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  • masaccio 682 posts

    Not seeing historical posts going exactly here, so since lots of HfPers seem to like South America, here goes.

    OH has always wanted to visit Machu Picchu and Easter Island, and at risk of contradicting my previous assertion that I don’t want to go somewhere just for redemptions, I can easily make LHR-SCL/LIM-LHR and CW/business looks OK to get. We’d be going in August (not this year!)

    And whilst there are lots of other things we can do in Chile and Peru, I think there’s plenty of scope for a revisit to either.

    Given the current August schedules for Easter Island, we’d probably need to fly from SCL on the Monday and back the Friday. That would then make the trip:

    Santiago 2nts
    Easter Island 4nts
    Valparaiso 2nts
    Cusco 3nts
    Sacred Valley 2nts
    Machu Picchu 1nt
    Lima 2nts

    SCL-LIM-CUZ will basically mean a whole day of travel as well as a 4am start, but we are OK with that. We could probably vary the start date, but this takes advantage of a Friday evening flight after work and a bank holiday.

    Cusco/Sacred Valley/MP seem to get mixed around in ordering and some people say MP first for altitude, but you have to fly into CUZ anyway. We’ve spent time at 3,500m before anyway so I don’t think we will completely fall apart.

    Leaving lots of Peru and Chile for a later trip aside, are we mad or does this look like it works?

    Richie 881 posts

    Having been to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley, and Lima on 3 separate trips, I comment as follows;

    You’ll be shattered after doing SCL-LIM-CUZ, you may need a full days rest in Cusco, pick a hotel where you can dial O for oxygen and have it pumped into your room as a back up.

    You can go to Machu Picchu in a day trip on the, when it’s fixed, train from Cusco, no need to stop over at Aguas Calientes.

    Lima is only worth stopping over more than one night if you want to sample more of the excellent restsurants.

    The night flight LIM-MAD is good and the OW business lounges are acceptable.

    Keep your eye on the political situation and FCDO advice.

    masaccio 682 posts

    An alternative could also be stopping over in Lima between Cusco and flying CUZ-LIM-MAD-LHR home. We will be knackered enough to sleep on the Iberian flight I guess. We like our food hence a couple of nights in Lima. I see Audley fly people home leaving Cusco, so if the pampered people can do it.

    meta 1,408 posts

    There are posts here on Peru, Easter Island and Chile. You need to search via Google as search is broken.

    Regarding altitude. Arriving to Cusco at the airport and going to Sacred Valley straight away is recommended. Altitude Sickness does not hit immediately, but after a few hours. So I’d seriously consider doing this first and then Cusco maybe 2 nights max. We saw all sights in a day really and it’s very touristy and not pleasant at all.

    My partner and I spent 5 days in Sacred Valley driving around in our own car rental and really loved it. We much preferred it to Machu Picchu. There are Incan salt mines (Maras), Moray, Ollantaytambo,… There is a combined pass for all the sights in Sacred Valley and Cusco.

    Unless doing trekking, then you can do Machu Picchu as a day trip from Sacred Valley. However, I would bake in a few days extra as the strikes and protests are frequent and that means no trains as tracks are blocked. This is also why it’s preferrable to be somewhere in Sacred Valley as you’re very close to train station in Ollantaytambo.

    As for Lima, there is much more than restaurants. It’s the whole vibe, great museums, interesting neighbourhoods and nightlife.

    I also think 2 nights in Valparaíso is an overkill. It’s 1h30-2h from Santiago, so you can do the first day in Valparaíso and then do Viña del Mar the second day and come back to Santiago. Depends on what you want to do. It’s quieter place. Personally, I’d spend 3 nights in Santiago.

    Haven’t done Easter Island, but others have commented here, so have a look.

    Edit: I also think that the overall schedule is a bit tight and I’d rather concentrate either on Chile or Peru.

    masaccio 682 posts

    Cheers, @meta. The Sacred Valley thread on HfP was helpful too; sounds like you had quite a bit of disruption. We’re fairly unflappable travellers but don’t really want that level of disruption when one location has one way in and out, so using reward flights and refundable hotel bookings will be our defence for that. So let’s see what next year brings — hopefully a little more political stability, but who knows?

    Going to Sacred Valley first to hedge a little on altitude is easy enough since we’ll hire a car. I am considering Sanctuary Lodge as I’d rather give money to hotels than airlines. That would make Sacred Valey, MP, Cusco and home the end of the trip. CUZ-LIM-LHR seems no worse than a Maldives return, so that frees up a day now.

    Regarding Cusco being disappointing: any chance you’ve been to Antigua in Guatemala? They seem like they might have a similar feel, and we loved Antigua (we plan to go back just to shop).

    meta 1,408 posts

    We also had everything booked flexibly. However, often in Peru you won’t know about the disruptions until the night before. Of course if there are ongoing disruptions like earlier this year then there is more in the news about it. I found the US embassy website best for advance warnings.

    I’d avoid Tambo del Inka despite the beautiful pool and stay in a local boutique hotel.

    I haven’t been to Guatemala, but everything in Cusco is very touristy and overpriced. We went in 2021, when it was still quieter, but it was still packed. I imagine post-pandemic is even worse. If you want to shop for garments imported from China pretending to be 100% baby alpaca there are plenty of shops. There are a few luxury clothes shops on the main shopping street (Kuña, Sol Alpaca, etc.). Vicuña scarfs are just wonderful and they had sales around Easter so you could get them 30-50% cheaper.

    We did stay a night in Lima after Cusco before returning home, simply because I didn’t want to risk it with flights which can be disrupted due to strikes or just cancelled/delayed although LATAM is pretty good with helping out.

    GillyDee 90 posts

    If you do go to Rapa Nui, use Latam’s Chilean website and look at business class prices. We went in 2019 and the price was very reasonable.

    We liked Valparaiso. Had a guided graffiti tour, nice restaurants. Stayed at the Sheraton.

    Can’t say much about Santiago – the day after we arrived martial law was declared and we were curfewed in the Marriott. Only place open for food was Maccy D’s drive thru, on foot.

    HI Santiago airport was excellent.

    meta 1,408 posts

    Sheraton is not in Valparaíso, but in Viña del Mar. It’s close though, about 10 minutes by taxi to the centre of Viña del Mar.

    I liked it too, but since @masaccio is pressed for time 2 nights is too much as you can see all sights in a day. Then relax the next morning and go to Santiago.

    AndyGWP 288 posts

    This is all on my to do list one day, so just commenting to follow the thread 🙂

    masaccio 682 posts

    This is all on my to do list one day, so just commenting to follow the thread 🙂

    Here’s where I got to in my planning spreadsheet. I think I’m planned enough that I can look for the flights when they open for booking and everything else has loads of time.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/58w92fcgpc44292/IMG_0044.jpeg?dl=0

    (No idea why the forum won’t let me inline a Dropbox image, even if I try the image deep link.)

    Means a 4am start from Valparaiso but apart from that it feels reasonably leisurely to me. No idea about hotels yet other than we will probably splurge a night at Sanctuary Lodge, but will pass on the Belmond trains. Well, at least this time.

    AndyGWP 288 posts

    Thanks. Saved a copy of that 👍🏻🙂

    Please keep us up to date with how your trip (and planning) goes etc 🙂

    meta 1,408 posts

    I would either stay at the Santiago airport the night before the flight to Lima or plan to go even earlier unless you are flying business class. Check-in process can be long as this is also the flight to Los Angeles which means they need to check visa for those that need one. The queues were very long and boarding starts 1hr before and closes 30 minutes before! Of course it all depends on the various factors, I am just reporting my experience this April.

    Also it’s crazy to fly from Cusco to LHR in one day. The problem is not just the strikes, but also weather (winds) Sometimes it can cause cancellations or delays of several hours. The best is to either take the early flights in the morning or evening flights.

    People who haven’t been to South America underestimate how long things can take and don’t build enough contingencies.

    masaccio 682 posts

    @meta I’m surprised you say CUZ-LIM-LHR is crazy as that’s what the fancy travel agents do on their itineraries. There are lots of CUZ-LIM flights in any one day.

    Maybe I need more of a time buffer in Lima, but surely an overnight is overkill?

    All things considered though, we are laid back about disruption. We weathered Eyjafjallajökull pretty well when we were stranded in Delhi. We snapped up a flight on VA 10 days later and buggered off to Goa at the Taj to wait it out.

    Richie 881 posts

    @meta I’m surprised you say CUZ-LIM-LHR is crazy as that’s what the fancy travel agents do on their itineraries. There are lots of CUZ-LIM flights in any one day.

    Maybe I need more of a time buffer in Lima, but surely an overnight is overkill?

    All things considered though, we are laid back about disruption. We weathered Eyjafjallajökull pretty well when we were stranded in Delhi. We snapped up a flight on VA 10 days later and buggered off to Goa at the Taj to wait it out.

    If you want to enjoy the restaurants in Lima it isn’t. I enjoy a long lunch on the last day prior to an evening flight to Madrid.

    meta 1,408 posts

    Yes, all the travel agents do that because they offer it all on one ticket, so the agent will get you a free hotel/new flights, etc in case of delays and cancellations.

    I hope you have good travel insurance because Iberia won’t lift a finger for you if you miss your flight.

    I’d go with an earlier morning flights (until 10am) as these are almost always running because the winds and clouds usually start later in the day.

    masaccio 682 posts

    Liking the idea of spending a leisurely, foodie afternoon in Lima. Looks like the airport has decent left luggage storage in the event Iberia doesn’t do early drop offs (I read it’s T-4 hours).

    Thanks @Richie and @meta for the tips.

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