mountie......to maximize your LL VIP GCs, and your interests in adventure activities, you might consider staying at the Aranwa Sacred Valley rather than the O-E Hotel Rio Sagrado (closer to Pisac) or the Inkaterra Machu Picchu which is in Aguas Calientes.
Originally Posted by mountie
If you can, contact the Aranwa Sacred Valley directly to see if you split your hotel stay, arriving and spending one night, taking a car/taxi early to Ollantaytambo and catch PeruRail to Aquas Calientes. Even though it means a very early start, I would try for the first Backpacker train which gets you into Aguas Calientes shortly after 7:00am (this will help you avoid the hoards arriving on the later trains from Cusco). Catching a bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu is not a problem....there are lines of them right across from the train station (and a booth that sells tickets), or you can follow the road across the bridge and you will see another bus station building where you can board your choice of transportation.
If, on the other hand, you are actually going to spend the money to stay one night at the O-E Sanctuary Hotel, the hotel provides a transfer. Since the hotel staff will know your train arrival time, you will be met at the train station by a greeter, who will handle your luggage and escort you to your van or bus for the ride up the mountain. The Sanctuary will hold you luggage (since you won't be able to check into your room until around 4:00 pm) and you can enter the park as soon as the gate opens or shortly there after. Just take your day pack and start exploring. The Sanctuary can direct you to one of the more experienced guides for a brief tour (it's worth the money to get quickly oriented and pick up some valuable tips, their maps are excellent and you can discuss several strategies to maximize your explorations). Since you want to climb Huyana Picchu, you 'might' be able to make the cut off list on your arrival day, otherwise, you can do that first thing the following morning before the crowds start arriving from Aguas Calientes. I have to agree that The Sanctuary is absurdly expensive, but by staying there one night (if you can get a room), you can accomplish all the things you probably want during the two days.
At the end of the second day, you can return to Ollantaytambo on the late afternoon Backpacker and have a car/taxi from Aranwa waiting to take you can to the hotel - maybe a spa treatment and dinner later that evening.
Next two days, you can explore Maras, Chinchero - interesting ruins (the market may be operating, depending on the day) and of course, the pièce de résistance, the via ferrata http://www.naturavive.com/vbecontent...sp?IdCompany=6. Restaurants are not a problem in Urubamba...several exceptional to which the Aranwa can offer directions.....only a short taxi ride into town.
Just received the email confirmation for the Colca Canyon stay. Now I have to start locking in the remainder of this adventure. The Sanctuary is just so expensive, but I really feel like I need to stay there one night in order to do all of the stuff I want. Don't see myself staying down the hill and making the bus ride up and down and taking a chance on missing out on the climb.
Originally Posted by omegaet
Thanks for the ideas.
Will keep everyone updated.
Do you have an itinerary at this point with LL packages you are going to use? Peru/Machu Picchu is still on our bucket list. Maybe your itinerary would be helpful for us to put a similar trip together.
We do not speak Spanish, is language in Peru a problem or can we get easily by with English?
Mountie, I was thinking your can spray your LL hat with Scotchguard water resist...won't do much good but to keep the hat dry in any season...
July is a great time for Mac Pich and Cuzco - weather is great
Aranwa Hotel & Spa, O-E Colca Canyon, O-E Miraflores Park. Still working on flight and train plans. I can't imagine language being a problem.
Originally Posted by LL_Travelfan
I speak enough Spanish to get by but have found on my travels throughout latin America that everyone wants to practice their English so no problems in that regard - lots of English speakers in Peru - loved the Miraflores Park in Lima and the Monasterio in Cuzco - both times we were supposed to stay at the Sanctuary at MP but both times acts of nature derailed us - once the rain and could not even get to MP and once a train strike - these happen quite often and you never know when it will happen - we did finally get to MP for the day but our overnight stay at the Sanctuary was canceled due to the strike - one of these days will stay overnight - really want to explore MP further and also want to go to Colca and Titicaca - many reasons to return to Peru!