Cusco and Machu Picchu
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Explore Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
This one week trip explores the famous sites of the Incas including Cusco, the Sacred Valley and concluding at the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. Rather than rush back to Cusco, we spend a night at Aguas Calientes, with an opportunity to soak in the hot springs before heading up to Machu Picchu for sun rise. We also spend ample time in Cusco savouring and acclimatizing in this great Inca city.
- The splendor of Cusco with its churches, cathedrals, plazas, markets and cultural heritage
- The beautiful Sacred Valley
- Visit Machu Picchu
- Extra day at leisure in Cusco
Day 1 Arrive in Cusco
Upon arrival in Cusco at 3,400m, you will be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel for a short initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, which is essential to initiate successful acclimatization to the altitude.
Day 2 In and around Cusco
Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We also take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls and shop.
Day 3 Drive to the Sacred valley of The Incas
We leave Cusco and cross the Chinchero Plateau from where we get impressive views of three mountain ranges. We descend into the valley to the Inca village of Ollantaytambo (For those interested you might like to consider a rafting trip along the Urubamba River). This village is famous for its monolithic granite blocks that had been hauled 500 years ago from the quarries more than 8 km away to become part of an unfinished temple high above the village. The monumental ruins site you'll visit here is definitely the most impressive in the valley. We'll have plenty of time to explore this lovely village and have the opportunity to do some ‘tourist shopping’, selecting from a variety of expertly made craft work, including alpaca sweaters and hats, ceramics, weavings and traditional Andean instruments. The evening is spent at our hotel in the heart of the valley.
Day 4 Train to Machu Picchu
From our hotel, we drive to the railway station at Ollantaytambo where we take an early morning train to Machu Picchu. Today we start early to thoroughly explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. After a professionally led tour of the site we’re free to wander around the rest of the amazing sights. We then take a late afternoon bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we have the option to soak in the hot springs.
Day 5 At Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
This morning we have the option to return to Machu Picchu as the sun is rising. This is a wonderful time to visit and is generally a quieter time to explore the ruins and perhaps consider climbing Huayna Picchu (the steep peak behind Machu Picchu or walk to the Sun Gate ‘Inti Punku’) Mid-afternoon we depart from Machu Picchu for the extremely pretty train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco. Here we transfer to our hotel for two nights.
Day 6 Free day to explore Cusco
A good day to relax and perhaps do some 'tourist shopping', selecting from a great variety of expertly made craft work - including alpaca sweaters and hats, ceramics, weavings and traditional Andean instruments. In and around Cusco there are a number of day trips that can be booked and paid for locally.
Day 7 Trip concludes in Cusco
After breakfast, we offer a transfer to the airport, where services conclude.
- 6 breakfasts
- airport transfers
- expert local bilingual guide
- comfortable well located hotels
- private air conditioned transportation
- train to Machu Picchu
- sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed
- 7 day trip
- 6 nights hotel
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
During the trip you will be accommodated in generally 3 star hotels/hostals which have been chosen for their local flavour, central location and cleanliness.
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc.