Cusco, Patacancha and Machu Picchu

Peru is a trip that all people love to do once in a lifetime, a wonderful trip inside the navel of the world. Art, nature and history take you to the gateway to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Cusco is a live museum where colonial churches are built on Incas temples, where the frenetic life contrasts with the pacific life of the market’s district, and grey business suits are seen alongside vibrant traditional dresses. Cusco offers a melting pot of colors, smells and emotions that you can only feel in this undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas.

Trip DetailsItineraryLodgingBefore Your Trip

Day 1: Travel to Lima. Overnight in Lima.

Day 2: Travel to Cusco. Visit San Pedro Market.

Day 3: Explore Cusco and tour nearby Inca ruins Sacsayhuaman.

Day 4: Travel to the Sacred Valley and visit the Moray Ruins and the salt mines of Maras.

Day 5: Travel to Ollantaytambo and visit Inca ruins. Train to Machu Picchu. Overnight in the town of Aguas Calientes.

Day 6: Tour Machu Picchu in the morning and then take the train back to Ollantaytambo and transport back to Cusco

Day 7: Transfer to the Airport.

Day 1: Welcome to Peru. Upon arrival in Lima, your Travelution Peru host will escort you to the nearby Wyndham Costa Del Sol Hotel at Lima’s airport. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional Lima tours and trips to nearby sites to fill your time. With most international flights arriving quite late and flights to Cusco departing early, staying in an airport hotel will allow you to maximize your sleep so you can begin your vacation feeling well-rested.

Day 2: Lima-Cusco and San Pedro Market. In the morning, fly to Cusco, colonial jewel and ancient capital of the Inca Empire. A Travelution Peru guide will pick you up and take you on a tour of the beautiful Plaza de Armas and a walking tour through the interesting markets of Cusco, then get you to your hotel.  You will be free to relax for the rest of the day and to become accustomed to the elevation (10,856 ft.).  Our guide is at your service to help with any other activities you might like; however, we recommend a day of rest today, as it is important to acclimatize. (B)

Day 3: Tour of Cusco City and Nearby Ruins. Today we have a guided tour of Cusco and its nearby ruins. You’ll tour prominent Inca sites in and around Cusco, including temples, the megalithic Sacsayhuaman fortress, the carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars of Kenko, the small Puka Pukara fortress that protected the capital, and the Tambomachay water temple. After a local lunch, we explore the city by foot to appreciate its superbly constructed Inca walls and architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. This also includes a visit of Koricancha, the Golden Temple of the Sun, in ancient times the cathedral. Then you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open-air artisan markets and shops. (B)

Day 4:  Over the Andes to the Sacred Valley.We leave Cusco and head to the Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnants of this period are the massive stone wall in the main plaza, which has 10 trapezoidal niches, and the colonial church. Next, we’ll proceed to the enigmatic Inca ruins at Moray. Visually, these stepped-terrace ruins resemble an ancient amphitheater, though some experts believe they served as agricultural laboratories where the Incas could experiment with new farming techniques. Enjoy a delightful picnic lunch, where we can savor dishes made with locally grown produce. Visit the salt mines of Maras. This village is a salt-producing center that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times. There are more 4,000 salt pools, all carved into the mountain. (B,L)

Day 5: Patacancha Valley and Machu Picchu.

The day begins with a short ride from the hotel to Patacancha valley and the gorgeous hamlet of Marcacocha with its beautiful chapel. After this we walk up an ancient Inca Trail to Pumamarca, which showcases a unique example of circular Inca and pre-Inca buildings. From here we walk down past Inca terraces, still used for agriculture, and back into the village of Ollantaytambo, the ruins of an impressive Inca fortress, and the nearby small town, where you’ll explore this archeological site before heading to  Albergue restaurant to try the most famous dish in the Andes. Pachamanca is the traditional Peruvian dish common in the central Andean region.

The word Pachamanca comes from the Quechua indigenous language, with “pacha” meaning earth and “manka” meaning pot. This tradition supposedly dates to before the Spanish conquest in 1532 and was a form of ritual to celebrate life and fertility and to thank “pacha mama”, or mother earth, for providing food. While you are waiting for the food to cook, our chef will take you on a tour of the organic farm that provides 90% of ingredients for the Pachamanca. They grow many varieties including typical local plants like huacatay (black mint), Inca berries and quinoa, and raise their own rabbits, ducks and sheep.

We walk to the train station where you will embark for the valley of the Urubamba River to the tiny village of Aguas Calientes.  Emerging from a magnificent cloud forest, (7,875 ft.). You will stay overnight at Aguas Calientes. (B,L)

Day 6: Machu Picchu and Return to Cusco. After a bus ride to the gates of this wonder of the world, you will pass through the main gates with your private guide to finally emerge at the top of the world – Machu Picchu. The incredible Inca stone construction will be spread below, alternately hidden and revealed by clouds. Your expert guide will give you a private tour of the ancient city.

We return by bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch before we depart from Machu Picchu for the train ride back to Ollantaytambo, where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco. Overnight in Cusco. OPTIONAL HUAYNA PICCHU CLIMB – For the more adventurous, you can purchase an additional Huayna Picchu Mountain permit (ask us for costs).

Day 7: Transfer to Airport in Cusco. After breakfast, transfers back to the Cusco airport will be arranged for travelers departing today. Trip members can opt to return to Lima for connecting flights home or extend their travels in Peru.

Lodging in Aquas Calientes

5 Stars

SANCTUARY LODGE

The only hotel located at the entrance to Machu Picchu, this stylish retreat lets you beat the citadel’s crowds.

Sitting in the shadows of the Lost City, our lodge is an oasis of calm before or after a day exploring Machu Picchu. Unwind with a yoga session, take part in a traditional shaman ceremony in the garden, or sip Muña tea in Tampu Bar. Tranquility, wonder and beauty are at the heart of our unique experience.

INKATERRA PUEBLO

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel occupies a private five-hectare (12-acre) mountainside reserve, located at the foot of Machu Picchu Mountain, near the Machu Picchu Pueblo railroad station. With the look and feel of a rustic Andean Village, this welcoming retreat offers travelers an authentic travel experience, in an atmosphere of refinement and thoughtful hospitality.

The spectacular grounds are laced with paths that wind past waterfalls and gardens; trails wander through wild forest. This is a place to relax, while exploring nature and encountering the wonders of the Inca civilization in an atmosphere of refinement, caring, and warm hospitality.

SUMAQ

Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel, named one of South America’s best hotels by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, is located at the foot of the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu near the beautiful Vilcanota River, and offers impressive views of the mountains and landscapes.  Recently refurbished with a contemporary interior inspired by thousands of years of Andean culture, Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers five-star personalized luxury service, innovative Peruvian cuisine and a relaxing spa that features traditional indigenous treatments. Cultural experiences that highlight mystic connections with local traditions include an authentic Andean wedding ceremony and exploring Machu Picchu with a shaman.

The luxury property features 62 exquisitely appointed rooms and suites, including one imperial suite, two junior suites and 59 standard rooms. An array of special experiences is included, among them a culinary demonstration and, for children, mini-chef classes and Andean tales. Sumaq has been awarded Rainforest Alliance certification for its focus on sustainability and has received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor for five consecutive years.

4 Stars

TIERRA VIVA

Tierra Viva Cusco Machu Picchu Hotel’s strategic location ensures our guests the best experience possible of the amazing Inca citadel. Our facilities are located in the quietest area of Aguas Calientes, facing the Urubamba River and surrounded by the Forest of Clouds.

3 Stars

EL MAPI INKATERRA

Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El MaPi, amid the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes), where you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and glimpse a unique perspective. Discover an efficient, lively and people-friendly atmosphere; you are welcomed along with other global guests expecting a no fuss, down-to-earth break. Relax in a pleasant and wholesome ambience after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most distinguished destination, the Machu Picchu Archaeological site.

CASA ANDINA STANDARD MACHUPICCHU

Casa Andina Standard Machu Picchu is a modern and friendly hotel that offers a convenient location in Aguas Caliente (a small town) to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu and to the train station.

The hotel has 53 new and comfortable rooms with ceiling fans (no air conditioning); some of the rooms have river views that will allow you to have the necessary tranquility to rest and recover your energy to enjoy the tour of the citadel.

Among the services we offer are: free Wi-Fi in lobby, room service, breakfast buffet with free extras, internet center and transportation (please contact the front desk).


Lodging in Cusco

5 Stars

INKATERRA LA CASONA

The first boutique hotel in Cusco, Inkaterra La Casona is located in the traditional Plaza de las Nazarenas, surrounded by vibrant, cobblestone streets. This 16th-century manor house stands on the training grounds for an elite army of Incas, and had Spanish Conquistador Diego de Almagro and “Libertador” Simón Bolívar among its illustrious guests.

After being harmoniously restored by Inkaterra through five years, emphasizing its original architecture, Inkaterra La Casona reflects the encounter of cultures and traditions across centuries. Surrounding the main patio, its 11 suites are provided with chimneys, heated floors and extra-large bathtubs. Its halls are decorated with colonial furniture, pre-Columbian textiles and original murals.

The Yacu therapy room offers custom treatments and, like the manor’s dining room, uses products derived from local sources. Those who sleep within the stone walls, beneath the exposed beams, gain a deeper understanding of the city’s cultural heritage.

PALACIO NAZARENAS

Your “Once upon a time…” journey starts here

Built on Inca foundations, rich history meets modern indulgence in Cusco’s fairy tale hideaway.

We’ve preserved all that is precious: original Inca stonework, colonial frescos and gold-framed paintings. And yet, upon entry, a contemporary Cusco comes to the fore. Discover a fabulous spa, the city’s first outdoor pool and daring cuisine from leading Peruvian chefs.

BELMOND HOTEL MONASTERIO

Historic charm with a modern twist.

Uncover the secrets of Cusco with a stay in one of its most cherished landmarks.

Moments from Plaza de Armas is an ancient monastery that has been at the heart of the city for centuries. Dine by candlelight among the cloisters; explore interiors rich with art and antiques; uncover the secrets of Peru’s national drink with a pisco lesson. Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a true jewel in the treasure trove of Cusco.

JW MARRIOT EL CONVENTO CUSCO

Embrace a truly unique stay at JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. Our hotel offers a delightful blend of historic grandeur and modern comfort. Housed in a restored 16th-century convent in the heart of Cusco, our boutique hotel features two exhibition halls with ancient Peruvian artifacts. Explore the area from our hotel, with convenient access to local attractions, such as the historic center of the city of Cusco and Plaza de Armas.

At the end of a busy day, find sanctuary in our sophisticated rooms and suites featuring a range of thoughtful amenities, including elegant marble bathrooms, deluxe bedding, mini-bars and an oxygen-enriched system to relieve altitude sickness. Awake refreshed before heading to our spa for a revitalizing treatment with centuries-old Incan healing regimens. When hunger strikes, visit Qespi Restaurant and Bar, widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in Cusco, to enjoy an elegant atmosphere and fresh ingredients. Luxury and adventure await at JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.

PALACIO DEL INCA

A storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries, Palacio del Inka stands in the historic center of Cusco. Directly across from the Koricancha (Temple of the Sun), it is a five-minute walk from the main square and less than a mile from an array of museums, markets and restaurants. The 154 standard guest rooms feature coffered niches of dark wood, while maroon entry halls with yellow ochre walls mirror colors in the Damascus figures of the floor carpeting.

Meanwhile, the 17 Casa de los Cuatro Bustos Suites, all with 13-foot ceilings, have particularly rich textiles in addition to classic decorative pieces, lounge chairs, hand-carved chests and writing desks to recreate the feel of a Colonial Cusco mansion. Uniting the past and present, Andes Spirit Spa presents indigenous treatments and an indoor therapy pool. Meanwhile, Inti Raymi Restaurant offers authentic Peruvian dishes, while a variety of meeting and event venues invite guests to host enchanting special occasion.

4 Stars

EL MERCADO

El Mercado is a four-star property located three and a half blocks from the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), the heart of picturesque Cusco. Formerly part of the city’s old farmer’s market, El Mercado’s 32 rooms and quaint atmosphere guarantee personal and friendly service, and will immediately immerse our guests in the cultural and historical traits of Cusco and Peru.

CASA ANDINA PRIMIUM CUSCO

Our Casa Andina Premium Cusco is a strategically located and beautiful hotel just a few blocks from the Main Square (Plaza de Armas), an ideal place to initiate visits of the surroundings, cultural walks to well-known tourist places like the Cathedral of Cuzco or the convent Santo Domingo, and to discover the charms of the historical center.

It has 93 rooms that are characterized by personalized service and all the comforts that our guests may need, with free extras like a buffet breakfast, free Wi-Fi, restaurant and bar, concierge service, room service, among others.

The hotel staff in the restaurant is highly trained to recommend the best dishes in our restaurant.

Our hotel is the best option to rest before your trip to Machu Picchu.

3 Stars

COSTA DEL SOL RAMADA

The former house of the Marques of Picoagá is divided into a colonial wing and another contemporary wing, combining stone arcades and a beautiful courtyard with a pool and murals typical of Cusco’s 17th-century architecture. Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco offers all the comforts of a contemporary hotel while retaining charming colonial-era details, including rooms with high-beamed ceilings and old wooden doors.

EL RETABLO

El Retablo is a two-story, 17-room Art Boutique B&B that celebrates vibrant Peruvian traditions and the rich cultural heritage of Cusco.

The innovative yet intimate El Retablo blends contemporary comfort with customs of Peruvian artisans, taking inspiration from retablos, which are a sophisticated form of Andean folk art with three-dimensional figurines in vibrantly colored portable boxes.

All interior spaces are hand-painted with intricate details by artisans of the Fine Arts School of Cusco, providing a true sense of place.

Each of the 10 Superior and seven Superior Deluxe rooms has a distinct design and thoughtful amenities, including handwoven tapestries, elegant pillows and luxury bed linens.

LOS PORTALES HOTEL CUSCO

Located a few steps from the famous Koricancha Temple and a few meters from the Main square, our personalized service and facilities will make your experience in Cusco unique.


Lodging in Sacred Valley

5 Stars

INKATERRA HACIENDA URUBAMBA

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hacienda-style hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba spans approximately 100 acres surrounded by imposing green mountains.

All rooms in the Casa Hacienda and stand-alone luxury casitas feature breathtaking views of the valley, immersing guests in open space, serenity and relaxing solitude. Architecture and interiors are inspired by the area’s cultural history, with colonial furniture, authentic Inca masks and handcrafted woodwork that add to the hacienda’s local charm.

An Earth to Table concept is expressed in a 10-acre organic plantation where guests are welcome to pick their own produce. Carbon-free crops such as quinoa, Urubamba giant corn, medicinal herbs and a variety of potatoes are farmed with traditional hand tools and oxen, as was done centuries ago.

TAMBO DEL INKA

Escape to a luxurious and mystical journey like no other at Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado. Our luxury hotel in Peru is nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and stands as a contemporary doorway to the vast cultural richness of this region. The only hotel in Urubamba with a private train station to Machu Picchu, we go to every length to ensure your experience is truly an awe-inspiring one.

You’ll love lingering in your elegantly designed hotel room or suite with mesmerizing views of the Andes and the Vilcanota River from a private balcony. Savor the refined dining options available at our hotel, with on-site restaurants featuring organic ingredients and local products. Our lobby bar serves refreshing cocktails. Indulge in self-care at our therapeutic spa and maintain your exercise routine at our premier fitness center and heated indoor pool. Luxurious adventure awaits at Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Valle Sagrado.

RIO SAGRADO

Everything here enchants as it soothes. Relax with yoga on the riverbanks or explore the Sacred Valley on horseback. Float in our heated pool or indulge at the Andean-style Mayu Willka Spa. As birds jabber overhead and wind whispers in the emerald trees, find your own harmony in the elements.

Be drawn into a world of earth, sky and mystic energy in our sensory rooms, suites and villas, designed to promote a complete sense of wellbeing. Wooden decor and locally woven furnishings in soft, bright colors invite you inside. Floor-to-ceiling windows connect you with the Sacred Valley beyond. As cobalt skies deepen to indigo, step out onto wide flagstone terraces edged with vibrant flora for a quiet nightcap.

4 Stars

SOL Y LUNA

We accommodate our guests in cozy “casita” houses made of local stone and decorated individually. Gardens filled with flora native to the Sacred Valley surround each of these 43 private sanctuaries and all face the Andes Mountains where the Incas believed their gods dwelled.

Fly with the wind by tandem paraglide over landscape that the Incas believed mirrored the Milky Way. Cycle and trek along Andean terraces, horseback ride to remote villages and kayak under snowcapped peaks. The Sacred Valley is also a treasure house of pre-Colombian sites, colonial churches and thriving, enduring traditions, many of which are a joy to the taste buds.

CASA ANDINA PREMIUM VALLE SAGRADO

Our Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel & Villas is a beautiful hotel that looks like a haven in the mountains. With a privileged location, it has fabulous views of the Andes from every room. This is a cozy hotel with a design inspired by the locality, with rustic touches.

With 91 rooms, our villas – Andean Cottages – allow the visitor to enjoy the peace, energy and tranquility of the Sacred Valley while enjoying the views and surroundings of the Andes.

Among the services we offer you are Wi-Fi connection, room service, breakfast buffet with free internet center extras, an event room, sauna, spa and gym, parking and transportation (subject to availability), golf cart, and a planetarium where you can observe the milky way and the Southern Cross. Our hotel is the best option to rest before your trip to Machu Picchu.

We also have formidable courtyard and spacious meeting rooms (3) with capacity to arrange events of up to 250 guests. We have a catering service with a large variety of food options, furniture, equipment and a well-trained team.

3 Stars

HOTEL PAKARITAMPU

The name “Pakaritampu” derives from the Quechua words “pakari,” which means dawn, and “tampu,” which means home.

Pakaritampu Hotel is in the heart of the Sacred Valley, located in the village of Ollantaytambo. It is two minutes away from the train station with direct connection to Machu Picchu, and a one-and-a-half hour drive from the city of Cuzco.

The town of Ollantaytambo is the starting point of the Inca Trail, a beautiful place that offers various tourist attractions.

Travel:

Arriving Into Lima Peru: Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chavez. Arriving Into Cusco: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport.

Passport/Visa: Current Passport not to expire within 6 months of travel. No Visa is required.

Money:

Currency: Nuevo sol. ATMs are widely available. Credit Cards are accepted in larger cities. Cash is recommended for tipping porters and guides.

Immunizations:

Passport Health: 1-888-499-7277 or CDC: 1-800-232-4636.

Language:

Spanish, Aymara and Quechua; English is spoken and understood in tourist areas of Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Time:

Eastern Standard Time with no Daylight Savings Time.

Health Considerations:

Altitude Sickness: Cusco’s elevation is 10,856 ft. Allow yourself time to acclimate before undertaking strenuous activities. Planning time in the Sacred Valley will help your body acclimatize.

Food and Water: Tap water is not safe to drink. Eat fruits you can peel, or fruits and vegetables washed with purified water.

Electricity:

220 Volt/60Hz.

What to bring:

  • Luggage: medium duffel, backpack or day pack
  • Clothing: Hiking boots and a pair of walking shoes for in the towns; hiking pants/shorts; synthetic shirts, both long-sleeve and short-sleeve; wide-brimmed hat; long underwear; fleece; down jacket; gloves; swimsuit; raincoat/rain pants
  • Toiletries, sunscreen, insect repellent, small camp towel, towelettes
  • Prescription medications and general medications
  • Sleeping bag/pad/pillow
  • Flashlight
  • Water Bottle
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles (optional)
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