South America Peru

Machu Picchu: A Private Tour with Peru Travel Explorer

When looking for a way to visit Machu Picchu, we found many options of tours and trails that bring you right to the famous ruins, from trails like the Salkantay trail to vans leaving from the city of Cusco with whole groups of people to climb their way through.

We found out that generally, the shortest tours to the Machu Picchu take around 2 days leaving from the city of Cusco, and spending one night in Aguas Calientes, a town on the foot of Machu Picchu, before coming back to Cusco again.

The problem was, after spending 2 weeks traveling through Peru, we didn’t have much time left to spend in Cusco and as it is such an interesting city,  we didn’t want to spend one night in Aguas Calientes. We needed an alternative for this, a tour to bring us from Cusco to Machu Picchu in one day.

So why not try a private tour to Machu Picchu instead?

It was when we found out about Peru Travel Explorer in Cusco, a company that offers a variety of tours, including the private guided tour to the Machu Picchu, leaving from Cusco.

As Cusco is located in a high altitude, I suggest you to spend some days resting in the city before you taking the tour, in order to avoid the altitude sickness.

If you are planning to visit Cusco, don’t forget to get your free guide here!

Machu Picchu: A Private Tour with Peru Travel Explorer

The Company

Peru Travel Explorer is a tour company that offers a variety of tours through the country, covering from the most mainstream destinations like Machu Picchu to not so well known ones like the Humantay lagoon.

The cool thing about them is the fact that they are completely flexible, which is great when you are building your trip and wants to fit something in.

In our case, we had only one day to visit Machu Picchu and many companies I was checking didn’t do one-day trips, but Peru Travel Explorer offers both group and private tours. We went for the private tour to the Machu Picchu, and the best part of it is that besides the comfort, you can do the trip on your own pace!

What the tour includes:

Transfer from hotel in Cusco – Ollantaytambo
Professional guide at Machu Picchu
Entrance to Machu Picchu
Return train Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes (SERVICE EXPEDITION)
Bus up and down: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu
Transfer Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Cusco

Machu Picchu Tours

From the tours they offer to Machu Picchu, there are private or group ones, from one or two days and for those looking for some adventure, there is also the trail to choose to get to the Machu Picchu, the trails are the Inka Trail and Salkantay Trail. Each option gives you a completely different experience of the trip.

On the way to Ollantaytambo

When it comes to visiting Machu Picchu, you have two options, enter the park in the morning, or in the afternoon. Our ticket was for the afternoon and as our tour was private we had time to enjoy the breakfast.

Adrian, our driver, and guide through the road met us at our hotel and drove us all the way to Ollantaytambo, the city where we take the train to Aguas Calientes.

The trip to Ollantaytambo was so comfortable, as it was only me and my mom in the car. This was the first time I ever took a private tour, and I must admit I adored it hahaha all the comfort and flexibility it gives is really relaxing especially at the end of a long trip through a new country!

Adrian speaks both Spanish and Portuguese fluently and also English, so imagine the happiness of my mom when she found out she could finally communicate with someone and the person would actually understand her!

I think we gave Adrian’s mind a knot by all the talk and questions we asked him hahaha

Machu PicchuMachu PicchuMachu Picchu

On the way, we could see many beautiful landscapes, admire the Puray lake, an important lake for the region, and from a distance we could see the Salineras de Maray.

At some points, we stopped at a viewpoint from which we could see the Sacred Valley surrounded by the mountains and the famous Urubamba river, source for life in the region since the Inca Empire.

Arriving in Ollantaytambo, Adrian asked us if we would like to be dropped at the train station or at the main square, as we still had time until our departure, we decided to stay at the main square.

Before taking the train we could still wander through the streets of the city, and enjoy our time among the locals, who were having a celebration that day.

Ollantaytambo also has some ruins, you can take this time to visit it, as the ruins are located really close to the main square, however, you need to buy a ticket to do so.

The train station is just 15 mins away from the main square, you can easily walk till there or take a tuk-tuk.

Train Trip

The train trip is made with Expedition Service, they offer super comfortable trains with amazing panoramic views where you can see not only around you but also get an amazing view from the mountains thanks to the windows above you.

The service also includes drinks and snacks on board.

Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu

Arriving at Aguas Calientes train station, our next guide, Wilson that would guide us through the Machu Picchu was already waiting for us at the entrance of the station. We took a bus to climb the mountain until the entrance of Machu Picchu park.

I must say that Wilson is a really patient person because the number of questions I asked him would drive most people crazy hahaha luckily, he was as passionate about the Inca history as me! In the end, I left Machu Picchu with no question unanswered!

One of the things we learned, and that many people might think like us, is that Machu Picchu is actually the name of the mountain which the city was built in, and not the big iconic mountain in front of it, which we see so often in pictures, that mountain instead is called Huayna Picchu, and can also be climbed in a separated tour.

Machu Picchu Machu Picchu

Our way back

I must admit that walking around Machu Picchu, which is a really big area and going up and down the stairs is so tiring, so at the end of the day, you are physically done!

Despite all the tiredness we still managed to take the free time we had after leaving Machu Picchu and walk around Aguas Calientes for a bit, before taking our train back.

Arriving back at Ollantaytambo station, Adrian was waiting for us outside to take us to the car. We were SO freaking tired that we came back to Cusco half sleeping half super excited!

After bombing Adrian with so much talk in the morning, we were giving him a peaceful time on our way back hahaha

Final Thoughts

This was the first time I ever took a private tour, and I can assure you that people are right when they say that it’s good to be VIP!

You pay a bit more, but it worths every cent, you have more freedom and flexibility in the trip so you don’t need to rush around following your group, also the comfort you get in a private tour is something incomparable.

To be honest, I doubt that in a group tour we would have had time to visit so many things and learn so much on our way to Machu Picchu as we did that day.

Another advantage is that you can ask as many questions as you want since you don’t need to be ashamed in front a big group, plus nobody will give you that “someone please shuts that human being up” kind of look. It is also a good chance to get to know a local (the guide) and learn directly from the source.

Privates tours can be more expensive but in my opinion, there are cases where they are way more attractive option than a group one, especially if you are going to such a historical and culturally rich site, where there is a lot to see and learn, private tours will give you more chance to absorb and enjoy the moment fully.

Where to stay in Cusco


Disclaimer: We received a discount to this tour, but as always, all opinions are completely my own.

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  • Reply
    17 de November de 2017 at 07:26

    Great photos! Wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    17 de November de 2017 at 10:09

    Nice and very informative.great article.

  • Reply
    17 de November de 2017 at 13:57

    Loved this! I just went to Machu Picchu a couple months ago and am still reeling from being there – it was a dream! 🙂

    • Reply
      17 de November de 2017 at 14:48

      Definitely! I wish to go there again, it is really a magic place!

  • Reply
    17 de November de 2017 at 18:01

    Machu Picchu is on my bucket list. I have never took a private tour in my life but after reading this maybe I will do that one day. I am glad you enjoyed the trip and you had a great tour guide! I love all the pics you shared as well! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sanne Grieten
    18 de November de 2017 at 12:50

    Really dying here, because I want to visit Machu Picchu so badly haha! Great and beautiful photos (:

    • Reply
      18 de November de 2017 at 13:29

      hahaha you really should visit it someday!! I’m sure you will love it!!

  • Reply
    18 de November de 2017 at 13:17

    There was always something about Machu Pichu that makes me wanted to visit the place. Unfortunately, until now I still haven’t find the time to go, but it is definitely high on my ”to visit” list. thank you for sharing this great post!

  • Reply
    18 de November de 2017 at 13:43

    Thanks for the amazing info! I’m going to Machu Picchu on February 2018 🙂 SOOOO excited!

  • Reply
    Tarah vongbouthdy
    18 de November de 2017 at 14:25

    That looks amazing! We really need to visit Machu Picchu soon! That tour looks and sounds great and you have beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    18 de November de 2017 at 17:32

    Thanks for the awesome post. thanks for sharing. i will bookmark this now

  • Reply
    18 de November de 2017 at 23:53

    I would love to do this type of tour for Machu Picchu! I think you’re right that this would be the type of experience where the extra money is totally worth it! I will definitely consider this option for when I plan my trip! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    19 de November de 2017 at 00:23

    Looks like such an incredible experience! I have a friend who just got back from Peru and absolutely loved it. I’d love to go one day!

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 11:18

      Peru as a whole is magic! It has so many beautiful things to see, going there is truly a unique experience!

  • Reply
    Kaitlyn Napier
    19 de November de 2017 at 02:24

    Love your pictures, and great tips!!

  • Reply
    19 de November de 2017 at 02:37

    I didn’t know you could take a bus to Machu Picchu. I always thought you had to hike up there. It’s been so high on my bucket list though (and even higher now that I know I don’t have to hike for days). P.S. Your pictures look so dreamy.

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 11:22

      hahaha don’t worry, hiking up is not the only option to get there! Many people do that though, but I’m not such an athlete, so lazy option FTW!

  • Reply
    Jessika @ Little Lookbook
    19 de November de 2017 at 07:44

    Everything looks so gorgeous in these pictures & it sounds like you had an amazing trip. Also, I really want to give that alpaca a huge hug!

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 11:20

      I basically hugged all alpacas and lhamas I saw on my way in Peru, the good thing is that the are so chill, I think they even enjoy it lol

  • Reply
    Margriet Zwaan
    19 de November de 2017 at 17:53

    Having a private tour sounds amazing! I will keep it in mind for my travels in the future. By the way, I love the pictures you took.

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 22:08

      Thank you so much Margriet! 😀

  • Reply
    19 de November de 2017 at 17:55

    Some stunning photographs! Machu Picchu is 100% on my bucket list, it just looks stunning.

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 22:08

      Thank you so much! 😀

  • Reply
    19 de November de 2017 at 20:19

    Great piece and so are the pics. I haven’t been to Machu Picchu and now I definitely need to plan my next vacay to see this magical place!

    • Reply
      19 de November de 2017 at 22:10

      Thank you so much! You really should put it on your bucket list! 😀

  • Reply
    Karthik Murali H
    20 de November de 2017 at 06:57

    I agree with private tours. Esp to historical landmarks that will help us learn a lot
    Tour groups usually hurry it up and you dont get to see it in peace

    • Reply
      20 de November de 2017 at 23:59

      Exactly! I find it really worthy to take private tour for this kind of places!

  • Reply
    20 de November de 2017 at 15:30

    Aaaah, I envy you so much! Machu Picchu is definitely a dream.. looks so epic. And it’s good to know an opinnion on the private tours too! I always thought it’s a waste of money, but you’re making me reconsider 😉

    • Reply
      21 de November de 2017 at 00:03

      Yeah, it is definitely not a waste of money, specially for places like this, that has so much history and culture, so much to learn. With private tour at least, you don’t need to run around a group all the time. It gives you more time to appreciate things without rush and you are able to learn more as well!

  • Reply
    21 de November de 2017 at 03:05

    I love that you are traveling with your mom! Looks like an awesome time. That mountain view is gorgeous. I’m jealous!

  • Reply
    21 de November de 2017 at 14:42

    Wow, thanks for sharing such a detailed report with pictures. I’ve always wanted to go and now I have the information I needed. 🙂

  • Reply
    21 de November de 2017 at 15:54

    Wow! Machu Pichu is on my bucketlist! This is great post! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Loretta Sayers
    21 de November de 2017 at 19:13

    How wonderful and lucky to get to travel there with your Mom! I loved it. I would do a private tour as well. I’ve never been and would love to go. Amazing photos! Thank you.

  • Reply
    21 de November de 2017 at 20:27

    Wow the tour looks amazing, when I do finally make it to Machu Picchu I will check out this tour. Thank you

  • Reply
    Alice Coaxum
    21 de November de 2017 at 22:54

    Amazing views. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sidhu Jetha
    22 de November de 2017 at 04:34

    Lovely. i really liked the post because its detailed and backed with excellent photographs.

  • Reply
    22 de November de 2017 at 08:59

    Interesting post with attractive pictures. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    22 de November de 2017 at 10:40

    Looks stunning!

  • Reply
    Kanicia Cognard
    22 de November de 2017 at 11:30

    Great pictures and it seemed like a wonderful tour! I hope I get to visit this area sometime soon!

  • Reply
    22 de November de 2017 at 12:41

    Great Photos! Looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Christina/The Blog for Teachers, Readers, & Life!
    22 de November de 2017 at 22:53

    Vibrant photos really capture the atmosphere!:) It is great that the tours were very flexible. I think this is important when you have a busy schedule of travelling. 🙂 Well done!

  • Reply
    23 de November de 2017 at 12:30

    wooww, that is on my travel list, seems to be a great adventure 🙂 can’t wait

  • Reply
    28 de November de 2017 at 09:55

    Thanks for sharing. If only I could afford to travel more often! Your pics are brilliant too. How do you get to do all this travel? Do share the secret please, lol

  • Reply
    28 de November de 2017 at 11:21

    Peru is an amazing country with its abundance culture. Definitely going to travel Peru one day. Thanks for the share.

  • Reply
    28 de November de 2017 at 11:22

    it looks amazing!

  • Reply
    28 de November de 2017 at 20:11

    This looks like it was amazing! The photos are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    28 de November de 2017 at 22:06

    I want to go so bad! Great pics!

  • Reply
    29 de November de 2017 at 11:13

    Woow!Amazing place! I want to visit Peru! I haven’t thought this place is this awesome! Thanks for bringing me there through your pictures. You captured lovely places!

  • Reply
    Hazel Butler
    29 de November de 2017 at 11:22

    Amazing! I’ve bookmarked this for later, it’s one of my dream destinations!

  • Reply
    30 de November de 2017 at 22:47

    This is insanely helpful! I am trying desperately to go to Peru and Machu Picchu next year! your photos are simply breathtaking! thanks for all the great information!

  • Reply
    emman damian
    1 de December de 2017 at 00:08

    I really want to visit Peru soon!

  • Reply
    1 de December de 2017 at 06:22

    This is amazing!! I visited Machu Picchu when I was younger, and I have always dreamed of going back. I would love to do a private tour like this, or do the Inca Trail. Thanks for sharing such an awesome experience!

  • Reply
    Faisal Nawaz
    1 de December de 2017 at 07:15

    Awesome visual of nature… thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    1 de December de 2017 at 12:32

    Thank you for all of the great information in this post. I am hoping to visit Machu Picchu in the spring and this is so, so helpful. What is the pricing? How big of a price difference is it between the private and group tour?

    • Reply
      2 de December de 2017 at 12:22

      You will love Machu Picchu, it is breathtaking! Tbh, The prices are not so different, I though that it would be way more expensive but actually it was not. What is expensive in the trip to Machu Picchu is actually the ticket for the Machu Picchu itself and the ticket for the train.

  • Reply
    Yanika Muscat
    1 de December de 2017 at 12:40

    Machu-Picchu … Wooww.. from the photos I bet being there is the most amazing experience. This place is on my bucket list. I will bookmark for your tips sure they would be helpful. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    Luz Citlali
    1 de December de 2017 at 16:36

    Amazing post, I just came back from Peru few weeks ago, and I did the hardest way to get to Machu Pichu (but also the cheapest), we hire the economic tour that include ride from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo then we walk for 3 hours through the train tracks, we found a lot of turist doing the same. Finally we get to Aguas Calientes and stayed 1 night there. Next day very early, we climb the 2 thousand steps to Machi Pichu, we had also few time, we did it in 2 days. This was a very hard way but definitely it worth it!.. Although if I ever visit Machu Pichu again I will do it at your way!

    • Reply
      1 de December de 2017 at 22:17

      hahah It was really an adventour! I heard of some people doing the same way as you. I could see on the way, when we passed by to the hydroelectric, some people walking following the train tracks as well, I would give it a try if I had time tbh!

  • Reply
    Lucile DEPREZ
    1 de December de 2017 at 17:36

    Peru is on our to-do list! But I don’t know if I’d like to be on a pivate tour. I think I’d prefer to be by myself!

    • Reply
      1 de December de 2017 at 22:09

      Hi Lucile! Unfortunately there is no way to get to Machu Picchu by yourself 🙁 I mean, nothing stops you from booking a hotel in Aguas Calientes and getting to Machu Picchu by foot or taking a bus to climb the mountain. But even like this, you have to hire a guide to get inside the park 🙁

  • Reply
    4 de December de 2017 at 02:29

    Ah! I love this. It’s been on my list for soooo long and I feel like we may be close to packing everything up and coming that way! I’ll be sure to save this blog for tips. Thanks lovely X

  • Reply
    peter hollens
    28 de April de 2019 at 10:24

    hi, your tour pictures are Awesome.

    • Reply
      8 de May de 2019 at 10:39

      Thank you Peter! 😀

  • Reply
    Fantastic Beast
    2 de September de 2019 at 11:15

    Thank you for the great information in this post.🙂

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