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David
San Francisco

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lima (Peru)

What's the minimum number of days I'd need to do Machu Picchu justice?

We plan to do the Machu Picchu trek and spend a bit of time in Cusco and Lima before/after.  I'd love to go for 2 full weeks but I don't have that kind of time.  How many days would I need to do it justice without moving at break-neck speed?  And how would that break down?


5 Answers

top answer by
Natalia from Lima, Peru

For Lima (Peru), three or four days should be fine to be able to get around and know all the important sites. Once you go to Cusco, you can stay there for three or four days before heading to Machu Picchu. I would also suggest you staying for a night in the Sacred Valley, which is a town about an hour ago from Cusco City.

From here you can take tours to different archeological places such as Moray, Salinas de Maras, Pisac and much more. The valley itself is beautiful and you will find beautiful hotels that suit every budget. So if you have the chance, do it, if not don't worry, you can still take those tours from the city. If you do decide to go there do keep in mind that the trains for Machu Picchu leave from a station near the valley so that would be a plus.

For Machu Picchu you just need one day, at most two. If you want to enjoy the sunrise what you could do is take the last train of the day from Cusco or the Sacred Valley, sleep in Aguas Calientes (the town near Machu Picchu) and the next morning take the bus to Machu Picchu (they run from 5.30am, takes 20 mins to arrive).  If you have the time and enthusiasm to do the Huayna Picchu trek I strongly suggest it. You will see Machu Picchu from a whole new perspective, the view is amazing! Once you return from Machu Picchu you could stay a day more in Cusco before leaving. So 7-9 days should be completely fine to get to know the most important places here! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lima (Peru) (city)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Machu Picchu (region)
  4. Sacred Valley (attraction)
  5. Moray (attraction)
  6. Salinas de Maras (attraction)
  7. Pisac (city)
  8. Aguas Calientes (attraction)
  9. Huayna Picchu (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Greggory from Old Bridge, New Jersey

Me and a friend did a pseudo-inca trail hike for 4 days and 3 nights plus one full day at Machu Picchu at the end.  We booked from Cusco with our hostel and although i was skeptical it turned out to be the best decision.  Day one was on mountain bike and the rest was on foot.  You can hop the train back to Cusco that night and be back in a few hours.  We didn't stop in Lima (Peru) and only used Cusco as launch pad spending one night there.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Machu Picchu (region)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Lima (Peru) (city)
4 thanks


answered first by
Sandro from Chile

Hi David, I visited Machu Picchu in November 1st 2013. The weather was good only it was raíny in Cusco some days. If you want climb the mountain, there are 2 options, the first you arrive to the top of mountain about 4 days, you should pay the special tour. But is possible pay for the other tour about 2 days to arrive the top. 

IF you go to de mountain by train since Cusco to Aguas Calientes, it takes about 3 hours. In aguas calientes you can trek to climb no top mountain it takes about 2 o 3 hours. About 90 dollars plus enter ticket 20 dollars.

the other option is climb by bus it takes 20 minutos about. About 15 dollars

i recomend you take a tour it guide into the mountain, because he explain especificly each place and because it was, is a fantastic history place. About 20 dollars

In addittion, you can visit Huayna Picchu mountain in to the park with límited visitors per day about 2 hours to climb and you should buy ticket before. All ticket is posible to buy for the Internet for tourist agency is moré expensive. 

the place is amazing, the history y fabolous, is wonderfull place, you don't forget it  the trip.

Enjoy


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Machu Picchu (region)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Aguas Calientes (attraction)
  4. Huayna Picchu (attraction)
4 thanks


answered by
K from San Francisco

If you do the traditional Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu it will take four days, the tours require you get there at least a couple days early to adjust to the altitude.  That gives you time to see Cusco and the outskirts.  That being said you will need at least one week for Cusco and Machu Picchu.  Three days in Lima (Peru) should be enough.  I did a bike tour that was awesome, there is also the Circuito Mágico del Agua park that is cheap to get into and really unique.  Peru is an amazing country!  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Machu Picchu (region)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Lima (Peru) (city)
  4. Circuito Mágico del Agua (attraction)
3 thanks


answered by
Alex from London

David,

I would suggest 2-3 days in Lima (Peru) if you are tight on time.  

For Cusco you need at least one full day in the city and I also recommend spending 2-3 days in the sacred valley, visiting Pisac (much less crowded and just as stunning), Ollantaytambo (my favourite site), Moray and Maras.

For Machu Picchu, you have the option of doing the full trek or a one day trek that takes you by train to the last stretch of the hike so that you still enter the heritage site from the sun gate.  Machu Picchu itself takes a day of exploring especially if you want to do Huyana Picchu.  

One little secret that most people don't know about is that you can also hike Machu Picchu Mountain. This is the larger rounder peak on the site and takes a good 3-5 hours.  The fabulous thing about Machu Picchu mountain is that it offers stunning views of the iconic archeological site with Huayna Picchu in the background, a lot of pro phtographers take shots of the site from this peak.  If you do Machu Picchu Mountain you probably a two day ticket on Machu Picchu or incorporate it into your hike permit(?).

Hope this helps!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lima (Peru) (city)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Pisac (city)
  4. Ollantaytambo (city)
  5. Moray (attraction)
  6. Maras (city)
  7. Machu Picchu (region)
  8. Machu Picchu Mountain (attraction)
  9. Huayna Picchu (attraction)
3 thanks




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