SACRED VALLEY & MACHU PICCHU 4D/3N

OVERVIEW

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

DESCRIPTION

Because a quick trip to Peru is better than no trip at all this Machu Picchu tour package is designed to get you to South America’s greatest archaeological site (and on your way back home) in just 4 days. The mystery of Machu Picchu begins in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The Inca Empire, South America’s largest and most powerful civilization, was born here amid high Andean peaks and fertile valleys fed by glacial waters.

Great kings built up the imperial city with grand palaces and temples and filled them with unimaginable riches. In the Sacred Valley, they built royal estates and fortresses perched on the sides of mountains. But their most extraordinary achievement was on a mist-shrouded granite mountain, a stone city now called Machu Picchu. The arrival of Spanish conquistadores to the shores of Peru in 1533 changed the Andean world forever.

Among the Inca’s cities, Machu Picchu was the only one to survive intact. This tour is designed to give you a glimpse of this long history and of the continuing evolution of Cusco and the Sacred Valley into the present. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival Cusco City Tour

We meet you upon arrival at the Cusco airport and take you your comfortable Cusco hotel. As we 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.

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, such as the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, the Casa Concha (“Machu-Picchu Museum”), or the Choco Museum, where you can make your own chocolate from scratch (chocolate is indigenous to the New World).

In the afternoon, meet an expert guide and embark on a tour of Cusco’s main historical and archeological sites, including the Cusco Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas and the fabulous Temple of the Sun or Qoricancha, which was the heart of the Inca Empire. Continue on, see the spectacular 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. 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.

Rugged Sacred Valley peaks shadow a patchwork of fields

Day 2: 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.

Machu Picchu stone citadel and mountain landscape

Day 3: 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.

Church on scenic Cusco plaza

Day 4: 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.

INCLUSIONS

  • Airport pick up in Cusco
  • 2 night’s hotel in Cusco
  • 1 night hotel in the Sacred Valley in hotels based on standards
  • All tours stated in the itinerary with English-speaking guides
  • Ground transportation
  • Train service: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes town Round / trip
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Sacred Valley entrance fees
  • City tour Cusco entrance fees

EXCLUSIONS

  • Internal Airfare and airport taxes
  • Lunches or dinner (unless otherwise specified)