Cuzco & Machu Picchu tours



Day 1, Saturday:

For those continuing from an Amazon tour, you have the option of staying this night in Iquitos (recommended), or Lima. (B) Those participating in this Andean Inca Exploration only, will arrive in Lima this night. After reception at the airport, you will be transferred to the Hotel Antigua Miraflores.

Day 2:

A morning flight from Lima to the Andes Mountains and the city of Cuzco transports you to a dramatically different environment. Upon seeing the beauty of Cuzco, situated in a scenic valley at 11,000 feet, it is much easier to understand what may have prompted the Inca to call this area the "navel of the world". After a welcome cup of coca tea and orientation lecture, you are encouraged to relax at your hotel and get acclimated to the altitude. After lunch, a walking city tour introduces you to your surroundings in this historical city, including the San Blas Chapel, Arzobispo Palace and the Main Cathedral. The Inca founded Cuzco as the capital center of their empire and it is still considered the archaeological capital of the Americas. Cuzco is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere and evidence of its long history surrounds you. Massive Inca-built stone walls serve as foundations for the red tile-roofed colonial buildings. Here you can visit some of the oldest and grandest cathedrals in the New World. The feeling of history comes alive in the faces and language of the local Quechua-speaking descendents of the Incas. The variety and craftsmanship of their weavings and handicrafts are sure to impress all. Tonight and tomorrow you will stay in a centrally located, colonial-style hotel, at the Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel, or similar.  (B)

Day 3:

You begin the day visiting spectacular Inca ruins and historic colonial architecture, including a tour of  the immense Inca fortress-temple of Sacsayhuaman, strategically built overlooking Cuzco. The scale of the construction, with the use of stones larger than cars, is sure to astound. You also visit the Inca shrines of Kenko, an outdoor amphitheater and Tambomachay, where a natural spring still feeds ancient Inca baths. Later, visit and learn about Coricancha, its Temple of the Sun, and the new discoveries from recent archeological excavations. Built in the heart of their ancient capital city, the Sun Temple was the most holy of places to the ancient Inca and contains some of their finest examples of stonework. (B/L)

Day 4:

Your day begins with a visually stunning ride through the countryside of the Sacred Valley to the archaeological site and Indian village of Pisac. The ruins are strategically located on a ridgetop overlooking two scenic valleys that are etched with extensive Inca agricultural terraces. Covering an area four times larger than Machu Picchu, the central complex of temples in this ancient citadel was protected on all sides by high walls and gateways. At the colorful Pisac village market, you can examine (and buy) local goods such as; fruits, vegetables, coca leaves, mineral dyes, weavings, stone carvings and a great variety of handicrafts. Later, you continue through the Urubamba Valley with its spectacular mountain scenery that includes quaint villages, terraced valleys, and towering snow-capped peaks; all overlooking the white-water Urubamba River. Much of the pristine scenery looks like it was created just yesterday! After lunch is a tour of Ollantaytambo, an ancient Inca fortress and city. Ollantaytambo is an excellent example of Precolonial city planning and architecture. It is also an excellent example of living history, as today's townspeople still live in structures that housed the Incas of the 14th century. The ancient Inca city plan is evidenced by the remaining (and still utilized) roadways, pools, canals and enormous stonework. The original water canals of the Inca irrigation system still function as important parts of the communities' life. Overnight is in Ollantaytambo at the lovely Pakaritampu Hotel ( That way you can also have time for more exploring in the Inca town of Ollantaytambo and be close to the train station for next morning travel to Agua Calientes. Surrounded by lovely gardens, which include a variety of trees and plants that are typical of the region, the Hotel Pakaritampu has extraordinary views of the archaeological center and the nearby mountains. (B/L)

Day 5:

A short (5 minute) morning drive takes you to the train station for travel further up the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. The rails run along side the Urubamba River, past towering mountains and through lush forests. Upon arrival at the Machu Picchu train station, a 20 minute bus ride takes you 2,000 feet up to the site's entrance. After an introductory walking tour, the remainder of the day is free for self-exploration and discovery of this magnificent site, which was built on a mountaintop and surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River. By staying overnight in Agua Calientes at the base of the mountain, you can experience the two most spectacular times at Machu Picchu, sunset and sunrise! Night excursions into the site can sometimes be arranged. Overnight is at the Machu Picchu Inn, conveniently located in colorful Agua Calientes. (B/L)

[If you desire to stay overnight at the hilltop Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, there is an additional $350+/pp/dbl surcharge which also includes dinner. The surcharge to stay at the beautiful riverside Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is $200+/pp/dbl.]

Day 6:

Dawn is an incredibly beautiful sight at mystical Machu Picchu. The play of light and shadow from the sun and clouds paints a photogenic and ever-changing landscape as the day continues. This is a free day for personal exploration and contemplation. Time to wander explore more of the archaeology, visit and shop in Agua Calientes, enjoy the surrounding verdant cloudforest, river and hot springs, climb overlooking Huanya Picchu and/or hike the Inca trail to Intipunku (Gate of the Sun). The unrivalled scenery will provide lasting memories. The late afternoon train takes you to the Poroy train station for a road transfer back to Cuzco (to save time) for overnights at the Casa San Blas. (B/L)

Note that the $12 round trip bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu and the $65 admission fee to the main ruins are not included for this day to save you money in case you do not want to go back into the central site.

Day 7:

    This is a free day in Cuzco for personal exploration and relaxation to allow you the maximum amount of choice on activities. Cuzco is one of the world's top travel destinations and a myriad of options are available. If desired, you can arrange a day of white-water rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, or explorations of surrounding remote Inca ruins. The city of Cuzco also offers wonderful art and history museums, countless shops with a great variety of handicrafts, a wide variety of restaurants, pubs & peñas, numerous churches, cathedrals and other outstanding historic architecture line the cobble stone streets. Cuzco is safe to explore on your own and taxis are convenient. You can also hire a guide for the day if desired. Out-of-town day trips, private guides, and sport activities can be arranged directly with the local personnel in Cuzco. (B/L)

Day 8, Saturday:

Free morning in Cuzco. Afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight to Lima and connections for night international flights out. For an additional $75/dbl/pp you may choose to overnight in Lima and fly out the next day or continue travels in Peru. (B) (Note that lunch is not included on this day to allow you the most options.)

Note: If you can add an extra day, a great option is to have second overnight in Ollantaytambo to allow time for a different route back to Cuzco. With the drive through the countryside, you may tour the traditional Indian village of Chinchero, the Moray Inca ruins, and the salt works at Salinas along the way. Surrounded by mountains, you stop for visit the Quechua town of Chichero which is famous for its colorful weavings and you can enjoy a weaving demonstration (and shop for high quality textiles). Chinchero is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters where you can see the entire plateau of Maras and the Vilcanota's Mountain Range with its +5,000 meters glaciers like Chicon and Veronica. You will have a picnic lunch and share with the residents their traditional dishes such as cuy (guinea pig), watia (potatoes baked on earth), maize, local bread, etc. You also visit one of the Inca's engineering marvels, the ruins of Moray. The site's agricultural terraces form a sunken amphitheater that creates a variety of mini ecosystems due to differences in sun exposure, altitude, irrigation, and temperatures. Your travel through the scenic mountains also allows you to view the impressive salt pools at Maras. The ancient pools form by water emerging from the mountain and the evaporating ponds are still used to extract salt.



This cultural tour to Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley of the Inca may be combined with an Amazon or other Peru tour, or may be taken separately most any week.

   Explore the scenic Sacred Valley of the Inca, including an overnight at magnificent Machu Picchu! Overnights in the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco (Cusco) and visits to incredible archaeological sites provide an outstanding cultural experience. The 8-day adventure offers a great introduction to the colorful Andean peoples, their environment, history and art.

    Imagine exploring the Amazon rainforest and the Sacred Valley of the Inca in one trip! This 8 day & 7 night extension includes an overnight (a must to allow adequate exploration time) at Machu Picchu, one of the greatest destinations in the world. The architectural wonders of the Inca combined with the striking backdrop of the Andes mountains offer sights that you will remember for a lifetime. Cuzco and its surrounds are a photographer's dreamland with incredible archaeology sites, terraced valleys, mountain vistas of snow capped peaks, outstanding early colonial architecture and most of all the beauty of the Peruvians themselves. For many, the Quechua Indians and their arts and handicrafts are reason enough to visit this extraordinary part of the world.

    Special itineraries can also be created for a variety of interests, such as archaeology, birding, textile tours, spiritual journeys, and even weddings!

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