Adventures & Images from Amanda, the one "Behind the Zoom"

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Machu Picchu ~ part 2 the adventure begins

Ready to go, vacation days all set and 2016 Spring Break Machu Picchu trip is happening!!

So our basic plan is to fly to Cusco, take a Collectivo (bus/van) to Ollantaytambo, stay there couple of nights, take train to Machu Picchu then spend day or so in Cusco on way home...
A couple of days before we left I went ahead and purchased the Machu Picchu tickets ***They are not available for purchase at the entrance, you must purchase them in advance*** we used Tickets for Machu Picchu, you do pay an additional 20% I believe but you can print them out at home and you are done. There is a daily limit on tickets so check ahead and watch your days if traveling during the high season.  We added the Machu Mountain in case we wanted to hike more from what I can tell it is the less severe of the 2 additional hikes.  There are places to purchase in Peru but I just wanted to have them done.  The other purchase I did ahead was the Peru Rail train tickets from Ollantaytambo round trip to Machu Picchu.  ***these you can purchase online but you must go to a train ticket office with passport and the credit card used for purchase at least 4hrs prior to departure to get tickets***
The only other thing I booked ahead was a hotel in Ollantaytambo La Casa Del Abuelo.  It had good reviews and I wanted a place 1st couple of nights to start.

Out of Phoenix Arizona we catch a flight to Dallas Texas.  I was assigned a middle seat in the back of the plane and was thinking ok not such a long flight not a problem.  Cierra was towards the front of the plane.  I get back to my seat and to my left is "Baylor", a Jr college student headed back to school from his spring break in California, to my right is "Air Force"  3 yrs in a special unit just left some paratrooper training...  Cierra where are you this is the perfect seat for you not me!!!  Had great fun talking with them and the flight time flew by! Arrive in Dallas and are looking forward to the flight that evening out to Lima Peru.  As an employee of an airline there are travel ups and downs...the down here was we couldn't get on the flight to Lima that night so we are over night our first night in Dallas.  Thank you Motel 6 for the quick and easy room and the next day, all day, in the airport.  Dallas Ft Worth airport has lots to do...

Ride the Skylink, play games in Admirals Club, Check out the art displays, do selfie luggage pics and  when all else fails sleep...

That night we are on our flight out of Dallas and headed to Lima!
We arrived in Lima first thing in the morning and were booked on a LAN flight couple of hrs later from Lima to Cusco.  An earlier LAN flight had cancelled so the flights were pretty full after seeing that we changed over to Avianca and had a great flight from Lima to Cusco.  Thank you Avianca!  (Right past security in the Lima airport the Peru Rail has a small ticket area, we picked up our train tickets that we had pre paid for there).

Met another airline employee and her daughter on our flight and shared a cab into Cusco from the airport. Parted ways there as we were catching the Collectivo to Ollantaytambo and they were at a hostel up the street.  Now the Collectivo is somewhat of an experience in itself.  The van/minibus is parked in an alleyway and only leaves when it has a min. number of passengers.  After 2.5hrs of waiting with a backpacker from South Korea we had enough riders mostly locals~ we thought we were ready~ drove around the block and came back to get the smaller minibus~ then we were off.  The drive was about 2 and 1/2 hrs I believe and it is everything everyone says about it fast, slow, hold your breath passing, slide one way, slide the other and astounding views. 

We arrived into Ollantaytambo and found our "home away from home "  La Casa del Abuelo.  Close to the town plaza, short walk to the train, great room, nice bathroom, clean, hot water and very friendly helpful staff
Unloaded the bags and headed off to find something to eat and explore.  Hotel recommended and gave us a discount coupon for a great place just up by the plaza Uchucuta restaurant.  We enjoyed our first ever Coca tea and I have to admit it was truly good tea so sad I couldn't bring some home!!  The meal was great too!
Such a big sandwich we actually had half each left over and packed it with us into Machu Picchu for lunch!

*Next blog post~ part 3 our day in Machu Picchu~

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