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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  1. Great photos! Wonderful adventure! Thanks for sharing!

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

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

  3. 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. 🙂

  4. Sanne Grieten says:

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

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

  5. 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!

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

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

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

  9. 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!!

  10. 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!

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

  11. Kaitlyn Napier says:

    Love your pictures, and great tips!!

  12. 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.

    1. 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!

  13. 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!

    1. 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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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!

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

  17. 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

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

  18. 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 😉

    1. 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!

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

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

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

  22. 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.

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

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

  25. Interesting post with attractive pictures. Thanks for sharing

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

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

  28. 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

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

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

  31. I want to go so bad! Great pics!

  32. 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!

  33. Hazel Butler says:

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

  36. 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?

    1. 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.

  37. 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 🙂

  38. 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!

    1. 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!

  39. 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!

    1. 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 🙁

  40. 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

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