Cusco & Machu Picchu
The visit to the lost and once forgotten Inca city of Machu Picchu is the pinnacle moment of most visitors to Peru. As one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is the most well-known archaeological site in the world. While the building of Machu Picchu dates as far back as AD 1400, the location was abandoned at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known to the locals, it remained hidden from the outside world until 1911. Since then, Machu Picchu has been reconstructed in order to give us an overwhelming spiritual vision of the ancient life of the Incas. For those that have ever had the chance to walk amongst the ruins will forever remember the experience of having stood on the sacred grounds of the Incas. You don’t have to understand the entire purpose or reason behind Machu Picchu to appreciate what you will see. You will see a masterpiece, a beautiful creation and epic accomplishment by a powerful and ingenious Empire that somehow got lost along the way.
Day 1: Arrival Cusco
Originating starting points for this Block are either:
A flight from Lima to Cusco
A flight from Arequipa to Cusco
A train from Puno to Cusco; or
A coach from Puno to Cusco
Your journey to Cusco and Machu Picchu starts off with your guide meeting you at your entry point and transferring you to your Cusco hotel. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and has an elevation of 3400m above sea level. We recommend you spend the rest of first day in Cusco at leisure to allow your body to adjust to the altitude. We suggest also drinking lots of water and cups of coca tea which should be available in the hotel as this will ease the affect altitude can have on some people.
Cusco is also the archaeological capital of South America and for good reason. It is one of the most important destinations in Peru and the gateway to one of the world’s most sacred ruins of an amazing ancient culture. With a mix of Spanish and Ancient Incan cultures, there are cobble-stoned streets, interwoven stone walls, Incan buildings, Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial Period like the Cathedral. You can stroll through the picturesque neighbourhood of San Blas or dine in one of the many modern cafes, bars and restaurants.
Day 2: Sightseeing Cusco
It’s an early start to the day with a full day sightseeing tour of Cusco. The tour today takes you to visit the Korikancha (Temple of the Sun), the Cathedral, and then continuing onto the nearby archaeological sites of of Tambomachay (Inca Fountains), Puca-Pukara (the red fortress), Qenko (Scared site) and finally the famous gigantic Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The many restaurants in your hotel vicinity will let you sample the delicious Peruvian Cuisine. Overnight in Cusco.
Day 3: Journey Cusco to Sacred Valley
Today you will have a full day sightseeing to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Scared Valley is home to some breathtaking towns and sites including Maras, Moray, the fortress of Ollantaytambo and Pisac. Seeing these ruins and visiting the towns will enlighten your knowledge of just how sophisticated the Incas were and an insight into their ancient way of life. Enjoy the sights at your leisure and perhaps visit the colourful market of Pisa. Tonight you will stay in the Sacred Valley.
Day 4: Journey from Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the main attractions when visiting Peru. You have seen postcards, read about it in magazines, seen documentaries and have had it on your list as a “must do” in your life. Today is the day you will not only see Machu Picchu but you will breathe the magic and the beauty of Machu Picchu!
Your full day Machu Picchu tour starts off with a transfer and train to Aquas Calientes for your bus ride up to Machu Picchu, this is an excellent option of those who do not have time to hike the Inca Trail or wish not to. On arrival in Machu Picchu your sightseeing tour of the ruins and entrance fee have been included so you can enjoy Machu Picchu from the moment you arrive at the gates. Soak up the significance of your visit, enjoy the beautiful location and marvel in the intellect and architectural ability of the ancient Incan culture. It is amazing and spectacular just how appropriately located Machu Picchu is in its complimenting surroundings. The Inca Trail Walk can also be arranged for those wishing to experience the beautiful hike to Machu Picchu.
Due to Machu Picchu’s popularity with all travellers, we suggest that you go back for a second visit early the following morning before the trains arrive with the day tours. Spending time in the lost city of the Incas, soaking up the atmosphere without the crowds is a real spiritual experience. Hotels are located in Aguas Calientes and there is the also an option to stay at the Orient Express Hotel at the entrance gate into Machu Picchu. Please advise if you would like us to quote for this.
Also to consider is the climb up Huayna Picchu Mountain, tickets are limited and pre-booking is required. Your guide will be able to assist with this.
After a full day at Machu Picchu, you will be taken to your hotel in Aguas Calientes in the Machu Picchu region to spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 5: Journey Machu Picchu to Cusco
After a relaxing morning in Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes, we will take you back by train back to your Cusco hotel. On arrival into Cusco you have the remainder of the day to relax, dine, wander through the colourful markets or get last minute souvenirs to remember your time here.
Day 6: Depart Cusco
Today your Cusco / Machu Picchu adventure concludes. No departure transfer is included as you might like to extend your stay in Cusco for a couple of nights, which can easily be arranged for you by our Travel Specialist.
Onward Journey Suggestions
For your onward journey from Cusco, our suggestions are
Your options are endless and our Travel Specialist will be able to assist you with expert information on South America.