SACRED VALLEY & SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
DAY 1: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS (Pisac + Moray + Maras + Ollantaytambo)
We start this beautiful day at 7:30am, when your guide picks you up at your Cusco hotel in our private van. Our route to the Sacred Valley of the Incas leads us towards Pisac. We stop first at the Mirador of Taray to enjoy an expansive view of the Urubamba valley and its traditional farming villages. You will see how the agriculture in the Sacred Valley has changed little in the past five hundred years. Onward, we drive to the archeological site of Pisac, where you can see an impressive Inca cemetery with more than 2,000 tombs. There, we can admire the carefully engineered farming terraces carved into the mountain, explore the Inca tunnel and the religious area of this important citadel. Here, we will spend about 2 hours, exploring the Inca city. Then, we head down to the colorful market of Pisac, spend about 20 minutes visiting it and then drive to Urubamba for lunch.
Our next stop is the archeological site of Moray also known as “The Greenhouse of the Incas” a deep basin of architectural wonder. Levels of terraces are carved into a huge bowl, which was carefully engineered by the Incas. The terraces have varied microclimates depending on how deep into the bowl they are placed. Archeologists believe that they were used by the Incas to discover the optimal growing conditions for their crops and experiment in hybridization.
Continuing on our journey to the colonial town of Maras, we look down onto the pre-Inca salt “mines,” called salineras in Spanish. Thousands of salt pans have been passed down through countless generations and used for salt extraction since before Inca times. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt laden water, which is diverted into salt pans and evaporated to produce salt. This is one of the few places in the world where you can find naturally pink salt!
Finally, we drive to Ollantaytambo, taking the time to explore the Inca village that has remained intact since Inca times and the massive Inca Ruins, with a tour provided by our guide. Visit the massive architecture of the Sun Temple at the top of the formidable terraces and learn about the importance of this site for the Inca during the beginning of the Spanish conquest. Here you spend the night at your hotel in Ollantaytambo, ready to start the Inca Trail the next day.
- 2* Accommodations: Veronica View Hotel or Tunupa Lodge
- 3* Accommodation: Pakaritampu Hotel or El Alberge
- There are no 4* hotels in Ollantaytambo
DAY 2: OLLANTAYTAMBO – Km104 – WIÑAY WAYNA – SUN GATE – MACHU PICCHU
We start this exciting day early; your guide will leave the hotel with you at 5:30am. When you arrive at the train station, your guide will give you your lunch to add to your daypack. Your train departs Ollantaytambo at 6:10am and you will have just over an hour on the train to enjoy the scenery before arriving to your trek start point. Your hotel can provide you a box breakfast to take with you or you can pack your own breakfast.
Your guide will get off the train with you at the famous Km104, where your hike begins! (2,000m/6,560 ft. above sea level) After crossing the Urubamba river on a picturesque foot bridge, you will be required to show your passport at the checkpoint and get to visit your first Inca archeological site nearby. The first hour and a half are a gentle trek upward, with several shelters along the way to pause for a bit, to get out of the sun, or rain, depending on the season. Along the way, you will stop at several outlooks where you have an expansive view of the Urubamba River. You will also pass through several microclimates, including cloud forest, so be ready for damp or even rain at any season of the year. The next hour and a half are a slightly steeper uphill trek with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end of the trail!
As you walk below the waterfall, be sure to gaze up at the spectacular Wiñay Wayna as you pass! (2,600m/8,500ft above sea level) These amazing Inca ruins have a fascinating history and some parts are still hidden by the dense jungle. This close to Machu Picchu, you are hiking through lush sub-tropical jungle. Your guide will tell you all about the ruins, plus the incredible flora and fauna of this microclimate and answer any questions you have before the short 5 minute walk to your lunch spot.
You will have lunch at the Wiñay Wayna campground, which is the last campground for those hiking the
Classic Inca Trail. Take your time enjoying your hearty, gourmet lunch and admiring the tropical flowers around the campground. Be sure to notify us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions when you book!
After lunch, you will have a mostly flat hike to the Sun Gate except for a set of steep stairs just before you arrive to the Sun Gate. As you walk through the Sun Gate and turn the corner, you will experience your first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu Citadel, so take some time to savor the moment and take photos. The last hour down from the Sun Gate provide many opportunities to take more photos of Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point. There are also a couple more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so make sure to go slowly, enjoy your time walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca Trail and ask your guide questions about these historical places on the last bit of your hike to Machu Picchu.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site, the “House of the Guardians”where you can take the famous postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Take your time to enjoy this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. Your will have a delicious dinner, then have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs or just go to your hotel to rest after such an exciting day.
- Meals included: Breakfast at your hotel, picnic lunch and dinner in Aguas Calientes
- 3* Accommodation: Ferre´ Hotel Machu Picchu
- Difficulty: Moderate.
You will leave an overnight bag at the Ollantaytambo train station to be sent by train directly to Aguas Calientes.
DAY 3: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
This is the day you’ve been waiting for! After an early breakfast at your hotel, you’ll take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu so that you can be there to witness the sunrise. It is a truly extraordinary site and not something you’ll want to miss! Your guide will give you a guided tour of Machu Picchu, which takes about two hours. You will see many of the most important parts of Machu Picchu Citadel.
After your tour, those who have booked in advance for an extra hike up Huayna Picchu will have time to enjoy those views on their own. When you have had your fill of the exceptional views of Machu Picchu, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Depending on your train departure time, you may also have time for some shopping, sightseeing or a visit to the museum or hot springs.
The Expedition train will take you back to Ollantaytambo at 2:55pm or 3:20pm, following the spectacular Urubamba River. Close to Aguas Calientes, the canyon is narrow and the river has many beautiful sections of whitewater. You can also see Wiñay Wayna from the train, if you look up high on the steep canyon wall! Back at Ollantaytambo, your driver will meet you at the exit from the train station to take you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private vehicle. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 7:00pm.
- Meals included: Breakfast at your hotel
- On the 2 day Inca Trail, we will be doing the circuit #3 and there is no way to do another circuit unless you buy an additional entrance to Machu Picchu.
- You can upgrade to the Vistadome Train for the same times, 2:55pm or 3:20pm, 4:22pm, or 4:43pm. The cost is $67 USD.
- Early trains can be organized by requested and it has to be done by booking time.
- The Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike depends on availability and let us know about it at booking time.
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
- Sacred Valley Tour with entrances included.
- Entrance tickets to the Inca cities and archeological sites
- Professional guide for three days.
- Expedition train from Ollantaytambo to KM 104 and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
- Two nights hotel accommodation with private room, bathroom, wifi and breakfast
- Meals a indicated on the itinerary
- Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu -Aguas Calientes.
- Personal assistance
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
- Hotel – optional upgrades
- Huayna Picchu Tickets: $75 USD per person
- Upgrade to Vistadome: $67 USD per person (Return only Aguas Calientes to Poroy/Cusco at 4:43pm)
- Tips for your guide
**Huayna Picchu Mountain is optional trek within Machu Picchu Citadel which do not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
ADDED VALUES FOR FREE
- Transfer from the airport to hotel: (Cusco hotel only)
- SMALL GROUPS: up to 8 hikers
- EARLY TRAIN: for the return to Cusco from Aguas Caliente
Price & Availability
The fantastic Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour is available on any date that will suit you except in February when the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance! Join in with our group and get the best deals.
- $577 USD per person without hotels
- $647 USD per person with 2 nights hotel (2* Ollantaytambo and 3* Aguas Calientes)
- $712 USD per person with 2 nights 3* hotels
Private service is available for $100 USD more per person.
All entrance fees are included and we operate our tours in small groups averaging 5 people with a maximum of 8!
- 18 to 25 years old: $30 USD. Information required on student card: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date etc. A copy of the card is required at booking for government approval of discount.
- Under 18 years old: $30 USD. Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
- Under 11 years old: $40 USD. Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
- Huayna Picchu Mountain: $75 USD per person
- Vistadome: $67 USD per person
- Upgrade Hotel in Ollantaytambo: $55 USD to 3*
- Upgrade Hotel 4* or 5* in Aguas Calientes
- Hotel single supplement: $40 USD 3* in Aguas Calientes and $55 USD 3* Ollantaytambo
Huayna Picchu Mountain is optional trek within Machu Picchu Citadel which do not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
WHY CHOOSE SAM TRAVEL?
SAM (initials of Saul Alvarez Montalvo) Travel Peru is a family owned travel agency and direct local tour operator based in Cusco with personal experience over many years of trekking. SAM Travel Peru is a 100% Cusqueñian Company without any shareholders.
My dream as the owner was to create small personalized tours & treks strictly and only operated by local professional staff catering in PERSONALIZED and HIGH QUALITY SERVICE.
We take pride in our reputation as a RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE tour operator. Our staff are our extended family. We ensure they are supported financially by paying them a good wage. We are so proud of our team! Without them, we couldn’t give the best service and lifetime experiences to our clients.
To ensure a more personalized service for our guests, at SAM Travel Peru we have a policy that our groups will not exceed 8 people. This fact alone sets us apart from other companies that operate departures with bigger groups.
OUR TOP TOUR GUIDES FOR THE SACRED VALLEY & SHORT INCA TRAIL MACHU PICCHU PACKAGE
We are so proud of our guides! They are highly professional and speak fluent English. They are very knowledgeable and passionate for Inca heritage and history. Our guides are dedicated to continuous personal and professional development. They do research to ensure that you receive accurate and recognized theories in Inca and Andean culture. Our crew is fun loving, great sports and well-educated. They all hold degrees in one of the following: Archeology, Tourism, Botany, History or Anthropology.
OUR SERVICE PROJECTS
SAM Travel Peru has always believed that we should give back to the communities we pass through on our treks. Therefore, as part of our commitment in responsible tourism, we socially support and employee from these communities.
SAM Travel Peru is proud to be able to support these beautiful people, not only in hiring them for work but to bring things back to grassroots, to share in their home and families. This makes us happy to have a holistic approach with our highland employees and their families!
A beautiful reflection of our attitude in everything we do, is that we wish to make life richer and more meaningful for all involved.
Please read carefully the following information; it will help you answer all of your questions about our services and Sacred Valley & Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour
The briefing will take place the night before the trek at 6pm in our office, which is located at Calle Garcilaso 210, office 213 (second floor) in the La CASA DEL ABUELO shopping center.
CAN I STORE MY LUGGAGE AT YOUR OFFICE?
Of course! During the Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour your main luggage can be store at our office or at your hotel, whichever is more conveninet for you.
HOW TO BOOK
Please be ready with the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). We cannot purchase an Inca trail permit, entrance to Machu Picchu or the train without the following information:
- Personal information (your full name, exactly as on your passport):
- Passport number
- D.OB. (dd / mm / yyyy)
SECOND, we require a deposit of US$200.00 per person in order to purchase a your Inca Trail permit, entrance to Machu Picchu and train ticket. You can make you deposit by clicking on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on the top of our home page, or you can click on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on our booking page or click here on the payment method of your choice, either VISA or PAYPAL.
WHAT ABOUT THE BALANCE?
If you would like to avoid the high credit card fees in Peru, you may pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco. There are many ATMS within the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by VISA or PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 5.5% service fee, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account and use our email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR THE STUDENT DISCOUNT?
According to Peruvian Law, you must be under 18 years of age at the time of your trek or tour to Machu Picchu (students 18 & above need student cards). For example: if you book a trek at the age of 17 but you turn 18 before you do your trek, you must have a valid university ID card to qualify for the student discount.
- University students must provide a copy of their ID card showing a photo, University name and card expiration date. Cards must be valid for the current academic year only.
- All students from 11 to 17 years, the discount is $30 USD.
- For children from the age of 2 to 11 the discount is $40 USD.
- Children from the age of 0 to 2 are free.
All students must provide a copy of their passport at the time of their booking to get the student discount. Send us a copy at email@example.com
MAY I CHANGE THE DEPARTURE DATE AFTER THE TICKETS HAVE BEEN BOUGHT?
Unfortunately the answer is no. Once the tickets for the Inca Trail have been bought the government does not allow any changes, so we can’t change any departure date after the tickets has been bought. Tickets are also not transferable nor refundable.
*** If you cancel your Sacred Valley & Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu, the deposit is not refundable at all!
DO I NEED MY ORIGINAL PASSPORT?
Yes for sure! You have to bring your original passport and it is very important that it is the same passport number you sent to us to book your entrance to Machu Picchu, train ticket, other entrances and reservations. The rangers will check when you enter Machu Picchu. The train company will also check your passport before allowing you to board the train.
In case you are renewing your passport or changing your name, go ahead and send us your old passport information to secure your permit, and we can change it when you get your new passport number or updated your name for a fee of $25 per person. We must have a copy of your old and new passport to make the change. Before you change your passport keep a copy of your old one.
If you do not wish to pay this fee you will need to bring both passports to Peru with you. You can enter Peru with your new passport but you will need to show both passports, old and new to be to enter into Machu Picchu or the train. If you do not have both you will not be allowed to enter into Machu Picchu or get on the train. They are very strict about this here!!
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN THE SACRED VALLEY & SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
The weather is very unpredictable and it’s difficult to foresee. We recommend that you bring a warm jacket for early morning and rain poncho in case of a rain shower.
If you’re happy with the services provided, a tip – though not compulsory – is appreciated. While it may not be customary in your country, it’s of great significance for the people who will take care of you during the tour. It inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many SAM Travel Peru destinations. Of course you are free to tip as much as you feel appropriate, depending on your perception of the quality and the length of your tour. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
ARE YOU SUSTAINABLE?
Yes, we are a local sustainable & responsible tourism operator for that we incorporate the universal principles of tourism: protect the environment and benefit the local communities respecting their culture and religion. With this in mind, we have trained all our staff to know, understand and respect the local places and its people.
The Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Package does not include extra porter. Tou will need to carry all your things. Please try to pack as light as possible which is the key to enjoy this amazing trek.
What you have to take with you for the Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour
In your daypack for the Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour, you should have:
- Original Passport (it has to be the same you have used for booking your trek)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: 2-3 litre Camelbaks are encouraged.
- Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
- Toilet paper
- Jacket if cold season
- Waterproof gloves – rainy season
- Sun hat
- Insect repellent
- Wool hat if cold season
- Rain gear – rainy season
- Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruit
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips
In your duffel that will be sent by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes:
- A change of clothes for visiting Machu Picchu the next day
- Personal toiletries
- Personal medications
- Battery chargers