Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Pre-Program

Discover the lost civilization of the Incas and visit the breathtaking mountain stronghold of Machu Picchu.

  • Explore one of the most important archeological sites in South America
  • Visit Cusco, the historic city of capital of the Inca Empire
  • See the stunning Andean highland scenery during a train ride to Machu Picchu
  • Spend a night in the capital of Peru
  • Destinations

    South America

  • Season

    Available all Year

  • Duration

    4 days

  • Min. passengers


  • Booking Code


  • From

    $ 2,865


Day 1: Arrival to Lima

Welcome to Peru, one of the most fascinating countries in South America! Lima's history predates colonial Spanish presence in Peru. The present-day city was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro as the new capital of Peru, where the Viceroy proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions. Lima‘s historical center is packed with elegant Spanish colonial architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well worth exploring if you have time.

Overnight, including breakfast.

Day 2: Lima/Flight to Cusco, Cusco city tour

In the morning, a transfer will take you to the airport for your flight to Cusco, the city of the Incas and the so-called ‘navel of the world’. Our local guide will meet you and take you to your hotel. After check-in, enjoy a bite of lunch at the hotel before heading on a guided tour of this enigmatic and historical city.

Few places in South America can compete with the sheer magical allure of Cusco. The Inca civilization flourished here, and you can still see their Sun temple Koricancha—Cusco’s spiritual heart—forming the foundations of the impressive Santa Domingo church. The sound of musicians playing Andean pipes in the narrow, cobbled alleys will transport you back in time to before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived.

Different cultures have left their mark on Cusco. The buildings around the Plaza de Armas (the city’s central square) and its ornate Cathedral date back to Spanish colonial times. Yet just a few yards away, in an alley named Loreto, you can find Inca walls built from huge multi-cornered stone blocks with an engineering precision that would pose a challenge even today.

The Inca engineering at Sacsayhuaman is even more impressive. This 15th-century ceremonial compound is a magnificent example of military power. There you’ll find the Qenqo Amphitheater, a ritualistic site with subterranean galleries that form an underground maze; the defensive Puca Pucara, or Red Fortress; and the Inca Baths and water worship center of Tambomachay.

After you tour the highlights of this cultural and architectural gem, we’ll return to the hotel for dinner. Relax with a pisco sour (a Peruvian cocktail made from local spirits, lime juice, sugar and egg white) and soak up the atmosphere of this special place.

Day 3: Cusco/Full day tour to Machu Picchu/Cusco

An early morning transfer will take you from your hotel to the train station at Ollantaytambo, an Inca town situated in the Sacred Valley that’s rich in archeological remains. From here, hop aboard the classic train that runs along the narrow- gauge line to Machu Picchu, passing through stunning Andean highland scenery as it heads up the valley.

Around two hours later, the little train stops at the village of Aguas Calientes, where we disembark and take a short bus ride up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. This iconic Inca stronghold is situated on a mountain top at around 11,154 ft, in a position unassailable for enemies. It was abandoned by the Inca empire and hidden by the encroaching jungle for centuries, only to be rediscovered in 1911 by the American archeologist Hiram Bingham.

Enjoy the guided tour of this so-called ‘Lost City of the Incas’. It may be this ancient empire’s most amazing urban creation, with its giant walls, terraces and ramps, which appear as though they have been cut naturally into the rock escarpments. Keep an eye out for the llamas wandering around the ruins and keeping the grass short.

The peaceful atmosphere and magical setting of Machu Picchu are sure to delight you. Even though it’s up in the mountains, the lowland tropical jungle below surrounds this city in the clouds, making it even more surreal. Lunch will be served in a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we’ll return to Cusco by train and then a bus transfer. Enjoy dinner at your hotel and your second and final night in Cusco.

Day 4: Cusco/Flight to Quito

The day begins with breakfast at your hotel. We’ll then drive to Cusco Airport for the morning flight via Lima to Quito, Ecuador, where you will arrive in the afternoon.

Quito was founded on an ancient Inca settlement and today is a bustling and modern city. But you don’t need to look too far beneath the contemporary façade to find the past, and the Old Town, for example, is a showcase of classical Spanish architecture. In fact, the city’s diligent preservation of its history warranted it to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1978. Transfer to your hotel and free time for the rest of the day. Your exciting pre-program ends with a nice dinner at your hotel.

The following overnight in Quito is already part of your cruise with Santa Cruz II.

Please note that due to changing conditions, the order of the sights may vary.

Practical information 


One night at a hotel in Lima, including breakfast; two nights at Hotel Palacio del Inka or similar in Cusco, incl. half-board; flight Lima-Cusco-Lima-Quito, incl. current taxes. Transfers and excursions with lunch as described. Entrance fees, return train tickets Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, English-speaking guide in Peru, three-course dinner at your hotel in Quito on Day 4


Not included: Dinner/lunch at hotel in Lima. Drinks outside the included meals, gratuities


  • This tour is available as a Pre-program in combination with your cruise starting in Quito, where the first part of your voyage to the Galápagos Islands begins.
  • Includes walking on uneven terrain. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility. This tour takes place in altitudes reaching nearly 11,500 ft.
  • If the minimum number of participants is not reached, we reserve the right to cancel the trip up to six weeks before departure.