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Machu Picchu to close for seven weeks!


marazul

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Jeep61,

 

the schedule is different depending on which month you go. Here is a link to the actual schedules for April and May. Also check the luggage restrictions:

http://www.perurail.com/web/tper/tper_temp_services.html

 

The schedule for June is showing fewer departures than May's. That should change. They might be waiting to see if the tracks are repaired between Piscacucho and Ollanta to issue an update.

 

j2ink - note that they are providing free luggage storage at the Ollanta train station.

M

 

Thanks for posting the web site link!

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Thanks for the additional information about the trains. My only question now is why the two early trains from Ollanta to MP do not appear on the reservation system for June 28. I tried again today, and the early trains show on the the 26th but they still don't show on the 28th. I sent Perurail an email and asked then if this is an error, or if those two early trains actually are not scheduled on that day. (I didn't check the availability on any other days.)

 

I'm still hoping the tracks will be repaired all the way from MP to Ollanta by the time I get there, so I won't have to worry about the extra bus ride.

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My only question now is why the two early trains from Ollanta to MP do not appear on the reservation system for June 28.

 

Beats me!

___

Today's paper says that no hikers will be allowed on the Inca Trail unless they have a return train ticket.

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Ther train tracks from Piscacucho to Machu Picchu have been operational since yesterday. All tests will conclude tomorrow and the new bus/train schedule will start on Monday. It will first be used for local traffic, supplies, etc. Tourist traffic will start April 1 when MP reopens.

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1. The first train to MP ran yesterday as scheduled.

2. The ruins will reopen Thursday. Admission tickets will be strictly limited.

3. All admissions to the Inca Trail are fully booked for April and May.

4. Susan Sarandon is in Cusco at the invitation of the government and will be one of the first celebrities to visit MP.

 

If Susan is there, I'm done. All is well and enjoy your trips.

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2. The ruins will reopen Thursday. Admission tickets will be strictly limited.

 

Marazul, I had not heard that admission tickets will be limited. Can you purchase them in advance? What happens if you get to AC, and then no tickets are available?

 

The PeruRail site finally fixed the departure times from Ollanta for the date I want to travel, so I purchased my tickets today.

 

Just FYI, in case anyone has trouble with the PeruRail online ticketing system, it does not operate all that smoothly. After inputting all my information for three passengers, and then entering my credit card information, I received a message that communication had been lost with my bank, and payment had not been approved by the credit card company. The only option available was for me to return to the home page and start over. I tried going back a page and resubmitting the data, but it wouldn't let me do that. So, I started over. After I input the first passenger's information, I was notified that it was a duplicate record. Then I went back to the home page, and tried the "reprint e-ticket" function and some other things, but to no avail. Finally, I happened to check my email, and found that all the e-tickets had been emailed to me. So, if your credit card is not approved because they lost contact with the bank, check your email before trying to resubmit your information.

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j2ink -

all the paper says is that sales will start 3/31 at the Cusco offices if the INC (Instituto Nacional de la Cultura) which is the entity in charge of the ruins. Their website does not give any help. http://www.inc-cusco.gob.pe/ It shows the prices of admission, but there is no way to buy tickets on line.

 

I would get in touch with your hotel and see what they can do. Maybe there will be more announcements in a couple of days. I guess I'm still on the job in spite of Susan Sarandon!

M

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j2ink -

 

this is the latest on the trains. The Cusco authorities will not allow PeruRail to run the bus potion of the bus-train route. Tickets purchased as of yesterday are entitled to a full refund. However, the train schedule that now appears on the perurail.com site has not been updated yet. (It should be soon.) There will be six trains per day each way. There is also a schedule in the newspaper for road transport access to the road from Ollanta to Piscacucho. Of course, this is a concession to local tour operators, taxi drivers, etc.

 

My advice (for what is worth) hang on to your train tickets if it corresponds to the trains on the latest schedule. If they do not, get in touch with PeruRail to change them. (I'm counting on PeruRail to accommodate ticket purchasers ahead of new sales.) Get in touch with your hotel (or a local guide) and arrange for road transport to and from the train. Just wait and see if there is a price adjustment (if not, the one-way train ticket you paid for is about US$20, so don't worry about it).

 

I'll keep reading the news and update as needed.

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As of today, the train schedules and prices to MP have not changed, but there is no mention that the first portion of the trip will be on a bus to Piscacucho. So, I don't know if this means that the bus fare will now be additional, or if PeruRail will be paying whoever operates the buses a portion of the train ticket fees. I'm glad I'm not going until June. Hopefully all this will be straightened out by then.

 

Also, there is a new announcement on the PeruRail website about buying entrance tickets for MP. Apparently, at this time, they can be purchased only in Cusco, which raises the question about how people in the Sacred Valley or on the Inca Trail are going to buy their tickets. The announcement is as follows:

 

Dear Travelers, please keep in mind that the National Institute of Culture has announced that as of March 31st, 2010 you must purchase the entrance tickets to the Citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco only. They will sell a limited number of tickets in the main office located at Calle SAN BERNARDO S/N - Cusco Perú.

Please remember this before you depart for Machu Picchu

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According to the paper, you are on your own to get to Piscacucho. This will enable taxi drivers, bus companies, tour guides, etc. to make some money on the road portion of the trip. The train ticket will cover only the train ride, not the road transportation. That is why anyone who bought tickets before 3/31 can get a refund. That's why I suggested you get in touch with your hotel to try to arrange transportation. They might also help you buy the MP admission ticket.

 

The supposedly new train schedule was printed in the newspaper. Why it hasn't changed in the website, I don't know. Maybe it changed again. The Diario del Cusco is not the most reliable newsrag in the world, unfortunately, it is the only news source that publishes this level of detail. The national newspapers are more concerned with Susan Sarandon saying how wonderful Machu Picchu is and how much she enjoys Peruvian food.

 

And yes, so far you can only get admission tickets at the INC offices in Cusco. Presumably, this means that you probably will not bother buying an admission ticket if you don't also have a means to get there. Until full service is restored, only 800 people per day will be able to ride the train vs 2500 in normal times.

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The director of the INC announced that e-tickets would be available for admissions to MP. No other details. I'll check other sources later on and see if there are any concrete plans.

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The PeruRail website has been updated as follows:

1) For the trains from Sacred Valley, the prices to and from MP have remained the same, but now they do not include travel from Ollanta to Piscacucho.

2) The train departure times are now 50 minutes later, which is the estimated time to travel by road from Ollanta to Piscacucho. (Arrival times are the same.)

3) All quoted trains/prices from Cusco to MP have been eliminated.

 

So, there would be no need for refunds for tickets previously purchased from/to Ollanta, because the prices have not changed. I don't see anywhere to get a refund on the website for previously sold tickets from/to Cusco, but the difference in cost is only $11.00 each way.

 

I don't think my hotel has much up-to-date information about what is going on. It advised me to buy my admission tickets in Cusco, except I don't plan to be in Cusco until after I visit MP. It also said it is providing transportation (for a fee) to/from Ollanta, but that doesn't do me much good, since the train leaves from Piscacucho.

 

Hopefully, things will stabilize soon. I'm glad I'm not trying to get to MP this week when no one seems to know what's going on. I'm sure all of this gets worked out somehow for the people who are there now. However, if they are limiting the number of admissions to MP, it would be a long way to go and then not be able to get an admission ticket.

 

In any event, if the MP admission tickets are going to be available for sale on the internet in the near future, that should at least solve that problem.

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More news today.

 

1. The entire train route from Cusco to MP will reopen on June 30 (sorry j2ink). The main problem has been a 300 m segment just before Piscacucho that got completely washed out in the floods. They are having to rebuild the track bed as well as the tracks.

 

2. There appears to be a bus service that will run from Ollanta to Piscacucho. Tickets will be sold in Cusco (Calle ***** 268, oficina No. 8, Phone 084-241278) and at the bus terminal in Ollantaytambo (Phone 984-931618). Since it is practically a one-way road, there is a schedule for traffic to go in each direction that corresponds to the train schedule. There is no mention now about whether other vehicles will be allowed, such as taxis, vans, etc. Of course, that is not to say they will not be allowed. And friends, when greatam talks about "very Peruvian experiences", you'd better believe it!

 

3. The e-tickets for admissions will be a reality "immediately," but doesn't say when. (Another "experience.")

 

Expect more details next week. A lot of public offices have been closed for the Easter weekend. It is only a measure of the crisis of at least $185 million for Cusco that this much is coming out.

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There is no mention now about whether other vehicles will be allowed, such as taxis, vans, etc. Of course, that is not to say they will not be allowed. And friends, when greatam talks about "very Peruvian experiences", you'd better believe it!

 

 

I have to laugh at your post. The way this entire incident has been handled is "very Peruvian".

 

My best "very Peruvian" experience (other than all the people lounging around the downtown Cusco train ticket office-never have figured out what they are all doing there. This is NOT the train station. My friends in Cusco just kind of shrug their shoulders like they never had thought of it-it just IS):

 

Dec, 2006-there were going to be protests for something or other in Puno. Peru Rail was shutting down the train. Then they decided they would only shut down the "fancy train" (to heck with the locals-they would just have to make do on the regular train-if there was a riot, so be it). Then they decided they would hook a couple of the "fancy cars" to the regular train which made absolutely NO sense any way shape or form. The regular train (it is now shut down) was transportation for the locals and made some stops as well as having a car for alpaca transport to the packing house/grading stations in Puno. It was NOT a sightseeing train. Then Peru Rail decided having Westerners in the "fancy cars" with the locals and their animals was not the best idea either. So back to canceling the "fancy train". All of these changes took place within about 18 hours. My head was swimming.

 

My hotel in Lake Titicaca was going to send a driver (to heck with the protests/riots) to get me FOR FREE. They were bound and determined I was going to stay at their hotel one way or another. I have no idea what they thought they were going to accomplish by driving from Puno to Cusco and then picking me up to drive back. About 450 miles RT. The gas alone was probably about the cost of at least one night. I flew to Juliaca. VERY, VERY Peruvian.

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Hi greatam,

 

I sure get now what you mean by the "experiences." My contacts in Cusco said they will get me all the tickets and change my train tickets. And "not to worry." Who, me worry? I figure we may have to parachute into MP!

 

And, if you are going to be in Cusco at the end of May, I still owe you a Pisco sour.

 

xcountry - thanks for your thoghts. We are in full "adventure mode." I'll certainly post when we get back. Things may be a little more settled in June when j2ink gets there.

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Hi greatam,

 

I sure get now what you mean by the "experiences." My contacts in Cusco said they will get me all the tickets and change my train tickets. And "not to worry." Who, me worry? I figure we may have to parachute into MP!

 

And, if you are going to be in Cusco at the end of May, I still owe you a Pisco sour.

 

 

I sure wish I could take you up on the Pisco sour, but my last trip for this season has already taken place.

 

Thanks for doing all the interpreting from the Cusco newspaper. I laughed almost every day about the convoluted info that was written in the newspaper. Again, VERY Peruvian. Peru truly is a country where the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing-the people want to do one thing, the government does another. And much to the credit of the people of Peru, they OFTEN take things into their own hands and somehow, make it work. Hence, all the frequent protests in lots of towns and cities.

 

Enjoy your trip. Sure glad you are prepared for an adventure. Parachuting into MP would truly be a SPECTACULAR experience. May be a new business idea for an enterprising Peruvian!!!!

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I sure wish I could take you up on the Pisco sour, but my last trip for this season has already taken place.

 

Too bad! Some day...

 

And among the next "celebrities" to visit MP will be Steven Spielberg and Crown Princess Beatriz of Spain (and some other people I never heard of). I know you all were wondering.

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There is no mention now about whether other vehicles will be allowed, such as taxis, vans, etc. Of course, that is not to say they will not be allowed.

 

Well, that question was answered. The Tourist Police is investigating claims that some tour operators and drivers are charging tourists $50 to drive them to the Piscacucho station. And tourists are still being taken in by operators that take them to Santa Teresa and leave them stranded there. The ripoffs continue.

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As you pointed out, the tracks are the tracks and O/E paid a handsome penny for PeruRail, the Sanctuary and Monasterio as well as their interests in Puno. There is no room to run a second set of tracks and I am sure OE is not going to let their investment go bye-bye.

 

Today, I found the following website:

 

http://www.incarail.com/IncaRailUs.html

 

This supposedly is a rail company, Inca Rail, that is providing new service to Machu Picchu, effective April 1. The website certainly makes this look like a real company, and it is taking reservations, but I don't see anywhere that tickets can be paid for on line.

 

The service is between Ollanta and Piscacucho, and the cost is more than PeruRail.

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I contacted one of the larger tour companies in Cusco, and asked if they knew anything about the announcement that the INC would begin selling admission tickets to MP online. The person responding wrote that he wasn't aware of any plans to do this, and also wrote that they were still selling admission tickets in Aguas Calientes. (He said he didn't know if this would continue.)

 

I don't necessarily believe everything I read (in this case, selling tickets in Aguas Calientes), but I did notice that for the past few days, PeruRail no longer has had the big pop-up notice on its website home page warning passengers that MP admission tickets must be purchased at the INC office in Cusco.

 

So, it doesn't appear that everything has been settled yet, and things are still changing almost every day.

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j2ink,

I've been away for a few days and haven't checked the news websites. I'll see what I can find out tomorrow. I did a quick check of the INC website and they don't have anything new on the tickets. You are right, I don't think they can figure out what they are doing from one day to the next.

M

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Here is the story. Perurail schedules are going to change - AGAIN - for May and June. Probably, a reduced schedule will be published in a couple of days. I was told that it is best to buy new tickets in the internet if the train schedule you had disappeared. Whatever tickets you have purchased before, you can email or go in person to get a refund. They have such a mess going on that they don't seem to be taking care of people who bought tickets on trains no longer on the schedule. (If you bought them recently, your credit card company could help.)

 

On the other hand, Inca Rail is for real. It is a British company that has been operating since 2007. Their trains also started running again on April 1 when the tracks reopened. It has a very limited schedule of three r/t a day and you can only buy them in the internet. Round trip "executive" class is US$100. It has a lot fewer trains than PR, but it seems to be running more efficiently. Go figure!

 

Friends, lots of luck!

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