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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!

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Explore Machu Picchu on video

Experience the allure of Machu Picchu in a whole new light with our captivating video journey. Let us transport you to the mystical realm of the Inca Empire, where ancient ruins and natural wonders converge amidst the Andean peaks. Our footage unveils the architectural marvels and hidden treasures of this UNESCO World Heritage site, from the iconic Intihuatana stone to the awe-inspiring Temple of the Sun. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of history and culture as you wander through centuries-old pathways and terraced landscapes. With breathtaking aerial views and intimate close-ups, our video promises an immersive exploration of Machu Picchu’s unparalleled beauty and significance. Join us on this extraordinary adventure and discover the magic of Machu Picchu from the comfort of your screen.

Faq’s About Machu Picchu

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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 are the most popular and comfortable way to visit, perfect for those with limited time in the Peruvian highlands. You can choose from 1-day or 2-day Machu Picchu tours, departing from Cusco. Enjoy a scenic journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas before reaching the ruins. Your private guide will lead you through the citadel, and you’ll have quality time to explore. Afterward, you’ll be accompanied back to your hotel. If you want to explore more ancient sites around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, extended tour packages are available.

For those with time and energy, 3- to 5-day treks on the Inca Trail or an alternative route offer a complete Peruvian adventure. These high-altitude treks cover a 28-mile route through stunning landscapes, providing hearty meals and comfortable accommodations. The journey culminates with a breathtaking sunrise at 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.

For most visitors, Machu Picchu travel is safe. The area heavily depends on tourism, and both locals and authorities strongly discourage any crimes against the over half a million annual visitors. There is a ‘Machu Picchu Safety Corridor’ (covering Cusco and Sacred Valley) with augmented police forces, patrol cars, and emergency assistance.

Your Surtrek guides will be with you from the airport, ensuring a safe journey to stylish hotels in exclusive neighborhoods and accompanying you during day excursions. Your main safety concerns while visiting Machu Picchu will be staying hydrated, using sunscreen, and acclimating to the high altitude

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.

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.

While it’s not required to have a tour guide to visit Machu Picchu, having one can greatly enhance your experience. Guides provide valuable insights into the history, culture, and significance of the site, enriching your visit with fascinating stories and information. Additionally, they can navigate the complex layout of the ruins, ensuring you don’t miss any important features or viewpoints. For those interested in learning more about Machu Picchu’s mysteries and marvels, a knowledgeable guide can truly make the visit unforgettable. However, if you prefer exploring independently, you can still enjoy Machu Picchu’s beauty and grandeur at your own pace.

The duration of a tour of Machu Picchu can vary depending on various factors such as your interests, physical condition, and the extent of exploration you wish to undertake. Generally, a typical guided tour of the main archaeological site itself lasts around 2-3 hours. This timeframe allows for a comprehensive exploration of the main structures and highlights of the citadel, including the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana Stone, and the Temple of the Three Windows.

However, many visitors choose to spend additional time exploring the surrounding areas, such as the Inca Bridge or the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), which can extend the visit by an hour or more. Some also opt for longer hikes, such as the Inca Trail or the Huayna Picchu climb, which can add half a day or more to the tour.

In total, including transportation to and from Aguas Calientes (the nearest town), most visitors spend a full day exploring Machu Picchu. However, if you’re on a tight schedule, it’s possible to visit Machu Picchu as a day trip from Cusco or the Sacred Valley, allowing for a shorter visit. Ultimately, the length of your tour will depend on your preferences and the time you have available.

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.

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.

This tour is featured in the expert Travel Blog Lost Between Oceans, read their review here!

Experience Peru

CULTURE

Explore Peru’s diverse cultural heritage, from Machu Picchu’s ancient ruins to vibrant indigenous festivals. Delight in traditional dances, intricate textiles, and flavorful cuisine, celebrating a rich history and vibrant traditions.

GASTRONOMY

Explore Peru’s dynamic gastronomy, blending indigenous roots with global influences. From zesty ceviche to robust lomo saltado, each dish narrates a culinary journey. Discover diverse flavors and ingredients that make Peru a premier destination for food enthusiasts.

ADVENTURE

Discover thrilling adventures in Peru’s rugged landscapes. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, delve into the Amazon rainforest, and explore the mystical Nazca Lines. With diverse terrain for paragliding, mountain biking, and surfing, Peru is a paradise for adrenaline seekers and nature enthusiasts.

NATURE

Experience Peru’s stunning natural beauty, from the Andean peaks to the Amazon rainforest. Encounter diverse wildlife and explore Lake Titicaca’s mystic allure. Marvel at Colca Canyon’s grandeur and engage in eco-tourism adventures amidst breathtaking landscapes.

Travel Info & Plan Your Trip

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Machu Picchu Blog

Embark on a legendary journey to the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu with Surtrek’s captivating blog. Immerse yourself in the rich history, awe-inspiring landscapes, and ancient mysteries of this UNESCO World Heritage Site as we unveil its secrets through vivid storytelling and stunning imagery. Whether you’re planning a trek along the famed Inca Trail or seeking insights into the fascinating Inca civilization, our blog is your ultimate guide to unlocking the wonders of Machu Picchu. Let Surtrek be your trusted companion as you embark on a transformative exploration of one of the world’s most iconic destinations.

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