Cusco and Machu Picchu
A concise, detailed tour of the Inca Heartland: Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley,
with a bit of time in Lima, too.
Cusco and Machu Picchu
7 days from £1,595 pp
This holiday has one clear goal, to show you the unmissable sights of the Inca world of Peru: Machu Picchu, Cusco and the most important towns of the Sacred Valley. Individually, these are extraordinary places but, what’s more, they are unified by their history and they are in a stunning part of the world.
Cusco is the focal point for any journey in this region. It is a colonial city built on the foundations of the Incas’ capital and now is the nerve centre of Peru’s Andean tourism.
With a guided tour of the historic monuments and the outlying ruins, plus time to explore on your own, you will get a feel for the many sides of this fascinating place. Move outside the city to the more low-lying Sacred Valley and you will find the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, which offer traditional markets and significant Inca ruins. But, of course, the highlight for most people, what you are building up to, is the world-famous Machu Picchu. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, it is breath-taking, mystical and enigmatic.
You will have two opportunities to uncover its secrets. As with other parts of this holiday, your time will be divided between a tour with a guide and time on your own. This way you will receive in-depth information from an expert, to which you can add your own impressions and discoveries. Add to this the fact that all your transfers, transport and accommodation are taken care of and we are sure that you will have the ideal set-up for appreciating the wonderful places you’ve come to see.
Cusco and Machu Picchu Highlights
Guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings
Guided tour, plus time on your own, at Machu Picchu
Train ride to Machu Picchu
Towns and archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley
See how Andean textiles are made
First-class accommodation in convenient locations
Peru Travel Specialists
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Call: +44 (0)1473 599008
DAY 1: ARRIVE LIMA
Fly to Lima today, where you'll be met and transferred to the Wyndhams Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel, which makes a convenient overnight stop. As well as comfortable accommodation, the hotel offers a restaurant, bar, indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and spa. Relax after your flight and enjoy a good night's sleep.
DAY 2: FLY TO CUSCO
This morning you'll return to the airport for your hour-long flight to Cusco. You'll be met at Cusco airport by our local representative and transferred to the Casa Andina Premium Hotel. Your lodging in the city is a short walk from the central Plaza de Armas and in the afternoon your guide will give you a brief walking tour to get your bearings in the city. As this will be your first day at altitude (3,300m), we suggest you take it easy while you acclimatise: find a café, have some coca tea, eat lightly and soak up the atmosphere. Breakfast
DAY 3: IN CUSCO
Very close to your hotel is the Coricancha, the Incas’ Temple of the Sun, and this will be your first stop on a half-day guided tour of the city. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the temple walls were covered in gold sheets and its courtyards filled with golden images of plants and animals. Having plundered the gold, the conquistadores built the Convent of Santo Domingo on top of the Inca walls. From here you will visit the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas. This fine colonial building has an extensive collection of art from the Cusco School and other exhibitions. From here you will be taken to the 15th-century Inca ceremonial complex of Sacsayhuaman, just north of the city. Many of its stones were used to build the cathedral, but those that remain in situ are massive; how they were brought here is an unsolved mystery. You will also see the Inca religious centre of Qenqo and the ‘Red Fort’, Puka Pukara, 4 and 7 kilometres from Cusco respectively. After the tour you will be taken back to Casa Andina Premium and you can take a late lunch here or in a nearby restaurant. There are plenty to choose from. Breakfast
DAY 4: TO THE SACRED VALLEY
After breakfast you will leave the hotel for a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your starting point is Awanakancha, a farm about 30 minutes from Cusco, which breeds llamas, alpacas and vicuñas, three of South America’s four camelids. You can see the animals and, equally important, learn about the traditional weaving and garment-making process, so central to indigenous culture. The farm’s store is open if you wish to buy something special. From here you move on to another enticement to shop, the market in the town of Pisac. The stalls fill a square surrounded by colonial buildings and sell colourful alpaca textiles, replicas of Inca artefacts, necklaces, paintings and other crafts. Above the town are the ruins of a remarkable Inca complex, with an impressive area of agricultural terraces. After lunch you will head to Ollantaytambo to explore the old town, a living example of Inca urban planning, and the breath-taking ruins, also Inca, on a high promontory above the town and valley. They include a ceremonial complex, baths and unbelievable stonework. You will spend the night at Pakaritampu Hotel, which has lovely gardens and is on the street leading to the train station. Ollantaytambo has loads of restaurants from which to choose for dinner. Breakfast, lunch
DAY 5: SCENIC TRAIN RIDE TO MACHU PICCHU
Today is Machu Picchu day, no more, no less. From Ollantaytambo it’s a 1½-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo), the town below Machu Picchu itself. You’ll travel in style in a carriage with picture windows and arrive in time to take the 20-minute bus ride, zig-zagging up the hill to the sanctuary. Your tour of the site will be with a guide who can bring the history and significance of the ruins to life. Lunch is served at the Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel next to the site entrance. At the end of your visit to Machu Picchu you can take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night at the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, at the edge of town by the river. Note: don’t lose your entrance ticket as you will need it tomorrow. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 6: MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
This morning you may return to Machu Picchu for some private time at the site. This is where you will need your previous days entrance ticket! You can take trails and visit areas that you may not have already seen and take a few moments to meditate on how beautifully the buildings echo the mountains around them. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Cusco, where you will return to the Casa Andina Premium for the night. Breakfast
DAY 7: CUSCO TO LIMA; FLIGHT HOME
In the morning you will fly back to Lima. Usually flight connections are such that there will be enough time to enjoy some of the sights of Lima. Depending on the hours available and on your interests, there are several options. The historical centre has many colonial buildings, such as the Cathedral on the large Plaza de Armas. Also, in the centre is the Casa Aliaga, the oldest residence in the city and lived in by the same family since the 16th century. Another must is the Larco Museum, in the Pueblo Libre district, which houses one of Peru’s most famous collections of pre-Inca ceramics, gold and silver. Speak to our representative about what you can do before you have to be at the airport for your flight home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): 2019 prices from £1,595 based on travel throughout 2019.
Includes: 6 nights accommodation in the properties mentioned; private transfers; private sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lima; entrance fees in Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lima; return train ticket to Machu Picchu; meals as indicated in the itinerary.
Excludes: International and domestic flight (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; Huayna Picchu entrance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in Lima. International return flights from the UK and the necessary domestic flights will cost from around £1000 per person, subject to season and availability. We will be happy to book flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice
The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude. In general, though, the rainy season is from December to March, but it varies in intensity from area to area and from year to year. For most people the best time to come to the Andes is between June and September. Days are mostly dry and sunny, but it can be cold at night. April and May, after the rains, and October and November are also good months to visit the Andes. Being at high altitude you will need to pack for variable weather at any time of year.
Note that June is the busiest month for festivals in Cusco, including the Inca festival of Inti Raymi, so there will be high tourist occupancy then.
On the Pacific coast of Peru, the climate is sub-tropical and dry. Temperatures are warmest in the summer from December to March, when they can reach up to 30°c. The winter lasts from June to September, when temperatures can drop to 15°c and days are usually misty (locally called garúa) and damp. You are more likely to experience some rain in these months.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Peru. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.
Call: 01473 599008