Guided Machu Picchu Travel & Private Exploration
Drawing on three decades of travel to Peru, an itinerary is anchored by both guided and private Machu Picchu and Cusco tours. Absorb the history and mystery still surrounding this ruined citadel, with time to wander the ruins privately or hike to the Sun Gate.
See More than the Lost City
During your Machu Picchu and Cusco tour, you will visit many Inca sites scattered throughout the Sacred Valley, including Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman and the Koricancha Sun Temple. This comprehensive look at Inca and Spanish archaeology is enhanced by knowledgeable Machu Picchu travel guides.
Experience Andean Culture
Along with time to absorb the unique tapestry of life in the Sacred Valley and Cusco, travel to bustling Indian markets – social centers where locals gather to buy and sell food and handicrafts; visit a local family for a private weaving demonstration; and even sample traditional Peruvian fare.
machu picchu cusco photos weaving
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machu picchu cusco overview exploring machu picchu
Fly independently to Lima and transfer to Costa del Sol Wyndham for the night. (Meals Aloft)
Lima / Cusco / Urubamba Valley
Start off our journey with a short briefing before we fly to Cusco — the heart of the Inca Empire and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere. Descend immediately into the historic Urubamba Valley. Along the way, we stop in Chinchero to visit a community program specializing in teaching traditional Andean art and textile making techniques. This is the ideal time to browse and shop for the best handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Enjoy lunch in the Urubamba Valley, and spend tonight at the Aranwa Hotel. (B,L,D)
Take a short ride to the Ollanta train station, where we board the train to Machu Picchu. Tour the ruins with our Machu Picchu travel guide, who points out the significance of the stone structures, temples and plazas. This impressive ruin, hidden for 400 years by semi-tropical jungle, lies in a saddle with the peaks of Machu Picchu, “Old Mountain,” and Huayna Picchu, “Young Mountain” rising dramatically on either side. Our home for the next two nights is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, an intimate luxury hotel nestled on 12 secluded acres of tropical cloud forest. (B,L,D)
Today is yours to enjoy a private Machu Picchu tour or simply relax! You may wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate if you wish to return to the citadel. Alternatively, enjoy some early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel. This afternoon, treat yourself to the spa or visit the extensive orchid garden, currently considered the biggest in-habitat garden on the planet. The grounds of the Machu Picchu Pueblo are home to exquisite birds including 16 species of hummingbirds and the Andean cock-of-the-rock, the national bird of Peru. Tonight, enjoy an enriching lecture on the history and mysticism surrounding the ruins, along with a detailed discussion of Inca culture. (B,L,D)
Machu Picchu / Ollantaytambo / Sacsayhuamán / Cusco
Catch the morning train back to the Sacred Valley. Explore the fortress of Ollantaytambo. The expertly fashioned walkways, canals and pools are a testament to the builders’ unrivaled skill. Enjoy a traditional lunch before a show by Peruvian Paso Fino horses at Wayra Ranch. Continuing across the valley toward Cusco, tour Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. Arrive in Cusco this evening before dinner and spend tonight at the Aranwa Hotel. (B,L,D)
Spend the morning strolling the streets on a Cusco tour, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo are beautiful examples of Spanish architecture superimposed on Inca construction — the complex was built over the Koricancha, a temple dedicated to the sun, the Inca’s most important god. The walls were covered in sheets of gold studded with emeralds and turquoise. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own before a farewell dinner featuring Andean delicacies. (B,L,D)
Cusco / Lima / Depart
Fly back across the Andes to Lima, and transfer to the airport this evening for flights home. (B,L)
Connect with your flight home. (Meals Aloft)
Things to Know
What’s included in the price of IE’s Machu Picchu & Cusco travel packages?
- Two days to explore Machu Picchu
- Explore ruins of Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuamán & Koricancha
- Scenic Vistadome train ride to Machu Picchu
- Guided tours & enriching lectures by expert native guides
- Private weaving demonstration
- Two visits with local families
- Paso Fino horse show
- Leisure time in Cusco & Lima
- Premier Machu Picchu & Cusco travel accommodations including Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
- 17 meals
- Tips to porters & to waiters for included meals
- Arrival & departure transfers
What kind of visas are required for travel to Peru?
Bring a valid passport that will not expire until at least six months after your departure date. Visas are not required for US or Canadian citizens.
What vaccinations are required for travel to Peru?
No inoculations are required to enter Peru or to return to the US after visiting Peru. The CDC recommends malaria pills and the yellow fever shot; however, you should consult with your personal physician.
How long are the flights?
Miami to Lima: 5 hours and 45 minutes.
Lima to Cusco: 55 minutes.
How do you deal with altitude sickness during a Machu Picchu & Cusco travel package?
You will travel from Lima at an elevation of approximately 300 feet to a height of over 11,000 feet in Cusco and the sparse scrub vegetation of the Andean highlands. You may find yourself affected by the altitude on the expedition. The most common symptoms are headache and sometimes fatigue and dizziness. Please take it easy, especially at first. These symptoms can be minimized by resting, drinking plenty of water and taking aspirin. If you have concerns about the altitude at Cusco and Machu Picchu, ask your physician about medications that may be suitable for you.
Oxygen will be available in all transport vehicles throughout your stay in Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Oxygen is available at your hotels, but you must request it at the front desk.
To prepare yourself for the high altitude, please limit your alcohol intake the night before your flight, and avoid fats, milk, cheese, oranges and heavy food at meals before flying.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Our Machu Picchu tour accommodations are at the famed Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, nestled in an area of natural beauty spreading over 12 acres of streams, gushing waterfalls, plantations and wild forest interspersed by stone pathways, the hotel is composed 83 guest houses nestled in one or two-storey whitewash cottages. Each room features California long beds with alpaca bedspreads, hand-woven pima cotton sheets, private bathrooms, heaters, aromatherapy products and nightly turndown service. The bar, boutique and reception building are each decorated with Andean artifacts and fabrics. Charming attractions include a library, a display wall of pre-Columbian artifacts in the Mikhuna Wasi dining room, and the lounge’s cozy fireplaces, as well as the Andean sauna: an igloo made of indigenous bamboo and fresh eucalyptus leaves.
Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel
The Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel is the essence of luxury and comfort in the heart of the Inca city. Built in a colonial mansion of the 16th century, it displays paintings of the Cusco school, colonial sculptures, and carvings that transport you to a different time. Its elegant rooms, equipped with intelligent oxygen system and gardens are complemented by friendly service. It is located two blocks from the Main Square.
Aranwa Hotel Resort & Spa
Built on the riverside lands of an ancient 18th century hacienda, wake up each morning at the Aranwa Hotel amidst mesmerizing views. Rooms at this newly built hotel in the Sacred Valley feature wireless internet access, climate controls, flat-screen TV, 24-hour room service and a host of other amenities.
Contact me to go on this Machu Picchu & Cusco: Guided and Private Exploration tour.