The Plan So Far
I land in Peru, spend two days looking around, then fly to Easter Island. There I have four days before I go back to Lima, fly to Cusco, take a train to Aguas Calientes and a bus up to Machu Picchu. After that I may have enough time to check out Lake Titicaca.
While this is going to be a much shorter trip than the few I’ve done in the past, preparing for it has been a bit more stressful. I attribute two reasons for this: booking tickets ahead of time and flight schedule uncertainty.
Peru has set limits to how many people can access the Machu Picchu sites and some of the surrounding areas. For Machu Picchu there is a limit of 2,500 visitors. For Huayna Picchu and Machu Mountain, there is a limit of 400 visitors. The government of Peru does post statistics and my observation has been that tickets for Huayna Picchu sell out a few days in advance. Tickets to Machu Picchu get pretty low too, but I’ve only seen one day sell out in November.
I decided that I didn’t want to risk getting there and not having a ticket, so I booked my ticket in advance. This was difficult to do. The government website doesn’t allow foreign credit card payments and is really difficult to navigate and understand for a non-Spanish speaking visitor. However, on the advice of a friend, I booked tickets through http://www.ticket-machupicchu.com/. They allowed me to pay with a credit card and sent me e-tickets in about three days. Here’s hoping it all works.
Booking a train to Machu Picchu was also difficult. I attempted a few times to book through www.perurail.com and kept getting an error. I found that someone had success by giving them a call via Skype, so I did the same. I was able to get an English speaking customer rep who helped me arrange a ticket. The bizarre thing is that they’ll ask for a scan of the front of your credit card! I heard from various people that this is normal.
With my tickets to Machu Picchu booked, I had to make sure that I got there in time, so I booked my flights and train ride accordingly. This adds a bit of stress, because now I have deadlines that I have to meet. If I miss a flight or a train, I may not make it in time and may risk not getting a ticket.
Two of my flights were rescheduled. The biggest scare was AirCanada, who initially told me that my flight was cancelled, but then told me I could go on the day prior or the day after. Thankfully the day prior worked. I fly out Nov 18 instead of Nov 19. My flight from Easter Island was also changed, but only by a few minutes. Here’s hoping that the rest of my flights don’t change much.