This concise itinerary is an excellent option for those wanting to experience trekking in Peru, but don’t want to do the full four days.. Visit Machu Picchu not once but twice, entering the first time through the Sun Gate at the end of the trek, then the following morning for a guided tour.. Travelling independently is a dream in destinations like these. Your itinerary is flexible, and you still get the benefit of local guides – as well as a greater chance of having the views from Sun Gate all to yourself.. There’s so much more to this trip than Inca ruins. Discover Peru’s cultural heartland on a walking tour of Cusco, and travel into the lush Sacred Valley for lunch with a local community.
Shrouded in mystery and surrounded by incredible natural beauty, Machu Picchu stands among the world’s most extraordinary archaeological sites. Explore it in depth on this 6-day journey from Cusco, where the treasures of Peru’s complex heritage shine like diamonds in the Andean mist. Venture into the verdant Sacred Valley to uncover incredible ruins and meet local residents, then hike the short version of the Inca Trail, watching in awe as the great lost Inca city comes into view from Sun Gate.
Breakfast Included: 5 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included:
Arrive in Cusco, the historic heartland and former capital of the Inca Empire. Your trip begins today in Cusco with an airport arrival transfer. Your local guide will welcome you this evening at approximately 6 pm at your hotel and explain the next few days' activities. Cusco is a favourite destination of many visitors to Peru, so if you arrive early, be sure to do some exploring. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for visiting Inca ruins or to enjoy outdoor activities. Take the time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,450 m) and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Enjoy a walking tour of Cusco today (approximately 4 hours). You'll be picked up from the hotel at around 8 or 9 am (depending on what you decide with your guide the evening before). You'll stop in at the remains Koricancha, a masterpiece of stonework which was once the richest temple in the Inca Empire and was covered heavily in gold. Head to the cathedral to see its silver-coloured neoclassical altar and impressive art collection. Stroll down the plaza to see the Stone of Twelve Angles, a marvel of Inca masonry. Lastly, wander through the San Pedro Market and browse its eclectic array of colourful vegetables, succulent meats, local cheeses and artisan chocolates – as well as local oddities such as frog soup. Your city tour comes to an end just in time for lunch. Later, as night falls, perhaps head to the main square and enjoy beautiful views of the lit-up city. There are no shortage of lunch options in and around the square.
Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo
Head to the Sacred Valley for a full day of sightseeing and an overnight stay. Located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the Sacred Valley was treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. Notice the evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman, whose massive stone blocks paint an awesome picture of the Incas' sophistication engineering. You will also visit a local community and sit down to some lunch with the locals. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand-painted beads and ponchos. Continue to the town of Ollantaytambo and its archaeological site, east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of the site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
This morning you'll wake up quite early in preparion to take an early train (depending on availability the train may depart between 6 and 8am) You will take the train from Ollantaytambo to KM104 which is the beginning of the trek. Begin the trek by crossing the Vilcanota/Urubamba River, and we'll enter the Inca Trail at approximately 9 am. Shortly after, it's on to the Inca ruins of Chachabamba. While this is one of the easiest treks around the Cusco region, you still need to have a reasonable level of fitness to complete it. After an upwards climb, we arrive at Wiñay Wayna ('Forever Young') (2,680 m). Many visitors consider this impressive complex to be the best sight on the whole trail. Continue for about an hour further to Inti Punku (The Sun Gate) (2,730 m) from where you will have your views of Machu Picchu (2,400 m). Arriving late in the day, you may be lucky enough to enjoy the view by yourself. Depending on what time you arrive to Machu Picchu, you'll have some time to go on a guided tour and take a few pictures. Tomorrow morning you'll visit Machu Picchu for the second time accompanied with your guidde. Afterwards, take a bus down to your hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).
Machu Picchu second visit / Cusco
At 5:30 am, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu. On this second visit to the ruins you'll have free time to explore and take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Spend time taking in the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters. The mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. In the afternoon, you will return by bus and train to Cusco and spend the night there. In the evening, perhaps head out for a final dinner in the city.
Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
Your Independent Experience comes to an end today after breakfast. You will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.