- Wander through the colorful markets and historic monuments of Cusco
- See the Sacred Valley's ancient ruins and beautiful landscapes
- Enjoy a scenic train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes
- Visit Machu Picchu with a knowledgeable guide
- Discover Inca and pre-Inca sites at Moray and Maras
|Day 1||Arrive in Cusco & Sightsee||Cusco|
|Day 2||Tour Pisac & Ollantaytambo||Aguas Calientes|
|Day 3||Visit Machu Picchu||Cusco|
|Day 4||Discover the Moray Terraces & Maras Salt Mines||Cusco|
|Day 5||Depart Cusco - End of Trip|
Day 1: Arrive in Cusco & Sightsee
Welcome to Cusco, Peru! This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries. Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation.
Day 2: Tour Pisac & Ollantaytambo
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
This morning you will depart from your hotel in Cusco and travel to Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. In this area, you'll explore ancient Inca burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers. Next, go down to the town of Pisac, located at the bottom of the valley. This town is famous for its bustling textile market. Select from a wide assortment of colors, styles, and designs for gifts and souvenirs to take home with you.
Next, you'll stop for lunch, enjoying traditional Andean cuisine at a restaurant in a beautiful setting overlooking the Urubamba River. Then head to the ancient Incan city of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that have retained their original Inca urban planning. Walk through the streets with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today. Climb the agricultural terraces where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. From the top, you’ll be able to see some of the quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. It’s amazing to think how far these large stones were transported from, especially considering the Incas didn’t have pack animals strong enough to carry them. Later in the day, catch a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. You'll have dinner in town before venturing to the site on day three.
Day 3: Visit Machu PicchuFrom Aguas Calientes, it's an easy 25-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Get an early start to beat the crowds and get the best views of the ancient ruins. The 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built as a seasonal residence for the emperor's family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people; during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction and remained largely hidden to the outside world until the early 20th century.
Day 4: Discover the Moray Terraces & Maras Salt MinesThis morning, you'll sightsee in the Sacred Valley. On arrival in Moray, you'll see three famous amphitheater-like terraces made by the Incas. These bowl-shaped terraces are carved deep into the earth. It is believed that the Incas once used these terraces as agricultural laboratories to determine the optimal conditions for growing crops. When you are done exploring Moray, continue onward to the salt mines of Maras. This village is known as a former salt-producing center and is thought to date back to pre-Incan times. There are over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountainside, filled daily by a stream of water. Return to Cusco for one last evening of exploring and dining on Peruvian cuisine.
Day 5: Depart Cusco - End of Trip
Today the trip comes to an end. You'll transfer to the airport to catch a flight out. Safe travels!
More Peru Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Peru? Check out these other Peru itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.