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Top Machu Picchu Tours – The Best Operators For Visiting Machu Picchu

Alison Macallister

What makes for the top Machu Picchu Tours?

They often include entrance fees to fascinating sites, comfortable transport to and from Machu Picchu (usually by train) and some tours even include lunch.

However, they often do not include gratuities, so you should definitely factor in a little extra to tip your guide during your trek.

In this article, I will share my best insights on the top Machu Picchu tours and the best tour operators for ensuring a memorable trip to this exotic destination.

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Best Machu Picchu Tours

How To Choose A Machu Picchu Tours

Before choosing one of many Machu Picchu Tours available, you first need to ask yourself three important questions below: 

How much time do you have?

If it's a question of how much time you have, there are plenty of options for single-day trips. Hikers can also undertake the classic 4-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu from Cusco. This way, you can see more than one site over multiple days during your trip to Peru.

What’s your budget?

The price of a typical Machu Picchu tour ranges from $275-$390 per person. So, it’s a good idea to bring along some extra spending cash to stretch your budget in case you want to do more activities during your tour.

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How professional are the local tour operators?

Not all local tour operators were created equal.

Although many of the tour offices will try selling you similar packages, the levels of professionalism can vary. I have heard a lot of horror stories (and even had a few nasty experiences) regarding the lack of professionalism from some Machu Picchu tour operators.

It’s everything you can imagine, from sub-par equipment to rude guides and forgetting to book permits.

That said, there are plenty of great options out there that will ensure you have an unforgettable experience. Be sure to do your research beforehand as you will want to choose a company with a decent amount of great reviews. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Best Operators for Day Tours to Machu Picchu

Day tours to Machu Picchu generally include pick up from your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley. This is followed by a train ride to Machu Picchu and a tour of the site with an expert guide.

Based on my own experience hiking to Machu Picchu, the following companies are the best in my books.

Full Day Tour To Machu Picchu: Happy Gringo Tours

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Best Local Operator for Machu Picchu Tours

Overview: Happy Gringo Tours is a Peru tour operator based in Cusco and has been operating since 2007. Group sizes for Machu Picchu Tours are capped at 12. For an additional cost, you can upgrade your train ticket to a more luxurious coach.

Tour Cost: From $390

Pros

Cons

Knowledgeable, friendly guides.

A little pricey.

A detail-oriented team that goes the extra mile for guest experiences.


Guides take great pictures during the tour.


They take bookings for solo travelers.


Full Day Group Tour of Machu Picchu - Peru Andes Top

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Overview: Peru Andes Top is consistently praised by its customers for attention to detail and impeccable service delivery. The company also strives to promote economic growth in local communities. You can choose to combine your Machu Picchu tour with other attractions like the Sacred Valley and Humantay Lake.

Tour Cost: $390

Pros

Cons

Outstanding service with great coordination and assistance.

Larger group size of up to 18 people at a time.

Excellent guides.

It's on the expensive side.

Comfortable transport service.


Machu Picchu One Day Trip: Inka Time

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Overview: This company offers both a budget-friendly and flexible approach to day tours at Machu Picchu. A highlight of this day tour is walking through the Red Valley on the way to Machu Picchu. Most other companies do not offer this spectacular diversion.

Tour Cost: $275

Pros

Cons

Great value for money.

Some customers feel that the guides rush through the site.

Fun and informed guides.


Good coordination and pre-planning assistance.


Hike through the Red Valley.


Where to stay? Here are 5 of my favourite accommodation options in Cusco: 

See more Cusco accommodation options.

Machu Picchu Full Day Tour From Cusco With An Optional Lunch: Lima Tours

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Overview: Established in 1956, Lima tours is one of the longest-standing operators in Cusco. They offer an extensive range of tours around Peru including special Machu Picchu tours for children.

Tour Cost: From $339

Pros

Cons

Option to include a traditional Peruvian lunch.

Prices for extras and special tours are not always clearly communicated.

Years of experience and high levels of professionalism.


Multilingual guides.

Immaculate vehicles.


Private Full-Day Tour to Machu Picchu With Lunch - Kantu Peru Tours

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Overview: This tour allows you to visit Machu Picchu with the luxury of a private guide. If you are not big on groups and you have a little extra budget, this is the best kind of Machu Picchu tour for you.

Tour Cost: $369

Pros

Cons

Hikers have free time to explore the ruins and take more photos.

You need to make your own way back to Aguas Calientes for lunch and then to Cusco by train.

Good communication from Kantu Peru Tours.

Cusco pick-up times can change without prior arrangement.

Includes a two-course lunch.


Informative guides.

Ideal for honeymooners.


Best 2-Day Tours To Machu Picchu

If you want to see as many as possible of the attractions around Machu Picchu, I recommend spending two days sightseeing. This will give you the opportunity to combine Machu Picchu with nearby natural and cultural attractions.

2-Day Tour Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train: Machupicchu Latin America

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Overview: This two-day tour includes guided visits to both Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. You will also stop along the way at interesting tourist spots like the Pisac Market, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo Archeological Park.

Tour Cost: $479

Pros

Cons

Group size is limited to 10 people.

Price excludes admission to the Sacred Valley (it costs an extra 70 Peruvian soles).

Passionate and knowledgeable guides.

Meals are not included.

A good option for solo travelers.


2-Day Machu Picchu by Car - Haku Travel

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Best Budget Machu Picchu Tour

Overview: If you are on a budget and feeling adventurous, this is a great option. For this tour, you will skip the train and take a shared car ride from Cusco to Hydroelectrica. From Hydroelectrica, you will walk along the train tracks through the scenic jungle to Aguas Calientes. On day 2, you will take a 4am hike to visit Machu Picchu at sunrise.

Tour Cost: From $153

Pros

Cons

Exceptional value for the price.

There is a long car ride to Hydroelectrica.

Lunch, dinner, and breakfast are included.

It is uncertain how this company makes money, so make sure you tip your guide well!

Hikers have the option of upgrading their accommodation to a 3-star hotel.


Hikers have the option of enjoying the hot springs.


A great option for a budget trip to Machu Picchu.

Keywords: machu picchu tours | machu picchu tour | machu picchu trip | trip to machu picchu | machu picchu tours from cusco | cusco to machu picchu tour | 

References: (1) TripAdvisor (2) Viator (3) Adventure-Life (4) The Crazy Tourist

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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