One of the great wonders of the world, Machu Picchu was constructed in the 1400s for Incan emperor Pachacuti. During the Spanish Conquest it was abandoned and lay unknown to the outside world until 1911 when American historian Hiram Bingham came across it. Not surprisingly, it features on the wish list of many travellers. Being remote and at an altitude of 2,430 metres, some people are put off making the trip.
Increasingly, tours are becoming the favoured option for travellers. While there are a multitude of operators who run tours from nearby Cusco, there are a couple of great longer tours that run from Peru’s capital city Lima. Here are five of the best based on price, itinerary and reviews from past clients.
FROM: $921/per person
A great value week-long tour, it begins with a city excursion of Lima soon after arrival at the airport. Then, taking two days out to experience Cusco, you head for an overnight experience in Machu Picchu, which allows you to experience sunset and sunrise at the ancient citadel. More time is spent exploring the mountain paths or heading up Huayna Picchu to see the Temple of the Moon. As with all tours, flights are not included.
From $1649/ per person
You’ll be greeted at Lima airport by a tour rep to ensure a smooth transfer to your local hotel. The rest of the day can be spent at your leisure and the next morning you’ll be taken around the city centre, visiting its myriad historical sites. Day three sees you depart by plane to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where you’ll enjoy a scenic drive through rugged mountains. The next day will be a ‘free day’, spending it as you wish, before boarding a train the next morning to take you to Machu Picchu for a day of exploration. That night you’ll stay in a Cusco hotel before looking around the city the next day. You final three days will take in a drive across the Andes mountains, a boat excursion to the Floating Uros Islands and a trip to the town of Puno. On day 10 you’ll catch your return flight to Lima.
From $875/ per person
Essentially two days of sightseeing with two travel days, a great itinerary is packed into the time available. The Cusco city tour takes in Koricancha Temple as well as some of the surrounding ruins like the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Machu Picchu is the highlight of the other day. Although it seems like much the best priced tour from Lima, only two days are fully utilised and flights are not included in the price.
From $1557/ per person
Similar to the Machu Picchu and Amazon tour, this eight day voyage is packed with experiences and merits the price. Like all tours from Lima, Cusco’s main sights are explored, as is the surrounding countryside. The train to Aguas Calientes precedes a day in the magnificent Machu Picchu before pressing south to the shores of Lake Titicaca, where trips out on the lake in reed canoes visit locals to see how they build many objects from the reeds.
From $1663/ per person
By balancing the week well between Lima (two days), Cusco (3 days) and a day each in Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley, this tour allows time to explore and really take in each site properly. Guided tours are provided at all the major sites, and the rest of the time more freedom to roam is given so that there is time to be left to your own devices. Flights and travel insurance are not included.