A Machu Picchu tour is still a possibility even for those without much vacation time … or those on a tight budget. Our short, five-day Peru tour package includes Cusco, the Sacred Valley and the jewel of Machu Picchu.
Day 1 – Cusco City Tour
Upon arrival in Cusco, we will meet you at the airport arrival hall and transfer you in a private vehicle to your hotel, all of which are safe, clean and comfortable with private bathrooms of course.
After settling in and grabbing a quick lunch, later in the afternoon you will enjoy a Cusco City Tour, visiting the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, plus the three other smaller Inca ruins close to Cusco; Cusco Cathedral in the main square; and the most important temple of the Inca Empire, Coricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun. Cusco is lovely city to wander around and you should take time to do this, when not being guided.
Day 2 – Sacred Valley of the Incas Tour
This is a Sacred Valley tour option that includes a visit to Chinchero, an ancient village where much of its original character and traditions have been maintained. We will often use this route on shared tours to avoid many of the crowds in the Pisaq area. Also your tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas includes a buffet lunch so you can recharge your batteries along the way.
Today’s first destination is Chinchero, a quaint little town that houses an important Inca archaeological center, built at the end of the 1400’s, as well as a lovely and very traditional church. You will visit “Urpi” a famous textile center where the townsfolk have preserved the traditional Andean spinning and weaving techniques, they will also show you how they get the vivid natural colors for their fabrics. On our way to Ollantaytambo, we will stop at the lookout point of Racchi, where we will have the chance to have some of the best views of the Sacred Valley, after that, lunch will be served in a local restaurant.
Afterwards, we will get to Ollantaytambo, one of the most monumental architectural complexes of the ancient Inca Empire, one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle. Very well known for its “andenes” (terraces dug into the slopes of mountains for agricultural purposes), Ollantaytambo was a highly effective fortress that also served as a temple. Then, we will continue to the adjacent town of Ollantaytambo, “the unique living Inca town”: the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been continuously inhabited since the 13th century.
After your day out you will be dropped off at your Sacred Valley hotel or driven back to Cusco depending on your schedule with us.
Day 3 – Machu Picchu tour
Today, you will catch your chosen train to Machu Picchu which … will be one of the services described in the link below. The advantage you have is that, having stayed in the Sacred Valley overnight, you do not have to get up as early as you would in Cusco in order to catch the train.
A transfer will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the station, or if you are staying in one of the hotels really close to the station itself, you can walk there.
After being met in Aguas Calientes by your guide, you can drop off your overnight bags at your hotel, before taking the bus transfer to the Machu Picchu site, to enjoy a private tour with a local English-speaking guide. Take the rest of the day as free time to enjoy this incredible site. In the late afternoon, you will return to your chosen hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town that nestles in the valley below Machu Picchu.
Note: The option exists to return to Cusco the same day, but if you have the time, it is well worth staying overnight, in order to see this incredible place the next day.
For mid-range travelers, we recommend the Inti Inn, Presidente Hotel or similar. For luxury travelers we highly recommend the Pueblo or Sumaq Hotel, both down in the village of Aguas Calientes.
If you prefer to stay right at the gate of Machu Picchu, and your budget will stand it, you could choose the Sanctuary Lodge, as its location cannot be beaten, but please note it will carry quite a premium in price.
Day 4 – 2nd Machu Picchu visit plus Huayna Picchu
Today, you will be able to re-visit Machu Picchu and enjoy this fabulous site at your leisure. You may choose to climb Huayna Picchu, the peak that overlooks Machu Picchu (400 people per day, and by prior appointment only at either 7am or 10am), which affords fantastic views and photo opportunities.
In the late afternoon, you will board the train for your trip back to Cusco. You will leave the train at Poroy, the last station before Cusco, or maybe at Ollantaytambo, for a faster and more convenient transfer by road back to your hotel in Cusco. No trains actually arrive at Cusco train station from Machu Picchu any more and you do save quite a lot of time as a result.
Day 5 – Depart Cusco
We will transfer you to Cusco airport, where you can fly to Lima to connect with your international flight home, or perhaps to continue exploring with a Galapagos tour, or even a visit to Rio de Janeiro and then on to Iguazu Falls.
There are so many options, just ask our advice on how best to fill your time.