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Machu Picchu - The Spirit of the Incas

Without comparison or equal, Machu Picchu regularly rates as one of the world’s top travel experiences. A truly incredible ancient wonder, the “Lost City” is as magnetic and awe-inspiring now as it was when first constructed.

 

Surtrek’s travel experts can seamlessly plan your adventure to this legendary site perched high in the Peruvian Andes in mist-shrouded forests. To reach that long-forgotten world, you will be welcomed in the Peruvian capital city of Lima and then fly to our base in the ancient city of Cusco. From there, you will be accompanied to the timeless farmlands, villages, markets, and fortresses of Sacred Valley before finally reaching the citadel.

 

Whether you choose to reach Machu Picchu through a multi-day hike along the Inca trail, or by taking a relaxing journey to the site on board the luxury Vistadome train, or as part of a multi-destination tour, Surtrek can custom design and organize your trip. To begin planning your Machu Picchu experience, contact us today!

Highlights

 

  • A once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the “Lost City”
  • Go Black-Friday crazy in the color-filled indigenous handicrafts bazaar in Pisco
  • Ride by rail through the mystical, storybook landscapes of Sacred Valley
  • Hike the classic Inca Trail, arriving as the sun sets behind the citadel
  • Sip delicious cocktails on a romantic locomotive journey as Peru’s magnificent rural landscape passes by
  • Sample Peru’s famed “fusion food” in colonial Cusco
  • Keep your camera ready for rich wildlife sightings of llamas, alpacas, and the impressive Andean condor

 

How to choose the right Machu Picchu tour?

 

Typically, the type of Machu Picchu tour depends on the mode of transportation selected for reaching the “Lost City”: either quickly and directly by train, or on a multi-day hike.

 

Train rides to Machu Picchu: This is the most popular — and comfortable — way to visit Machu Picchu, with these locomotive journeys especially suited for visitors with a limited amount of time in the Peruvian highlands. Traveling by rail allows for 1-day or 2-day Machu Picchu tours, all leaving from the colonial city of Cusco. From there, your train snakes through the scenic Sacred Valley of the Incas before reaching the legendary ruins. Once there, you’ll be led by your private guide and spend quality time exploring and contemplating the citadel. Afterwards, you’ll be accompanied from the citadel back to the doorstep of your hotel. For travelers interested in also spending a few pre-planned days exploring the numerous ancient sites around Cusco and the Sacred Valley,  extended tour packages enable you to experience all of this.

 

Hikes to the Lost City: For travelers with the time, energy, and inclination, 3- to 5-day treks along the classic Inca Trail (or an alternative route)​​ provide a full-on Peruvian experience. Over several days, these high-altitude treks take you along a 28-mile route through spectacular landscapes — enjoying hearty meals and comfortable accommodations — with all of this culminating at the glorious ruins – ideal for a drama-filled sunrise at Machu Picchu.

 

What you’ll experience on your trip to Machu Picchu

 

More than your average vacation package, the deeply spiritual experience of the “Lost City” is more like a pilgrimage, one that pays homage to those of the distant past.

 

Catching your first glimpse of the complex is always an unforgettable, as the ancient stone walls of the citadel’s 150 buildings and manicured grounds come into view. Once inside, relish an insightful walking tour of the site as you visit living quarters, the temples of the sun and moon, agricultural terraces, and more.

 

Learn the rituals and theories behind Machu Picchu’s purpose and significance. Climb up some of 3,000 ancient stone steps, explore staggered agricultural terraces and visit the numerous ceremonial sites of this 15th century Inca citadel.

 

Here, you’ll for yourself why Machu Picchu has captured the imagination for generations, having laid untouched and unseen by the wider world for more than 400 years.

 

Is it safe to visit Machu Picchu?

 

For the overwhelming number of visitors, travel to Machu Picchu is quite safe. As the area relies heavily on tourism for income, a crime against any of the more than half a million annual visitors is frowned upon by locals and authorities alike. In fact, a “Machu Picchu Safety Corridor” (including Cusco and Sacred Valley) is patrolled by augmented police forces, patrol cars, and emergency assistance personnel. In addition, your Surtrek guides will accompany you throughout your entire stay in Peru. These guides will meet you at the airport, privately drive you to your fashionable hotels in exclusive neighborhoods, and constantly escort you during your day excursions throughout the country. Your major safety concerns while visiting Machu Picchu will, therefore, be those related to staying hydrated, using enough sunscreen, and acclimating to the high altitude.

 

Best time to experience Machu Picchu

 

The most popular time to visit the Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which extends from April-October. However, we at Surtrek recommend visiting the “Lost City” during the off-peak “shoulder seasons” of April-May or September-October, when there are fewer tourists and the weather is still accommodating.

 

If you can only travel during this peak summertime season (June-August), Surtrek will work with you to plan and book your tour well in advance.

 

What to pack for Machu Picchu?

 

Machu Picchu is a somewhat complicated destination for packing, as traveling here will take you through the most temperate capital city of Lima, the chilly-to-cold Andean city of Cusco, and then to the subtropical (warm and humid) climate of Machu Picchu itself. Given these climatic differences, you will receive a detailed packing list after you book your Machu Picchu tour with Surtrek. More generally, though, the types of clothing we recommend are:

 

  • Rolling suitcase: As you will be traveling with lots of pick-up services, a high-quality rolling suitcase works out better than a backpack. Don't forget to leave room for gifts and souvenirs. Packing cubes and compression bags are also useful.
  • A daypack: Remember, the weather — especially in the highlands — can change almost by the hour. Therefore, a small daypack is suggested. This pack should also accommodate your water bottle, an umbrella/Gortex rain jacket, a sun hat, sunscreen, chapstick, pen, USB pin-drive, sunglasses, bandana, camera, hand sanitizer, tissue paper, insect repellent, feminine products, document copies, guidebook, etc.
  • Micro- or polar-fleece jacket: These are lightweight, quick-drying, easy to wash, and warm (even when wet) though the material melts easily when exposed to a flame or an ignited cigarette.
  • Clothing: Should be lightweight, breathable, hand-washable, and quick-drying – which means it’s better to leave your jeans at home. Also, pack with your destinations in mind. Rather than packing a sweater, hat, and gloves, you may want to buy them in Lima or Cusco, where the shops and markets hold a kaleidoscopic selection of sheep and alpaca wool clothing.
  • Region-appropriate footwear: A well-broken-in pair of walking or hiking shoes with good traction is a good idea, as are leather boots for additional ankle support. These will give you the solid bracing for dealing with Machu Picchu’s many stairs.
  • Sunglasses: Polarized lenses are the best for the intense highland sun and water reflection, especially during the rainy season. Bring an extra pair of prescription.
  • Money belt: For carrying your passport, Peruvian immigration card, credit/debit cards, and airline tickets, USB PIN drive, etc. – particularly when traveling between cities and hotels.
  • Plastic bags: Various sizes of Ziploc bags for protecting cameras and electronic devices, as well as for packing creams and toothpaste.
  • Unlocked cellphone: These can be purchased in Peru (see “Cellphones”)
  • Keychain LED flashlight
  • USB Flash drive
  • Camera, w/battery charger, memory cards, lens tissue
  • 220/110 V electric adapter: For recharging directly from Peruvian 220 volt electrical sockets.
  •  Small packets of tissue: Always carry these since bathrooms don't always have toilet paper.
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine (such as Imodium): Just in case
  • Toiletry kit: Including a toothbrush, dental floss, nail clippers, shaving gear, insect repellent, deodorant, earplugs, lip balm, Q-tips, nail brush, etc.... Consider these kit items especially for traveling in the countryside or the Amazon, since some lodges and haciendas don’t offer them.
  • Documents: Passport (make sure it is valid for six months after your departure), airline tickets, e-tickets (make sure the name on the ticket matches the name on your passport), a copy of your Surtrek travel itinerary, travel insurance/medical insurance card, address book, business cards, driver’s license, credit cards (and copies of fronts and backs), travelers check numbers, frequent flyer numbers, and emergency contact information. Bring originals and copies of each.
  • Insect repellent: Preferably with DEET (local brands aren't as good as what you can buy at home).
  • Earplugs
  • Sunscreen: With a protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, in addition to a hat.
  • Skin moisturizer: If you plan to spend a lot of time in the mountains between May and October.

 

Additional Tips:

 

We also emphasize that you take the following precautions when traveling to Machu Picchu:

 

  • Drink lots of water! Staying hydrated with purified or bottled water is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and full of energy during your trip. This will also help to prevent altitude sickness. (Just keep in mind that Machu Picchu has rules against the use of disposable plastic, so you must bring a reusable bottle)
  • Sunblock and insect repellent: These should be applied frequently. If you think that insects have a particular taste for you, we also recommend not wearing short garments.
  • Dress in Layers:  Layers should make up a bulk of your Machu Picchu packing list. Even in the cooler rainy season, it can be very hot during the day, since the sun is strong due to the high altitude. By dressing in layers, you can adapt clothes to the changing temperatures, whether cool or warm.

 

How to get to Machu Picchu

 

Most travelers to Machu Picchu reach this “Lost City” by first taking a flight to the Peruvian capital of Lima, where you will be met by a Surtrek representative and accompanied throughout your tour. From Lima, you can fly or take a cross-country train to the ancient city of Cusco. From colonial Cusco, where you may choose to spend a couple of days, you’ll board another train that will meander through the scenic Sacred Valley of the Incas to arrive in the town of Aguas Calientes, situated at the foot of the citadel. (Travelers who have more time and seek a more active adventure might instead choose to hike the famous Inca Trail between Cusco and Machu Picchu).

 

From Aguas Calientes, a short shuttle-bus will then zigzag you and your personal guide up the mountainside to reach the gates of the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu.

 

Why travel to Machu Picchu with Surtrek?

 

Since 1993, Surtrek has been introducing adventurous travelers to authentic, tailor-made luxury travel experiences across South America, offering some of the best and most complete tour services on trips to Machu Picchu.

 

With our experienced travel team of 25 members strong — including native speakers of five different languages — we will work one-on-one with you to custom-design a Machu Picchu tour that perfectly suits your particular interests and needs.

 

In Peru, Surtrek has developed an extensive network of local bilingual guides, each of whom is among the very best, selected for their knowledge of the area and their professionalism, friendliness, and enthusiasm.  Similarly, over the years Surtrek has vetted hotels, restaurants, and other travel facilities to ensure that your stay is comfortable, safe, and completely satisfying. 

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“My parent wanted to go to Peru and see Machu Picchu, Titicaca lake and Nazca Lines. Surtrek made a perfect customized plan for them. ”Nakyoung Park