Machu Picchu Itinerary 8 Days

by Meghdut

Planning a trip to Machu Picchu? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with a detailed itinerary for 8 incredible days in this stunning destination. From exploring ancient Inca ruins to trekking through breathtaking landscapes, we have included all the essential information you need to make the most of your adventure. So sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on a memorable journey to this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Table of Contents

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Arrival at Jorge Chavez International Airport

Welcome to Lima, the vibrant capital city of Peru! Upon your arrival at Jorge Chavez International Airport, you will be greeted by a friendly guide who will assist you with your transfer to your hotel. Sit back, relax, and take in the sights as you journey through the bustling city streets.

Transfer to hotel in Lima

Once you have checked in at your hotel, take some time to settle in and freshen up. Lima offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to cozy boutique establishments, ensuring that you will find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after your journey.

Explore the city of Lima

Now it’s time to venture out and discover the wonders of Lima. Known for its rich history and vibrant culture, this city has something for everyone. Explore the charming neighborhoods, stroll along the picturesque coastline, or simply indulge in the delicious local cuisine.

Optional: Visit the Larco Museum

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the history and heritage of Peru, the Larco Museum is a must-visit. This renowned museum houses a vast collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including ancient pottery, textiles, and gold jewelry. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of Peru’s past as you wander through the halls of this unique cultural treasure.

Day 2: Lima to Cusco

Morning flight from Lima to Cusco

Get ready for an exciting day as you board a morning flight from Lima to Cusco. As you soar through the skies, marvel at the breathtaking landscapes below. From snow-capped mountains to lush valleys, the scenery will take your breath away.

Transfer to hotel in Cusco

Upon arrival in Cusco, another friendly guide will be waiting to welcome you and accompany you to your hotel. Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, is a city steeped in history and charm. Take some time to acclimate to the high altitude and soak in the unique atmosphere of this enchanting city.

Acclimatization and rest

Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it’s important to give yourself some time to acclimate. Take it easy, drink plenty of water, and allow your body to adjust to the altitude. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for exploration and adventure in the days to come.

Explore the historic center of Cusco

Once you feel ready, venture out into the historic center of Cusco. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, lined with colonial architecture and ancient Inca walls. Admire the intricate carvings and discover hidden gems around every corner. Take a moment to visit the Plaza de Armas, the heart of Cusco, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

Optional: Visit the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman

If you’re eager to delve deeper into the ancient history of the Incas, a visit to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman is highly recommended. This impressive archaeological site showcases the incredible stone masonry skills of the Incas and offers panoramic views of Cusco. Explore the massive stone walls, terraces, and temples, and uncover the secrets of this fascinating ancient civilization.

Day 3: Sacred Valley

Full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley

Today, prepare to embark on a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley, a place of extraordinary beauty and cultural significance. Known as the breadbasket of the Incas, this lush valley is dotted with picturesque towns, ancient ruins, and vibrant markets.

Visit the Pisac Market and Inca ruins

The first stop on our journey is the charming town of Pisac. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the vibrant Pisac Market, where locals gather to sell their colorful textiles, handicrafts, and fresh produce. Explore the bustling market and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Andean culture.

Afterward, we will make our way to the nearby Pisac Inca ruins. Perched atop a hill, these ruins offer stunning views of the valley below. Discover the intricate terraces, royal residences, and ceremonial platforms as your knowledgeable guide shares fascinating stories of the Inca civilization.

Explore the ancient town of Ollantaytambo

Continue our journey through the Sacred Valley to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo. This well-preserved Inca settlement is home to impressive terraces, stone buildings, and a majestic fortress. As you explore the narrow streets and marvel at the ancient architecture, you’ll feel as if you have stepped back in time.

Optional: Visit the salt mines of Maras

For those seeking even more adventure, an optional visit to the salt mines of Maras can be arranged. These unique salt terraces, created by natural springs, have been used for centuries as a source of salt. Take a leisurely stroll through this surreal landscape and learn about the traditional salt mining techniques still practiced by local communities.

Return to Cusco

After a day filled with exploration and discovery, we will make our way back to Cusco. Sit back, relax, and reflect on the wonders you have experienced in the Sacred Valley. As the sun sets over the mountains, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the rich history and natural beauty of Peru.

Day 4: Machu Picchu by Train

Early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo train station

Today is the day you have been waiting for – a visit to the legendary Machu Picchu! We will start our journey with an early morning transfer to the Ollantaytambo train station. Board the comfortable train and get ready for a scenic ride through the breathtaking landscapes of the Sacred Valley.

Scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes

As the train chugs along the tracks, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountains, winding rivers, and lush green forests. Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of the surroundings captivate you as you make your way to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

Bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, we will board a bus that will take us on a thrilling journey up the winding mountain roads to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Hold onto your seats as the bus navigates the steep hillsides, offering glimpses of the mystical ruins that await.

Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Finally, the moment you’ve been dreaming of has arrived – a guided tour of Machu Picchu! Step foot into this ancient citadel and let the magic of the ruins transport you to another time. Follow your knowledgeable guide as they lead you through the labyrinthine streets, magnificent temples, and intricate terraces. Learn about the fascinating history, architecture, and spiritual significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Optional: Hike to the Sun Gate or Inca Bridge

For the adventurous souls, there are two optional hikes available at Machu Picchu. The first is a hike to the Sun Gate, where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the ruins and surrounding mountains. The second option is a hike to the Inca Bridge, a hidden gem tucked away in the mountainside. Whichever path you choose, be prepared to be rewarded with breathtaking vistas and a sense of accomplishment.

Return to Cusco

After an unforgettable day at Machu Picchu, we will make our way back to Cusco. Reflect on the wonders you have witnessed and cherish the memories of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rest and prepare for the adventures that await in the vibrant city of Cusco.

Day 5: Cusco City Tour

Explore the main attractions of Cusco

Today is dedicated to exploring the main attractions of Cusco. From monumental cathedrals to ancient temples, this city is a treasure trove of history and culture. Lace up your walking shoes and get ready to uncover the secrets of Cusco’s past.

Visit the Cathedral and Qorikancha Temple

Begin your city tour with a visit to the majestic Cathedral of Cusco. Marvel at the intricate architecture and ornate decorations as you step inside this grandiose place of worship. Admire the stunning artworks and religious relics that adorn the halls, and feel a sense of reverence wash over you.

Next, we will explore the Qorikancha Temple, also known as the Temple of the Sun. This sacred site was once the most important Inca temple in Cusco, dedicated to the worship of Inti, the sun god. Witness the fusion of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture as you delve into the history and significance of this extraordinary place.

Discover the San Blas neighborhood

As we continue our journey through Cusco, we will make our way to the charming neighborhood of San Blas. Known for its bohemian atmosphere and artistic flair, San Blas is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Explore the narrow streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and quaint cafes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy and creative spirit that permeates this unique neighborhood.

Optional: Visit the Chocolate Museum

Calling all chocolate lovers! If you have a sweet tooth, a visit to the Chocolate Museum is a must. Learn about the history and production of chocolate, from the cacao bean to the delectable treat we all know and love. Indulge in a tasting session and discover the rich flavors of Peruvian chocolate. Don’t forget to pick up some handmade chocolates to savor later.

Free time to explore the city

After the guided tour, you will have some free time to further explore the city of Cusco at your own pace. Wander through the bustling markets, discover hidden art galleries, or simply relax in one of the charming plazas. Cusco is a city that begs to be explored, and you never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon.

Day 6: Rainbow Mountain

Full-day excursion to Rainbow Mountain

Today, get ready for an adventure off the beaten path as we embark on a full-day excursion to Rainbow Mountain. Located high in the Andes, this natural wonder is known for its vibrant colors and breathtaking landscapes.

Scenic drive from Cusco to the trailhead

We will start the day with a scenic drive from Cusco to the trailhead of Rainbow Mountain. As we ascend into the mountains, the scenery will change dramatically, from lush green valleys to barren slopes. Keep your camera ready as you capture the ever-changing beauty of the Andean landscape.

Hike to the summit of Rainbow Mountain

Once we reach the trailhead, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and embark on a challenging yet rewarding hike to the summit of Rainbow Mountain. As you ascend the steep slopes, take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The vibrant colors of Rainbow Mountain will gradually come into view, rewarding your efforts.

Enjoy the stunning views

Arriving at the summit of Rainbow Mountain is a truly unforgettable moment. Stand in awe as you take in the spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Andean mountains, with Rainbow Mountain as the centerpiece. Marvel at the vibrant hues caused by mineral deposits and let the beauty of nature surround you.

Return to Cusco

After a day of hiking and immersing yourself in nature’s wonders, we will make our way back to Cusco. Reflect on the incredible experience you’ve had and savor the memories of this unique adventure. Rest and recharge, as there is still more to come.

Day 7: Maras Moray and Chinchero

Guided tour of Maras salt mines

Today, we will explore the fascinating sites of Maras, Moray, and Chinchero. Our first stop is the Maras salt mines, a unique salt-producing complex that has been in use since Inca times. Witness the intricate terraced pools, filled with salty water that evaporates under the Andean sun, leaving behind crystallized salt.

Visit the archaeological site of Moray

Next, we will continue our journey to the archaeological site of Moray. This enigmatic site is composed of circular terraces carved into the earth, resembling giant amphitheaters. It is believed that these terraces served as an agricultural laboratory for the Incas, as each level has its own microclimate. Marvel at the ingenuity of the ancient Incas as you explore this mysterious site.

Explore the traditional town of Chinchero

Our final destination for the day is the traditional town of Chinchero. Nestled in the highlands of the Sacred Valley, Chinchero is known for its colorful textiles and traditional weaving techniques. Visit a local cooperative and learn about the intricate weaving processes passed down through generations. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and warm hospitality of the Andean people.

Learn about traditional weaving techniques

During your visit to Chinchero, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about traditional weaving techniques firsthand. Watch as skilled weavers transform vibrant threads into intricate textiles, keeping alive ancient traditions and supporting local communities. Marvel at the vibrant colors and intricate designs, and perhaps even take home a unique piece as a memento of your journey.

Return to Cusco

After a day filled with exploration and cultural immersion, we will return to Cusco. Take some time to relax and reflect on the fascinating experiences you’ve had in these lesser-known gems of the Sacred Valley. As your adventure in Peru draws to a close, cherish the memories and prepare for your departure from Cusco.

Day 8: Departure from Cusco

Transfer to Cusco airport

It’s time to say goodbye to the beautiful city of Cusco. Our friendly guide will accompany you to the airport and assist you with your departure arrangements. As you journey back to Lima, take one last look at the magnificent landscapes that have captured your heart during your time in Peru.

Flight back to Lima

Board your domestic flight and reminisce about the incredible experiences you’ve had during your journey through Peru. From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the vibrant markets of Cusco, you have immersed yourself in the rich culture and natural beauty of this extraordinary country.

Connect with your international flight

Upon arrival in Lima, you will have time to connect with your international flight. Take this opportunity to relax and perhaps indulge in some final moments of Peruvian cuisine. As you bid farewell to Peru, carry with you the memories of a lifetime and the desire to return one day.

End of the itinerary

As we reach the end of this comprehensive 8-day Machu Picchu itinerary, we hope that you have enjoyed every moment of your journey. Peru’s ancient treasures, stunning landscapes, and warm-hearted people have left an indelible mark on your soul. Until we meet again, may your future adventures be filled with as much wonder and excitement as your time in Peru. Safe travels!

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