Machu Picchu: The Jewel of South America

Machu Picchu: The Jewel of South America

Of course, we couldn’t discuss the best day trips from Cusco without mentioning the most famous one of all. Machu Picchu, discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, holds international recognition as one of the new seven wonders of the world and stands as the flagship destination for any South America adventure.

Believed to have been built as an estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti in the early 1400s, Machu Picchu remained hidden from Spanish invaders due to its strategic location high in the mountains above the Sacred Valley. It was only in the early 1900s that Hiram Bingham brought this secret city to global attention. Today, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a highly coveted destination for travelers worldwide.

During our day trip to Machu Picchu from Cusco, we were struck by the breathtaking landscape surrounding the ruins. While the photos capture the ancient buildings and stone walls, they don’t fully convey the awe-inspiring height at which the city is built.

If you find yourself in Cusco, we urge you to embark on a day trip to Machu Picchu. It truly ranks among the most breathtaking experiences we have ever had while traveling together.

Independent Visit to Machu Picchu

For detailed information on organizing an independent trip, we recommend referring to the guide. In summary, you will need to take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then a bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu. It is mandatory for all visitors to have a tour guide, so you will need to arrange for one. Additionally, you must book your entrance ticket online several days in advance of your visit to Machu Picchu.

Estimated Total Cost: Starting at approximately £170/$240 (excluding food/drink)

Guided Tour to Machu Picchu

The pre-arranged tour took care of every detail, including transportation to the train station, train tickets, bus rides from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, entrance fees, and a tour guide. This meant our day trip was completely stress-free, as every aspect of the journey had been arranged. Skipping the long line for the bus to Machu Picchu was a definite advantage, especially during peak season.

While it is possible to navigate Machu Picchu independently, booking an organized tour eliminates the stress. You can see our experience of the best day tour to Machu Picchu from Cusco for more details.

Estimated Total Cost: £245/$347 (excluding food/drink)

Note: It’s important to be aware that Machu Picchu is likely to be the most significant expense of your entire trip in South America, sometimes even surpassing the cost of your flight. However, we assure you that the investment will be entirely worthwhile.

That concludes our list of the best day trips from Cusco. Cusco, renowned worldwide as the gateway to Machu Picchu, offers an abundance of incredible day trips that are often overlooked. We hope our list has inspired you to create the ultimate Peruvian travel itinerary, highlighting some of the must-see sights when backpacking through Peru.


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