Tag-Archive for ◊ Ollantaytambo ◊

Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 1 + 2
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations  | 6 Comments

Hiking the Inca Trail had always been a huge ambition of mine.  Directly after arriving at the Amauta Spanish school in Cusco I met a group of students that were booking for later that same week, through their in-house travel Agency Dos Manos Peru! Admittedly I was quite relieved that there was still space; I guess the trail doesn’t get so booked up in the wet season.

The staff of Dos Manos made the whole booking process very easy for us and was very professional in accommodating special requests and dietary needs of one of my fellow hikers. Our guide, Simón, gave us a briefing two days before we left, allowing us time to buy last minute necessities. He described the trail, what our plans were, what would happen each morning before walking and the type of food we could expect. I received a great feeling of confidence and excitement and really lived up to the moment of the first day:

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1
We were picked up very early that fateful Friday from the Amauta Spanish School, and travelled to Ollantaytambo, a town 75km from Cusco for a snack breakfast. This is often a compulsory stop due to the need to pick up porters. Since we were a relatively small group this was a quick affair and we were quickly on the road again, heading for Km 82 where the trek would really start!

After a lengthy entrance process (where our passports were cross-checked with our tickets for name/number discrepancies) and a bridge crossing, we were off! The first morning passed pleasingly and the walk itself was not challenging; quite flat before a slight incline to lunch.

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Views 07 Ene Trains! Trains! Trains to Machu Picchu!
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | 11 Comments

If you don’t fancy hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu for several days and unless you want to take 4 mini-buses with crying babies and local produce, a small train overall taking about 10 hours, you better take the direct train to Aguas Calientes from Cusco. Unfortunately this process has been made overly complicated and quite expensive, due to it being the main route to see Machu Picchu, the jewel of the Inca Empire and the most important Peruvian tourism site in the country.

In order to decipher everything surrounding these direct trains, here is a guide to help you make a more informed decision about your excursion to Machu Picchu:

1. Train Stations
Cusco is not served directly by a train from Aguas Calientes. Due to the altitude difference (Cusco at 3,400masl and Aguas Calientes at 2,000masl) the trains won’t go straight to Cusco; the time it would take to do this would add hours onto any journey.

Therefore, on a train from Aguas Calientes you reach Ollantaytambo, where 90% of trains stop, or Poroy, around 20 minutes away from Cusco city. Of course, a train all the way to Poroy is much more comfortable, with less hassle, but there is only a limited time schedule and they are often more expensive.

Trains take approximately 90 minutes to reach Ollantaytambo from Aguas Calientes, or 3½ hours to Poroy. At both stations, a minibus or taxi will get you back to Cusco.

Aguas Calientes

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Views 06 Jun Top 5 Machu Picchu Side-trips!
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | 2 Comments

Machu Picchu is been considered, by its astonishing magnificence and harmonious construction, as one of the most important architectural and archeological monuments of the planet.

Surrounded by mysteries, because archeologists have not been able to decipher the history and the function of this stone city, erected by the Incas in a magic geographical zone, where the Andean and the Amazonian come together.

To really appreciate this significant location we suggest to take your time and explore these easy to reach nearby destinations:

  1. The Sun Gate

    Top 5 Machu Picchu Side-trips! Watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu is magical. Getting up early enough and making sure you get to the Inca Sun Gate in time to watch the sun slowly appearing from behind the snow-covered peaks, just as the Incas did, is a once in a life-time experience. It is recommendable to make your way to Machu Picchu around 4 am as it is still a good hour’s walk to the Sun Gate after you passed the main entrance gate.

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Views 22 May My Top 5 South America Travel Destinations
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | Leave a Comment

Ingmar Griffioen, a.k.a. El Grifo, spent nine weeks travelling the continent and to study Spanish in Buenos Aires and in Cusco. We, at Dos Manos Travel Agency asked him what he enjoyed the most. In his response, he said he would have loved to stay longer and enjoy the many new friendships with his fellow students at the AMAUTA Spanish School, as well as visit more places. Even so, he provided us with a Top 5 of his most beautiful and impressive travel experiences in South America:

  1. Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu

    My Top 5 South America Travel Destinations One of the seven recent world wonders and the place on your ‘to-see’ list in Latin America. Due to its superb setting, which makes the ‘lost city’ invisible from the valley below, the Spanish conquistadores were, thankfully, oblivious to its existence. The impressive Inca ruins have only been discovered about 100 years ago, but the proximity to the fascinating old capital of the Incas, Cusco, and the unbelievable experience of hiking the Wayna Picchu mountain offering its majestic views over the remains of Machu Picchu as well as the green Urubamba river valley flanked by the peaks of the mighty Andes mountains, make this a true number 1.

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Views 04 Abr An expat’s guide to Cusco, Peru: an interview with Richard Nisbet.
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | Leave a Comment

Cusco is often called the “Navel of the World”; at least it was to the Inca’s, who made it their capital from where the four regions of their empire stretched for 1000 of miles. Richard Nisbet, an expat, author and Cusco connoisseur also calls it his home. Ever since he first visited Cusco back in 1975 he has been in an ongoing love affair with this extraordinary city. Nowadays, he only returns to the United States to visit family and friends from time to time.

Recently he wrote a book, ‘Cusco Tales’, which narrates his life story and adventures in this magical city that never seems to stop surprising you. You can purchase his book online on Amazon.com or over the counter at Paddy’s Pub, Jack’s Café, the Santa Catalina bookshop or the South American Explorers’ Club, all located in Cusco.

An expat’s guide to Cusco, Peru: an interview with Richard Nisbet

I started the interview by asking Richard about his Cusco favorites, and he didn’t hesitate enthusiastically share his recommendations. His new favorite restaurant is Limo, with some outstanding if unusual Peruvian – Japanese fusion meals overlooking the main Plaza de Armas. His favorite bar is Paddy’s Pub (good chance you will find him there if you like to have a chat). As for pizzerias, his pick is Mayupata in the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo, which is also his favorite nearby city escape. Another destination he likes is Tipon, home to an archeological site where the Inca’s worshipped the water abundant in this National Park.

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Views 22 Feb Trains to Machu Picchu running again
 |  Category: Events  | One Comment

“Last week it was confirmed that Peru Rail will be running the route from Km82 to Machu Picchu Pueblo as normal from April 1st. Work on the train tracks – which suffered serious damage due to heavy rain falls and mudslides during the last week of January this year – will be continuing throughout February and March in order to meet this deadline. However, once the line is open services will be running with a lower capacity than normal – we are expecting train services to transport just 1,000 passengers per day as opposed to the normal 2,500 daily passengers. This reduced capacity is likely to cause some problems due to the already large list of people who were unable to travel to Machu Picchu in February and March and as such have rescheduled their trips for April and May. It is important that clients understand that all services to Machu Picchu during April and May are likely to be very busy and/or fully booked. One solution will be to operate more car tours to Machu Picchu in order to take the pressure off the train services. Priority will be given to those passengers whose tour reservations are already confirmed.
Looking further ahead, we expect train services to be running as normal from Ollantaytambo by May and from Cusco itself by June.”


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