Once the capital of the Inca Empire and today the gateway to Machu Picchu, Cuzco is arguably Latin America’s archaeological and colonial jewel, with stone streets, Inca walls and red-roofed buildings highlighting its beauty and history. In the heart of the city is the lively Plaza de Armas, surrounded by restaurants, bars and beautiful colonial churches.
One of the most beautiful and atmospheric places in Peru, it’s well worth spending time in the Sacred Valley to soak up it’s breathtaking scenery and to explore one of the many interesting towns and villages which lie along the Urubamba River.
Pisac features superb Inca ruins and colourful morning markets, where you can pick up locally made handicrafts. At the end of the Sacred Valley lies the imposing Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo.
The fabled “Lost City of the Incas”, retains its mystery, allure and spectacular beauty to leave you breathless and in wonder. The ruins’ rediscovery in 1911 raised scores of questions, many of which remain unanswered today. There are various ways in which you can reach the site, but however you get there, you are sure to leave with more questions than answers.
The little village of Aguas Calientes is also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo (“the town at the bottom of Machu Picchu”) and is nestled in the deep valley below the ruins of Machu Picchu. Reachable by train from Cuzco, it is a popular place with a good selection of entertainment and dining options. An overnight stay here means you can catch an early morning bus (known as the Zig Zag bus) up the mountain to Machu Picchu and enjoy the relative solitude before the arrival of visitors from Cuzco.
The Inca Trail
Without a doubt, the most famous trek in South America, the beautiful but fragile Inca Trail is walked by thousands each year. In order to preserve the future of the Inca Trail, it is no longer possible to complete the trail independently, it must be as part of an organised program. All walkers must be accompanied by a professional guide, which is licensed to escort a maximum of 16 visitors. We recommend booking early to secure your place as there is a limit on the overall daily number of trekkers.
Suggested Itinerary: Cuzco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu : 6 days/5 nights.
Day 1: Arrive Cuzco
Arrive at Cuzco airport and transfer to your chosen hotel. Time to relax and acclimatise to the altitude.
Day 2: Cuzco City Tour
Collection from your hotel for a city tour of Cuzco including “Plaza de Armas” (main square), the Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church (Koricancha) and the surrounding ruins of Puka Pukara, Kenko, Tampu Machay and the renowned fortress and religious site of Sacsayhuaman.
Day 3: Pisac-Urubamba-Ollantaytambo
Excursion to the village of Pisac located 32 km (20 miles) from Cuzco. Here you will have an opportunity for shopping at the colourful Indian market. Lunch will be taken in Urubamba, followed by a tour of the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Overnight in Yucay.
Day 4: Sacred Valley-Machu Picchu
Walk to Ollantaytambo train station. A scenic 1 hour 30 minute train trip through the Urubamba Valley, followed by a 30-minute bus ride up to the breathtaking Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. A guided tour through the ruins is included. After lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, time to enjoy a free afternoon exploring the ruins. Overnight at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge or at your chosen hotel in Aguas Calientes (located at the base of the mountain).
Day 5: Machu Picchu-Cuzco
A full morning to visit and enjoy the ancient citadel. In the afternoon, return to Cuzco and transfer to your chosen hotel.
Day 6: Cuzco
Transfer to Cuzco airport for your departing flight.
Alternative Itinerary: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 6 days/5 nights
Cuzco Tours - Overview
Full day and half day tours available from Cuzco. To read more about featured tours, please follow the link in the "Tours" box, below
Cuzco City Tour
Collection from your hotel for a city tour of Cuzco including “Plaza de Armas”, the Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church (Koricancha) and the surrounding ruins of Puka Pukara, Kenko, Tampu Machay and the renowned fortress and religious site of Sacsayhuaman.
Pisac Market & Ollantaytambo
An opportunity for shopping at the colourful Indian market in the village of Pisac, 32kms/20 miles from Cuzco, followed by lunch in Urubamba and a tour of Ollantaytambo.
Drive up and hike to the splendid Inca ruins of Pisac, situated 3,250 m above sea level. A large complex of religious temples, housing areas, agricultural terraces, cliff-hanging paths and astronomic observatories. Half day tour.
Full day excursions to a native rural Quechua community located 3,700m above sea level, home to a group of families rich in human and cultural values and to some of the highest quality hand woven textiles in the Sacred Valley...
Urubamba River Rafting
Full day tour. Departure by road to Huambutio to being rafting down the Urubamba River with its grade I-III rapids. A unique experiences which combines the excitement of the river with beautiful landscapes.
Machu Picchu in a Day by Train
A full day tour, travelling by train to Machu Picchu through unsurpassed scenic landscapes and along the beautiful Urubamba River. The train terminates at Aguas Calientes where a bus takes you up the steep hill to the entrance of the mystical “Lost City”...
Cuzco to Puno (or vice versa)
Available by train or by bus, both with fascinating routes overland to Puno. Please click on the Tours box below for full details.