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lawgirl

Anyone done Machu Picchu extension of Galapagos?

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Hello. We are booked on Xpedition with the Machu Picchu land tour after. (It is not this year, so i hope they figure out the Xpedition issues).  We are debating whether to do the MP/Sacred Valley with Celebrity or book a private tour.

 

For those who did it with Celebrity, can you answer some questions please?

 

1.  How many people were in the tour group? 

2. Did you feel other passengers  were prepared for and able to do the itinerary in MP and the Sacred Valley?   We aren’t super fit, but we can do the stairs, hiking, city tours etc.  I have heard on some cruiselines (not X) that some passengers sign up for things outside their level of comfort, which affects the entire group and how much can be done.

3. did you feel that a 1/2 day in MP was enough? I was thinking of a private tour because I thought it would be nice to stay in a hotel near there to get 2 days or parts of 2 days.

4.  Overall, were the included tours, lunches, lunch at art collectors house, lunch at Wayra ranch, the equestrian show etc enjoyable? 

 

I guess I was wondering if, for $6000 pp, you felt it was worth it? I like the ease of Celebrity doing everything, and I know a private 6 or 7 night tour will be priced similarly or more. I also know some people do everything on their own, but it’s alot of flights, buses, trains, tickets, etc, plus hiring guides, booking fun events, etc.  so i would likely use a tour operator, or Celebrity.  Just wanted thoughts from those who have been, before I decide which way to go. Thanks! 

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We did the Celebrity extension in 2015.  It was nowhere near $6000 p/p.  I think it was less than half that.

 

What I tell people is that if you want more time at Machu Picchu (overnight, get up early to see the sun rise, etc.) arrange for a different tour or do this on your own.  While we were very pleased with how Celebrity handled everything, and there is a lot to see in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, the number one issue to resolve is how long you want to be at Machu Picchu.  

 

From our Xpedition cruise of 99 people, 29 did the Machu Picchu extension.  One woman had some issues in Cuzco, which were quickly resolved.   (The staff got her oxygen within 30 seconds of being alerted.)  At Machu Picchu, after about 3-4 hours, 24 people went to the nearby hotel for drinks or hot chocolate.  They had had enough hiking about.   Only 5 of us kept going up to the Temple of the Sun.  I pooped out twice, but eventually caught up with everyone at the top.

 

 

 

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52 minutes ago, SoCalTraveler said:

We did the Celebrity extension in 2015.  It was nowhere near $6000 p/p.  I think it was less than half that.

 

What I tell people is that if you want more time at Machu Picchu (overnight, get up early to see the sun rise, etc.) arrange for a different tour or do this on your own.  While we were very pleased with how Celebrity handled everything, and there is a lot to see in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, the number one issue to resolve is how long you want to be at Machu Picchu.  

 

From our Xpedition cruise of 99 people, 29 did the Machu Picchu extension.  One woman had some issues in Cuzco, which were quickly resolved.   (The staff got her oxygen within 30 seconds of being alerted.)  At Machu Picchu, after about 3-4 hours, 24 people went to the nearby hotel for drinks or hot chocolate.  They had had enough hiking about.   Only 5 of us kept going up to the Temple of the Sun.  I pooped out twice, but eventually caught up with everyone at the top.

 

 

 

Thank you! Excellent info.  Yes, I think prices have gone up a lot!  I appreciate your thoughts! 

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We did the extension in November.

We had 24 participate, and were divided into two groups in the vans, and even smaller groups for the actual tours of MP and SV.

Accommodations were made for all mobility levels. No one held anyone back and no one was pressured to do more than they felt capable. I have bad knees, and almost opted to go with the easier route, but, my guide encouraged me and said he knew I could do it from observing me at SV and other places. I am so glad I listened to him. There were many opportunities to stop while the guides talked and to take in the wonder of the site.

I agree that only you can decide how long you want to spend at the actual MP site. For extended time or a repeat visit the next day I recommend the one and only hotel on site  - Belmond Sanctuary. Any other place and you need to factor in transportation time up and down the mountain. You'll also need to find a guide who has access to extra tickets as the access time slots are strictly regulated (one is 6 hours, one is 5 1/2), and the number of visitors is retstricted. We felt the time we spent onsite was perfect and do not regret that we did not have more. Seeing sunrise at the MP site is my only "I wonder if" and even that is unsure with the new restrictions and weather.  

We originally booked the cruise only as we are avid DIYers who hate canned bus tours. I compared the Celebrity tour to a number of other recommended providers. To duplicate the same 5 star hotels, all meals, transfers, guides, entrance fees, train rides (Hiram Bingham was great) and flights would have cost the same or even more. Every single experience was exceptional and interesting. I am so glad I added the extension and feel it was worth every penny. You can absolutley do a private tour for less money, but if you want first class all the way, X may be for you.

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After Xpedition, we did Machu Picchu independently.  We simply could not justify the =X= add on price which was more than 4 times what we paid. In addition, we had a full day at the ruins (we had already toured for several hours and were having lunch when the Celebrity group arrived --they used the Hiram Bingham both ways then).  Spent the night in Aguas Calientes and able to visit the ruins a second day.  4 star (not 5 star but very nice) hotels in Lima, Aguas Calientes and Cuzco.  Also, a big advantage for us, a good bit of free time to explore Cuzco and AC.  

 

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We did the MP extension in Aug 2016. I only have positive things to say about our trip as we were well taken care of. 

 

I believe there were 18 in our group, which broke into two smaller groups when we took tours. Celebrity provided 3 dedicated guides to support our needs. 

 

I experienced symptoms of altitude sickness at various points of our trip. This impacted my ability to keep up with the group at a couple of the stops that required climbing. One of the guides hovered in my general vicinity in case I needed assistance. The rest of the group charged forward with the other guides so I don't think my slow climbing impacted them in any way. Despite this, I was still able to see all the important sites. The Celebrity tour keeps to a tight schedule with build in time to relax. For example, while the rest of the group had time to shop at Ollyantambo I made my way down the steep steps. 

 

I would describe our time at MP as a long half day. We arrived mid morning and left in the late afternoon. The only part I didn't visit was the Temple. A couple of people from our group hiked up while the rest of us headed to the restaurant at the onsite hotel.  

 

We thought all of the included tours, lunches, lunch at art collectors house, lunch at Wayra ranch, the equestrian show etc were enjoyable. We especially liked the visit to the alpacha farm and Wayra ranch. If we had to skip one thing it would be the visit to the sculptor's studio. This was interesting, but not a do not miss for us.

 

Our guides in Quito and then Peru were excellent, which is what we thought made our trip special. As a point of note, Ecuador and Peru have had struggles over control of the Amazon region. The way the tour guides described history of their respective countries from their perspectives was very interesting. This made me want to research South American history.  

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Thanks for all the insights. It sounds like everyone had positive experiences with Celebrity!   I am collecting info on private tours for just us, and then will compare. You do certainly get a ton of meals and experiences with Celebrity. It may be hard to beat!

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On 8/19/2019 at 6:19 PM, lawgirl said:

 

I guess I was wondering if, for $6000 pp, you felt it was worth it? I like the ease of Celebrity doing everything, and I know a private 6 or 7 night tour will be priced similarly or more. I also know some people do everything on their own, but it’s alot of flights, buses, trains, tickets, etc, plus hiring guides, booking fun events, etc.  so i would likely use a tour operator, or Celebrity.  Just wanted thoughts from those who have been, before I decide which way to go. Thanks! 

If you do a private tour, you don't have to arrange anything.  They do flight arrangements, transfers, private guides both overall and at the ruins, etc.  Ours was seamless.

I think you can find 6-7 day private tours for in the $2500-3000 range total for 2.

We did it a few years ago and paid $2200 total.  And top notch all the way.

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13 minutes ago, ECCruise said:

If you do a private tour, you don't have to arrange anything.  They do flight arrangements, transfers, private guides both overall and at the ruins, etc.  Ours was seamless.

I think you can find 6-7 day private tours for in the $2500-3000 range total for 2.

We did it a few years ago and paid $2200 total.  And top notch all the way.

I have contacted a number of tour operators, but the prices are much, much higher. Around $7000 per person with flights, luxury hotels, private tours for the two of us, lunches, train to and from MP, two days in MP, etc.  I haven’t found any operators to do a private tour with nice hotels, guides, flights  etc in that range unfortunately.... all are significantly more. 

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14 hours ago, lawgirl said:

I have contacted a number of tour operators, but the prices are much, much higher. Around $7000 per person with flights, luxury hotels, private tours for the two of us, lunches, train to and from MP, two days in MP, etc.  I haven’t found any operators to do a private tour with nice hotels, guides, flights  etc in that range unfortunately.... all are significantly more. 

 

Yes, it is important to compare apples to apples if you want a comparable tour. I'm sure you'll find something that works for your needs and wants. If your final decision is to go with Celebrity, I'm sure you'll be very pleased.

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