This is not only an alternative to the Inca Trail, it is also the most original and extensively travelled of all the existing paths. The Inca Jungle trail is more recently discovered which leads through the Jungle to the Inca Trail and finally to the sanctuary Machu Picchu. This trek can be done in either 3 or 4 days and is a combination of biking and hiking with breathtaking scenery – this is ideal for anyone with a sense of adventure and curiosity!
Downhill Mountain Biking from Cusco to Santa Maria
Your adventure begins with the pick-up around 7:00 am. The bus takes the road through the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas and droppes you off at 4316 m (14,160 ft) altitude — the highest point of the trail, called Abra Malaga. Here, you will be transfered to your mountain bikes (we provide you a helmet, gloves, and protective pads). Your guide will give you an overview of what’s to follow… and then your adventure begins! Freewheeling down through the smooth-but-challenging roads and different landscapes, you won’t be able to catch your breath until you reach the first stop in Alfamayo-San Luis, a three-hour ride from the starting point. There, you will enjoy your lunch with a panoramic view. Before you head off again, you’ll have some time to freshen up and apply a dab of insect repellent. Then you will ride along a hilly path to the recently discovered archaeological site of Huamanmarca. Your tour guide will provide you with the historical background of the site before you carry on with your descent to 1,500 m (4,921 ft), where the edge of the jungle meets the small, but charming, town of Santa Maria. Here, you can purchase a snack or a nice, cold beer to enjoy while you rest your legs before being served a traditional Peruvian dinner. You will spend the night in a family-run hostel.
Optional activity: Rafting after arriving at Santa Maria:
RAFTING. Duration: approx. 2 hours. Price: US$ 40 per person.
Trekking from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa
You will wake up around 6:30 am to the aroma of the finest indigenous coffee. After breakfast, we begin our trek. The path will progressively steepen until you arrive at a family restaurant in Santa Rosa where you’ll stop for refreshments. You will move on to a rest stop where you can lie in hammocks as you admire the surrounding coca plantations. Afterwards, you’ll continue on a short path to the original Inca Trail. As the Incas did centuries before, you’ll trek along a path for just over two hours to the small town of Quellomayo. Here, you’ll stop for a well-deserved lunch. From Quellomayo, it’s just a short trek to Rio Vilcanota, which will lead you to the famous hot springs of Colcamayo. Your body will thank you as you soak in the relaxing, therapeutic properties of the medicinal waters which are nestled between the mountains. Here, you can enjoy the hot springs and relax your muscles in these natural settings. Then we carry on our hike to the town of Santa Teresa for dinner and then to your hostel where you’re sure to get a good night’s rest after wading in the thermal baths.
Trekking from Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes
After being served breakfast around 7:00 am, you will trek to Collpani, a small valley with a river of the same name. This river is one of the sources of fresh water of Santa Teresa. Continuing from here, we will be hiking by the banks of the Urubamba River, observing few agriculture fields with corn and other tropical fruits. In some season of the year, it is possible to see some locals farming the fields and collecting fruits and to join them. After all this adventure, we will stop at a restaurant in Hidroelectrica to have lunch. After a delicious meal, we have some time to rest and to be ready to continue our hike among the train lines for two and a half hours in the middle of the jungle. We will enjoy the sound of the birds and observe the different flora. We arrive at the base of Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, in the afternoon.
We will bring you to your hostel with hot water and private bathrooms; then we will meet you to enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Optional activity operated by Cola de Mono:
ZIPLINING/CANOPY – If you want to, you can take this optional activity of Zip line. For that, you will be transported by car to the zip line zone and after the activity you will also be transferred to Hidroelectrica, then continue the hike to Aguas calientes.
Cola de Mono – South America’s highest zip lines!
Located: about 15 minutes from Santa Teresa by car
Duration: approx. 2 hours
Price: US$ 40 per person
Today, you will visit the Inca-Citadel of Machu Picchu! In order to avoid the crowds and be among the first visitors at Machu Picchu, you will depart from your hostel shortly after a very early breakfast. After managing to remain hidden throughout the Spanish Conquest, the citadel was rediscovered by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. Your guide will take you on a tour around the vast ruins for approximately three hours, explaining the historical significance of the various structures built during the time of the Inca Empire (mid-15th century), including the Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial and the Burial Grounds.
After the guided tour, you will be free to explore the archaeological site on your own. If you reserve early enough in advance, you may have the option to hike up the mountains of Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu (the one situated behind the citadel in the most commonly taken photos of Machu Picchu). They are moderately challenging hikes, but the stunning views from the top are worth the effort! Only 400 entrance tickets are available for each mountain per day, so we highly recommend that you let us know if you wish to climb one of them when you book your Inca Jungle Trail. Tickets for each mountain costs US$ 15. Climbing and descending Huayna Picchu, on average, takes 2-3 hours; Machu Picchu mountain can take 3-4 hours. Tickets to Huayna Picchu tend to sell out quickly, but don’t be discouraged if they’re sold out during your visit; Machu Picchu mountain may not be as popular to climb but it is less crowded and the views are just as beautiful, if not more. Should you wait to decide until the day of your visit to Machu Picchu that you want to take on the extra climbing challenge, there are likely to still be Machu Picchu Mountain tickets available for purchase; they usually don’t sell out.
You may also opt to visit Inti Punku (The Sun Gate) or the Inca Bridge on an unguided walk. Inti Punku is the traditional end of the Inca Trail; from the citadel it takes around 1,5 hours. To reach the Inca Bridge, is takes you about 1 hour. After your free time, you may either walk back down to the town of Aguas Calientes or you can take the bus which runs on a regular and frequent schedule. Before you catch the evening train to Ollantaytambo, you may choose to have a late lunch in town, take a dip in the hot springs (not included), or simply relax and reflect on your amazing experience. Our driver will await you in Ollantaytambo to take you back to Cusco.
Next confirmed departure dates:
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Price US$ 360 based on 4 people.
Price for min. 2 people US$ 440 per person
Price for min. 3 people US$ 400 per person
Exclusive international transaction fees: The amount of the extra transaction fees depends on how the payment is made and on your bank. For further information please don’t hesitate to ask.
Upon request, with each booked tour with Green Peru Adventures, you will receive a free walking tour of the mysterious and historic city of Cusco. You will be guided by one of our multilingual, professional guides.