• Fascinating adventure tour through heartland of Peru's ancient Inca Empire.

  • Condensed highlights of the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu & Cusco, including Pisac Ruins.

  • Minimized effects of high altitude, with nights spent below 2,800m (9,200 ft).

  • Superior rooms, private tours and Vistadome train service add up to supreme comfort

  • 2017 price from £893 / $1,098 per person for 4 days (sharing a twin / double room). 

Peru's High Andes have that name for a reason - they are high! Nonetheless, upon arrival in Cusco, we take you to the lower-altitude Sacred Valley, where your accommodation is located, for a smoother acclimatization and easier logistics for getting to and from Machu Picchu. 

We then have a full-day tour of the highlights of the Sacred Valley, which serves as a mouth-watering appetizer for the next day visit by train to the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu.

Before departing from Cusco, we have the chance to enjoy the Colonial architecture, ancient archaeological sites, and unique Andean atmosphere of Peru's famed Inca capital city. 

The sights and sounds of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley are sure to leave you with an abundance of lasting memories.

Note: This tour can be organized either before or after your Northern Peru tour. Departs any day.
Ask us about budget versions, using the Expedition train and group services. 

Day 1: Cusco to the Sacred Valley

On arrival at Cusco airport, we welcome you and drive you in a private vehicle to Ollantaytambo at the western end of the Sacred Valley.

The town has been built on top of original Inca foundations and is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. The town is divided into canchas (blocks) which are almost entirely intact. Each cancha has only one entrance (usually a huge, stone doorway) which leads into a central courtyard, surrounded by houses. 

Once settled into your hotel, you have a chance to acclimatize and enjoy the wonderful Andean scenery and Inca architecture at an elevation nearly 1,000m lower than Cusco. 

Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu, in a Superior Room, or similar. 

Day 2: Sacred Valley Tour: Pisac & Ollantaytambo

As you will have seen on the journey from Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is a stunning area, replete with history. So, today we take you on a thoughtful guided tour of some of the many highlights. 

We begin with a visit to Ollantaytambo Fortress, a stone's throw from your hotel, which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley. 

The temple area is at the top of steep terracing, which helped to provide excellent defences. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba River – an incredible feat, involving the efforts of thousands of workers.

The complex was still under construction at the time of the Spanish Conquest and was never fully completed.

After a guided tour of the site, we drive up the valley, passing the towns of Calca and Urubamba, on the way to Pisac, where a vital Inca road once snaked its way up the canyon that enters the Urubamba Valley.  The citadel, at the entrance to this gorge, now in ruins, controlled a route which connected the Inca Empire with Paucartambo, on the border of the eastern jungle.

Set high above a valley floor with a stunning patch-work of fields and terracing, the stonework and panoramas at Pisac's Inca citadel are magnificent. Terraces, water ducts and steps have been cut out of solid rock, and in the upper sector of the ruins, the main Sun Temple is on a par with anything at Machu Picchu.

Above the temple lie still more ruins, mostly unexcavated, and among the higher crevices and rocky overhangs several ancient burial sites are hidden

Once back in the valley floor, Pisac Market is a great place to buy local artisan goods, if you are in the shopping mood. If not, just feel free to wander about and people-watch. Often you will see the locals from the surrounding hills selling or bartering their goods, both to tourists and other locals. 

The side streets are even more interesting, as you can often see inside houses and patios, and witness people going about their daily chores.

Enjoy a delicious lunch (included) while taking in the incredible mountain scenery. 

After your tour you will be dropped back at your Sacred Valley hotel, to rest up for your trip to Machu Picchu tomorrow.

Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu, in a Superior Room, or similar. 

Included Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 3: Machu Picchu

It is a short walk to Ollanta train station to catch the Vistadome train for the scenic ride through lush Andean vegetation towards Machu Picchu.

Upon arrival, our private guide will lead you to the bus to begin the climb to the ruins. With the guide's assistance, we explore the astonishing ruins at a comfortable pace.

After our tour, we have free time to continue exploring the ruins on our own.

Lunch is included at the Sanctuary Lodge, that is conveniently located just outside the entrance to the ruins, giving us the maximum time to enjoy Machu Picchu, before returning down the valley by bus in order to catch the Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo for the evening.

Overnight at Hotel Pakaritampu, in a Superior Room, or similar. 

Included Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

NB. If you wish to spend the night in Machu Picchu town, and return to the ruins for a second visit (to climb Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, for example), we can certainly arrange this.

Day 4: Sacred Valley to Cusco: Exploring Cusco's Rich History

This morning, we collect you from your hotel for the two-hour drive back to Cusco, where we have a tour the principal sites in Cusco city centre with those Inca sites located nearby, accompanied by a qualified English-speaking guide and driver. 

You will start the tour at Puca Pucara (Quechua for 'red fortress'), an Inca archaeological site located at the top of a hill. Its strategic position has led to theories that it had a military and administrative role, controlling the route to Calca that led to the Antisuyo (Forest Country of the Inca).

We then proceed to Q'enko (Quechua for 'zigzag' or 'labyrinth') an Inca ceremonial site built around a naturally-occurring rock formation. The name may derive from the small - yet intricate - network of underground passageways at the site; or from the mysterious zigzag channels carved into the rock. A large natural cavity is thought to have been used as an altar, for the performance of rituals and sacrifices.

We then move on to one of the most important Inca sites in South America, the enormous fortress of Sacsayhuaman that overlooks the city. Its Quechua name means 'satisfied falcon', as it was the falcon that guarded the capital of the empire.  

Cusco was designed in the shape of a lying puma with Sacsayhuaman as its head, and the Coricancha (or Sun Temple) corresponded to the feline's genitalia. It was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. 

Construction took more than seven decades and required the work of approximately 20,000 men, for the transportation of materials, carving and stone setting. Some of its external walls exceed 9 m (30 ft) in height and 350 tons in weight. 

The Church of Santo Domingo was built on the site, using the ruined foundations of the temple that was flattened by the Spanish in the 17th Century. It is a fine example of Inca stonework being incorporated into the structure of a Colonial building. 

Next we visit Cusco Cathedral which is one of the finest examples of Colonial ecclesiastical architecture in the Americas. Building started in 1560 and was completed in 1664. 

NB. The order of visits may vary.  

After the tour, we transfer you to Cusco airport for your flight to Lima and beyond. Alternatively, if you wish to spend longer in Cusco, we can certainly help arrange this. 

Included Meals: Breakfast