Day 1 in Cuzco

Welcome to Cuzco! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There are many exciting things to explore in Cuzco.

Take a relaxing bus tour of Cuzco (about $25 per person). Tours start at Plaza de Armas and visit up to 15 attractions in Cuzco and Sacred Valley (depending on tour company). Explore some of the historic Inca capital`s most fascinating landmarks. See the walls of the famous Koricancha, once the site of the Inca sun temple. You may also get to see top Cuzco highlights like Sacsayhuaman, La Merced Church, San Francisco Square, and much more. Get off and on the bus anywhere you like.

Note: Cuzco is approximately 3,400 meters (about 11,500 feet) above sea level and travelers need to educate themselves about altitude and acute mountain sickness (AMS), which may be prevented and treated under the advice of a doctor BEFORE travels begin.

Day 2 in Cuzco

Enjoy the wonders of this mystical area. There are several tours of which you could choose from. The Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo is a full-day tour, which is also offered as an half-day tour. Pisac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River. The area is known for its Inca ruins on top of a hill at the entrance of the valley. The village is also well known for its market open every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Ollantaytambo is another quaint village and an Incan archaeological site known as the royal estate and ceremonial center during the Inca Empire. The Ruins of Ollantaytambo are largely of religious significance, they doubled as the last and largest defensive structures near the plains below where the Incas defeated the Spaniards in battle. This is where the Incas retreated after the Spanish took Cuzco. Much of the town is laid out in the same way as it was in Inca times.

Day 3 in Cuzco

Continue exploring Sacred Valley of Peru with Full-day and Half-day tour which includes Chinchero, Maras, and Moray. It is thought that the son of Pachacuted, Inca Tupac Yupanqui, used Chinchero as a kind of country resort. He was the overseer of the construction of many aqueducts and terraces, many of them still in use today. The center of weaving in Peru, it is home to the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles. Local women entertain tourists with weaving demonstrations and show how they produce different colors for the wool. At the textile cooperative, it is possible to see how the wool is washed, dyed and spun and you can watch them spin and create alpaca sweaters right in front of you. The ladies dress in traditional costume and are happy to display how the weaving works.

The salt flats of Maras are a true hidden beauty of the Sacred Valley. Passing through the plush green mountains of rugged Andean terrain, lying in the middle of inconspicuous mountains with the sun reflecting on it as though they were snow, the salt flats will stun you with their beauty shining out like white gold. Maras provides you with the natural beauty of crystal-looking salt and is a testament to the ingenuity of architecture courtesy of the Incas. Nearby, Moray is a testament to the genius of human architecture courtesy of the Incas. You will see an incredible set of terraces or depressions in a circular form, covered in the green grass typical of the fertile Sacred Valley. For travelers seeking more adventure, there are Vilcanota River Rafting and Horseback Riding tours available.

Additional Days in Cuzco

Enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel. Depart Sacred Valley and take a scenic train ride (about $111 from perurail.com) to Machu Picchu (about $70 for adults, $41 for students http://ticketmachupicchu.com). Tickets can be purchased in advance - plan ahead as tickets sell out fast. Upon arriving at the Machu Picchu Station in Aguas Calientes, an advisor will accompany you to the bus stop. Buses run every 15 minutes and operate in shuttle mode. The 20-minute bus ride takes you up a hill on a zigzag road with impressive views of the mountain junctions and the Urubamba River. The Machu Picchu citadel is located on the top of the mountain.

At the end of the 2.5 hour guided tour of Machu Picchu, there are several lunch options we suggest: One option is dining at the Tinkuy Restaurant located inside the Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel next door to the ruins. We recommend this option, considering your Machu Picchu ticket allows multiple same day visits. Lunch next door allows visitors to go back to the ruins (before taking the bus down to Aguas Calientes town) for an independent walk without a guide, allowing more time for pictures and to simply enjoy the place. The second option (less pricey) is to take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and have lunch at the Inkaterra Cafe inside the Pueblo Hotel. Please note, if you wish to make good use of the Machu Picchu same day ticket, you would need to purchase a new set of round-trip bus tickets to the ruins. We also suggest you stay one night in Machu Picchu; if you decide to stay an extra day in the Machu Picchu area, you have the opportunity of experiencing a second visit to the ruins to explore more deeply the Lost City of the Incas. You may also choose to make an adrenaline-fueled ascent to the Huayna Picchu, offering breathtaking views. Those interested must make reservations in advance, as there is a limit to daily visitors. Tickets to Huayna Picchu are not included in Machu Picchu admission price.

Last Day in Cuzco

Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport, if so the representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time to get you to the airport for your flight out.