on Facebook

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

International Flights and Peru Booking

Today, I'm going to tackle the international flights and the Peru portion of the trip.

For international flights I'm looking at the following:

LAX to Lima to Cuszo - March 27-28
Rio to LAX - April 11

Turns out that Expedia had pretty decent prices when compared to the South American airlines. Also, I've learned a secret trick to share with you. If you know that you are traveling internationally and has to pass through a major city (Lima) to get to your true destination (Cuzco) then it is best to use the multiple destination option on Expedia's flight search rather than doing two separate one way flights.

For example:Select the multiple destination option
  1. First Destination: LAX to Lima (3.27)
  2. Second Destination: Lima to Cuzco (3.28)
Doing it this way I knocked off a couple hundred bucks and ensured that the second flight will wait for me if the first gets delayed. SWEET.

Rio to LAX was standard. What's awesome is that because of the time change and the close proximity of South America, I can fly home in one day! So different from losing two days flying to Africa.

So I've got my international flights. While looking for international flights I suggest also checking flights on the approximate days you will be traveling around South America. This just ensures that you don't spend all your time researching hotels only to find out it is too expensive for you to fly there.

On to Peru...

I arrive in Cuzco at 7am on Sunday, March 28th. I plan on checking in to the hotel and just relaxing in Cuzco for the day to adjust to the change in altitude. Maybe we will catch a few sights.

Since Machu Picchu is more important to me than seeing Cuzco I decided to start there. First I think it is important to give you a lay of the land. Essentially you have Machu Picchu at the top with Aguas Calientes right below it (closest hotels). The mountain is only accessible via a 4 hour train or 4 day hike. As you descend by train, you hit Ollantaytambo after a 1.5 hour train ride, then Poroy after about 3.5 hours, and then Cuzco is the last stop at about 4 hours.

Since you have to take a train it is important to check the availability of the hotel and the train before you book either because it sucks to pay for a hotel you can't get to or take a train up only to sleep on the ground outside. Also since it is 8 hours round-trip to the mountain I wanted to stay 2 nights up there to make it worth it.

The train is run by PeruRail ( which has three options: the Backpacker ($48 oneway), the Vistadome ($71 oneway), and the Hiram Bingham ($294 one way).

I was able to get a Backpacker from Poroy to Machu Picchu. Poroy is 30 minutes from Cuzco by taxi which costs about $7 US. The trains no longer run all the way to Cuzco. For the way back I could only get the Backpacker to Ollantaytambo. From there I will need to take a bus. There are apparently tons of buses and it is way cheaper than the Hiram which was the only other option for that day.

I also researched hotels in Aguas Calientas since it is closest area to the mountain that has places to stay. Unfortunately, you are looking at crappy hostels at $40 a night and $800 a night resorts. Not much in between.

After scouring Google and TripAdvisor, I found a brand new boutique hotel called Hatun Inti that was $280 a night. A little steep but I figure I'll save it in other hotels on the trip. Hatun Inti doesn't have a site, nor does it show up on Expedia or, so I ended up going through Peru Gateway Vacations ( They seemed legitimate (I'll let you know how that goes).

Thus, I booked both Hatun Inti and my two railway tickets at once, locking in my trip to Machu Picchu. The rest was easy - I just needed to find a room in Cuzco for my first and last nights in Peru.

At this point, I researched flights from Cuzco to Buenos Aires to ensure that before I booked my last night in Cuzco I knew I could get out the next day. Luckily, there was a flight so I booked that.

I'm staying at one hotel the first night in Cuzco and then a second one when I come back down the mountain. They both look really nice and weren't very expensive. The Terra Andina Hotel is more your standard hotel.

Second Home Cusco is a B&B where you have a little living space. It looks more like a home than a hotel so we'll see which style I like better.

After some tricky combinations, I've got Peru booked now and am now into the Argentina part of my journey.

Check back tomorrow for my next steps in the land of wine!

No comments:

Post a Comment