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Open Groups Begin in Cusco Every Sunday.
Private Trips Booked Any Day Year Round
Day 1: Welcome to Cusco! / Walking City Tour
Adios guide and driver will be waiting at the Cusco airport to transfer to hotel for checkin followed by lunch in local restaurant and guided walking city tour. Your guide introduces you to local Peruvian culture and ancient Inca civilization with legendary stories and a visit to the main Plaza de Armas, once considered the center of the Inca Empire, and where the statue of King Pachacutec, whose brilliant vision led to the design and building of Machu Picchu, greets everyone. Continue on foot through authentic narrow Inca streets where you explore the historical city including markets and Qoricancha Temple, also known as the "Golden Temple of the Sun." See the remarkable achievements of ancient Peruvians that include stone arches, Inca walls, cobbled streets, and many examples of exotic architecture. Observe the impact of colonial invasion and how the collision of two very different societies fused into one enchanting hub of modern Peruvian culture. Dine in local restaurants for lunch and dinner. (cost not included) About 3 hours. Hotel in Cusco. Altitude 11,000 ft / 3352 m (Need advice getting to Cusco? Just ask! We're here to help)
Day 2: Cusco Outskirts Easy Historical Walk
08:30 AM After breakfast in hotel, your local guide arrives for pickup to begin 20 minute drive to the tranquil terraced rocks of Tambomachay ruins (meaning guest house), with aqueducts, waterfalls and canals. It is said that the Inca emperor came here to bathe and perform religious rites in the water. Begin easy hike about 7 KM mostly downhill, through local farms, to the mysterious Qenco temple ruins where sacrifices and mummification took place. Not far are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, first built by the Killke culture beginning 1100 A.D. and expanded by the Inca. It’s considered the largest structure built and one of the most significant archaeological legacies of the Incas. Due to the complexity of the layout of the massive blocks of stone, some bigger than a car, it is said that the construction of Sacsayhuaman lasted more than 50 years and employed over 20,000 men in the construction. About 5-6 hours. Walk to hotel in Cusco. Highest Altitude 12477 ft / 3800 m
Day 3: Sacred Valley Tour / Chinchero / Moray / Maras
08:30 AM Pickup from hotel and drive about 30-40 min to Chinchero, home to the famous colonial style church and archaeological ruins and the backdrop for Qechua women & girls who demonstrate traditional dyeing and weaving. Continue 20 KM by car to the greenhouse ruins of Moray, the Inca Greenhouse ruins built in concentric terraces. More than just terraces, this is one of the old agricultural experimental places of the Incas. We explore for 30 to 45 minutes on foot, then begin walking east on an old Incan trail that is still in use by the local people. Along the way we pass farming fields where the people grow potatoes, quinua, barley and a lot of times you will meet farmers on their way home or to the main town. The first part of the hike is an average of 6 km before you arrive at Maras (the terraced salt ponds) Each pond is owned by an individual family who still harvest salt like the old times. There is the option to get picked up here, or continue hiking down for another 1.5 hours to the Vilcabamba River. Driver will meet you for pickup and continue by car where you finally arrive in Ollantaytambo, the oldest still-occupied town in Peru. If time permits, you explore the prominent ruins overlooking the Sacred Valley. These ruins are the last Inca stronghold when Emperor Manco defeated the Spanish in a famous battle in 1536. Drive to your hotel for checkin. Walk to local restaurant for dinner. Full Day. Hotel in Ollantaytambo. Highest Altitude 12,375 ft / 3772 m - Lowest Altitude 9160 ft / 2792 m
Day 4: 1-Day Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu (optional)
After early breakfast, you walk to the station with your backpack and board an early train for 1 ½ hour ride to KM 104. The train stops so you can you jump off, then cross the bridge over the Urubamba River. You pass through the checkpoint then begin the 12 KM/7.5 m hike on one small section of one of the most famous network of trails in the world. For the next 5-6 hours you will tread in the footsteps of the ancient ones. Gradually hiking up the canyon on Inca paths and short stone steps to the ruins of Winay Wayna. Unlike Europeans, the Incas used a road system that included steep stone steps instead of lengthy zigzag switchbacks. This reduced the amount of road building needed and was an efficient way to travel on foot with llamas who were adapted to higher altitudes in the Andes mountains. This was critical to the expansion of the empire. This system was a hindrance to Europeans and armies mounted on horses as they could not negotiate the steep steps as well as switchbacks. Pass by waterfalls and lush landscape of the cloud forest as you make your way to Inti-Punku (Sun Gate) for your first glimpse of the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. Descend another 45 minute to one hour stopping for photos before exiting the national park. Board shuttle buses that run every 10-15 minutes for 25 minute ride to the village of Aguas Calientes. Walk to hotel for checkin, then enjoy dinner in local restaurant. Box Lunch included. Hotel in Aguas Calientes.
Day 5: Machu Picchu / Ollantaytambo (optional Hike to Huayna Picchu can be added if tickets are available)
After an early breakfast, you walk to the boarding area for your shuttle bus back up to Machu Picchu where you enter with your guide for a private tour of the ruins. (earliest bus departs around 5:20 am) Choose from 3 routes including the guard house overlooking the agricultural terraces and then enter the main gate of the city to get up close to the temples, structures and fountains. Exit ruins then take shuttle bus down to meet up in Aguas Calientes for a quick lunch. Walk to the station to board the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo. Walk to hotel in Ollantaytambo.
Day 6: Ollantaytambo / Pisac / Cusco
08:30 AM Driver and guide will pickup from hotel and begin 1 hour drive to the village of Pisac home of the famous market as well as one of the lesser known archaeological gems of the Sacred Valley. Continue past the village and up to the parking area past sweeping agricultural terraces. The car parks and you prepare for 2-3 hour hike beginning with a short walk to the Inca cemetery where you see hundreds of holes in the mountain. Continue on the trail for another 20-30 minutes until you reach the first residential structure. Further down is the stunning temple complex constructed from exquisitely carved pink granite, featuring a sun temple, ceremonial altars, water channels and wells. After a tour of the site, you can choose to hike down many stone steps (and we mean down) to the village, or take the trail and loop back to the van, where you are driven 10 minutes to the village. Here you can enjoy refreshments in the cafe and check out the famous market. Continue 1 hour by van to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 7: Farewell to Cusco / Travel to Lima (or other destinations)
Pickup from hotel at least 2.5 hours prior to scheduled departure, to Cusco airport. Checkin for departure flight to Lima, where you make international connections.
The 2-day extension to Lake Titicaca can be combined with this trip. You can fly directly from Lake Titicaca to Lima after the trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get altitude sickness in Cusco?
It's common for most people who are coming from sea level to experience at least mild symptoms of altitude sickness when they arrive in Cusco, which is 11,000 ft/3430 m above sea level. Age is not a factor for the severity of symptoms one can experience. But fitness can be. Symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:
-headache (the most common complaint)
-loss of appetite
The best natural remedy is to drink plenty of water before you arrive at altitude and continue to drink water even at night. Coca leaf tea is available in every hotel coffee bar and restaurant. There is no way to predict if it will alleviate your symptoms. The most reliable treatment for headache is to bring your own medication. Ask your physician about prescription treatments before you travel.
Is it safe to drink the water in Peru?
Tap water in Lima, Cusco and other larger cities is consumed by local people every day. But is it safe for you? There's only one way to find out and we suggest that you not drink the tap water or use it to brush your teeth. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere including small towns and villages.
We support the reduction of the use of disposable plastic water bottles and encourage you to bring a purification device to make your own safe drinking water. The device should be rated to purify water from microbes and viruses, not just for taste. We found a small, inexpensive passive portable water filter that removes not only bacteria, but heavy metals and inorganic materials like chlorine, nitrite and fluoride. Here is a link to read more, and a discount code if you choose to buy it. Drivers may carry purified drinking water to refill your personal water bottle on day tours and activities.
What is the best way to travel between Lima and Cusco?
We recommend flying between the cities because other means require more time or are not practical for short vacations. There is no train service between Lima and Cusco. And while there is bus service, the drive is almost 24 hours long over paved, but winding mountain roads. There is no speedy highway. We recommend that you book Latam Airlines for the most reliable airline service. And we suggest you allow at least 4-5 hours layover in Lima airport if you intend to fly from Cusco to Lima for an international connecting flight on the same day.
Where should I stay if my international flight arrives in Lima in the evening?
There is only one hotel at the Lima airport. The Wyndham Hotel is connected to the arrivals terminal by a skybridge on the 2nd floor or by crossing a 3 lane road on the ground level. It takes literally 2 minutes to walk from the terminal to the lobby of the hotel.
This hotel is best for groups who arrive in Lima in the evening and plan to depart again by air the next day. For groups planning to stay in Lima, it's best to ask your hotel in the Lima city center to arrange a ground transfer, since there are no shuttle buses. The travel time is about 45 minutes each way when the traffic is moderate. Traffic can be routinely congested during the daytime, from 7AM to 8PM. The cost ranges from $35 USD each way and up. If your group is larger than 3 persons, you may need a transfer in a mini-van or two taxis.
Do I need vaccinations to visit Machu Picchu?
No. Covid vaccinations are not required to enter Peru. And other travel vaccinations are not required. The altitude of Machu Picchu is 8000 ft/2440 m and higher. Disease-carrying vectors do not thrive at higher elevations. US citizens are not required to get Yellow Fever vaccinations or prophylactic Malaria treatments. Although there have been no recent cases of Yellow Fever in Peru, some countries, including the US, recommend that visitors get Yellow Fever vaccinations prior to visiting the Amazon Rainforest, including Tambopata Reserve or Manu National Reserve. Even though these vaccinations are not required to re-enter the US, they may be required if you are transiting or traveling to another country before you return home. We recommend that travelers check the regulations for re-entry for any countries they will pass through after leaving Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. Health regulations are subject to change from time to time. It is the responsibility of travelers to consult their own government health departments for up to date and relevant information.
This Adventure Includes
- Cusco airport transfers
- All ground transportation with private driver
- 3 * Hotel in locally owned boutique accommodations with private bathroom, including Peruvian breakfast buffet
- Entry tickets to all the archaeological sites listed in the itinerary
- 1 day entry to Machu Picchu National Park
- Roundtrip train tickets
- Roundtrip shuttle bus tickets
- Inca Trail permits (cannot be changed or refunded once booked)
- Private, guided tour of the ruins
- English-speaking guide
- US - based English-speaking advisors for pre-departure information (we'll help you choose and book your flights upon request)
- Travel assistance
- International airfare to and from Lima, Peru (let us know if you need help finding a flight)
- Domestic airfare from Lima to Cusco and Cusco to Lima
- Hotel or transfer services in Lima. Wyndham hotel is the only hotel located at the Lima airport and can easily be booked online
- Lunches or dinners
- Bottled drinking water or other beverages
- Travel insurance
- Tickets to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain / Add $85 USD pp (if available)
- Perfect trip for families or groups who may have members who want to take the train instead of the Inca Trail hike
- Itinerary subject to change
- Duration of walks can be adjusted depending on your individual needs
- Machu Picchu visit is about 2-3Hours in the moring wave (6 am - 12 Noon)
- 1-day Inca Trail hike is optional. If you have any doubts, please ask us (7 hour limit to reach Machu Picchu)
- Single supplement available - add $330 for 7 Days
- Ask about extending your trip to Lake Titicaca, Amazon Jungle, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Ecuador or Galapagos Islands.
- Can be combined with Amazon trip before your visit to Machu Picchu
- Can be combined with Lake Titicaca trip after your visit to Machu Picchu