CUSCO SACRED VALLEY MACHU PICCHU 6D/5N

OVERVIEW

  • Day 1: Arrival in Lima
  • Day 2: Arrival in Cusco
  • Day 3: Cusco City Tour
  • Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour
  • Day 5: Machu Picchu Tour
  • Day 6: Departure from Cusco

DESCRIPTION

Few places are more magical or mysterious than Machu Picchu. Perched on a mountain ridge 7,972 feet (2430 m) above sea level, the citadel in the sky was built at the height of the Inca Empire in the 1400s. When Spanish conquerors invaded Peru in the 1530s, the city was abandoned and seemingly forgotten until 1911, when explorer Hiram Bingham laid eyes on the mist-shrouded ruins, publicized his discovery in the pages of National Geographic, and brought worldwide attention to this incredible site.

This Machu Picchu tour package is your chance to see this historic wonder for yourself. You’ll start in Cusco, once the capital of South America’s most powerful civilization. You’ll tour the Sacred Valley, home to the ruins of Inca palaces and temples and thriving Andean villages and markets set amidst landscapes that will take your breath away. And you’ll embark on a stunning journey by train along the banks of the Urubamba River to the “lost city of the Incas.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Upon arrival at the Lima airport, meet our representative for a transfer to your confirmed Lima hotel.  Spend the evening at your leisure. Go to the seaside promenade “Malecon” for amazing views of Lima’s coastline or mingle with locals in and around Park Kennedy in Miraflores.

Overnight in Lima.

Day 2: Arrival in Cusco

Transfer from your hotel to the airport for your flight to Cusco.

Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, meet our representative for the 20 minute drive to your hotel in the historic center. As you approach the oldest sections of the city, gorgeous examples of Spanish colonial architecture will draw your eye. Look closely and you might see the remains of Inca stonework – these are the former palaces and temples of the former Inca imperial capital.

After check-in at your Cusco hotel, you have the rest of the day to start exploring the city on your own. Remember to take it easy on this first afternoon since Cusco is located at 11,300 feet in elevation. Most travelers acclimate within 1-2 days and have no trouble with slow-paced activities. Wander about the main square, visit a museum, or stop by one of the many shops or cafes. Don’t miss out on the chance to sample Peruvian cuisine in one of Cusco’s many casual and/or fine dining restaurants.

Day 3: Cusco City Tour

Spend the morning at your leisure. This is a good time to explore some of Cusco’s less-visited attractions including the famous San Pedro Market, the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, or one of Cusco’s many fine museums. Get a glimpse of Peru’s long artistic heritage at the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, hone your knowledge of the Inca Empire at the Casa Concha (“Machu Picchu Museum”), or make your own chocolate from scratch at the Choco Museum.

In the afternoon, meet our expert Cusco guide to tour the city’s must-see attractions. Stops include the Cusco Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas, the fabulous Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha, the gargantuan ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress/temple overlooking the city, as well as the ruins of Q’enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay nearby.

In the late afternoon, return to your Cusco hotel and spend the evening at your leisure. Enjoy the local cuisine and the splendor of Cusco at night, the surrounding hills twinkling with lights and the sky overhead littered with stars.

Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour

Explore the beautiful Peruvian countryside with a full-day tour of the magical Sacred Valley, home to several royal estates of Incan emperors. First, visit the town of Pisac, famous for its bustling indigenous market and for the beautiful Inca ruins on the hillside overlooking the city. In the market, browse stalls brimming with beautiful handicrafts and handwoven garments. In the center of the market, village women in traditional dress gather to buy and sell local fruits, vegetables, and other natural products. While exploring the Pisac ruins above, wander narrow paths with walls of spectacularly cut stones and enjoy stunning views of the village and the Sacred Valley below.

After Pisac, stop for lunch (not included) at a buffet restaurant to sample a variety of Peruvian and international dishes near the town of Urubamba. The town is named after the sacred river (whose upper stretch is called the Vilcanota) that flows through the valley, on its way to Machu Picchu and eventually the Amazon jungle.

Next, visit the spectacular fortress of Ollantaytambo. These magnificent Inca ruins that cling to the hillside were part of the royal estate of the Incan emperor Pachacuti. Later, during the Incas’ heroic resistance against the Spaniards, a great battle was fought, during which the Spaniards were repelled by the guerrilla emperor Manco Inca. The small town of Ollantaytambo at its base still has Inca houses, making Ollantaytambo the only Inca city that is still inhabited today.

The tour ends at your comfortable hotel in the Sacred Valley. If you’ve selected a hotel in Ollantaytambo, you can explore the former Incan town at your leisure, which still boasts mountain water coursing through Inca-built gutters in the center of its streets and where many of the inhabitants still speak the Incan language, Quechua.

Day 5: Machu Picchu Tour

After breakfast at your Sacred Valley hotel, take a train to Machu Picchu, the hidden Inca citadel. This 2.5-hour train journey is one of the finest in the world. Much of the path winds along the rushing Vilcanota river and snakes through gorges cut into the bases of massive mountainsides, offering passengers dramatic views of the Andean landscape as the train descends from high altitude plains down through the cloud forest. The foliage dramatically changes as the train approaches the meeting point of the Andes and the Upper Amazon rainforest, providing visitors an intimate view of one of the most spectacular transitions in the world.

The train arrives in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, which is surrounded by tall granite cliffs and a cloud forest inhabited by orchids and hummingbirds. Meet our representative at the train station gates and walk to the bus station for a 20-minute ride up to the secluded Inca citadel high atop a mountain ridge.

Next, meet your expert, English-speaking guide for a 2-hour tour of the most important sites in Machu Picchu, including the Intihuatana (Sun Stone), the Sun Temple, and the Room of 3 Windows. Machu Picchu is ranked as one of the “must see” archaeological sites in the world. Royal palaces, temples and astronomical observatories cling to a granite spur some 2,000 feet above the valley floor, affording spectacular views of the cloud-wreathed Andes and the Urubamba River far below.

After your tour, you have the option to explore more of the ruins on your own and capture some final photos.

In the late afternoon, take a comfortable train back to Cusco and then meet our driver for a transfer to your Cusco hotel for the evening.

Want an extra day at Machu Picchu? Customize this package to include an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. The next morning, make a second visit to get your fill of the enigmatic citadel and then return to Cusco in the evening.

*Optional: Hike up Wayna Picchu, the peak overlooking the Machu Picchu ruins. This hike is steep and takes about 3 hours round trip to complete, but affords spectacular views of the surrounding Andes and views over the Machu Picchu citadel from above. Numerous Inca burials have been found in cavities on this mountain. Please let your Travel Advisor know if you’d like to add this to your itinerary.

Day 6: Departure from Cusco

After breakfast at your hotel, meet our representatives at your hotel and transfer to the airport for your journey home or on to your next destination.

Alternatively, choose one of our other exciting Cusco tours or Sacred Valley excursions, or browse our full range of Peru travel destinations to make the most of your vacation.

INCLUSIONS

  • Airport pick
  • 1 night hotel in Lima,
  • 3 nights hotel in Cusco
  • 01 night hotel in the Sacred Valley based on standards
  • All tours stated in the itinerary with English-speaking guides
  • Ground transportation
  • Breakfast at all hotels
  • Train service : Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes town round/trip
  • Machu Picchu entrance fees
  • Sacred Valley entrance fees
  • City tour Cusco entrance fees

EXCLUSIONS

  • Internal Airfares & Airport taxes
  • Lunches or dinners
  • Gratuities