In this brief but unforgettable getaway, you explore Cuzco and Machu Picchu, two of the world’s most fascinating adventure destinations. This Machu Picchu tour works well as a standalone visit to Peru, or as one component of a longer exploration of South America. It also combines very well with a Galápagos Islands cruise for a two-week holiday of a lifetime.
You may start your Machu Picchu tour on any day of the week. According to your arrival date, budget, and special interests, we create a custom program optimized for your visit, starting from the generic 6-night framework described here. You choose the level of hotel that suits your budget. Since the program combines structured group touring with some unstructured free time, we can adjust the order of visits so that you can take in a colorful country market, a special festival, a shopping excursion or museum visits.
On request, we can arrange a variety of add-ons, from a challenging day-hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, to a multi-night excursion into the nearby Amazon rainforest. The potential for adventure is limitless.
Day 1 – Lima: Fly to Lima, capital city of Peru, located in Peru’s narrow coastal desert between the Pacific Ocean beaches and the towering Andes mountains. We meet you at Lima’s airport and transfer you to a comfortable hotel for overnight. Please refer to the table on page 2 listing our preferred hotels in each service category.
Day 2 – Cuzco: On the hour-long morning flight from Lima you first traverse the arid western slopes and the sparsely-populated highlands before enjoying views toward spectacular snow-capped Andean peaks and tiny villages in jewel-like green valleys beneath high, treeless moorlands. Watch for the classic geometic forms of Inca terracing as we descend into the Cuzco airport. The former capital of the Inca empire now fills the head of a manicured valley at 10,857’ above sea level. We transfer you to your hotel, and brief you on the events of the following days. You have the remainder of the morning free. We suggest you take it very easy for a few hours, to help your body adjust to the altitude. You’ll have ample time later to explore Cuzco’s colorful streets and plazas. In the afternoon we tour the Inca and colonial monuments in the city, including the Cathedral, the Inca Temple of the Sun, and the impressive Plaza de Armas. We also visit the exquisite Inca shrines of Tambo Machay and Kenko in the hills above the city, and Saqsayhuaman, the enormous fortified temple with its massive ramparts of hewn stone, for a condor’s-eye view over the red tiled rooftops of Cuzco.
Day 3 – Sacred Valley/Machu Picchu: We enjoy a spectacular private tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, so named for the many Inca temples constructed there. We tour Pisaq ruins and Ollantaytambo village and ruins. In mid-afternoon we board a train at Ollantaytambo station for the exciting 90-minute journey down the gorge of the Urubamba River to the ruins of the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. On arrival at the terminus in Aguas Calientes, check into your hotel for overnight.
Day 4 – Machu Picchu: Because of the natural splendor of the jungle-clad mountains surrounding the ruins, and the artistry of the buildings perched on a ridge high above the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu is one of the archeological wonders of the world. Following your guided Machu Picchu tour, you have time for photography and to explore the extensive site in more depth at your own pace. You may opt to explore nearby trails, such as the easy stroll to the Gate of the Sun, the steep adventurous trail to the summit of Huayna Picchu, or to Machu Picchu Mountain. (Note: some optinal hikes require prepayment of additional site fees. Rates and terms are subject to change; please ask for the current details.) You may prefer to return to a favorite spot within the main city to sketch, to write in your journal, or simply to contemplate the beauty and the mysteries of this extraordinary site. Take the shuttle bus down to nearby Aguas Calientes in the afternoon for your return to Cuzco by train. Cuzco station reception and transfer, overnight in your hotel.
Day 5 – Cuzco: You have the day at leisure to explore the many other fascinating ruins and points of interest in Cuzco’s hinterland. We can assist you in customizing your visit according to your personal preferences. While it is possible to omit this day for a lower-cost 5-night program, most of our returning passengers indicate they would have preferred more rather than less time to explore Cuzco and its surroundings. This open day may be positioned before the Machu Picchu tour to take advantage of market days in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (best markets are on Sundays).
Day 6 – Lima: Following your morning flight back to Lima, you have the balance of the day free to explore Lima on your own. At your request we may arrange optional visits to the National Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the Gold Museum, Lima’s colonial heart or other notable points of interest. You’ll find many shops full of excellent folk art, jewelry, ceramics and clothing in Miraflores near your hotel. Lima also boasts excellent restaurants featuring world-class cuisine drawn from the best of coast, highlands and the tropical rain forests.
Day 7 – Home: We provide a private transfer to Lima airport for check-in to your onward flight.
Package includes: Meet and assist in Lima Private airport transfers Porterage of 2 pieces of luggage per person in Lima & Cuzco 6 nights hotel accommodations, tax and service included Group tours of Cuzco and Machu Picchu with English-speaking guides Cuzco multi-site entrance ticket (BTG) Qorikancha (Sun Temple) entrance ticket, Cuzco cathedral entrance ticket One-day site entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Overnight Machu Picchu excursion includes Cuzco station transfers, return transport with reserved seating in best class Vistadome service, two shuttle bus tickets Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Daily breakfast (continental, American or buffet depending on level of program). On the superior + package, 1 dinner is included at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel. In the deluxe package, 1 lunch and 1 dinner are included at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Reconfirmation of onward airline reservations Our field staff in Lima and Cuzco provide professional assistance with add-ons
Package excludes: Lunches and dinners (budget an average of $10 for lunch and $15 for dinner, exclusive of bar tab). Tips to guides and tour staff Airport departure taxes Entrance to sites and museums other than those specified Flights Lima/Cuzco/Lima ($350, approximately, subject to change)
Optional extras: Market and Sacred Valley Tours Chachabamba to Machu Picchu one-day hike along the famed Inca Trail Weaving workshops Mountain biking Folklore dance shows Amazon Lodge Extension (3D/2N, 4D/3N) Lake Titicaca Extension (2D/1N, 3D/2N) Museum visits in Lima Pachacamac ruins Nazca Lines extension Upgrades to private guiding
1. Since we request space for this program according to your specific travel dates, these hotels are subject to prior sale. If our recommended hotels are unavailable, we will substitute accommodations of comparable value.
2. Hotel Inkaterra Machu Picchu includes 1 dinner.
3. In Deluxe class, the Cuzco city tour and Machu Picchu tour is in private service. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge includes 1 lunch and 1 dinner, and the tour is provided on private rather than group basis.