Experience the best of Peru’s Cusco and the Sacred Valley with a four-day adventure! From exploring the vibrant city of Cusco to visiting traditional towns and villages, and the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu, this journey will leave you with unforgettable memories.
You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Inca village of Ollantaytambo and the impressive salt ponds of Maras, which are still in use by local people today. You will also visit Moray: an amazing Inca site with rounded terraces where speculations about its former use are still under debate.
Join this 4-day experience with a diverse range of activities and sightseeing opportunities, discovering Cusco and its impressive surroundings. Visiting the highlights in the most responsible way possible, this is an experience not to be missed!
Please note that this tour is specifically recommended for individuals who are already acclimatized to high altitudes. If you haven’t had the chance to acclimate yet, we have a couple of alternative tours that gradually take you from Lima to the beautiful highlands of Cusco and even Puno. These options include our Active and immersive 7-day Peru trip, as well as the more extensive tour Peru Responsibly in 11 days.
Welcome to Cusco! Upon arrival at the Cusco airport, one of our drivers will pick you up with your name on a sign, and bring you to the hotel. This driver only speaks basic English: we hope this won’t be a problem.
The Niños Hotel (2 stars) is our favorite: a very attractive hotel that supports projects with (street) children, we really recommend it. It also has a cozy restaurant if you prefer not to go out.
After check-in (or just luggage drop-off) it’s time to join our own Walking Tour. A beautiful introduction of the city and a nice relaxed walk (downhill only). Our driver and guide will pick you up at the hotel and drive you to our first visit, the archaeological site of Qenqo. From there you will walk to Sacsayhuamán: these are impressive ruins with a great view of the city. The guide will tell you a lot of stories! We continue to the San Blas neighborhood, where we will visit one of the many lovely cafes for a well-deserved break and a snack. Finally you will visit the famous Sun Temple. At the end of the tour, the guide will give you tips for lunch.
After lunch (not included) you can visit the Cathedral of Cusco, a museum (MAP is great!) or do some shopping to get a nice souvenir or a beautiful alpaca sweater.
This private tour starts in the morning and you will visit the highlights of the Sacred Valley. An English speaking guide and transportation from the hotel are included.
First stop (after a few optional photo stops) is the Pisac market, where you can get all kind of souvenirs like pottery, hats, alpaca textiles, musical instruments, paintings, antiques and jewelry. (If the altitude doesn’t affect you, you can also ascend to the archaeological site of Pisac, where you will observe terraces, aqueducts, water channels and enjoy beautiful views).
Then at Lamay, the plan is to walk through a small traditional village and visit the church, which has important worldwide artwork. Afterward, there will be a visit to a guinea pig breeding business and a traditional corn beer brewery to learn about the making of “chicha de jora” and its importance. Visitors will enjoy chicha and a snack called ‘picante’. If time permits, there will be a visit to the Lamay bread oven to learn about bread-making. Local people and business owners will explain their daily lives, and the visit will contribute to the recognition and value of these important activities.
Along the way, you will have lunch (included). Afterward, you will visit the beautiful Inca village of Ollantaytambo and its ruins. After the visit, your guide will drop you off at your hotel.
Here we’ve chosen the Apu Lodge for your stay: a small hotel with a very nice garden and a view of the ruins all around. It is very quiet here, due to its location at the end of the historic center. You have to walk for a few minutes over bumpy cobblestone streets: cars are not allowed here. It has a small restaurant where you can also go in the evening if you do not want to go out anymore.
From Ollantaytambo, you will take an early train to Aguas Calientes, the village below Machu Picchu. Together with your guide, you will then take the bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world. It is located at 2,430 meters above the Urubamba river. The Incas started building it around AD 1430 as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, strategically located between deep canyons and impressive mountains called Apus (Gods for the Incas), so it was a well hidden and well-protected fortress.
You will have a guided tour of Machu Picchu (duration: 2-2,5 hours). The same afternoon, after your visit, you will take the train back to the Sacred Valley and another night in Ollantaytambo.
Note: Please make sure you only take what you need in a small backpack for today (a maximum of 6 kilos is allowed on the train). The rest remains in your room in Ollantaytambo.
Today you will be picked up at 10:00 am by one of our trusted drivers who will drive you to Maras and Moray, on the way back to Cusco.
Below the village of Maras you will visit the Salineras (salt ponds), in use since pre-Inca times, a photogenic place. You pay for a separate entrance here. Afterward, you will enjoy a delicious local lunch at a family house in town.
On the other side, behind Maras, you will visit Moray: an impressive Inca site with rounded terraces built downwards into the hills. Most likely a place where the Incas adjusted crops to the temperatures of the different altitudes. You can walk around, take pictures, or even hire a site guide at the entrance (though their English isn’t always very good).
In Cusco, where you will be arriving before lunch, the driver will take you to your hotel. Have a nice afternoon (or a safe flight back to Lima). Thank you for discovering Cusco and its surroundings with us!
So, you can book this tour as it is, or choose the superior option with improved hotels: please enquire our travel designers for that version.
Not really, this tour “Discovering Cusco” includes many transfers and no hiking experiences. You should not underestimate the altitude and the weather in and around Cusco though (see the next FAQ).
If you want to be well prepared, please read our article on How to stay safe and healthy when traveling in Peru.
Cusco sits at 3.400m of altitude, which is why the sun gets very strong here. During the day it gets hot and you should protect yourself by wearing a hat, using sunglasses and applying sun cream. As soon as the sun sets, however, the temperatures drop significantly, so come prepared for the cold, as well.
In the Sacred Valley, it gets a little less cold because it sits at a lower altitude. Even though it does not tend to rain during the summer months, it is always good to take a poncho with you, just in case.
In the standard version of this tour “Discovering Cusco”, we will use our favorite standard accommodations. They are equivalent to a two to three-star accommodation and always have the bathroom ensuite. They all offer good breakfast options.
In the Superior version of this tour “Discovering Cusco”, we will use boutique-style hotels where possible, equivalent to three or four-star accommodations. Where possible, we have included the second room level the hotel offers.
Of course, hotels and rooms cannot be confirmed until you have booked. We will always try to find an equivalent room and hotel in case our first options aren’t available.
Please refer to our article What to Pack for your Trip to Peru for all your questions about packing for this “Discovering Cusco” tour and for your entire Peru trip. Whether you’re going to the jungle or the mountains, you’ll find the answers you need. You can also download a full Packing List for free.
This “Discovering Cusco” tour is not a group trip: most transfers and excursions are fully private. On some excursions, you will meet other travelers, of course! Feel free to request additional information when you make an inquiry.
Yes, unfortunately the Superior option can not yet be booked directly on the platform, due to technical limitations. However, our team is happy to send you the PDF version of this trip with the prices for the Superior hotels. So just fill in the enquiry form at the top of this page, or contact us by email. Thank you very much!
We as Impactful Travel are thrilled to announce that we have proudly taken over RESPONSible Travel Peru’s portfolio, including all their incredible tours. We want to acknowledge the amazing work done by the RESPONS team in designing these tours and continue to give them full credit.
As specialists in Community-Based and Sustainable Tourism since 2009, we have been dedicated to creating meaningful connections between travelers like you and local communities across Peru. Our journey started with just a few communities in Huaraz, located in the North of Peru. However, over time, we have expanded our network and now collaborate with more than 75 communities (though we’ve honestly lost count because our passion keeps us going!).
Each and every day, we strive to strengthen our partnerships with local communities, fostering cultural exchange and ensuring that your experience in this breathtaking country is nothing short of extraordinary.
Thank you for choosing to embark on this remarkable journey through Peru with us. We can’t wait to show you the transformative power of Impactful Travel and make a positive difference together. Let’s explore, learn, and grow while leaving a lasting impact on the places we visit. Welcome aboard!