September 8, 2019

A Do-It-Yourself Guide on How to Get To Machu Picchu (DIY)

Everybody's traveling style is different, but if you are looking to see Machu Picchu in one day by doing the planning and exploring on your own, here is one of the most basic ways that you can use as a reference to get started on a DIY trip to see one of the world wonders - Machu Picchu. As you go through this guide, you can tweak things around to fit your needs and I hope you find this helpful.

Step 1 - Fly into Cusco

Try to stay in Cusco for one or two days before making your way to Machu Picchu. Cusco to me is basically just a congested airport town because it is currently the only airport that serves as a gateway to Machu Picchu. By staying in Cusco, you also allow yourself to get acclimated to high altitude.

A Do-It-Yourself Guide on How to Get To Machu Picchu (DIY)


Step 2 - Tour the Sacred Valley or Make Your Way to Ollantaytambo Town

After Cusco, you can schedule a full day tour from Cusco to check out the Sacred Valley with Taxidatum company. The full day tour includes seeing 4 ruins and a beautiful salt flat. I am not affiliated with the Taxidatum, but this tour company is reputable and reliable that I feel comfortable recommending it. When you book your tour, you can have the driver drop you off at the hotels in Ollantaytambo which is the town located in the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo also has its own ruin that's located right in the heart of the town. Keep in mind that each ruin has an entrance fee, so it's best to buy a 10 days tourist ticket if you plan on visiting multiple ruin sites. For more information on the tickets, check out Everything You Need to Know About The Tourist Ticket of Cusco (El Boleto Turístico del Cusco) Peru

If you do not wish to do the Sacred Valley tour, you can also use Taxidatum to schedule a pick up from Cusco and drop off in Ollantaytambo. Or you can make your own arrangement to make your way to stay in Ollantaytambo prior to Machu Picchu.

A Do-It-Yourself Guide on How to Get To Machu Picchu (DIY)
Ollantaytambo Ruin



Step 3 - Take Train From Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Station

While staying in Ollantaytambo, you can take the train from there to Machu Picchu station. The journey takes approximately around an hour and half. You can find the train schedules and prices on the Peru Rail website.

It is absolutely important that you purchase Machu Picchu entrance ticket and the train ticket well in advance once you know your traveling dates before arriving in Peru as those tickets can be sold out due to the popularity of Machu Picchu. 


A Do-It-Yourself Guide on How to Get To Machu Picchu (DIY)




Step 4 - Take Bus To Machu Picchu Site

As not to cause confusion, the train will take you from Ollantaytambo to the Machu Picchu station that's located in Aguas Calientes town. From Aguas Calientes, you will take the bus to the Machu Picchu site. Do not worry, the bus runs pretty frequent (10-15 minutes) and you do not need to buy the bus ticket in advance. There are also workers there to help you out. The bus process is pretty easy and organized. You can buy the bus ticket on the day of going to Machu Picchu site.

Bus Ticket Price:
  • Round-trip: $24 USD. You can pay with Peru currency too but that's subject to the exchange rate at the bus ticket's office. 
 Bus Schedules:
  • Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu 5.30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes 6.30am - 5:45pm
A Do-It-Yourself Guide on How to Get To Machu Picchu (DIY)

Conclusion

There you have it! Follow these 4 steps, and you should be able to successfully see one of the world wonders Machu Picchu on your own. Once again, everyone's traveling style is different and this guide is just one of the few suggested do-it-yourself ways to get to Machu Picchu. We did this and had a wonderful time exploring Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

See more articles on Peru

Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enter Email Address to Receive Blog's Updates:

June 18, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About The Tourist Ticket of Cusco (El Boleto Turístico del Cusco) Peru

El Boleto Turístico del Cusco (The Tourist Ticket of Cusco) allows you to visit the most popular tourist attractions in Cusco and its surroundings. If you plan on visiting multiple ruins in Cusco, Sacred Valley and South Valley, then the Tourist Ticket is the way to go.

Please note that the tourist ticket does not include Machu Picchu and you cannot purchase a ticket just for one particular site. For example, you cannot purchase an entrance ticket only to Sacsayhuaman ruin and purchase another entrance ticket to Ollantaytambo ruin on another day. It does not work that way. The tourist ticket comes as a package deal that allows you to enter those attraction sites. Currently, there are 4 types of tourist ticket combo:
  • Tourist Ticket of Cusco Integral 
  • Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 1: Cusco Archaeological Sites
  • Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 2: Tourist Circuit of Museums and South Valley
  • Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 3: Archaeological Sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Salt Flats in the Sacred Valley
Photo Credit: Viator

Important information about the Tourist Ticket of Cusco

As you go through the types of the tourist ticket below, it is important to know the following:
  • Any of The Tourist Ticket does not include the entrance to Machu Picchu .
  • It does not include tourist guide services.
  • It does not include transportation to archaeological sites.
  • The validity of the tourist ticket starts from the day of purchase.
  • The ticket can only be used once for each tourist attraction.
  • You cannot purchase the ticket online, but there's no need to buy the Tourist Ticket of Cusco in advance you can buy it in person when you are in Cusco.

Tourist Ticket of Cusco Integral (10 Days)

This is most comprehensive ticket that allows you to enter the 16 main tourist attractions in Cusco and Scared Valley, including the ones that are on the partial tourist tickets circuit 1, 2 and 3 as well.

The cost of the ticket for adult is 130 soles (~40 USD) and minor between the age of 10 and 17 years old is 70 soles (~21 USD). University students from 18 to 25 years old also pays 70 soles (~21 USD) by presenting their valid university card.

After the purchase of the ticket, you have a total of 10 days to use this ticket to visit the following 16 places:
  1. Sacsayhuaman.
  2. Qenqo.
  3. Puca Pucara.
  4. Tambomachay.
  5. Museum of Contemporary Art.
  6. Regional Historical Museum.
  7. Popular Art Museum.
  8. Qoricancha Site Museum.
  9. Qosqo Native Art Center.
  10. Monument to the Inca Pachacuteq.
  11. Pikillaqta.
  12. Tipón.
  13. Pisac.
  14. Ollantaytambo.
  15. Chinchero.
  16. Moray.

Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 1: Cusco Archaeological Sites

This ticket is good for only 1 day and includes a visit to the 4 main archaeological sites of the city of Cusco. The cost of the ticket is 70 soles (~21 USD) and no discounts for children or university students. The 4 main sites are:
  1. Sacsayhuaman.
  2. Qenqo.
  3. Puca Pucara.
  4. Tambomachay.


Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 2: Tourist Circuit of Museums and South Valley (2 Days)

As the name suggests, this ticket includes admissions to cultural and historical museums in Cusco along with archaeological sites such as Pikillaqta and Tipón in the South Valley of Cusco. The cost of the ticket is 70 sols (~21 USD). There are no discounts for children or university students.

This type of ticket is good for 2 days from the day the ticket is purchased. There are 8 places that are included in this ticket:
  1. Museum of Contemporary Art
  2. Regional Historical Museum
  3. Popular Art Museum
  4. Qoricancha Site Museum
  5. Qosqo Native Art Center
  6. Monument to the Inca Pachacuteq
  7. Pikillaqta
  8. Tipón

Partial Tourist Ticket - Circuit 3: Archaeological Sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas (2 Days)

This ticket includes the 4 most popular archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley. The ticket is good for 2 days of visit to those sites from the day the ticket is purchased and costs 70 soles (~21 USD). There's no discount for university student or minors.

The 4 archaeological sites included in this ticket are:
  1. Pisac
  2. Ollantaytambo
  3. Chinchero
  4. Moray

Where to buy the Tourist Ticket in Cusco?

Cash only. You can buy these tourist tickets at any entrance site that's included on the ticket as mentioned above. Alternatively, you can also buy these tickets from the following locations in Cusco, but keep in mind that the validity of the ticket starts from the day of purchase:
  • Main office COSITUC : Tourist Galleries, Avenida Sol No. 103 (Monday to Friday 8 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm).
  • OFEC branch offices : Calle Garcilaso s / n (Monday to Saturday 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday 8 am to 8 pm).


Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enter Email Address to Receive Blog's Updates:

June 13, 2019

Entry Form and Requirements to Travel to Easter Island

UPDATE: September 2019 - The Entry Form has been updated and the new URL is now available.

Easter Island is a remote island that belongs to Chile country. Although Easter Island is part of Chile, it has different entry regulations for tourists to enter the island. It does not matter if you have been admitted into Chile via Santiago or not. You still need to go through a different entry and procedures that are set by the Easter Island as it is considered a special territory of Chile.

Please note that the following article is mainly for foreign tourists that are wanting to visit Easter Island and stay less than 30 days. Please double check whether you are required a visa or pay a reciprocity fee to enter the Easter Island or not. Citizens of the European Union, South America, United States, Canada and Australia do not need a tourist visa to enter the Easter Island.

Entry Form and Requirements to Travel to Easter Island

What Documents are Needed to Travel to Easter Island?

  • A valid passport
  • Return ticket from Easter Island with the date that has to be less than 30 days from the entry date.
  • A copy of confirmed reservation at the accommodation places on the island that's registered with Sernatur. OR an invitation letter from the resident on the island. 
    • Most hotels and lodging should have already been registered with Sernatur. If you want to be sure, you can always check with your hotels or find out more information on the Sernatur website 
  • Unique Entry Form (FUI) - You have the option to obtain the form at the Santiago airport's check-in counter when you check in for your flight and fill it out, or you can fill out the form in advance online if you plan on checking in and getting boarding pass for your flight online. The FUI online form can be found here. The default is in Spanish, but you can change to English by clicking on the UK flag icon on top of the page. After completing the form, you will receive a confirmation email. You MUST print it out and submit it to the Chilean police officer at the airport. 
    • Please note that, you cannot pick the date to complete the online form until 4 days prior to your travel date. 
Entry Form and Requirements to Travel to Easter Island


Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enter Email Address to Receive Blog's Updates:

May 30, 2019

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Get to Zakopane From Krakow Poland

Traveling from Krakow to Zakopane is one of the top things to do while visiting Krakow, Poland. You can either do it as a day trip or stay at lease a night to enjoy what Zakopane has to offer. Today, I’ll walk you through on how to travel between Krakow and Zakopane so you know what to expect.

The best option to go to Zakopane is by bus. You will find a few bus company that goes to Zakopane from Krakow, but I recommend the bus company called Szwagropol. Our blog is not affiliated with the bus company, the reason I recommend this bus company is because we had experience with it, it’s clean, comfortable and has WiFi connection to keep that long 2 hours bus ride from Krakow to Zakopane more enjoyable.

Lake Morskie Oko in Zakopane Poland
Lake Morskie Oko in Zakopane, Poland

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Get to Zakopane From Krakow Poland With Szwagropol Bus


Step 1. You can purchase the bus ticket online or in person directly with the bus driver. Buying online only saves you only 1 PLN which is not significant at all. Currently, online ticket costs 19 PLN (~ $4.93 USD) per person one-way, and 20 PLN (~ $5.19 USD) if you buy ticket directly from the bus driver. Both cash and credit cards are accepted by the bus driver. However, cash is the king in case the credit card machine does not work for whatever reason. So be prepared to have cash handy. Driver does have change but small amount is preferred.

Tip: If you prefer to purchase the bus ticket directly with the bus driver on the day of travel, you can use the Szwagropol online ticket to look up the bus schedules as shown below. 


How to Get to Zakopane From Krakow Poland
Online Szwagropol Bus Schedule
Alternatively, you can also look at the bus schedule at the bus station, but that will require you make a trip down to the bus station, which may not be convenient for some travelers. But here's the bus schedule that was posted at the bus station:

Posted Bus Schedule at the Krakow Bus Station

Step 2. The bus station address on google map is Dworzec Autobusowy MDA. The easiest way to go to the bus station is to get yourself to the Galeria Krakowska Shopping Mall, when inside the mall you follow the sign that says “Dworzec autobusowy”. Don’t worry, there are tons of signs there. The railway station is also there. You eventually will exit the mall onto the bus station outside.

Galeria Krakowska Shopping Mall
Tons of Krakow Bus Station Signs Inside Galeria Krakowska Shopping Mall
Krakow Dworzec Bus Station
Krakow Dworzec Bus Station

Step 3. Ignore the ticket windows and all the bus stops down there. What you need to do is climb up the stairs or take the elevator to go to the top level. You will see a few bus stops letter G.

Krakow Dworzec Bus Station
Ignore the tickets window and lines altogether

Szwagropol Bus Station Krakow
Climb to the Top Level for Szwagropol Bus Station in Krakow

Step 4. Look for the one that says Zakopane on it (see picture below). It’s worth checking out Szwagropol bus schedule online before hand so you know what time works for your schedule. If you pre-book the ticket online, your ticket will say what stop letter and number on your ticket. In our case, it was G18.

Szwagropol Bus Station Krakow

Szwagropol Bus Station Krakow

Step 5. That’s it. Once you locate the bus station and the bus stop, you are ready to go to Zakopane. Enjoy the ride. The bus will drop you off right at the Zakopane main bus station.

Szwagropol Bus Ride


How to Travel From Zakopane to Krakow

On the way back from Zakopane to Krakow, you can just head over to the Zakopane main bus station. From there, the bus typically leaves from the bus stop #7. There should be a posted sign that says "Krakow" on it. See the picture below. If you are not sure, there's a schedule board inside the station as well that tells you which bus stop number.

Ticket can be purchased directly with the driver or online. Simply use the step-by-step guide above to plan out the fare and bus schedule, etc. on return. The process is pretty much the same.

Zakopane Main Bus Station
Zakopane Main Bus Station

Zakopane to Krakow Bus Stop
Bus Leaves From Bus Stop #7 From Zakopane to Krakow


Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enter Email Address to Receive Blog's Updates:

May 25, 2019

A Step-By-Step Guide On How to Travel From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel As A Day Trip With Cheap Intercités Train

There are a few options on how to get to Mont-Saint-Michel from Paris. It is totally possible to travel from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel as a day trip. If you are looking to go to Mont-Saint-Michel by train, there is the fast train option and the slower train option with the Intercités Train (here's the post on how to purchase those train tickets). If you prefer the fast train option, you will need to purchase ticket 3 months in advance to get the cheap fare online. However, if you don't want to commit to a trip that takes place much far in advance and you don’t mind about the time the journey takes from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel as well as money is important to you, then the Intercités train is a great alternative. The price of the train ticket doesn’t change and you can buy up to the day of traveling. If you decide to go with this route, here is the step-by-step guide to get from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel with Intercités Train. We have done it. It’s completely safe and both train and bus are very punctual. As a day trip from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel, the entire journey is going to consume your entire day with both the traveling time to get there and sightseeing time when you get there, but Mont-Saint-Michel and the experience are totally worth it!

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train

Step-By-Step Guide For Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel Day Trip With Intercités Train


Check out this post on how to buy the InterCity train ticket.

Step 1 - Make your way via means of transportation to the Gare Montpasse. Once you get off the train, look for the exit 1 (sortie in French for exit) for Porte Oceane, follow that sign until you exit the metro station and you should see the sign board that says Hall 2 and 3. Follow that sign until you get to Hall 3. On google map, put in Gare Vaugirard that refers to that Hall 3.

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train


Step 2 - Wait and monitor the train info to see which track # the train leaves from. Then simply board the train.

Note: The train seats are pretty basic and it does not recline. There’s a toilet on the train. However, there’s no food and drinks sold on the train. So you should buy food and drinks before boarding the train from the convenient stores at the train station if you’d like.


Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train


Step 3 - Enjoy the ride until you reach the Villedieu-les-Poêles train station. There will be English announcement too when that station is reached and information on the the Mont-Saint-Michel bus connection. Or just look at the sign post at each arrival station and make sure it says Villedieu-les-Poêles station.


Step 4 - Get off the train and you should see the sign “Le Mont St-Michel Shuttle” follow it and it will lead you to the coach/bus. It’s very easy and the bus will be waiting for the arrivals right at the station. The walk is very short and hassles free. So there’s no need to worry.

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train
Connection Bus to Mont-Saint-Michel After the Train Ride

Step 5 - Enjoy the bus ride. Although your ticket has assigned seat number, just ignore it and pick a seat that you want on the bus. The bus will take you to Mont-Saint-Michel bus station, once there you need to get off the bus and there are two options afterwards:
  • You can walk to Mont-Saint-Michel which can be long if you are not physically fit but it’s pretty flat and scenic. OR
  • You can walk from the bus station to the shuttle area that says "Departure Shuttles" where you can board the free shuttle to Mont-Saint-Michel. The shuttle station is right near the bus station. It’s merely 2-3 minutes apart.
Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train

Guide to Traveling From Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel With Cheap Intercités Train
Free Shuttle From Bus Station to Mont-Saint-Michel

That’s it. The shuttle will take you right to the Mont-Saint-Michel if you go with the free shuttle option. On your return to Paris, just make your way from Mont-Saint-Michel to where the bus drops you off at, either on foot or via the free shuttle, and then catch the bus back to the train station Villedieu-les-Poêles. After that simply board the train back to Paris!

Check out this post on how to buy the InterCity train ticket.

Check out more articles on Paris & Mont-Saint-Michel

Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Enter Email Address to Receive Blog's Updates: