The Way of the River/Machu Picchu 3d/2n - Ascend Adventure Travel
Classic Tours > The Way of the River/Machu Picchu 3d/2n
Trip Notes
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Duration: 3d/2n

  • Visit the famous ruins of Machu Picchu one the 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World!
  • Climb Wayna Picchu, the famous "Young Peak"!
  • Scenic train ride to and from the ruins
  • Plenty of optional side-trips such as the Mandor Waterfall, Mt. Putucusi, Mt. Machu Picchu, the Inca Bridge, the Temple of the Moon and the Sun Gate
  • The famous ruins of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo
  • The Pisaq Artisan Market
  • Breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley and Peaks reaching more than 5500 Meters!
  • Bilingual guide and guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Transport to and from the Poroy Train Station
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Round-trip train ticket on the PeruRail "Explorer" Train
  • Round-trip bus ticket Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 2 breakfast, 3 lunches (sack lunch for Machu Picchu) and 2 dinners
  • 1 night hotel in Cusco and 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town)
  • Visit to Pisaq ruins (approx. 90 minutes)
  • Visit to Pisaq market (approx. 30 minutes)
  • Lunch in Urubamba (approx. 45 minutes)
  • Visit to Ollantaytambo (approx. 1 hour)
  • Visit to Chincheros (approx. 30 minutes)
Not Included:
  • Entry fee to Wayna Picchu and the Temple of the Moon ($10 extra, please let us know well in advance so we can reserve the tickets!)
  • Aguas Calientes hot springs entry fee (S/10 or approx. $4)
  • Dinner the 3rd day
  • Cusco Tourist Ticket (good for 10 days, can also be used for all City Tour destinations S/130 or approx. $50)
  • Partial Tourist Tickets are available for those only wanting to visit the sites of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo and bypass the Cusco City tour sites (S/70 or approx. $25)
Packing List:
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • 2 or 3 changes of clothes
  • Camera
  • Original Passport
  • Overnight toiletries
  • Insect repellant
  • Day pack or backpack and water bottle
  • Hat and/or sunscreen
  • Spending Money
  • Warm clothes for the evening / light clothes for the day
  • Flashlight (for early-birds)
Possible Extensions/Upgrades:
  • Luxury Package: Includes either 4 or 5 star hotel accommodations (please specify), train tickets on the famous Hiram Bingham luxury train (known as the most luxurious train in all of South America), and private guided tour.
  • Train upgrade: Upgrade to the classy Vistadome train with better views, live entertainment and a complementary meal!
  • Hotel upgrade: Upgrade to 3, 4 or 5 star hotel! (Basic package includes accommodations in a 2-star hotel)
  • 1-Night extension: Want to spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes? Just let us know!
  • 2nd entry to Machu Picchu for the second day: Want to visit the famous ruins twice? Just let us know!
Available Discounts:
  • Students (Requires a valid International Student Identity Card)
  • Children under the age of 11
  • Economy hotel accommodations (2-star or hostel style accommodations)

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The Way of the River/Machu Picchu 3d/2n

The famous Machu Picchu ruins and Sacred Valley of the Incas are two things that any world traveler should aspire to visit.  Now matter how much hype or how many pictures you have seen of the famous Incan citadel or the great valley, you really have to visit in order to understand how amazing it is.  At Ascend Travel, we offer a premiere Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley travel package, and one of the best ways to experience the magic of Peru is our 3d/2n “Way of the River” tour. The river to which we are referring is the great Urubamba River, which winds through the Sacred Valley of the Incas on its way past the narrow canyon where the Machu Picchu ruins reside – in this package you will follow the great river on its journey through the Urubamba Valley and become immersed in the amazing scenery and native traditions that make Peru one of the world’s greatest travel destinations!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
The Sacred Valley Tour

At 8:00 AM, an Ascend Travel representative will pick you up at your hotel for the transfer to the Sacred Valley. We will travel past the ruins of Saqsayhuaman and Tambomachay on our way to the impressionable Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop is the town of Pisac, where we will first climb the valley road to the amazing ruins high above the colonial town. The Pisaq ruins are famous for their ample agricultural terraces located along steep cliffs surrounding the town. At the top of the agricultural terraces, we will visit the famous Incan sun temple in the section of the ruins known as "Intihuatana." This temple includes the famous "Hitching Post," supposedly used to tie up the sun on its journey around the Earth. This temple is also believed to have served astronomical purposes for Incan Priests. We will also see ancient Incan crosses, which represent three levels of existence (the "Upper" world, the "Everyday" world, and the "Under" world).

After visiting the ruins, we will descend to the town of Pisaq where we will visit the famous Pisaq market. Although very quiet most of the week, the town of Pisaq springs to life every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – and the market is famous for handmade ceramics, silver jewelry, embroideries and tapestries - most of the goods are sold directly from the artists that create them.

Next, we will board our van to our next stop, which is the town of Urubamba. Here we will enjoy an awesome buffet of local cuisine at a colonial hacienda or tourist restaurant before heading to our next destination.

After a drive of about 45 minutes along the banks of the beautiful Urubamba River, with beautiful views of high-mountain peaks and glaciers reaching over 5500 Meters (or 18,000 feet), we will reach the great Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. This town, apart from its amazing scenery and natural beauty, is significant due to the fact that many of the intact Inca structures are still used by the local people. We will observe impressive carvings in the mountain, enormous stone blocks perfectly carved by the Incans, inhabitants in their traditional dress, and we will ascend amazing agricultural terraces to get a spectacular view of the surrounding valley and mountains.

Our final stop is the village of Chincheros, high above the Sacred Valley, where we will get a breathtaking view of the glaciated peaks of Mt. Chicon and Mt. Veronica, visit the famous colonial church and archeological site, before continuing on another 45 minutes to Cusco where we will arrive around 6:00 or 6:30 PM to drop you off at your hotel.

Day 2
Cusco - Aguas Calientes

We will pick you up from your hotel between 6:30 and 7:00 AM and travel to the town of Poroy (1/2 hour from Cusco) to board the train to Machu Picchu.  This amazing journey by train takes you through the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas where you’re jaw will drop with the views of giant snow-capped mountains, green fields, charming Incan towns, and the raging Urubamba River.  During the journey, you will observe the climate change from Andean highlands to the lush “Ceja de Selva” (Eyebrow jungle) where the Machu Picchu ruins are located.   

After an approximately 4 hour-long voyage by train, we will arrive in the town of Aguas Calientes (better known as Machu Picchu Pueblo).  An Ascend Travel tour guide will meet you at the train station and transport you to the hotel where we will be spending the night.  We will grab lunch at a nearby restaurant, and then the rest of the evening we will have free time to get to know the town of Aguas Calientes.  Some possible activities include visiting the nearby Botanical Gardens or the Machu Picchu Museum, soaking in the namesake hot springs, shopping at the local market, or walking to the luscious Mandor waterfall. For those wanting a more daring and physical experience, you can climb the steep Putucusi Mountain (a grueling 3-hour hike with steep inclines and ladders that are as long as 20 meters each! Not for those who are afraid of heights).  We will have a group dinner with our guide at night and discuss our visit to the ruins the following day.

Day 3
Machu Picchu! - Cusco

This is the day you've been waiting for. We will wake up before first light to be among the first to arrive at the famous ruins. Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas," is located at approximately 2500 meters (or 8,000 feet, which is significantly lower than the city of Cusco). At 5:45 AM, we will take the bus up to the ruins and arrive around 6:20 AM. Machu Picchu is situated between two peaks, Mt. Machu Picchu ("Old Peak" in Quechua) and Wayna Picchu ("Young Peak" in Quechua). We will enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the ruins in which we will learn about Incan architecture and uses of different structures, as well as visit the Main Square, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Sundial and the ancient burial grounds. After the guided tour, you will have free time to continue to visit the world-famous ruins. Some possible activities besides visiting the main ruins include:

  1. Climbing Wayna Picchu (approx. 1 and ½ hours and special entrance ticket required)
  2. Visiting the Temple of the Moon (approx. 3 hours and special entrance ticket required)
  3. Walking to the Inca Bridge (1 hour)
  4. Climbing the last part of the Inca Trail to Intipunku ("Sun Gate," 1 and ½ hours)
  5. Climb Mt. Machu Picchu (twice as tall as Wayna Picchu and less crowded, approx. 2 hours)
Around 4 PM we will descend to Aguas Calientes where we will grab a quick dinner before heading to the train station and returning to Cusco where you will arrive after nightfall and be dropped off at your hotel. This concludes the unforgettable journey “The Way of the River.”



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