Machu Picchu is the main archaeological attraction in Peru and is regarded as a must visit tourist attraction in South America. Hidden from the Spanish conquistadors because of its sacred nature, Machu Picchu only reached attention to those outside of Peru after the American historian Hiram Bingham located the Incan monument in 1911. Since this time, the incredible site has become a major tourist attraction receiving an incredible amount of tourists each year. Because of concerns with degradation, visitor numbers are regulated where you must purchase a permit far in advance. To help with this, you can contact the tours directly using the tour bubbles below.
A Machu Picchu 5 day tour is our preference to experience Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail as on tours less than this, which are booked more frequently, people can feel rushed to complete the tour in the set time frame. An extra day gives you more flexibility and means you can relax a little bit more to enjoy the sights and archaeological sites.
To help give you an idea of a five day tour, we will present itineraries of our recommended 5 day tours for Machu Picchu, which feature sturdy and comfortable camping equipment, great meals, and then comfortable hotels. The tours include the Inca Trail, archeological sites, Cloud Forest nature, Machu Picchu, and the train ride back to Cusco.
Inca Trail Discovery 5 Day Machu Picchu Tour
From Cusco, you will enjoy an early morning drive through the Sacred Valley to the trail head of the Inca Trail at Km. 82 of the Machu Picchu railroad.
Our first walking experience will be a gentle two hour hike down the Urubamba canyon to see the sculpted Inca farming terraces at the settlement of Llaqtapata on the Cusichaca river. After this we climb the Cusichaca valley to Huayllabamba where we camp for the night.
The next day we start at Huayllabamba and begin with a steep ascent up the Llullucha valley and through the native unca woodland. We then cross the rim of a small plateau and find ourselves in a treeless grassland high in the Andes known as puna.
After this, we encounter our first and highest pass, the incredible Warmiwañusca for incredible views. Enjoy looking back at the spectacular snowpeaks and Huayanay massif valleys. We will also be able to view down the trail to the second pass and will begin a walk down a stepped stone trail to our forest clearing campsite in the Pacamayo valley.
We will climb an Incan stairway and climb to a small Inca site called Runkuracay. We approach the second pass and see a transition in scenery and landscape with new views of snowpeaks of the Pumasillo range. After this, we begin the descent down to the ruins of the Inaccessible Town known as Sayacmarca. These are a collection and labyrinth of houses, water channels, and plazas which look onto the Aobamba valley and seem precariously positioned on the ridge.
The Inca Trail transforms now to giant buttressed boulder trail continuing to the Cloud Forest, a threatened and highly diverse section of tropical forest. Enjoy seeing colorful orchids, mosses and bromeliads then camp at the top with Inca viewing platforms down to the Cloud-level archaeological town of Phuyupatamarca.
The next day we explore Phuyupatamarca to enjoy the Inca stone towers, stairways, and fountains extending down the mountainside. After this we descend down the Cloud Forest following the Inca stairway cut from granite to the famous Incan site of Wiñay Wayna, which means forever young. This is the largest and most accessible of Incan archaeological sites.
The afternoon is then spent following the last stretch of trail over a steep mountainside through the Cloud Forest. The forest is fantastically diverse and you’ll see giant ferns, broad-leaved trees, and interesting plants. We cross the Sun Gate or Intipunku and experience fantastic human creativity with an outstanding backdrop and the beautiful scenery of Machu Picchu.
The last day is spent at Machu Picchu for both guided and individual exploration to give you time to enjoy this fantastic and sacred site. You also have the option to walk to the summit of Wayna Picchu or choose to further explore the many nooks and hidden areas of Machu Picchu before returning to Aguas Calientes for the train to Cusco.
If you’re after more comfort, you should choose the Inca Trail Discovery which is based on the above itinerary, but with many different luxury elements added. These include gourmet meals, wine, and a massage therapist at the end of the day.
To give an alternative trek to Machu Picchu avoiding the Inca Trail you can enjoy the 5 day Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek. In addition to this incredible site, if you want to visit and experience some other outstanding areas of historical significance you can enjoy the Choquequirao & Machu Picchu Tour over 12 days to see a monument thought to have been built to rival Machu Picchu. Another attraction not to be missed is the Amazon Rainforest, which you can combine on the nine day Amazon and Machu Picchu Combo tour.