If you love cruising and have always wanted to visit Machu Picchu, you’re in luck. Cruising is a great way to visit the famed Incan site, though not many people realize a Machu Picchu cruise vacation is possible, since the landmark is nestled far within the Andes Mountains.
On a South America cruise that sails to Peru, strategically planned ports of call in Lima with multiple overnights offer you the opportunity to do a land excursion to Machu Picchu. In addition, Machu Picchu can be visited as part of our Galapagos Islands cruise vacations.
A Machu Picchu cruise takes you to some of the most epic scenery and ancient ruins in South America. In addition to visiting Machu Picchu, which was named one of the new seven wonders of the world, you’ll also see the breathtaking peaks and valleys of the Andes mountain range and the towns and cities nestled among it.
No surprise here—seeing Machu Picchu with your own eyes and exploring the ruins is the top highlight of a Machu Picchu cruise! During your walking tour, you’ll learn more about the construction of the site and what various buildings were used for.
In addition to traveling to Machu Picchu during a multi-day excursion, you’ll spend time in Cusco, a handsome city often used as the jumping-off point for travelers visiting the ruins. Cusco also has delicious restaurants, vibrant squares, and great shopping.
You’re likely to see several llamas and possibly even an alpaca or two while walking around Machu Picchu and Cusco. The long-necked animals makes for a fun photo op, especially with the ruins of Machu Picchu in the background.
Pisco and Lima are the cruise ports that provide excursions to Machu Picchu. In addition, cruisers to the Galapagos Islands can include an escorted tour as part of their vacation package that visits Cusco and Machu Picchu after their Galapagos cruise ends.
If you’re spending multiple overnights in port in Pisco or Lima, you get the special opportunity to take a mini-vacation within your cruise on an escorted tour to Machu Picchu thanks to multi-day shore excursions.
This shore excursion encompasses three days and takes you to the wonder that is Machu Picchu. You’ll also visit top sites in Cusco and another Incan site called the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. During this unique shore excursion, you’ll stay in 5-star accommodations in Cusco.
Part of your transportation from Machu Picchu will include a ride on this luxury train that features domed ceilings, live entertainment with a local flair, and a gourmet meal. It’s part of the multi-day Machu Picchu shore excursion, but feels like an extra excursion unto itself.
Another way to visit Machu Picchu via a cruise vacation is by adding a land component to your Galapagos Islands cruise. Our all-inclusive Galapagos Islands vacation packages can include a cruise around the islands followed by a multi-day escorted tour to Machu Picchu.
You won’t find much opportunity to shop when you’re at the ancient site of Machu Picchu. Instead, do your shopping in Cusco, where you’ll find a bustling market, an artisan shopping neighborhood, and plenty of shops within the streets adjacent to the main square of Plaza de Armas. You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs while on the train you’ll take from Machu Picchu back to Cusco.
Popular souvenirs include locally made, 100% alpaca wool sweaters, hats, and scarves. Handmade jewelry and loom-created weaves by local artisans are great souvenirs, too. You’ll also find colorfully painted wooden figurines which commonly depict the nativity.
As is the case in most tourist areas, pickpocketing is prevalent in Cusco. Keep your belongings where you can see them and keep purses and bags to the front of you. Backpacks and wallets in back pockets are easy targets for pickpocketers.
When packing, keep in mind that Machu Picchu has some strict rules. Changing your clothes once you’re on the site is not allowed, even if it’s putting a dress or skirt on over your pants, so pack the exact outfit you want to wear while there. Other things that are not permitted are drones, tripods, large backpacks, and food or drinks. If you have mobility issues, you are permitted to bring a walking stick, but it must have a rubber end so the stones and walking paths of Machu Picchu are better protected.