The only commercial airport that serves the 3 areas of Cuzco, Sacred Valley and MachuPicchu is located in Cuzco city, about 20 minutes driving distance from the Main Plaza.
It is highly recommended to spend at least one night in either Cuzco or the Sacred Valley before taking the train to MachuPicchu
because it is extremely hard (impossible most times) to accommodate a same day flight + train connection .
Cuzco is at 11,000 ft above sea level, while the Sacred Valley is at 7,900 ft.
For that reason, it is preferred to take immediate transportation from Cuzco Airport to the Sacred Valley (1hr 30minutes in private basis), to avoid or lessen any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Regardless of where you decide to stay, be sure to lower any cardio activity and ask for help if you need to lift a heavy piece of luggage.
It is recommended to avoid any extreneous physical activity for at least a couple of days (like the Inca Trail
) and drink plenty of coca leaves hot tea while your system gets used to the high altitude.
Another reason to overnight in the Sacred Valley rather than Cuzco prior to taking the train trip to MachuPicchu is that, the rail ride takes less time from the Ollanta Station in the Sacred Valley (opposed to the Poroy Station further out in Cuzco).
A one way train trip to Machu Picchu takes about 4 hours from Cuzco (Poroy Station) while it only lasts 2 hours from the Sacred Valley (Ollanta Station).
We suggest you start with a stay in the Sacred Valley
, then continue to Machu Picchu
and finish with a stay in Cuzco city
There are many Incan Ruins and Indian Markets
around Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, so plan your number of nights in each place according to the activities you want to take.
If you are looking for more reasons to extend your stay, there are several Outdoor Adventures that will keep you busy.
Luckily, our itineraries are flexible, so you get to choose where to stay, the order of the areas you will visit and the length of your trip.
Pick from one of our suggested itineraries or create one on your own, have fun customizing a trip of a lifetime!