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3 Essential Stops in Rome in 1 Day

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Rome is an amazing city and even if you are blessed with just one day, here is a way to make the most of the day in the Eternal City!

  1. Stop 1: Vatican City

Buy Vatican Tickets 

If you are coming into the city from a cruise ship, be leery of booking time at the Vatican for the early morning; you may be better served to buy your tickets when you arrive; even across the street, there is a skip the line Vatican Tour (you will pay a little more, but will get in within 30 minutes) whereas buying tickets and finding you are two hours late into port will result in the same and you will have paid twice. With that being said, if you are in Rome (arrival the night before), then buy your ticket in advance and report 30 minutes early. If you are on a cruise and want to have everything in order before your trip, then book the tickets for 1:30 PM or 2 PM and do the Stops on this page in reverse order!

When inside the Vatican Museum, you can spend as much time or as little time you would like; the guides are all fantastic. If you are tight on time, move ahead and keep going; the guides will try to keep you with them, but if you only have a day and want to see everything….keep moving…and pass other groups (essentially “get lost”). Make sure when you get to the Sistine Chapel, you take a moment and look up without being in a hurry.

On the way out of the Sistine Chapel, move on to St. Peter’s Basilica; it is absolutely stunning! If you do the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica with wait time getting in and starting (estimate 2 hours)

In order to move with this itinerary to see everything; catch a taxi to The Colosseum!

2. Stop 2: Colosseum

Buy Colosseum Tickets

Buy your tickets in advance here. There will be lines wrapped around the Colosseum; this is not your line! Make sure you keep walking around and there are lots of guides that will show you the line for those who prepurchased tickets! The Colosseum has a lot of history in the building and there are areas that explain all about the history. When you finish here, go out the back to the Roman Forum and see the ruins! Your ticket into the Colosseum will also get you into this area. It will be about a 45 minute walk through and it is totally worth the experience. (estimate 2 hours for The Colosseum and Roman Forum).

In order to move with this itinerary, catch a taxi to the Spanish Steps

 

3. Stop 3: Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona (estimate 2-4 hours here)

When you arrive at the taxi stop near the Spanish Steps, you will embark on a beautiful walking tour. There are signs that guide you to each spot. Just make sure you go into the Pantheon. Watch for pickpockets- keep essentials close to you and pay attention….your phone, wallet, and camera can be off of you in 2 seconds flat!

4. Stop 4: Late Lunch: In Piazza Navona: Ai Tre Tartufi (Piazza Navona 26-27)

On the way back to the train station back to the cruise ship, ask the taxi driver to take you by Castel Sant’Angelo.

A few additional pictures in Rome. A Modern City with Ancient History….there are so many things to do in Rome, but these are the top stops to visit in 1 Day

and yes, that is a pyramid in Rome!

Hope this helps with your planning!

Questions, please ask!

~ Heidi

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Spending A Day in Capri

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Getting to Capri

How to get to Capri…….from the train station or ship port; take a taxi to Molo Beverello where you will catch the high speed hydrofoil (ferry).  Make sure you get on one of the earliest ferries that you can. The ride from Naples to Capri is around an hour. You can buy your tickets onsite. For the first visit, you want to buy a roundtrip ticket; you do not want to try to buy a return ticket mid-afternoon to find out that the tickets are sold out to get back to Naples. Tickets can be purchased in advance. If you buy the ticket, it is for a specific time so if your cruise ship is late or the train is late, you may have to repurchase the ferry ticket. The Ferry Schedule  changes based on the time of the year. Peak Season is June-August and September-May is the off peak so check times and availability. If you arrive from a cruise ship; do this on your own UNLESS you are combining Capri with Pompeii; then it would be suggested to go with the cruise ship company as the ship will wait for cruise tours to return and time for both destinations would be a concern.

Map of Capri 

When you arrive in Capri on the hydrofoil, you will come into Marina Grande.

Suggested Itinerary for the Day

9:30 AM  Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzurra) and Ride Around the Island of Capri    

By the time you get tickets for the Blue Grotto Boat Ride, wait for the boat to load, ride around, go into the Blue Grotto, and return, it is about 2 hours.  You will be dropped back at Marina Grande.

The Blue Grotto and Ride Around the Island of Capri only includes the ride to the Blue Grotto. When you arrive, plan on 14 Euros per person to get into the Blue Grotto (Cash only) by row boat.

When your boat pulls up outside the cave, you will see row boats come to boats (there are usually a lot of boats waiting) and load a few people in and they disappear into the cave. It is absolutely beautiful!

Remember that the row boat will likely have water on the bottom (white shorts can become see through). Just know you will have to lay back in the row boat to get into the cave as the top of the row boat often will hit the cave.

Early morning is best! No matter how long you are on the island, by making this your first priority you will ensure the best opportunity to see it. With that being said, if the weather is too rough, it may be cancelled.

 

11:30 AM  Chairlift to Monte Solaro or Take a Drive Around the Island

Chairlift to Monte Solaro Information  

Video of the Chairlift to Monte Solaro

The chair lift to Monte Solaro provides a beautiful landscape portrait of the Island. It is a view you will never forget.

The ride to the top will take 15 minutes.

Faraglioni: From this location, you can see the stones that come out of the water.

Cost: 11 Euros

12:00 PM Visit Villa San Michele

Much of Capri is scenery and environment. Villa San Michele is a up the hill from Marina Grande. It will take over an hour to hike to it.

12:30 PM Anacapri

Anacapri is the second largest town on the island and is much cheaper, more quiet, and tucked away. There are not as many shops, but a short walk to the beach.

1:30 PM Piazzetta

There are a lot of restaurants and cafes along the Piazzetta. Just stroll down and stop one or two places..Typically I will eat a meal, shop for a bit, then stop for dessert.

2:30 PM Via Camerelle and Via Tragara

Shopping area with beautiful streets and avenues; lots of boutiques and perfumes.

3:30 PM Beach near Marina Grande

 

5:00 PM Departure at Marina Grande

When you visit Capri, try to find a Citrus perfume to take home. A little different, but definitely a good souvenir.

No matter how you spend your day, you will love visiting the island of Capri.

XOXO,

Heidi

0 In Airlines/ Bucket List/ Budget/ Couples/ Family/ Female Travels/ Itinerary/ Machu Picchu/ Peru/ Random Musings/ South America/ Travel/ Travel Advice/ Travel Gear/ Travel Tips

Machu Picchu: On A Budget: 4 Day Itinerary

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Before you go; make sure you do these 3 things: 1. Book train tickets 2. Book Hotel Accommodations 3. Have Machu Picchu Tickets in Hand

Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Day 2: Machu Picchu

Day 3: Machu Picchu; return to Cusco

Day 4: Fly out of Cusco

Make sure you know:

  1. Altitude Cusco 11,152 feet
  2. Altitude Ollayntambo 9,160 feet
  3. Altitude Aguas Calientes 6,693 feet
  4. Machu Picchu 7,970 feet

Train tickets: make sure you book a late train from Ollanytambo to Aguas Calientes

Flights from Lima into Cusco often get delayed. (mine was delayed 5 hours)

Day to Day Specifics

Day 1: Arrival in Cusco; from here; Plan going straight to Aguas Calientes (below Machu Picchu). When you arrive in Cusco (11,152 feet altitude) and if you are from a lower elevation it can wreck havoc on your body if you stay without acclimating.

Take a taxi from the Cusco Airport to Ollanytambo (get some food in the airport before you leave; the taxi ride is 2.5 hours)

Ollanytambo is in the Sacred Valley so if you flight is on time; you have time to walk around and see the ruins. If not, you will catch it on your way back to Cusco. The cost of a taxi is around 40.00 USD or 100-120 soles; at the airport, taxis will start at 240-440 soles or for a private car 350.00 USD; trust me, negotiate and offer 40 USD or 100 soles.

At the airport, there is a money exchange; the three of us exchanged 200.00 dollars to Soles.

The ride from Cusco to Ollayntambo is winding, on dirt roads, and on bumpy paths with a beautiful landscape the entire drive; with the elevation, fatigue, and car sickness; Coca Cola and Pringles actually made me feel a lot better.

Peru Rail: Ollanyntambo to Aguas Calientes (get some food in the store before leaving). The ride is around 2 hours.

Remember that things in South America do not always go as planned and there is a slower pace; it took over an hour for the bags to get off the plane because there was a festival going on.

I went with Peru Rail and was extremely happy with the experience; booked the Vistadome and on the return, the Expedition. With a 5 hour delay in Lima, we were able to rebook with Peru Rail in the airport with no additional charges. Very thankful that Peru Rail was so awesome.

When arriving in Aguas Calientes, there is no one who carries your bags and most hotels are up the hill. My hotel happened to be at the top of the hill; 15 minute walk and it was challenging with a pack on my back.

Day 2: Get up in the morning (Aguas Calientes) and pick up bus tickets (you will need a passport to purchase a ticket per person) It was around 79 Soles roundtrip or around 20 USD roundtrip. You can buy the tickets at the stand for a couple days so you do not have to visit the bus tickets again. (credit card machines were not working, so make sure you have cash)

Stand in line for the bus to the top. Make sure that while standing in line, someone checks your ticket and stamps it; if you have no stamp, you have to run to the top of the hill and find the person stamping.

You must show your passport and entrance ticket to get in.

Again, take snacks and drinks with you to Machu Picchu.

No tickets for Machu Picchu are sold at the top; so have your tickets with you.

There is a free stamp for Machu Picchu for your passport.

Restrooms are 1 sole per person.

Walking through Machu Picchu and taking pictures on day 1 for us took about 5 hours. We sat and talked and appreciated the amazing views. The weather was spectacular and watching everything was wonderful.

After the visit to Machu Picchu, we had lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel: lunch was a buffet and 40.00 USD per person. A bit pricey but well worth it. 3 drinks (water and Cokes) about 9 USD.

A few things to remember at the top of Machu Picchu: everyone who came up has to go down, so be strategic with timing. We waited an hour to go down; others were in line over 2 hours. It can be hot while waiting; so stay hydrated.

When returning to Agua Calientes, there are a lot of little shops/ cafes/ market to go shopping and eating.

Day 3: Get up early and see Machu Picchu at 5:30 AM. It is spectacular. On this early morning, we ran into heavy rain, but the structure of Machu Picchu and the architectural design allows for a drainage and no puddled water; within 2 hours, it was clear and beautiful. We went down around 10 AM; went to the hotel and showered; then stopped by a cafe next to the river and then had lunch before leaving; our train from Agua Calientes was to leave around 2 PM arriving in Ollayntambo around 4 PM.

The two hour train ride allowed for a quick nap before the taxi ride back to Cusco. This cost was around 80 soles to Cusco (cheaper than leaving the airport). We walked around the Cusco Plaza del Armas where there are quite a few Catholic Churches, shops, KFC, and McDonalds. Our hotel, the JW Marriott Cusco (top 5 in South American Hotels) was around the corner and worth the money. Oxygen available for altitude sickness, free buffet breakfast, free internet, and walking distance of the shopping.

Day 4: Getting up and heading to the airport. Quick trip!

 

Considerations:

Vaccinations:(talk with your travel physician or check with the CDC)

-Hepatitis A

-Hepatitis B

-Typhoid

-Yellow Fever

-Flu

Medicines:

-Z Pak in case of Traveler’s Diarrhea

-Diamox (Altitude Sickness)

-Tylenol (Altitude Sickness)

-Pepto Bismol (Just in Case)

Few things to know about the area:

-Do not drink the water (or even the tea)

-Do not shave

-Do not eat fresh salsa or vegetables

What I learned:

-Give yourself extra time in case of issues. Book the train after 6 PM (from Ollanytambo to Aguas Calientes)

-Peru Rail was easy to navigate and book (in English)

-Machu Picchu tickets were not as easy to get online (I will post a tutorial in the next few days; the translation is not particularly helpful).

-The Culture of Ministry can change the Machu Picchu visiting times on a day’s notice; I received information from Peru Rail about this so we entered Machu Picchu earlier on the first day than expected since the entrance was closing at 2 PM.

-Book 2 days at Machu Picchu (if you arrive in the morning, you can stay all day, but make sure you can be there before the morning hours end)

Ways to Save Money:

  1. Sign up for ebates: use referral code: https://www.ebates.com/r/HEIDIL357?eeid=28187 and you will get some free money as well.
  2. Go through ebates, now search for hotels.com
  3. This will allow you a % for going through ebates on your hotel stay & 9 nights=1 free on hotels.com
  4. Negotiate and Know the Costs (see below)

Estimated Costs:

  1. Taxi to and from Ollayntambo: 80 USD for 5 hours of driving (2.5 hours each way)
  2. Train (rt) to Aguas Calientes: 80 USD for the cheapest option
  3. Hotel: 4 Star = 100.00 USD per night  5 Star: 450.00 USD-1200.00 USD
  4. Food cost = 8-10.00 USD per person / meal
  5. Bottled Water =2.50 USD per person
  6. Machu Picchu 2 days of tickets: $65.00 USD/ day
  7. Plane tickets run from $400-1550.00 to get to Cusco. (I used flight miles which I will talk about soon)

Questions? Please just ask!