The ruins of Machu Picchu are one of the most well-known and extraordinary historic sites anywhere.

A city high in the mountains once thought lost to the jungle, everywhere you go in these Peruvian ruins gives you the chance to witness the splendor of this ancient place. Small wonder then that so many tours of Machu Picchu are offered by travel companies the world over; it’s a destination not to be missed by any world traveler.

However, many travellers miss the opportunity to explore Machu Picchu and get a taste for the culture of Peru that’s grown up around the site high in the Andes Mountains. Tours of Machu Picchu have tended for years to be an in-and-out affair: visit the city, walk around for a bit, and then leave and go about your business.

A more expansive tour of Machu Picchu includes both a tour of the ruins and the surrounding Peruvian culture. The fan of Peruvian travel will delight in experiencing Machu Picchu and the surrounding region, with plenty of time to spend in the fabled city itself. Ideally, you’ll spend seven days and six nights among the native Quechua people, which includes time spent in the lost Inca city as well as authentic native dining at local haciendas, and a tour through other Inca cities such as Cusco and Pisac.

Travelers would also be wise to visit the more than a dozen Peruvian ruins spread throughout the area, including the Temple of the Moon in the Urumbamba Valley and the mountaintop ruins of Pisac. Here you’ll find a chance to interact with locals.  I highly recommend enjoying dinner at a local hacienda, and exploring the local mountain villages.

Matthew Delman is a world traveler and writer for Classic Journeys, one of the only tour companies that brings people this close to the culture of Peru. Classic Journeys is a leader in Peru walking tours, and many of their repeat customers laud the company for offering the spontaneity, sense of discovery, and more that they crave in adventure travel. Classic Journeys has been called one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth by National Geographic Adventure, and Travel + Leisure named it one of the World’s Best Tour Operators.

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