Apr 4, 2017

Quick Stop in Cusco and San Pedro Market with Kids


We decided to just use Cusco as a stop over during our trip to and from. Several people choose to spend a night in the city and I can, without a doubt, see the benefit of that. We ended up having to take a long cab ride in order to make the train schedule line up with the flight schedules. Read more about that here. We were on a time limit so we decided to just fly in and out of Cusco and make a quick stop to the San Pedro Market Place.
 

We took a walk around and then picked a spot to eat. The food smelled delectable and tasted great! Sam was smitten with the chicken soup we ordered! The food wasn't refrigerated before cooking but looked amazingly fresh so I wasn't too worried. If you have an infant I would consider bringing some prepared food for the trip.  We also took the opportunity to grab some fruits as snacks for the plane ride!
This was a wonderfully inexpensive place to grab some souvenirs. For SCS mommy a local baby carrier/wrap was just the thing! We use it as a throw blanket on Sam's bed now! So many wonderful memories in Peru!

After our quick stop we headed back to the airport for the next leg of our adventure in Peru! Lollipops always make waiting for planes more bearable!


SCS Fast Facts:

* Stroller Friendly
* No public restrooms 
* No changing Stations
* Food Stalls with stool seating

Mar 30, 2017

Bellmont Hotel and Machu Picchu, Peru with Kids


Snap Shot of Our Itinerary:
Day 1-Travel Day (Chivay to Arequipa to Cusco)
Taxi: From Chivay to Arequipa 5:30am           
Flight: 8:50am-9:50am
           Taxi: to Ollantaytambo Train Station (2 hours)
           Train: from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (The Town at the base of MP.) (15:37-17:02)
            Hotel: Wachuma B&B


Day 2- Macchu Picchu Exploration

            Entrance Ticket: 10:00am (All day entrance.)
            Hotel: Sanctuary Lodge at Macchu Picchu
 
Day 3- Travel Day (MP to Ollantaytambo to Cuzco to Lima)

            MP to Ollantaytambo

            Train: 10:55 to 12:32 Ollantaytambo to Cuzco
            Taxi: Pick up at the Ollantaytambo Train Station

    Explore: Mercado San Pedro

 The star of the show when visiting Peru, without a doubt, is the idyllic Machu Picchu visit! The second you decide to take the plunge and visit Peru, BUY YOUR ENTRANCE TICKETS! They do sell out and having the flexibility of not having conflicting reservations, right at the start of planning, gives the best chance of getting entrance tickets. Only 2,500 tickets can be sold in a day due to the UNESCO world heritage site labeling. The LAN website gives amazing instructions on how to order through the official government site. They even have screen shots! Learn from my mistake, make sure you PAY! My computer didn't take me to the payment page and I just received a confirmation number. In my "we're going to Machu Picchu" bliss I didn't even think anything about it. Thankfully the kind supervisor had pity on us and allowed us entrance even though we hadn't paid ahead! Not everyone is this lucky. Make sure you get a payment confirmation!

Also book your train tickets to MP at the same time you're booking your entrance tickets to MP. We ended up thinking about train tickets far into our planning and paid the price. (Can you tell the preparation for this trip was a killer, even for our very well traveled family!) The flights into Cusco did not line up with the train to Aguas Calientes unless you plan on staying a night in Cusco when you fly in and leave the following morning. We didn't want to spend the night in Cusco so we had to get creative with our train tickets. We took a taxi from the airport to Ollantaytambo. 

The taxis were plentiful at the airport and happy to take us to the train station, a roughly 2 hour drive. The sights along the drive were amazing and defiantly added to a train when we thought it would detract. (For detailed Itinerary click here.)

The taxi left us at the entrance to the train station. We asked our taxi driver to meet us at the train station at the time of our return and take us to the airport. We told him the date and time and he was there without a hitch! 


There was a wonderful cafe at the entrance with plugs, free wifi, and great coffee, hot chocolate, and an irish coffee for SCS dad! 



The train trip was amazingly comfortable with on board entertainment, food, and helpful staff. There was plenty of space for suitcases and backpacks. 


Giving Sam a kid's camera gave her something to do when we were just "looking" at things.
 

From our very long travels into Aguas Calientes, we stayed the first night at the Wachuma Bed and Breakfast at the base of the mountain. The hotel left a lot to be desired, including a proper roof in the communal area but otherwise it was clean, and safe for a single night stay. They did have cats roaming the halls which provided some much needed play time with Sam.
 
We got into the town in the evening and explored for a few hours before going to bed.  The town is extremely small. There are 3 bridges that connect one side of the town to the other. The only reason to visit is to wait for the bus to head up the mountain. There was a parade the night we were there. The food is tourist-driven and tolerable. We ended up at a pizza place. We overpaid but the restaurant was big and comfortable and allowed us to catch up and connect as a family.


 
   
We woke up early the next morning and headed up the mountain on a bus (buy the tickets at the ticket hut the night you get into Aguas Calientes). 



We left SCS dad in line waiting for the bus and the rest of the family got the hang out at the coffee shop next the bus stop. The coffee shop had rent-able lockers, a bathroom, and enough food for a early morning breakfast.



Ever kid has something and my kid gets car sick. It's an irony that makes me laugh! I lamented over this short bus ride for far more time than the average traveling parent, I suspect. We switched hotels the day of our MP adventure and stayed at the Bellmont Hotel. We had to take our suitcases up the mountain on the bus. The staff was very helpful and found space for all our things. I made sure to bring my car sickness survival guide and Sam was fine. (Personal Fan, Pressure Wrist Bands, and a plastic bag)





At the top of the mountain, where the bus drops off passengers, is the hotel.  The bus drop off location is at the base of the hotel stairs. 
The Bellmont Hotel is the only accommodations at the top of the mountain. It is before the entrance gates to MP. Here is a picture from the hotel garden looking at the entrance to MP.
 


We booked entrance to MP for two days. We wanted to explore the day we checked into the Bellmont and then the morning before we left. We were extremely happy we decided to do this. The first day we got there it started off sprinkling and then ended up pouring as the day progressed. I have to admit, I wouldn't have had such great memories from this section of our trip if it were not for that second day's entrance on a sunny day. 

Day 1: Rainy morning leading into a pouring rain afternoon. Yes, locals sell ponchos at the entrance. Sam was less than thrilled.
 

Sam said the only thing that made day 1 worth it was the unlimited hot chocolate and dessert at the Bellmont Hotel right after the hike. Due to the rain there was an extremely long line to catch the bus back down the hotel. A lot of people were trying to head down not long after they arrived due to the rain. Staying at the Bellmont felt so worth it when we were all soaked, starving, and staring at the sad faces of the tourist in the long lines waiting for the buses.  


Day 2: Sunshine and perfect temperatures.

 

The Bellmont food was AMAZING! All the full family meals (including an open bar) almost made the sky high price of the hotel worth it.  We also got to enjoy a message on the premise and a free pisco tasting in the evening.

 

The hotel grounds gave us some space to just relax and let the little one stretch her legs between excursions to check out the ruins. The orchid garden was delightful!
  
 

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For the little printable book I made for Sam check out my TPT store. It's completely FREE! I just cut out the pages and put it in a little notebook for her to take on the trip. It allowed us to have a conversation started, allowed her to follow along on the itinerary, and gave her some boredom busters.



Websites:

https://www.belmond.com/sanctuary-lodge-machu-picchu/

Lima Peru Blog Post

SCS Fast Facts:
 * Do your homework and book/plan everything far in advance.
 * Go straight to the baby carrier. The strollers were going nowhere fast. 

 * No baby changing areas but the having great weather would allow for a spread/change anywhere in MP.





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