As one of 7 New Wonders of the World and possibly the most coveted travel destination on Earth, it would be rude not to pull out all the stops when visiting Machu Picchu. Such a once-in-a-lifetime trip deserves all the bells and whistles from the moment you set off. We’re talking plush hotels, first-class transport, and private tours. In this article, we show you exactly how to make your Machu Picchu trip ridiculously luxurious so that you can look back on it with no regrets. After all, there’s so much more to a luxurious Machu Picchu trip than visiting the citadel. It begins in Cusco, the regal ancient Inca capital, and continues through the tranquil Sacred Valley before weaving through the Andes Mountains to reach it. After reading this, you can have every detail of your luxurious Machu Picchu trip planned out.

Top Ideas for a Luxurious Machu Picchu Trip

Explore Cusco in Style with Private Tours

Every trip to Machu Picchu begins in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, where the luxuries should also start. Since the region is at a high altitude, visitors need around four days to acclimatize and experience all the city has to offer. Cusco is filled with grand buildings from both the Inca and colonial periods, some of which have now been transformed into palatial hotels dressed with the finest antiques and art. 

Spend your days in Cusco immersing in its history at the Inka Museum, shopping for local crafts at San Pedro Central Market, and wandering through the lanes around the main square imagining how they were 600 years ago. The cultural fusion between ancient, colonial, and modern Peru is easily realized when exploring Cusco, but cuisine is the best way to experience it

From its vegan cafes to private dinners with live music performances, Cusco is renowned for its exceptional culinary scene. To really elevate your Cusco experience, we recommend a private walking tour of the city, a private cooking class, and dinner at a Michelin restaurant before beginning the journey to Machu Picchu.

Live Like Inca Royalty in a Sacred Valley Retreat

From Cusco, the journey to Machu Picchu begins. First stop — Sacred Valley. A serene fertile valley that used to be peppered with royal Inca estates is now peppered with luxury tranquil retreats amongst vast farmland and colonial agricultural villages. The perfect place to rest and relax before the journey continues to Machu Picchu.

Stay at one of the ultra-luxury spa and wellness retreats by the likes of Belmond Hotels and Luxury Collection Resorts which are nestled in an oasis-style setting. Days here will be spent slowly, waking up, eating, and exploring the Sacred Valley at your leisure. Start your mornings with breakfast in bed before wandering to the wellness centre for indulgent treatments centered around ancient Inca practices. 

The afternoons can be spent visiting the Sacred Valley’s local farms, Moray and Pisac Inca ruins, and the must-see Chinchero market which sells some of the most gorgeous Peruvian crafts in the country. In the evenings, be sure to reserve a table at one of the region’s best restaurants for fresh farm-to-fork food inspired by the Sacred Valley’s rich agricultural history.

Book Luxurious Machu Picchu Trip tours

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Take a luxury train to Machu Picchu 

After a refreshing stay in the Sacred Valley, it’s time to continue the journey and Machu Picchu is the next stop. Although it sits atop a rural mountain peak far from civilization or accessible roads, there are several ways to reach Machu Picchu. The ancient Incas would hike for three to seven days from Cusco and the Sacred Valley to reach the holy citadel along a solitary trail through thick forests, along gushing rivers, and over steep mountain passes. 

While the trail’s natural beauty and spiritual significance make it a covetable way to reach Machu Picchu, it’s by no means luxurious. Those looking to save their energy for exploring the citadel itself may opt to take the train instead. There are two different trains to the citadel and while both will add a sense of luxury to your Machu Picchu tour, they offer two differing experiences.

Take the Hiram Bingham Train

The Hiram Bingham isn’t only the most luxurious train to Machu Picchu, it’s one of the most luxurious and coveted train journeys in the world. Between the elegance of the train and the food, service, setting, views, and entertainment, the experience is undoubtedly a treasured one. Each of the 1930s Pullman carriages is elegantly designed with regal wood-paneled walls, elegant soft furnishings, and bold brass finishes.

During the train journey, you are invited to enjoy a three-course gourmet brunch with sparkling Peruvian wines. This is followed by live Peruvian music featuring traditional instruments such as the Andean flute and pipes. Overall, an otherwise arduous journey to the Inca citadel is transformed into a celebration of Peruvian heritage and culture, and a celebration of your success in making it to one of the world’s most venerated sights. 

Discover the best of South America’s luxury train experiences here.

Take the The Machu Picchu Train

© Incarail

While the Hiram Bingham is the most luxurious train to Machu Picchu, The Machu Picchu is tough competition. From the refined spacious interiors to the attentive service, it is a high-end train by all standards. The train features extra-large windows for exceptional views of the Peruvian Andes, business class-style seating, and a gourmet snack menu. Board with a welcome cocktail and enjoy live Peruvian music as you’re whisked to Machu Picchu.

There are several seating options on The Machu Picchu Train including the 360 which offers the best views onboard and The First Class which provides little perks including larger seating, extra legroom, and a private table for fine dining. And then there’s The Private option for those who want their own private carriage and personal wait staff for them and their travel companions. Overall, the Machu Picchu Train is the ideal mid-priced luxury Machu Picchu tour 

Opt for The Expedition and Vistadome 

Although they wouldn’t be considered a luxury Machu Picchu tour compared to the Hiram Bingham or The Machu Picchu Train, the Expedition and Vistadome trains are still an excellent way to reach the citadel. For around $65-$100 each way, these trains provide a smooth and seamless delivery in comfortable and spacious trains along with top-class service. Expect business-class seating with plenty of legroom and a table as well as panoramic windows so you don’t miss the gorgeous views the journey to Machu Picchu is so well-known for.

Book Luxury Inca Trail Machu Picchu Tours

Reaching elevations of 4,200 meters with tough terrain and basic sleeping facilities, the Inca Trail is only for those looking for a challenge. However, they will be rewarded with the satisfaction of walking on the very path carved by the Incas and, of course, entering Machu Picchu from its best viewpoint, the Sun Gate.

While the four-day hike doesn’t inspire thoughts of luxury, there’s no need for it to be disregarded by the discerning traveler. The hike itself is just one part of the Machu Picchu experience and so there are many more opportunities to add a luxurious touch to your trip. Here are some of the ways to elevate your Machu Picchu experience:

Add an upscale stay at a luxury retreat

© Belmond

Since the Inca Trail mostly offers camping facilities for that precious slumber, it can be compensated with ultra-luxury hotel stays before and upon reaching Machu Picchu. While Cusco offers regal monasteries shrouded with history, the Sacred Valley’s retreats are like a tranquil oasis with their very own spa and wellness centers. Stay here pre or post-hike to rest and recover with a menu of Inca-inspired treatments at hand. Perhaps the very best stay along the Machu Picchu route, however, is the Sanctuary Lodge, a Belmond Hotel that sits proudly beside the citadel itself. Nothing could make your visit more special.

Opt for private or small-group tours

Choose your Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tours carefully, they will make a huge difference to the quality of your experience. The best ones are small-group or private tours where you will be able to go at your own pace, expect more attentiveness, and have a more enriching experience overall. To secure the best tours and guides, booking through a travel agency that has expert knowledge and experience with Machu Picchu tour operators is highly recommended. Interested in traveling to Machu Picchu as a family or with Senior Travelers, our TLA experts have curated comprehensive guides that will help make your journey extraordinary.

Secure your luxurious Machu Picchu trip now

Since Machu Picchu is such an iconic travel destination, everything from tour tickets to hotel rooms is in high demand year-round. To ensure your trip is booked on the dates you want with the tours and hotels you want, let Totally Latin America manage your itinerary. Not only can we secure the most in-demand tours and hotels but we can also take care of all the fine details to make sure it’s the trip of a lifetime. Find out more by speaking to our expert travel planners here or by calling toll-free on +1 855 217 9045.