ahh, foreign travel

by | Sep 9, 2009 | Travel

So, remember that post from last week called “nothing ever goes completely perfectly“? Well, you could say that this would also apply to our recent trip to Peru. If not for good cab drivers, a sympathetic gate agent and the grace of God, this post could be very different. I’ll explain…

First of all, it is not exactly easy to get to Machu Picchu, which, frankly, is a good thing. We had booked our flights to Lima and Cuzco and our train ride in advance, so all of those tickets were scheduled and ready to go and I thought I had left us plenty of time in Cuzco to get Machu Picchu tickets and look around.

Here was our itinerary:

5:00-9:30pm – drive to Washington DC
(spend the night at Red Roof Inn, Alexandria)

1:10-3:30pm – fly from Washington DC to Miami
4:50-9:30pm – fly from Miami to Lima
(spend the night at Lima airport)

5:45-7:05am – fly from Lima to Cuzco
10:45-12:30pm – cab ride from Cuzco to Ollentaytambo
1:17-2:45pm – train from Ollentaytambo to Aguas Calientes
(spend the night in Aguas Calientes)

7:00-7:30am – bus ride to Machu Picchu
7:30-11:30am – Machu Picchu!
3:25-6:45pm – train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
7:00-7:30pm – cab ride from Poroy to Cuzco
(spend the night in Cuzco)

7:50-9:10am – fly from Cuzco to Lima
10:00-6:00pm – walk around Miraflores / Lima city center
11:20pm-6:45am – fly from Lima to Miami
(spend the night on a plane)

10:00am-12:15pm – fly from Miami to Washington DC
12:30-5:30pm – drive back NC

The main problem was that our flight from Lima to Cuzco was delayed due to mechanical problems—for FIVE hours—oh, and I left our portable media player on the plane from DC, so we had no good way to pass the time.

So, our actual itinerary for the first two days looked more like this…

1:45-4:20pm – fly from Washington DC to Miami
(hurry through the insanely large MIA airport to make our connecting flight all the while forgetting the Zen and Eric’s earphones on the previous plane)
4:50-9:45pm – fly from Miami to Lima
(got dinner than grabbed a spot by the food court and bedded down for a few hours, glad we grabbed the AA blankets from the previous flight)

3:45am – find out that our flight has been delayed 5 hours
(what do you mean we have to stay here for another 5 hours? and are we going to make the train? ack! stress!)
10:20-11:25am – fly from Lima to Cuzco
(skip baggage claim because gate agent in Lima let us carry on our larger bag even though it was 1kg over their limit, then find a cab while saying things like ‘muy rapido’ and ‘mas importante’!)
11:30-1:12pm – cab ride from Cuzco to Ollentaytambo
(we made it by all of five minutes!)
1:17-2:45pm – train from Ollentaytambo to Aguas Calientes
(sigh… pass out)

Things went as expected for the rest of the trip but between Eric’s head cold and my stress levels we were pretty wiped for the entire duration. You can definitely do this trip in 3 days, but you best be prepared for delays/snafus. In a way it reminded me of the St. Martin trip only all our problems happened at the beginning rather than the end.

As a side note, we met another team of travelers who had way worse flight cancellations and delays than we did and they ended up on every one of our flights both coming to, going from and inside Peru. They also never had their luggage with them (they think it was sent to Colombia which, coincidentally, is also probably where our media player is), so, while hectic, we definitely didn’t have the worst travel experience out there.

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Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Madrid, Spain (Mar)
Valencia, Spain (Mar+Apr)
Palma, Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)
Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)