Machu Picchu Extension

This short trip to Machu Picchu can be easily combined with your trip to the Amazon, Ecuador, or the Galapagos. Many major South American cities have daily flights to and from Lima.

Trip Itinerary


Day 1  §  Lima

Upon arrival in Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. If time permits, you might enjoy a tour of the Peruvian capital city of Lima, including some of the museums, historical buildings, plazas, and parks. Stay overnight at the Hotel Posada Olivar (or similar).

Day 2  §  Lima/Cusco

This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Cusco, high in the Andes near 11,000 feet. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your local hotel. Enjoy an afternoon tour of the ancient city and the four extraordinary nearby ruins, Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. From the Plaza de Armas, you can visit many of the city’s historical sites, see Incan stone walls serving as the foundations of Spanish architecture, and observe the cathedral built atop the ruins of an Incan temple. Cusco was the head of the Incan Empire and was built in the shape of a puma. The city itself is the puma’s body, and the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins represent the head and teeth. The largest and most impressive of Sacsayhuaman’s original rocks are still in place, though only about 20% of the entire site remains today.
Qenko, meaning zig-zag, consists of a large limestone rock covered with carvings with mysterious caves and alters below, and its zig-zag walls and channels are thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Puca Pucara, or red fort, is a small site that appears red when viewed in the right light. Tambo Machay, another small site, is known locally as “El Bano del Inca,” or the Incan bath, as it has beautiful ceremonial stone fountains and bathing pools. For lunch and dinner, enjoy the variety of great places to eat in the city. Stay overnight in Cusco. (B)

Day 3  §  Pisac Market & Ollantaytambo

Spend the day visiting the Sacred Valley, including the picturesque market at Pisac. Pisac is famous for its traditional Sunday market where locals barter for food, clothing, animals, and other supplies. It is open everyday, and you can always find many souvenirs of local textiles and crafts, no matter what day of the week you visit. Then, continue down the Urubamba Valley to Ollantaytambo. Ollanta, as it is also called, is remembered as one of the few places that the Spanish lost a major battle during their conquest. It is 200 steps straight up the stone stairway to the top of the huge Incan fortress, which offers great views. The unfinished temple at the top was still being built when the Spanish eventually conquered the area. This is also a good site to see Incan city planning: each cancha (block) had one entrance to the central courtyard, from which individual homes were entered. Stay overnight in Ollanta. (B,L,D)

Day 4  §  Ollanta/Machu Picchu

After breakfast, take the 1 ½-hour Vistadome train ride from Ollanta to Machu Picchu, the “lost citadel” of the Incas. From the station at Aguas Calientes it is another 30 minutes (5 miles) by bus up to the entrance of the site. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins this afternoon with time afterwards for individual exploration. Be sure to read about Machu Picchu in advance to fully appreciate your guide's expertise. Stumbled upon by accident in 1911, it remains a mysterious site, as there are no Spanish records, Incan legends, or oral histories which describe its exact purpose.
Elegant ornamental stonework hints at the possibility of Machu Picchu's importance as a ceremonial center. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes (upgrade to the Sanctuary Lodge for additional charge, if available). The elevation at Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet. (B,L)
One-Day Inca Trail Trek Option: For those with some interest in light trekking, we can offer the one-day Inca Trail Trek. Take the train towards Machu Picchu, and disembark at kilometer marker 104 to cross the hanging bridge to the Chachabamba site. After a brief visit, begin a 3-4 hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, an important ritual site. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to finally reach the Gate of the Sun (Intipunku) for your first awe-inspiring glimpse of Machu Picchu. Total hiking time is about 6 hours. Bookings must be made at least 90 days in advance. There will be an additional charge for the Inca Trail permit, entrance fee, and transportation needed for the Inca Trail Trek option. Please call for more details.

Day 5  §  Machu Picchu/Cusco

Rise early and explore the ruins at your own pace. You will have the option to climb the steep path to Huayna Picchu for a spectacular view of the ruins. This afternoon, take the 4-hour ride back to Cusco on the Vistadome train through the spectacular scenery of the Urubamba Valley. You will be met at the station and transferred to your local hotel. Stay overnight in Cusco at the Hotel Novotel (or similar). (B)

Day 6  §  Cusco/Lima

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. (B)

Duration 6 days
Group Size 2-12
Lodging 2 stars-3 stars
Grade I-II
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