This tour is totally awesome as you travel by train through the Andes Mountains from Cusco to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s greatest man-made wonders.
Your day trip begins with pick-up at your hotel in Cusco and transfer to the train station. You can choose your seats for the ride: Expedition, with indigenous fabric décor; Vistadome, with panoramic windows for excellent views, or Executive, with its high-end luxury facilities. Then you’re off for the 80-km (50-mile) ride to Aguas Calientes, a small village near Machu Picchu. There you’ll board a bus for the final leg of your journey back into time.
Machu Picchu is the symbol of Inca civilization. Built for an emperor, Machu Picchu functioned as a fortress, a religious site and home to many Incas. It was built in the 15th century but abandoned a century later when the Spanish conquered the Incas. The conquistadors never found this ancient city and it remained relatively unknown until the early 20th century when it was rediscovered by an American historian.
Today, you’ll have an opportunity to discover this stone citadel and learn more about its history. Your guide will explain how the city was constructed using traditional Inca building techniques. Many buildings have been restored over the last century, but there are still plenty of ruins to see. You’ll also learn about how the Incas lived and see the temples where they worshipped and made human sacrifices to appease their gods.
The tour of Machu Picchu is slow-paced and suitable for both young and old. Comfortable walking shoes are a must; be sure to drink plenty of water, too, as dehydration can occur quickly at high altitudes. After the guided portion of the tour is over, you’ll have time to explore the ruins on your own. The views are spectacular, so be sure to have plenty of film or memory cards with you.