Archaeological site Machu Picchu tours
What is Stride?

Machu Picchu - Best Tours & Trips 2019

The Lost City of the Incas occupies one of the most dramatic sites of any archaeological find in the world. Perched high up in the Peruvian Andes at the end of the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu features the ruins of stone-walled Inca temples, tombs and palaces in a jungle setting. Steep mountains form an unforgettable backdrop.
View All Machu Picchu Trips

DEPARTURE DATES

 
Search trip start dates

Travel Style

Trip Type Trip Type Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 259 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

Stride Select Save! Stride Select Get Member Savings Sign up to become a member to get access to Stride Select trips. These trips are discounted beyond the tour operator’s best price. Membership is free and only requires your email.

Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

Company

Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

1- 15 of 543 Trips Shown First 1 2 3 4 5 Last
X
Unlock Member Savings

In order to see Stride Select deals you must sign in. We’ve negotiated with many of the world’s best travel companies to save you money! Get the best experiences, save up to $700 per person, and be a hero to your travel companions!

or
or
Provide email and Password

We respect your privacy and take great care to protect your information. By joining you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Already a member?

With FREE membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
See member program details

Top Machu Picchu Experiences and Attractions

Top Machu Picchu Experiences

Trekking the legendary Inca trail, an original trading road used by the Incan Empire itself and a rite of passage for travelers for well over a century.

Taking in the classic Machu Picchu vista for the first time at sunrise as mist slowly reveals dramatic cliffs, soaring mountains, and the ruins themselves.

Climbing up either Huayna Picchu or Montaña de Machu Picchu for a challenge that is rewarded by towering views over the ruins below.

Exploring Cusco, the former imperial capital of the Incans and today home to beautiful religious art and vibrant night life.

Dropping by some of the less visited but equally impressive sights of the Sacred Valley, such as the old salt mines of Maras or the other-worldy ancient circles of Moray.

Enjoying a rest in Ollantaytambo where you can experience a beautiful colonial square hemmed in by quaint alleys below and massive Incan ruins on every mountain top above.

view more

Machu Picchu Trip Reviews

1,354 Machu Picchu Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 1,056
Great 270
Average 21
Disappointing 6
Terrible 1
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Tour Reviews Write a Review

ANCASCOCHA TREK TO MACHU PICCHU WITH ACTION PERU TREKS

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

My (4) friends and I had the best experience with Action Peru Treks in September '17! Our tour guide, Sabi, was so patient, kind, knowledgeable, and in general an awesome leader! The cooks on our trek cooked the most delicious meals! We were amazed how they could cook such delicious food in the middle of nowhere. All crew members on our trek were amazing, sweet, helpful, caring people!

We always felt so safe even though we were far from civilization. I highly recommend booking a trek with Action Peru Treks! I have fond wonderful memories of our trip and I can't wait to go back to Peru to go on another adventure with Action Peru Treks! Peru is a beautiful country with so much to explore!

Read more
Operator Action Peru Treks

What an AMAZING 6 week trip of 6 countries!

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0

My first ever trip in smaller numbers - loved it, yes, loved it so much as we could do things that larger groups can not do. Ecuador, Peru including the Amazon region, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil were awash with fantastic experiences with the stunning and majestic sights, the people and their culture, the food, animal and bird life and of course, what I accomplished by surprising myself at the Incan ruins. Our guides, Alejandro in Ecuador, Sally in Peru and Sabina in Chile, Argentina and Brazil were just the best Ambassadors for Peregrine as they showed such passion for their country and genuine care for each of our small number to return home with amazing memories to abide in our hearts forever. Muchas Gracias to each of you as you have touched my life with a very special imprint. I highly recommend this full trip for the entire 6 weeks just in case you have not noticed.

Read more
Operator Peregrine Adventures

Excelente!!

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Excelente atendimento recebido pela empresa.

Read more
Operator Inka Rainbow

Great experience with this company

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 4.0

I recently booked the best of Peru with Indus and had a fabulous time! It was our first time in South America so I was unsure but our Indus consultant told us great things about Peru and oh! was she right! Me and my friend both loved Miraflores in Lima- it felt very safe to walk around the city. But my favorite part of the trip was Sacred Valley where we got to stay in a very peaceful hotel with a stunning view of the mountains- simply incredible! Although at first I though the itinerary will be hectic, the tour was actually very pleasant with some time to visit on your own or relax- needed with the bit of jetlag! I came back very happy with both Indus service and the tour and I would recommend you 100% to book your tour with Indus- I am looking already at my next holiday with them. I have not taken Peru, Argentina and Brazil but if it is half as good as our Peruvian tour then you are bound to have a great trip!

Cathy

Read more
Operator Indus Travels

It was INCREDIBLE!

5.0
Royal Galapagos Company Reviews
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

My family and I went on the Natural Paradise 8 Day B Cruise at the end of June-beginning of July 2017. It was INCREDIBLE! I cannot say enough good things about the entire trip. The boat was so nice with all of the amenities you could want. The food was so good too! The staff was so friendly and helpful. They went out of their way to make sure we had an excellent trip, and they made it really fun. Our naturalist was extremely knowledgeable and made sure he showed us and taught us as much as possible. The Galapagos is obviously amazing, and we saw incredible animals and nature. However, it truly was the staff on the Natural Paradise that made our trip. Thank you!!! I would highly recommend this trip, the Natural Paradise, and Royal Galapagos.

Read more
Operator Royal Galapagos

In the Footsteps of the Incas

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Itinerary is good. Visited all valuable places.

Read more
Operator Trafalgar

Machu Picchu Tours and Travel Guide

Machu Picchu Attractions & Landmarks Guide

The ruins of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, occupy one of the most dramatic sites of any archaeological find in the world. Dating from the 15th century and perched high up in the Peruvian Andes at the end of the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu features the ruins of stone-walled Inca temples, tombs and palaces in a jungle setting. Steep mountains form an unforgettable backdrop. You can take a guided tour to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail or, for those interested in a less strenuous tour of Peru, get there by train.   

Your first moment of seeing Machu Picchu can easily be a highlight of a lifetime of travel. Taking in the perilous peaks and the beautiful silvery stones that make up the legendary lost Incan outpost high in the Andes merits few equals in any other destination experience. For many, Machu Picchu is a rite of passage.

However, getting to that moment is a process that can either be just as epic or stressful and exhausting. Let Stride guide you towards the best Machu Picchu tours to ensure that your journey to one of the world’s most famous archaeological ruins is smooth and memorable.

Cusco, the Starting Point

The first port of call is Cusco. Cusco was the capital of the vast Incan empire and is replete with both ancient Incan temples and exquisite colonial churches. Boasting a dizzying mix of Catholic religious festivals, ancient Incan annual rituals, and popular music parades, Cusco’s calendar is always packed with exciting cultural experiences.

Cusco (or Cuzco) also has its fair share of four-star hotels as well as budget accommodations, and is nestled in a beautiful landscape making it the perfect location in which to pass the time.

At 11k feet above sea level, (while Machu Picchu is at a mere 8K), Cusco is a crucial stop for adjusting to the altitude. The last thing you want is to suffer from altitude sickness during your journey to Machu Picchu! Take it easy, drink lots of water, and let your body get used to the thin Andean air.

Staying in Cusco is also helpful for providing an initial context to your journey and the characters involved. It’s the perfect introduction to Peru, and the many forces that contributed to the culture and diversity here. Including the food, language, architecture, and art - Cusco is the gateway to another time. The present day locals live concurrent with their ancestors, keeping many traditions and customs alive. Cusco is where you prepare to enter a different world.

During your free time in Cusco, be sure to pick up any last minute essentials for your journey. Depending on the time of year, it could be quite chilly, and even more so once you reach the ruins. The sun is often shrouded in mist and fog before 10am at Machu Picchu, and though you’ll be scrambling up and down ancient stairways as you explore, it will still be damp. Luckily Cusco is full of shops where you can purchase the famous alpaca wool hats, gloves, or ponchos.

On the outskirts of the city, Sacsayhuaman stands strong as the former fortress defending the Incan imperial capital and is the perfect destination for your first glimpse at the impressively large and exquisitely carved stones that make Incan architecture so famous. Returning to the city, one can appreciate some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in all of South America.

Some churches, like Qoricancha, are built on top of and incorporated within Incan ruins. The cathedral, Santa Catalina monastery, San Blas, and countless other colonial gems complete the beauty of a town where religious art is so beautiful, it inspired an entire Cusquena artistic school and movement. 

Cusco even has a modern side. Going with a good tour operator can help ensure you see the most recent additions to Cusco’s ever-changing heritage: museums dedicate to chocolate and Pisco, resorts, spas, and even a vibrant nightlife.

There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco. If you’re taking the train (of which there are three choices, all different budget levels) it leaves right from Poroy Station, about 20 minutes from downtown Cusco. This service is regular between May and December, but may be irregular during off season months when mudslides or heavy rain cause safety concerns.

If you are planning to reach Machu Picchu on one of the three main treks, you’ll take a bus or shuttle from Cusco to your starting point. On your way, you’ll pass through the Sacred Valley, location of Ollantaytambo, where you might stop for a night depending on your tour itinerary.

Getting to Machu Picchu is Half the Experience

Machu Picchu is much more than just Machu Picchu. A journey to the sacred Incan fortress is reached by first traveling through the Sacred Valley. On the way to Machu Picchu, you will pass Pisaq, where Incan terraces cascade gracefully down from the ancient trading post. Later, you will find yourself passing the fascinating, and beautiful, salt mines of Maras or entering the sacred, but eerie, endless concentric circles of Moray.

Finally, a Sacred Valley tour is not complete without visiting Ollantaytambo, a beautiful town in its own right, with a beautiful colonial core and a dramatic fortress climbing up on every mountain above the quaint alleys below.

There are many ways you can get to Machu Picchu. One of the most popular routes is still the Inca Trail, which, while difficult, is manageable for most able bodied and relatively fit travelers. The trail takes 4 to 5 days to complete and you’ll be surrounded by spectacular scenery and history, brought to life by your guide the entire way.

If you’re planning to hike the Inca Trail, be sure you purchase your permit into the park well ahead of time. They sell out extremely fast, and a limited number of people (500) are permitted on the trail per day. This includes porters and guides. Six months in advance is a good bet to ensure yourself a spot. It is also worth noting that you cannot hike the trail without a guide. Most large tour companies offer a Machu Picchu trek, so you have a lot of choice. Use Stride’s filtering tools to find the right tour size for you.

However, travelers are beginning to discover the other ways you can hike to Machu Picchu, which include the Lares Trek and Salkantay Trek. The Lares Treks is comparable, difficulty wise to the Inca Trail, but Salkantay is quite a bit more challenging, both in length and type.  

If you’re not hiking, you will take one of three rail journeys from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. There are different price points, but if you’re willing to splurge, the Belmond Hiram Bingham train is well worth the price. Drift through the Sacred Valley in luxury, while gazing out at the historic landscape through large viewing windows.

Aguas Calientes is the main hub for travelers going to Machu Picchu, about 15 minutes away from the site by bus. It is a good idea to stay in Aguas Calientes for a few days. Let yourself relax and not worry about seeing all of Machu Picchu in one fell swoop.

Use one day to catch the first bus after waiting in line at 4am to see the sunrise, but use your second day to go later. If you have time, don’t pass up a visit to the hot springs (Aguas Calientes literally translates to “hot water”).

Arriving at Machu Picchu

Unless you took the Incan trail the whole way there, you will have your chance to warm up in the hot springs of Agua Calientes in preparation for your exciting day, or days, in Machu Picchu.

Arriving early, you can catch the ancient mist disappearing to reveal the beautiful stones that make up one of the world’s most dramatic set of ruins. With your tour guide, you will learn about many of the secrets in those stones: an ancient sun dial, a temple designed to resemble a condor, and the temple of the sun, which boasts perhaps the most impressive ancient stonework in the Western Hemisphere.

After your guided tour, you may opt to go for a hike. Popular options include the sun gate, which is actually the end point of the Incan trail, or climbing up Huayna Picchu, a tough climb that is rewarded with its own set of ruins that tower over Machu Picchu and provide new captivating angles to photograph the fortress below.

For those desiring to focus on the ruins themselves, simply meandering its ancient streets will provide hours of captivating discoveries and mysterious wonders found in the meticulously cut stones that surround you.

More Than Just a Destination

A trip to Machu Picchu is never just a trip to Machu Picchu. Rather, it is a journey that can and should include colonial towns, religious art, ancient ruins, Andean treks, and breathtaking vistas. Traveling along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the more daunting but rewarding experiences in all of travel, so it is best to plan well to ensure a fulfilling trip. See our comprehensive guide for planning a trip to Machu Picchu for top tips to help you get started! 

Top Machu Picchu Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

How to Get to Machu Picchu

You can get to Machu Picchu in many different ways. If you choose to visit via the Inca Trail, you must reserve these tours far in advance. The Inca Trail only allows tickets for 500 people per day on the trail, including porters and guides. This leaves 200 spots open for trekkers! So be sure to reserve your tour at least 6 months prior to departure.

You might also choose to tour Machu Picchu via the two other main treks: Lares or Salkantay. These take a day or two longer than the Inca Trail, but tend to be less crowded.

If hard core trekking in altitude is not your cup of tea, never fear! Machu Picchu is also accessible via the train from Cusco. This is a great option for older traveler and families with young kids. The train is fitted with large viewing windows, and you can take in the other historic sites of Peru along the way as you approach Aguas Calientes.

Machu Picchu is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, so on your tour of the famous ruins, it’s important to stay on marked paths, and respect the ruins. Travel on a tour to learn about the Incan history of Peru, and the archaeological history of the site itself. 

The Best Time to Tour Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is open for tours all year round. The Inca Trail is also open all year, except for February, when the trail is closed for maintenance. You need to first determine if you want to tour Machu Picchu in the Dry Season (April - September) or the Rainy Season (October - March).

January and February are generally thought to be the worst months to tour Machu Picchu. You will likely experience a lot of rain, which means you’ll also encounter a lot of mud and the stone pathways will be very slippery. You also won’t be able see Machu Picchu at sunrise, which many travelers strive for. The cloud cover will be very heavy, usually not clearing until 9am when the sun is already up. On the flipside, this is the lowest point of the year for crowds, so if you want to see Machu Picchu without many other tourists around, choose a time during the rainy off season.

Between April and September, you’re likely to have less crowds at the end of the dry season. May, June, July, and August are the busiest months. This is when Northern Hemisphere travelers plan their summer vacations, and many people around the world get out of school.

Machu Picchu: Altitude and Altitude Sickness

Machu Picchu sits at a staggering 7,970 feet above sea level, in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. Because of this, there is a risk of getting altitude sickness, although it is rare.

The symptoms of altitude sickness include lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. If any of this happens, descend until you begin to feel better. You should remain hydrated, and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol.

If you have had altitude sickness before, look into potentially taking a preventative medication, like Diamox, or drinking coca leaf tea as a natural remedy.

Machu Picchu Facts

  1. Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world.
  2. The name “Machu Picchu” means “Old Mountain”
  3. It was built in the middle of the 15th century (1450s).
  4. The buildings on site are remarkable for two reasons: the massive stones were cut to fit exactly together without mortar or cement, and moved up the steep mountainside by hand.
  5. It is widely believed that Machu Picchu was built as a royal residence for the Incan king Pachacuti.
  6. The city was abandoned and forgotten until 1911, when it was rediscovered by an American archaeologist named Hiram Bingham.
  7. After Bingham’s discovery, he transported dozens of artifacts, including mummies, silver, and pottery, back to Yale University for study. The entire collection was only completely returned in 2012.
  8. Machu Picchu can be subject to earthquakes. The Incas not only knew this, but built their buildings tilting inwards to help enforce them.
  9. Despite archaeological evidence, group called the New Age Andean Cosmologists believe that aliens built Machu Picchu.
  10. Nobody knows why Machu Picchu was abandoned, although some believe it may have been because of an outbreak of smallpox.
  11. Machu Picchu was a site of human and animal sacrifice, as was common in Incan culture.

What to Wear & Machu Picchu Weather

Machu Picchu has a rainy season between November and March. At this time, the surrounding villages are prone to mudslides and flooding.

However, because of its proximity to the Amazon Jungle, there is always a possibility of rain when visiting Machu Picchu. The warmest months to visit Machu Picchu are between May and October, where temperatures can reach up to 80 degrees. However, we still recommend wearing closed-toe, athletic shoes or hiking boots in case it rains (the pathways can become very slippery if wet).

If you are staying overnight or camping along the various treks to the Lost City, make sure you bring especially warm clothing -- because of the altitude, temperatures tend to plummet at night.

Machu Picchu and Over Tourism

One growing problem for Machu Picchu is over tourism. The city, which was virtually unvisited 100 years ago, now sees thousands of tourists each day. This crowds the thin, snaking roads that lead to the site, and has come with other problems. With tourists overwhelming the number of guards, some visitors have taking to marking or stealing stones from the city.

In response to these issues, the Peruvian government has begun to rope off certain attractions, and limit the number of visitors allowed on the grounds at once. Another solution to the problem that is being considered is that guided tours will be mandated.

With all this being said, now is a better time to visit Machu Picchu than ever!

All Machu Picchu tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Machu Picchu trips.

543 trips from 107 tour companies with 1,354 reviews

More Machu Picchu Guided Tours

What is Stride?

Stride is the top reviews site for experiential travel and tour packages.

Now you can search tens of thousands of trips from more than 1,000 operators and expert trip planners. Most travel agencies and websites only show options from large companies that pay big commissions. We show you all the options we can gather. We want you to have all the information to find your perfect trip, no matter who it’s with. About us.

Use Stride to:
Search thousands
Search thousands of itineraries and match your style and budget.
Compare local
Compare local experts with global tour operators side by side.
Read reviews
Read reviews by travelers and experts.
Read reviews
Save money as a Stride member (its free), with exclusive deals & rebates.
We are on a mission...

...to help more people travel further, travel more, and travel better. Learn more.

Got it
×
×
Sign in to Save Trips
Welcome back! We're so happy to see you. ? Forgot Password?
Don't have an account? Join
  • Bookmark trips you like
  • Share with your travel companions
  • Track price changes
  • Access private discounts on trips you save
×
Sign in to see your results

TripFinder is a member-only feature. Don’t worry, it’s free!

With a membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
×
Activate your free Stride membership

Just use the email address and password provided in the email we sent.

? Forgot Password?

With your free membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
×
To Follow, sign in or sign up (it's free) ? Forgot Password?
Don't have an account? Join
member benefits
First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Please enter valid email address
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not the same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!
Please select the captcha checkbox!
Please select the valid captcha!
Something went wrong! Try again later!

x