As our most popular tour, the 2-day tour of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by train covers all the main sites in and around Cusco. I don’t know about you, but I personally barely learned a thing about South America in high school – that’s why I appreciated so much how this tour is a well-rounded and well-planned intro to the significance of the Inca civilization and its most important relic, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
Day 1 is dedicated to the Sacred Valley of Peru and covers all these places as you make your way toward Machu Picchu:
- Town of Chinchero
- Moray Incan Ruins
- Salt Mines of Maras
- Ollantaytambo Archeological Complex
Each of these sites give you the basis for your understanding of Machu Picchu, including glimpses into Andean culture and history from llamas and weaving to agricultural terraces and stone construction. This background on the first day gives you a much better appreciation of Machu Picchu, which you’ll visit on the second day.
Another thing I love about this tour is that it takes a more relaxed approach to Machu Picchu tours. There’s no need to hike the Inca trail for days and arrive exhausted at the ruins or get up excessively early to travel directly from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Instead, you’ll get a good night’s rest at a hotel in Aguas Calientes (the town situated only half an hour away from the ruins) after the day touring the Sacred Valley and still have the opportunity to beat the Machu Picchu crowds the next morning.
Day 2 is exclusively for visiting Machu Picchu. If you’re so inclined (and we do encourage it), you can wake up early to get on one of the first buses to the archeological site so that you’re guaranteed to catch the sunrise at the ruins. The guided tour of Machu Picchu is followed by lunch, then a scenic train ride and transport back to your hotel in the city.