Travel to South America and explore Peru's ancient Machu Picchu

Discover South America’s ancient ruins, explore colonial sights and wander through vibrant markets to get a real taste of Andean village life in the Sacred Valley. Take a winding train journey through the steep Urumbamba Valley to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Peru’s most famous site. The ancient ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu is truly extraordinary and has to be seen to be believed.


Start
Cuzco, Peru
Finish
Cuzco, Peru
Country
Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Short Breaks
Code
GGHT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 30

Why we love this trip

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu

  • Immerse yourself in the culture of Cuzco

  • Experience traditional Andean life in the Sacred Valley

Is this trip right for you?

  • This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. On day 2 of this trip, there may be up to 35 people sharing the services however the Machu Picchu tour on day 3 will be Intrepid passengers only and a maximum of 16 passengers.

  • This trip will run with a minimum of one person so you may be joined by other travellers (some possibly booked through different companies) booked on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cuzco, the heart and soul of Peru. 
The day is at your leisure until your 6 pm welcome meeting in the hotel lobby. Be sure to take it slow while your body adjusts to the altitude (3,400 m). If you have time, check out the beautiful cathedral or perhaps the nearby ruins of Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo or Tambomachay. A Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) will grant you access into these sites. For a change of pace, head to the central market, or perhaps enjoy a meal at Yanapay at 415 Ruinas Street. This restaurant uses all its profit to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects.

Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning starts with a pick-up from your hotel.
Pick-up will take place will be between 08:15 and 08:45 in the hotel foyer. The Intrepid representative will confirm this with you at the briefing on day 1.
In Cusco some of the streets are quite narrow and many have strict parking restrictions so it's likely you will need to take a short walk with a representative to where the bus is.

Head out to the Sacred Valley on a shared bus service. Known as Wilcamayo by the Incas, this lush and fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls.

The first stop is at Pisac ruins from where you will enjoy a lovely view of the Pisac valley and the town below. Explore the market and maybe barter for a few items yourself before heading out to cross the Valley. Leaving Pisac behind you find yourself driving through amazingly fertile lands that are one of the main agricultural areas in the surroundings and that played an important part during Inca times.

We have a stop along the way to enjoy our lunch at Urubamba town and then continue approximately 20-25 minutes until we reach the town of Ollantaytambo, one of the few, if not the only, living example of a city plan that has remained the same for many centuries.

Here you’ll visit the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, and try to figure out how those terraces were build or the big boulders that are part of the temple of the Sun got to the place where you can find them now, the top of the mountain.

Your guide will point you in the direction of the train station where you will wait for the departure of your train that takes you to Aguas Calientes. (Please note that depending on the time of your train, if your departure time is later then you may have some time to explore the town)
A 1.5 hour train ride through the winding Urubamba Valley takes us to Aguas Calientes, nestled in the cloud forest (2040m above sea level) at the foot of the magnificent Machu Picchu.

Upon arrival a representative will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel and give you the last instructions for your tour the very next day.

Overnight at Aguas Calientes hotel
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After an early breakfast, catch a bus to Machu Picchu (approx 30 minutes along a winding road). The first bus departs at around 5.30am. Please note that you will need to check out and leave your luggage on storage at the hotel while you visit Machu Picchu.

A local guide will take you on a 2 hour tour through the ruins. While it is thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There is plenty of time to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters.

After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities it is time to return to Cuzco, travelling first by train to Ollantaytambo (approx 90 minutes) then a shared transfer to Cuzco (approx 90 minutes).

Upon your arrival to Cusco your tour comes to an end. Please contact us if you need assistance with extra accommodation in Cuzco.

Departure flight on final day:
On the final day you won't arrive back to Cusco until approximately 1830 (630pm) Please do not book a departing flight prior to 2200 (10pm)
We recommend booking an additional night in Cusco.
If you need assistance with this, please speak with your travel agent.
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Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

2 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Bus, Minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nights)

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Machu Picchu Explorer (Original) trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

START TIME / PICK-UP POINT
This tour starts with a pre-departure meeting at on day 1 at approximately 6pm in the hotel foyer.

FINISH TIME
This Short Break Adventure concludes at approximately 8pm on Day 3. Departing flights from Cusco on this day must not be booked prior to 10pm.

SHORT BREAK ADVENTURE:
This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip. On day 2 of this trip, there may be up to 35 people sharing the services however the Machu Picchu tour on day 3 will be Intrepid passengers only and a maximum of 16 passengers.
This trip will run with a minimum of one person, so you may be joined by other travellers (some booked through different companies) on the same date as you, or you may be on your own.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to important sites such as Machu Picchu. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.