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How Many Days to Spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu

Tierras Vivas Travel > How Many Days to Spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu

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.


When is the best time to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu?

The best season is during the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2023 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.

How many days to spend in Cusco and Sacred Valley?

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


how many days in Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu Travel 2023


If you plan well your Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu Tour, it is likely to become the trip of a lifetime.

How many days to spend in Cusco and Sacred Valley?

  • 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.

The city of Cusco and the surroundings

  • 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.


Full day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chincheros

  • 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.


How many days to spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu?

Before plan how many days to spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu, if you plan to make this trip on your own and not on an organized tour, know that any trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu, begins with the purchase of tickets to Machu Picchu, especially if what you want is the Huayna Picchu mountain, since the Huayna Picchu tickets + circuit 4 must be booked at least 4 months in advance and still, you will have to settle for the tickets available for the remaining days. If you want to choose the best scheduales and the day you want to enter the mountain Huayna Picchu, we recommend you book these tickets 6 months in advance.

After booking Machu Picchu tickets, the next thing is to book train tickets, then you can worry about plane tickets, hotels and guides. If you come in the high season (May – August), all of this will have to be reserved a few months in advance, if you do not do so, you will probably have to spend some more money, since last-minute reservations in the high season are very expensive.

So, how many days to spend in Cusco and Machu Picchu? Definetely, the best way to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu are 3, although it can be done in up to 2 days.


  • Day 01: Route in Cusco

In the morning we will visit fascinating ruins located very close to the center of Cusco: Sacsayhuamán, Kenko, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay.

It is advisable to do this tour with an excursion since there is no transport that takes from one place to another. If you prefer to do it on your own, you can hire a taxi to take you on the tour.

Do not forget to take the Tourist Ticket, which includes the entrance to the most important archaeological sites.

In Sacsayhuamán we will visit the walls and the remains of the immense fortress or ceremonial center that stood there.

In Kenko we can tour the mysterious underground room carved into the rock and follow the path of the channels that transported the chicha for the ceremonies that took place there.

In the Red Fort, Puca Pucara, the remains of this citadel are preserved where the Inka’s entourage rested while the king continued his journey to Tambomachay, a really impressive place where the hydraulic system that transported water from a spring to the pools still works. where the Inca took his baths and celebrated ceremonies.

Once back to Cusco we can have lunch at the San Pedro Market, a place where we can see the amount of native products grown in the region.

Then we will visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, where pieces from the pre-Inca and Inca periods are exhibited.



  • Day 02: Route in Machu Picchu

We will leave the jewel of Cusco for the last day of visit. We recommend you to hire an excursion to know the Sacred City of the Incas, since getting to Machu Picchu on your own can be very expensive (PeruRail trains) or very complicated (the trip is in several stages taking different public transports).

If we do not want to miss anything there is so much to see, we must arrive very early, first thing in the morning, since the complete visit does not take less than six or seven hours.

We can see the Puerta del Sol, which marks the entrance to the citadel, we will go up to Huayna Picchu (the ascent takes around 45 minutes) to be amazed by the view of the forests, valleys and mountains that surround Machu Picchu, we will see the temples of the Sun, of the Three Windows and the Main Temple and we will admire the perfection of the stone constructions that are still preserved.

How many days to spend in Machu Picchu?

Visiting Machu Picchu just one day and staying in the village for two days is a common mistake. So, the answer to the question how many days is required for visit Machu Picchu? Is that we should visit the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in two days.

Why stay more days in 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 entry, ascent and descent back to the complex.

How many days to spend in Machu Picchu?

Depending on the physical state of each one, that rise and fall can really be something very strong. We just have to think that the rise of Huayna Picchu is considered one of the most dangerous mountain walks in the world. To be honest, the citadel looks great from the mountains, but within the citadel there is much more to know. Just climbing is not enough, and climbing leaves you tired for the rest of the day.

That’s why take a Machu Picchu 2 Days Tour can be a good idea. Consider that in Machu Picchu Town there is much to do and know. From the site Museum and hot spring park, through bridges and some mountains / hills to climb. The rest of the day we can visit one 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 die trying to do both in one day.
  • Enough space to cover the rest of the main points.
  • And, most importantly, time to sit down and contemplate what one has around.

Seriously, staying more days in Machu Picchu to be able to contemplate the greatness of what we have around can be an experience in itself.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when deciding how many days you need for a complete visit to Machu Picchu.

How long does it take to get to Machu Picchu?

To get to Machu Picchu by train you must book tickets online in advance. It is recommended to do so immediately after knowing the date of visit to the Wonder of the World.

Once in the city of Cusco (Peru), the visitor should approach the chosen train station (Poroy, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo station). It is advisable to be 30 minutes before the scheduled travel time.

All train services have as their final destination, the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). From there, you only have to board one of the buses that take you to the door of Machu Picchu in approximately 30 minutes.

The duration of the trip by train (one way) depends on the station where the train is taken:

  • From Poroy Station (Cusco): The trip takes approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  • From Urubamba station: The trip takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • From Ollantaytambo station: The trip takes a little less than 2 hours.

If you want to know more information about the scheduales train and services, please visit: train from Cusco to Machu Picchu

How much time can you spend inside the ruins?

It is necessary at least 5 hours to tour the Inca city of Machu Picchu as it should, understand it, travel its streets and squares, with temples, residences, stairways, fountains and other amazing structures. Take all the photos you can, then you can choose between them. The guided tour usually lasts 2 to 3 hours.

Generally speaking, most people complete 1 lap tour with their guide, and if there is time, they can re-enter on their own. Both visits can be concluded in one shift. This is enough for most people.

How long does it take to get to Machu Picchu?

How long is the walking tour in Machu Picchu?

Most tourists buy the standard ticket for Machu Picchu, which currently costs 152 soles (approx. 62 dollars or 58 euros) per person. Anyone in possession of this ticket may stay a maximum of four hours in the extensive ruins with more than 200 buildings and can choose between three different circular routes, all of which converge at the “Temple Square ”.

Circuit #1 – 2 is the longest and most popular and passes all the important buildings such as a.o. past the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Condor. The path begins with a short, steep climb to the keeper’s house. From there you have the famous postcard view of the old Inca city, Sacred Rock of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu gate. The path then leads downhill and across the citadel built on artificial terraces.

The trail takes about two and a half hours and is only possible as part of a guided tour. Guides can be booked both at the entrance to Machu Picchu and down in the valley in Aguas Calientes.

Circuit #3 only runs through the middle part of the ruins,

Circuit #4 only through the lower part and is therefore the shortest.

Regardless of the route, the standard admission ticket entitles you to a four-hour visit within the admission time specified at the time of reservation. It should be noted that the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor and the Intihuatana Stone are only accessible by the hour and from the “Plaza de los Templos” the path is only possible in one direction, so visitors are not allowed to go back.

How can I get the circuits?

Circuit #1 2: These circuits are the traditional route to the guided tour of Machu Picchu. Involves all tourist attraction of the lost city of the Incas

Circuit #3: This ticket involves the Machu Picchu mountain ticket. If you want to walk up to the mountain, we recommend you choose this circuit. There are only two time 7:00am and 8:00am

Circuit #4: This circuit is most popular and we recommend you to book in advance. This circuit involves Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu mountain. Huayna Picchu tickets is most popular tickets in the all travellers

How to travel to Machu Picchu?

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Machu Picchu is by train from Cusco city or Ollantaytambo in the “Sacred Valley of the Incas”. Cusco is about 75 kilometers from Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo only 32 kilometers. The train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu takes a good three hours, from Ollantaytambo one and a half hours. Providers for train journeys to Machu Picchu are Perurail and Incarail, which use trains of different types and equipment on both routes. The cheapest Machu Picchu tickets from Cusco to Machupicchu town, the starting point for most Machu Picchu tours, cost around U$ 76 per tickets, the most expensive around  U$ 250 to U$ 500 dollars (Orient Express or Hiram Bingham Train: Luxury Train Cusco to Machu Picchu). Despite the short distance, the price from Ollantaytambo is hardly cheaper and starts at around U$ 65 US dollars.

From Aguas Calientes buses go up to Machu Picchu every few minutes. The eight-kilometre, winding journey takes just under half an hour. The sole provider for the bus rides is the company Consettur. Tickets cost is U$ 12 one way, round U$ 24 per person.

It should be noted that the waiting times for the bus both on the way there and on the way back can be up to several hours, depending on the number of visitors. I myself had to queue for an hour and a half on the outward journey and about 45 minutes on the return journey in September.

How many days do you need to hike Machu Picchu?

Trekking is the best way to have a complete experience, not only with the ruins of Machu Picchu, but also with the fantastic natural environment of the jungle and surrounding mountains. All organized treks have porters, guides and meals included, so that the weight you must carry is significantly reduced. Next, we will advise you How many days do you need to hike Machu Picchu?

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket  in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu; without any problem.


Inca Trail Tours 2023


How many days do you need to hike Machu Picchu?

how long does it take to hike Machu Picchu

Classic Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 Days is one of those experiences that can change your life, unique and unforgettable; One of the best walks in the world. Walk for 4 days to enter the Inca City of Machu Picchu. The Inca trails will take you through beautiful landscapes, with mountains, rivers, exotic vegetation, and flooded with Inca sites; Although you need good physical condition, it is a simply wonderful experience. However, if you want your first vision of Machu Picchu to be from the Puerta del Sol (Inti Punku), but you don’t want to walk for 4 days, you can choose the short Inca Trail (2 days).

Inca Jungle Trek

The Inca Jungle trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days is one of the best alternative routes of the Inca Trail, which will take you on a combined route, between mountain biking, hiking and few sections by car, as well as optional adventures how; Rafting and zip line or zip line, for 4 days until arriving at Machu Picchu, definitely an unforgettable experience. You can also visit very little known archeological centers such as Inkatambo and Huamanmarca along the way you can appreciate the ecological diversity that Machu Picchu has.

Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days

The Lares Valley is one of the best options for those who want to be in contact with nature and local people, see beautiful landscapes without bumping into many tourists, and if you are lucky at the highest point you can see one of the largest birds in the world: condors.

Salkantay Trek 5 Days

Salkantay and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an incredible journey, which combines beautiful landscapes and ancestral routes.

On this Inca Trail, we will see different Inca archaeological remains that will help us understand Andean life and therefore the Inca culture.

On the last day of the trekking through the snowy Salkantay and Inca Trail towards Machu Picchu we will enter Machu Picchu through the Puerta del Sol with an impressive view of the citadel and the entire valley.

Inca Quarry Trek

The Inca Quarry Trail or Cachicata Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the new hiking trails offered in the Cusco region. Based in the area around Ollantaytambo, the Cachicata walk takes you through high waterfalls, Inca ruins and beautiful places. The highlight of this trip is the visit to the Inca site of Cachicata, the quarry that supplies the stones used in the construction of Ollantaytambo. With mummies, chullpas and well-preserved Inca buildings this is one of the most interesting places in the Cusco region.

Do you have more days in Cusco?

If you plan to stay several days, do not miss the opportunity to hike the Ausangate Trek 3 days. You will see incredible landscapes on that old path.

If you can, tour the Baroque Route in combi, which includes the town of Andahuaylillas and its church.

Choquequirao Trek 4 Days

The trek to Choquequirao is one of the most challenging in Cusco, for this reason we put at your disposal information about the trek to Choquequirao in order to carry out this beautiful trekking route.

The Choquequirao Trek pass through a winding road built in recent times by the Peruvian government, the road to Choquequirao from the second day of the tour is regularly demanding, however it is rewarded by the captivating landscape beauty and a welcoming climate that belongs to the ecological floor of the jungle eyebrow, and above all the charming archaeological park located on a rugged topography, which at the time of the height of the Incas was undoubtedly a place of greater importance in a political and administrative sense, probably with a lower category religious in front of Machu Picchu.

The best trails in Cusco to Machu Picchu

The best Traditional and Culture trips in Cusco

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