This morning you will be transferred from your hotel in Cusco to the San Pedro train station to catch your early morning train to Aguas Calientes
, the base for most Machu Picchu
adventures. The train ride takes you through a valley and into the Urubamba River
canyon, then into the cloud forest as you near the Machu Picchu sanctuary.
Aguas Calientes contains the train station, a craft market, restaurants, and a variety of hotels for those who prefer to spend the night at the foot of the mountain and climb it early in the day. Stop here for lunch before taking the 25-minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu citadel.
This 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 ft (2,430 m) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec
and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built as a seasonal residence for the Inca family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people, and during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction and remained largely hidden to the outside world until the early 20th century.
Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the different buildings and curious corners of the building complex. Approximately one-third of the site has been reconstructed into its original structure, giving visitors a sense for the grandeur and artistry of the original citadel. After the two-hour tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes to connect to your train back to Cusco
Meals included: Lunch