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Cusco Classic: 2 Days (includes Machu Picchu)
The Cusco Classic tour combines a great introduction to Cusco and a full day visiting Machu Picchu. This trip is perfect for those who want to experience the wonders of the Inca empire plus modern Andean culture but have only a few days to spend. Cusco was the capital of the Inca peoples before the Spanish conquest, and its grandeur is still evident in its ancient streets. Most existing buildings are erected on Inca foundations; the city is like an open air museum and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Culture, tradition, and exquisite Peruvian cuisine wrap the traveller in an unforgettable experience.
Day 1: Cusco Classic City Tour
Upon arrival in Cusco you will be met at the airport and transported to your selected hotel, then have the morning free, including lunch as you choose (we can recommend restaurants to suit your tastes). At 13:30 pm we begin a guided tour through the city, which includes highlights of our beautiful city. These include "Qoricancha" (Golden Place), now the Santo Domingo Convent, one of the most important religious centers of the Inca period, and the Cathedral of Cusco, which houses about 300 religious paintings and other fine works of the Cusco Art School.
Next we head to the outskirts of Cusco to Inca sites that have remained intact over the centuries. Sacsahuaman (Puma’s Head) is a majestic place of impressive stones, some up to 120 tons, which were carried by workers from remote quarries. The famous Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun is celebrated every year at Sacsahuaman. The other sites are Qenqo (Labyrinth) and finally Pucapucara and Tambomachay, which housed baths and quarters for the Inca ruler ('Inca' in fact means 'supreme ruler') and his extensive retinue of soldiers and attendants. We end the tour by returning you to your hotel, for an overnight in Cusco.
Day 2: Machu Picchu Day Trip
We'll pick you up at the hotel and head for the train station for our ride through the Sacred Valley to the magical citadel of Machu Picchu, 112 km (70 miles) from Cusco. During the journey we see the Urubamba River (which is known upstream by its Aymara name Willkanuta, hispanicized as Vilcanota) and the snowy capped peaks of the Veronica Mountain. The train line ends at the small town of Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu town). From there it's a comfortable but winding 20-minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu ruins. Your expert guide will tell you all about Machu Picchu’s fascinating history and legends, bringing alive the ancient stones. Situated on the spine of a jungle-cloaked granite peak towering 600 meters above the meandering Urubamba below, the site is frequently shrouded in misty clouds pierced by the powerful equatorial sun. Constructed from precisely sculptured granite blocks carefully joined with the projecting exposed stone of the surrounding mountain, the site may well be the finest architectural achievement of the new world. Highlights of the tour include the general archeological site, its craft industry, agriculture, housing, royal tomb, the temple of the sun, Inti Huatana (a ritual stone associated with the Incan calendar or astronomic clock), the famous three windows structure, the sun dial, the gazebo, and more. In the afternoon we take the train back to either Ollantaytambo or Poroy station then return the rest of the way to Cusco by car or bus.
Day 3: Transfer to Cusco Airport
After an early breakfast at your hotel we'll take you to the airport or train, as required, for travel to your next destination.
- Transfers from the hotel to the train station and airport and back
- Round trip train tickets Cusco - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
- Professional guide for the 2-day tour (fluent in English, German, Spanish, Quechua)
- Bus service from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
- Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu
- Ticket reservations for transportation, tourist sites, and hotel rooms
- Discretionary spending, tips.
For tips on what to bring, check our Travel Tips page.