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6 thoughts on planning a DIY tour of Machu Picchu

After my last trip through Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, I thought that I wouldn’t have much of a travel challenge for the rest of this year. Well behold a different type of challenge … trying to plan a DIY Tour of Machu Picchu in 36 hours with zero preparation. My brain is completely overloaded with information … so here are a couple quick thoughts about last minute planning for a DIY Tour of Machu Picchu

  1. If you’re planning to go for a weekend, I would strongly advise against it, especially if you’re going at the very last minute. It’s too expensive and scheduling anything will be insanely difficult.
  2. You just asked yourself a question didn’t you? “Who in their right mind, would try to go to Peru for the weekend?” … if you did ask yourself that question, then you haven’t been a consistent reader of this blog or other travel blogger tales.
  3. There are four separate components of travel that have to be organized. If you fail at each segment, then your trip becomes exponentially more difficult in terms of time. Here are the three segments that you need to stitch together
    • Flying from your destination to Lima – this should be easy enough.
    • Getting from Lima to Cuzco/Cusco – this get progressively harder and more expensive, the later your planning is
    • Getting the train from Cuzco/Cusco to Machu Picchu – only Perurail runs and in the high season, getting tickets can be a problem
    • Getting a ticket to Machu Picchu itself
  4. Going to Machu Picchu at the last minute isn’t cheap at all … like seriously. I was doing a comparison of doing a tour vs doing it myself and so far, the cost savings has not been staggering.
    Here is the high level break down of my costs

    • Cost of last minute ticket from Toronto to Lima : $266 CDN + 40,000 Aeroplan miles.
    • Cost of hotels in Lima for two nights : 6$CDN + 8000 Starpoints If you stay at the Lima Sheraton & Convention Center
    • Cost of plane ticket on StarPeru (Lima – Cusco return) : $212 CDN
    • Cost of hotel in Cusco for one night: 5$CDN + 16000 Starpoints  – If you stay at the Tambo del Inka – It’s a splurge of points.
    • Cost of return train tickets on PeruRail.com from Cusco to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) : $157 CDN
    • Cost of hotel in Aguas Calientes for one night: $50CDN
    • Another night in Cusco – random hotel : $75CDN
    • Total Cost without food/drink = $ 771CDN
  5. Here is the breakdown of the same itinerary without points or miles … it’s almost insanely expensive – I’m not made of money!
    Here is the high level break down of my costs

    • Cost of last minute ticket from Toronto to Lima (same itinerary) : $2308CDN
    • Cost of hotels in Lima for two nights : $380CDN – If you stay at the Lima Sheraton & Convention Center
    • Cost of plane ticket on StarPeru (Lima – Cusco return) : $212 CDN
    • Cost of hotel in Cusco for one night: $587CDN – If you stay at the Tambo del Inka – It’s a splurge of points.
    • Cost of return train tickets on PeruRail.com from Cusco to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) : $157 CDN
    • Cost of hotel in Aguas Calientes for one night: $50CDN
    • Another night in Cusco – random hotel : $75CDN
    • Total Cost without food/drink = $ 3769CDN
  6. The only thing that I’ve found even more confusing than trying to plan this trip so far, was trying to eat this seafood pizza in Buenos Aires
    Waattt?? Pizza with seafood? And No Cheese?

    Helpful Link Planning

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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