There are some places on earth that you need to see with your own eyes, and Machu Picchu is definitely one of those places. Peru’s most iconic Incan citadel sits on the list of must-see destinations along with the greats like the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon. For the absolute trip of a lifetime, you’ll want to plan a Machu Picchu tour to fully appreciate the enchanting grandeur of this ‘old mountain'.
Nestled between the Andean peaks, it is so well-preserved that it really is a city. UNESCO describes it as a ‘historical sanctuary’ and with ruins the size of a village and the surrounding wilderness, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s no wonder that Machu Picchu has recently become a part of the Seven Wonders of the World.
This trail retraces the very steps of the Inca and gives you the chance to discover Peru’s ancient civilization. You will be rewarded with a combination of cloud-topped mountainscapes, ancient ruins, and luscious rainforest. Travel from Cuzco, through the vibrant Sacred Valley before reaching the Ollantaytambo ruins. The highlight of the trip is the trek to Machu Picchu itself along the Inca Trail where you can experience the secrets of this ancient site for yourself. Be prepared for some serious walking and at high altitude, but the breath-taking scenery is worth every step. This trip allows you to make the choice about how you visit Machu Picchu – the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or relax and travel by train.
This is another route to take you to Machu Picchu which is also safe and offers stunning views. This trail offers the opportunity to visit some other of the lesser well known archaeological sites along the way. It is a quieter route so for those who want to stay off the main tourist hike; this route will really get you out into the wilderness. It’s not for the faint-hearted though, with daily treks and camping under the stars, but if you’re on the quest for a unique experience that culminates in standing in the Lost City of the Incas then this is the one for you.
The Whole Peruvian Experience
Peru is a country of contrast from the wild, mountainous beauty of the Andes to the deep Amazon rainforest. A tour of Peru will unearth delights such as Lima, the stunning Lake Titicaca and the impressive Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Lima will astound with its Spanish colonial architecture and is full of culture, making one of the most attractive cities in South America. The famous Nazca Lines can also be seen – the mysterious work of ancient man or something more other-worldly?
Another fun way to get to the Lost City if you’re feeling adventurous is the option to bike, raft, canopy and trek there. To really get your heart racing you can engage in some low altitude mountain biking, river rafting, indulging in some hot springs and then traveling on a zip line! Explore deep into the Andean jungle and follow the railway trek to Aguas Calientes. You’ll see Machu Picchu as the sun rises and the mist clears from the peaks. Can a trip be any more epic than this?
Machu Picchu Tour by Train
Travel to and from the ancient site in one day by catching a train on the stunning and scenic Peru Railway. Stopping at Aguas Calientes town, you’ll begin your ascent to the site with a local guide, who will able to provide you all the information you could possibly need. There will also be time to spend some time on your own, experiencing the delightful mountain town of Aguas Calientes itself.
Like any wonder of the world, it can get busy with tourists and if you prefer your own space, then you might like this trek as it’s definitely the road less traveled on this Andes mountain range. Like the other tours, you’ll marvel at the lush, green valley and the thick jungle called ‘the lungs of the earth’. Take a dip in a hot spring and draw in that pure mountain air, untainted by car fumes or noise. This is the trail for jaw-dropping views as it’s the highest of the routes, passing the Salkantay and Humantay peaks, the highest in Peru. You’ll get to see abandoned Incan sites that others won’t and pass very close to glaciers as you experience this most challenging of hikes to Machu Picchu.
If high altitude isn’t your thing and you’d rather see some authentic Peruvian living then the Lares Trek could be for you. There is still the chance for camping and incredible views of the mountains and villages but you’ll see more of the countryside. Passing through the Peruvian highlands, you’ll experience people living as the Incans once did – shepherding llamas, alpacas, and dwelling in thatched stone houses. Traveling under the awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks, you’ll see glacier lakes and all the wildlife unique to this region. Of course, the tour culminates with the ultimate excitement – the majestic Machu Picchu site.
Looking for More?
For those of you who desire a deeper cultural immersion into the Peruvian way of life, then a longer tour aimed at seeing more of the country might be worth considering. Spend more time in Cusco, the ’gateway to the Inca Empire’, with its impressive collection of Inca temples, fortresses and museums. A sunrise visit to Machu Picchu will also form a part of your visit, after which you’ll spend time in the Sacred Valley, discovering the cities there and seeing the Andean way of life first-hand. Witness traditional dyeing and weaving demonstrations in Chinchero and be sure to pick up some locally made Peruvian souvenirs as you’ll want to remember this trip of a lifetime for a lifetime!