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How many days to spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu

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How many days to spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu

There are many people who make trips to Machu Picchu, sometimes only one day, but if you have more time available, we will teach you to plan that dream trip to Cusco the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. We believe that this is the ideal way, but it can vary if it comes from very low places, since it will need a previous acclimatization, and it can be done in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to then go to Machu Picchu and finish its journey in the city of Cusco.

The days needed to make a trip like this are 4, although it can be done in up to 3 days, the best way to go places like those you will see in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas is with patience, since the best the Incas made their cities, and in a more subtle way, in the constructions made in the new cities founded by the Spaniards, are the details.


Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu tour

If you plan this trip well, it is likely to become the trip of a lifetime

  • Day 1: The city of Cusco and the surroundings

Take your first day in Cusco calmly, especially if you come from cities near sea level. You can make a City tour through the city of Cusco from noon, we recommend resting in the morning after your arrival, although we know that you will leave your things at the hotel and will leave as soon as possible to know the city. Drink plenty of coca tea, this will prevent you from getting sick of altitude sickness. You can buy the tourist ticket in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, this will serve you not only to visit places like Sacsayhuaman, and other archaeological sites around the city, but to visit the churches of Cusco and the archaeological sites in the towns of the Incas' Sacred Valley.

The Cusco tourist ticket includes the best places in the city, the Cathedral of Cusco is probably the first place you visit in your journey through the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, then you can walk to the Coricancha. After going to the archaeological centers on the outskirts of the city, start with Sacsayhuaman then Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay. Most of the organized City tours end in the Main Square of Cusco, before 7 pm.

  • Day 2: Full day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chincheros

In most cases, the tours of the Sacred Valley of the Incas start at 45 minutes from the city of Cusco, in the beautiful town of Pisac. The Inca ruins of Pisac will give you an idea of the advanced architecture achieved by the Incas, it is a kind of royal hacienda that apparently belonged to the Inca Pachacutec; here you can see andenería, residences, ceremonial places, canals and aqueducts. Another thing that can not be missed in Pisac, is its handicraft market, with unique and authentic products.

After half a day you can have lunch in Urubamba, the commercial center of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and if you did not know, the best white corn in the world is produced in this town. In addition, the rainy season brings delicious seasonal fruits that you can not taste anywhere else in the world.

Then visit the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, a military and religious agricultural center that served as a gateway to the Inca Trail that led to the sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu, here you can see residences, temples, terraces, towers and other amazing Inca buildings .

The way back is made by the town of Chinchero, known as the city of the rainbow; It is a colonial town that houses the church of Nuestra Señora de Monserrat, which began to be built in 1607, on what was the Tupác Yupanqui Palace.

  • Day 3: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu and Cusco

This day should start very early, 5:00 am is a good time to start moving from Cusco to the train station in Ollantaytambo, remember that you should book train tickets in advance, by 7:20 in the morning, this will take you through the Sacred Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes at the foot of the Machu Picchu mountain and where the Inca city of Machu Picchu is located; You can take advantage to have breakfast, in Aguas Calientes there are many restaurants. Unless you want to go up to Machu Picchu walking, you will have to buy bus tickets to Machu Picchu, these are sold next to the train station just before Puente Ruinas, and just in front you will find the bus stop where you will have to board the buses to the entrance to Machu Picchu.

  • Day 4: Back home

You can have breakfast at the hotel, at the airport or wherever you want, in Cusco there are hundreds of restaurants, just be sure to be an hour before at the airport.


Day tours to Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu just one day and staying in the village for two days is a common mistake. We will discover how many days to stay in Machu Picchu.

Most visitors to Machu Picchu usually arrive at the town during the afternoon / night, sleep in the accommodation they selected, visit Machu Picchu, go back to sleep and the next day they leave!

It is the basic plan and the one that all recommend but in this post I want to change the rules a bit and show that it is a mistake to stay alone that time in Machu Picchu.

Are you thinking about the trip? Do not do it alone and join our Facebook group - Travel guide Machu Picchu.

There are two factors that few take into account and that I would like to discuss.

The first and simplest is that in Aguas Calientes there is much to do and know. From the Museum of the site and thermal water park, going through bridges and some mountains / hills to climb.

Many people receive advice from people who previously visited the Sanctuary either because they arrived through the Inca road network or because they arrived by train.

The focus of this post is specifically for those who arrive by train to Aguas Calientes.

Returning to the original question that gives title to this post at least we should visit the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu two days.


Closest town to Machu Picchu

Assuming that those who visit the Sanctuary will seek to climb at least one of the two mountains (Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu), almost half a day is lost between entering, climbing and descending back to the complex.

Depending on the physical state of each one, that rise and fall can really be very strong. We just have to think that the rise of Huayna Picchu is considered to be among the most dangerous mountain treks in the world.

The rise of Huayna Picchu is considered to be among the most dangerous mountain treks in the world.

Many, I include myself, after going down they have very little energy to continue with the rest of the day. To be honest, from the mountains you can see the citadel very well but inside the citadel there is much more to know.

This is why just going up is not enough, and going up leaves you tired for the rest of the day. The rest of the day we can tour some of the main points of the citadel but surely we will run out of time.

Visiting a second day the Sanctuary does not give the following benefits:

  • The possibility of climbing the other mountain and not dying trying to do both in a day.
  • Enough space to cover the rest of the main points.
  • And, most importantly, time to sit and contemplate what one has around you.
  • Seriously, sitting a couple of hours to contemplate the greatness of what we have around can be an experience in itself. Even bigger than climbing one of the two mountains.

Machu Picchu from Cusco tour

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