20-25 people)

Price per person US$751 based on Double occupancy
Flight tickets included
Lima - Cusco
Cusco - Lima

You will be picked up from your Hotel in Lima and transferred to the Lima
airport for the flight to Cuzco (airfare included). Upon arrival, you will
be met and driven to Picoaga Hotel (or similar). In the afternoon, there is
a sightseeing tour of Cuzco and the surrounding valley, including the ruins
of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Tambomachay. (No meals)

All day excursion by train to Machu Picchu. At 5:45 am you will leave the
hotel to the station to take the 6:00 am train. Travel is in "Vistadome"
Class (formerly "Autowagon"). At 9:40 a.m., you will arrive at the Aguas
Calientes Station, from where you take a 20 minute bus ride to the ruins of
Machu Picchu. Once there, you will have a guided tour, with an English
speaking professional guide. The ruins are on the eastern slope of Machu
Picchu in two separate arcas: the agricultural and the urban. Lunch at the
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (included). Return to Cuzco in the afternoon
train and transfer to Picoaga hotel (breakfast and lunch included).

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for the return flight to Lima
(airfare included) upon arrival reception and transfer to the Callao Port
(only to entrance to the port)- end of our services (breakfast).

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Florida's Gulf Coast
1,542 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We also took this tour with Princess, leaving the ship in Lima and returning in Manta. Jim gave a pretty good description of our tour, and let me add that Princess did a great job with the tour, but it's very, very active. We stayed at the hotel El Libertador in Cusco, and it was quite nice. If I could do it again, I would take a seperate trip and spend a few days at Machu Picchu, but if you don't see yourself getting that close again, by all means take this excursion. They're planning to close the pueblo to the public within the next five years, so get while the getting's good.

One thing that was unfortunate for us was that our 9:00 a.m. flight from Lima to Cusco was delayed until afternoon, so instead of the three hours to rest and acclimate in Cusco, we launched right into a very active tour. One of the gentlemen on the tour collapsed in the tour bus and later passed away. They had oxygen available in the hotel lobby, and I saw quite a few people making use of it. Just remember to take it easy. I think the lack of time to lie down and rest made the difference.

Where will you rejoin the ship? Our return trip took three flights - Cusco to Lima, Lima to Quito, and Quito to Manta. We were treated to a nice tour of Quito and lunch.

All in all, exhausting, but well worth it. Everything was included in the price, and the train ride, while long, was quite scenic. As we were climbing down in altitude, you could just feel yourself getting better. Climbing back out again was a nice way to adjust to the altitude. No one reported problems the second night in Cusco or during the tour in Quito which is about the same elevation as Cusco.
Florida's Gulf Coast
1,542 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Not to follow-up on myself, Aclay, but we were posting at the same time! The tour you've been quoted sounds pretty close to the Princess tour at half the price.
Chicago, IL
352 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
My significant other and I took this tour with Holland America as a pre-cruise excursion in 2001. It was expensive to be sure, but as far as natural beauty, it is the greatest thing I have seen on this earth. Even if Machu Pichu wasn't there, just being in the Andes would have been enough!

The day we were to fly in from Lima, it was raining in Cuzco, and our flight couldn't go. There is only one train a day from Cuzco and we had missed it, so our enterprising guide got a hellicopter that could accomodate 25 people. We flew to Cuszo the next AM and took the helicopter to Agua Calienta and then the bus to Machu Pichu.

Other than some vendors in China, the vendors at Agua Caliente were the most aggressive I've eve encountered. If you say you will buy something later, or when you return, they will not forget you!

I did have a problem with the altitude. When we arrived in Cuzco, my legs felt like lead! I was OK at Machu Pichu, but when we went to the hotel for the night, I felt ill and had to take some oxygen. I found it very amusing that the bellman came to my room to administer the oxygen, but apparently everyone in the hotel knows how to do it.

We were sorry we didn't have the opportunity to tour Cuzco, but as for weather, man proposes, God disposes.

I only want to say I would take this trip again on aoment's notice.
Florida's Gulf Coast
1,542 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by yiddishkopf

Other than some vendors in China, the vendors at Agua Caliente were the most aggressive I've eve encountered. If you say you will buy something later, or when you return, they will not forget you!
LOL, I, too, thought these were the most aggressive vendors I'd ever seen, at least until I'd exited Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios (they will actually grab you).

When I looked at the photos I took of that market, I saw so many things I might have purchased had I not been so busy fleeing the vendors. There was an Indian market they took us to in Cusco that had many of the same items without the hassle.
The Beautiful California Central Coast
1,805 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Oh yes, the vendors. They were pretty aggressive in Cuzco, especially the ones selling art work. They know everywhere you're going, so each time you step on or off a bus they're there. The funny part is the aliases they use to get your attention. "Kevin Costner" was probably the most aggressive with "Sean Connery" a distant second.

The tour company Princess used for our excursion was Condor Travel. They can be found at http://www.condortravel.com/.

Santa Clara, CA
397 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
I would recommend booking your own trip before/after the cruise and spending one night in Aquas Calienties and another in the Sacred Valley. We went on a land based trip for 3 weeks and I really think if you try to see it all in one day you will regret it. I am sure you can find an agency to arrange things for you. The agency we went through made all arrangements for us, with people to pick us up at airports and take us to hotels. Pictures can't do justice to the beauty of the area. If you are fit, you might hike Huyana (sp?) Picchu at the far end of Machu. My son and husband did the hike, and while it was strenuous (and a little frightening) the views were incredible.
Florida's Gulf Coast
1,542 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Patty's right, I wish we had more time, and I would have loved to stay at Aguas Calienties. The pueblo was packed in the hours between 10:00 and 3:00 when all the train people (us included) were there. I've heard it's so much better when it clears out. Also, I'm sure it would be lovely at either sunrise or sunset (better pictures too). I would have loved to see the Sacred Valley as well. I was traveling with my mother, and we knew she wouldn't likely ever make it back. I wasn't sure I would either before they close it.
Perth Australia
201 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
As someone who visits peru regularly - my wife is peruvian, in addition i am a climber and have to say it is crazy to do MP in these three day tours. I have seen many a person have their vacation ruined by trying such things. You need to spend at least 24 hours in Cuzco doing nothing in order to aclimatise to the altitude.
The last time we were there, some people we met on the plane ignored the advice and went out exploring that day. The result was they came down with altitude sickness and were stuck in bed untill they could get back own to a lower level.
There is no way of guessing who will suffer. I have never, even though i was brought up at sea level, but my wife suffered badly last time and she is from a family who live in the northern andeas at 17000!!

(Make sure you try the Cui (guinea pig and the local dish)
Denver, Colorado
29 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
We are going on the Crown this Fall. Does any one know of an independant tour to Machu Pichu? The ship's excursion is $2,400 a person!
Aliso Viejo, CA
41,929 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I was on the Star Princess in March 2013 from Santiago to SF. We were delayed getting into Lima by hours due to fog and those on the Princess MP tour missed their flight. They flew out the next day so their tour was shortened considerably. They said it was worth it.

Some friends on this cruise did a pre-cruise to MP with Adios Adventure Travel and said it was excellent. They caught up with us for our pre-cruise to Galapagos with the same company. We also did a day tour with Adios in Lima that was excellent even though it was delayed due to the fog and ship arriving hours late.

The owner of Adios is American and everything was done in $. http://www.adiosadventuretravel.com
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Broadbeach Queensland Australia
661 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
We flew back to Lima after our cruise last year and did an excellent tour with Adventures to Peru. Top reviews on TripAdvisor and run by an American, Sean. Fantastic price and he will run the tour with 2 perons for no extra charge. It was the best tour we have ever done!
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Wherever there is water, a boat and the wind!
1,239 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Kendoman
We are going on the Crown this Fall. Does any one know of an independant tour to Machu Pichu? The ship's excursion is $2,400 a person!
We considered doing Machu Picchu as a ship excursion during our South America/Panama Canal cruise several years ago, but because of the cost and time away from the ship, we decided to take an extra week and do it on our own. For less than the cost of the three day ship's excursion, we had a full week in Peru and Chile. We spent three days in Cusco, the most often used transfer point into Machu Picchu. We stayed at the very nice Libertador Palacio del Inka Cusco for three nights to get acclimated to the elevation (it is close to sea level where we live, a difference of several thousand feet). While there we wandered around this wonderful city, and enjoyed a private tour excursion around the area one afternoon. Then we took the Hiram Bingham luxury train to Aquas Caliente, the town at the base of the mountain that Machu Picchu is on. The train ride is truely spectacular, and this train is very luxurious. With less than 90 passengers, gourmet food, included drinks and lively entertainment, the train trip itself was worth taking. We visited Machu Piccu that afternoon with a private guide. watched the sunset from a great vantage point, then checked into the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, another beautiful hotel with a nature preserve as part of the property. A second day on Maccu Picchu, including the sunset this time, and we headed back to our hotel in Cusco before catching an early plane the next day to Santiago and a one night stay at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. This hotel was just OK, so I won't recommend it. The next day we headed out to Valparaiso - where the ship docks - and stayed at the Hotel Manoir Atkinson for one night, a small seven room boutique hotel overlooking the bay. If you stay here, ask for room #7, the "Magie et Horizons (Magic & Horizons)" suite. With a private balcony with views on all three sides of Valparaiso and the harbor, this room is a wonderful way to get yourself psyched for your cruise!

All flights, transfers with private cars, hotels, private Cusco excursion, round trip train ride, and two day Maccu Picchu visit with private guide, was organized by our TA. The total cost for these seven days was less than the ship's excursion - and we didn't miss out on three days away from the ship and our stateroom, which you still pay for even though you aren't aboard.

This resulted in two very different days and experiences on Maccu Picchu instead of just the few, quick hours the ship excursion would have allowed for.
SAn Bruno California
1,510 Posts
Joined May 2000
I agree with Patty. Do this before or after the cruise. We did this on the Ocean in February and I wished I hadnt. To little time at the site, too expensive and too exhausting. Do your self s favor and pass unless you can book your own tour before or after the cruise.

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Elite Cruiser
Chelsea MA
4,189 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Originally posted by oskidunker
I agree with Patty. Do this before or after the cruise. We did this on the Ocean in February and I wished I hadnt. To little time at the site, too expensive and too exhausting. Do your self s favor and pass unless you can book your own tour before or after the cruise.

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Thanks for the good advice!!
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