Wonders of the world, both from the old and new lists (technically only the Pyramids at Giza remain of the old wonders), are understandably popular. Machu Picchu, built in the 1400s at an altitude of 2,430 metres, is no exception. Its location made it much easier to defend from early armies, although droves of travellers are the latest challenge to the settlement. That is why taking a trip there with a tour can guarantee you entry, given that numbers are restricted to limit impact to this majestic archaeological site.
There are a multitude of operators running tours from Cusco, which is the classic stepping stone for many travellers on their way to Machu Picchu. Itineraries vary, but for the fact that their goal is to take in the UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Here are three of the best based on price, itinerary and reviews from past clients.
FROM: $347/per person
This is a great option for anybody not wishing to make the trek all the way up to the Citadel but want to enjoy one of the most scenic routes there. During this all-inclusive trip (excepting gratuities) guests will be conveyed from their hotel to a Cusco train station for a four-hour train trip into Aguas Calientes. There are possible train ticket upgrades for an additional fee, including an Executive class option. A bus then conveys people up to the remarkable ruins, where a guide will lead the way through the cobbled streets before allowing time for solo exploration. Total time at the site is a couple of hours before it’s time to return to Cusco, again by train.
From $414/ per person
This trip is a long one, starting just before 4am in order to be driven to Ollantaytambo to catch an 80-minute train to Aguas Calientes. After a 30-minute bus ride from there, you will arrive at the sacred Machu Picchu ruins a little before 9am. A 3-hour guided tour of the main sites is included before leaving time to explore further without a guide. There is also the option of climbing Huayna Picchu for an additional fee, although this means cutting the guided tour short by an hour.
From $456/ per person
For anybody with a little extra time to spare, and for little extra cost, the two-day trip is a preferable option as it leaves plenty of time for exploration and acclimatisation. It also means a less hectic itinerary. The tour starts at 8am with transfers to the train station, train, and a bus to Machu Picchu all included. Entry fees are also included in the price. The overnight is at a three-star hotel and includes breakfast. Not included are further meals, entry to climb Huayna Picchu mountain and entry to the hot springs.