Peru: Inka Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu - Unforgettable Experience

Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu (The Ultimate Inca Experience) in Peru

04 Days/03 Nights   April to November   Moderate

Inka Jungle Trail is an excellent combination between hiking and sports like mountain biking. This adventure tour, that takes 4 days guides us from the ancient of Cusco all the way to Machu Picchu. On the way you will pass different typical villages as well as archaeological sites of the Inca people. We start in a valley at more than 4000m above sea level before

descending 4 hours on a mountain bike in the midst of a tropical forest. Also we will pass by beautiful mountains that offer splendid views. The next days we will walk into splendid views filled with mountains and tropical vegetation, passing by little picturesque villages where we will have the opportunity to harvest the local fruits like coca. Almost at the end of the trip, we could be lucky and have a magnificent view over the Inca Trail, used by the Inca in ancient times. At the very end, in the city of Aguas Calientes, we can enjoy the hot springs before leaving for Machu Picchu.

The Inca Jungle trek to Machu Picchu is by far the most adventurous trekking option in the Cusco region. It is also the most varied in terms of activities. The ‘trek’ includes a massive downhill mountain biking experience, followed by possible river rafting on Grade III and IV rapids, jungle trekking, and optional zip-lining. It culminates with a visit to Machu Picchu. Most trekking companies offer the Inca Jungle trek on a 4D/3N itinerary, although it is possible to complete the trek on a 3D/2N itinerary (more on this below). Accommodation on the trek is in hostel or home-stays, with a night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. The trek naturally appears to adventurous types who like thrilling adrenaline-filled experiences. If you are looking for a pure Andean trekking experience, hate mountain biking and enjoying camping, then this trek is not for you. Rather check out these alternative treks to Machu Picchu or indeed, the Classic Inca Trail. Below we have provided detailed information on the Inca Jungle trail itinerary and it’s route map. We have also provided guidance on the best time for this trek, acclimatisation and altitude sickness, best tour operators, and equipment packing lists.

Route options: The Inca Jungle trek is usually completed on a 4 Day / 3 Night itinerary. The itinerary set out below is the most common; however you may see subtle variations from tour company to tour company.

Variations: The 3 Day / 2 Night itinerary skips the trekking option between Santa Maria and Santa Theresa on day 2, and instead uses car transport to take trekkers direct to Santa Theresa where zip-lining can be tried before continuing to Aguas Calientes.

Best Time for an Inca Jungle trek: There are two main seasons in the sub-tropical Peruvian Andes – a dry season which runs from May through to September, and a wet season from October to April. The Inca Jungle trek can be completed all year round, however, heavy rains during January and February often lead to landslides on the trail and road that connect Santa Maria with Santa Theresa and hence the Inca Jungle trek is often closed during this time of the year. The best time to do an Inca Jungle trek is either during the dry season, or on the dry season shoulder months of March / April and October / November. The latter shoulder months are particularly good if you are keen to do some rafting in Santa Maria. The trail is busier during the dry season, but nowhere near as busy as the Classic Inca Trail. Temperatures are fairly consistent all year round, with warm days reaching into the high 20s (Celsius). Nights and early mornings are cold (in the single digits and sometimes drop below zero degrees, especially in the dry season). You will want to bring layered trekking clothing so that you can layer up or down as the daily temperatures fluctuate (see packing list below for details on layering). Finally, micro-climates are the dominant weather force in the Andes. Make sure to bring some wet weather gear, like a basic poncho, as it is possible to encounter rain at anytime in the year.

Travel Program


Day 1: Cusco – Chinchero – Ollantaytambo – Malaga Pass – Santa Maria - Maranura (descent by mountain bike)
Day 2: Maranura – Santa Teresa (Trekking)
Day 3: Santa Teresa – Station Hydroélectrique – Aguas Calientes (Trekking)
Day 4: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Detailed Program

Detailed Program

Day 1: Cusco – Chinchero – Ollantaytambo – Malaga Pass – Santa Maria - Maranura (descent by mountain bike)
We will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at about 6h30 with our private transport and we will take you further to the village of Chinchero. This typical village that still possesses a lot of Inca ruins, is one of the main places in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. From this village we will follow the Vilcanota river until we arrive in the village of Ollantaytambo. This village had an important fortress during the reign of Manco Capac, especially when the Spanish began to gain land in this region (1535). From Ollantaytambo, we will climb the pass of Abra Malaga, which is situated at a height of 4350 meters above sea level. We will arrive this pass at around midday. On this pass, you will be given mountain bikes which you can use to make the descent on asphalted roads in the midst of the jungle (when the weather doesn’t allow it, we will perform this part of the trek by car). We ride our mountain bikes until the little community of Carrizales where we will enjoy our breakfast and a little rest. After our well-deserved rest, we continue to descent with our mountain bikes through attractive villages in the midst of the tropical forest, which will take us roughly 3 or 4 hours. On the way we will visit the archaeological site of Wamanmarka. After this we will offer you the time to enjoy the beautiful landscaper with its typical vegetation and marvelous fauna. Arrived at Santa Maria (1430m) we will have lunch and pass the night in the house of a local family in Maranura (about 10minutes from Santa Maria). In the afternoon there will be some exchange with the family concerning the harvesting of their coffee and coca, depending on the season. If you wish, you can also do a quadbike tour, discovering the landscape full of cascades, fauna and flora (on supplement, ask your agency for the price).

Day 2: Maranura – Santa Teresa (Trekking)
We will wake up at about 6h00 to taste the delicious local coffeeInka Jungle Trail - Hiking and fruit juices (according to the season) as well as the succulent breakfast made by our cook (7h30). We will walk along the bank of the Vilcanota river and where the landscape becomes a bit more steep begins one of the ancient inca trails. Here there are also abysses until 800 meters deep. We take our breakfast in the village of Qellomayo, 1 hours of trek further away. We will be able to see the local fauna from very close, in particular the hummingbird, parrots, eagles etc. We also have the chance to pick to local fruits such as oranges, mandarins, pacay (Andean fruit), mangos, cacao, coffee, etc. We continue along the bank of the river to arrive at the hot tubs of Cocalmayo, close to the village of Santa Teresa. After having enjoyed this hot springs we continue to Santa Teresa (1850m). Here we will have diner and rest.

Day 3: Santa Teresa – Station Hydroélectrique – Aguas Calientes (Trekking)
In the morning we will have the opportunity the do zipline (on supplement, the reservation is to be done directly in your agency while booking the whole trek). This is a unique and an adventurous experience full of adrenaline passing by one side of the valley to the other at a cable. The ziplining begins at 7hours in the morning and takes until 10hours. At this time there will be a bus taking us to the Hidroelectrical station where we will have our breakfast. We will continue our trek on the bank of the Urubamba river for about 3 hours until we arrive at Aguas Calientes, a little town at the feet of Machu Picchu. On our way to this town, we will visit the natural park of Mandor where we discover a variety of local flowers and when we are lucky, local bird life as well… In Aguas Calientes town we will have lunch and rest during the night. There will be also a chance to enjoy the hot tubs in Aguas Calientes (on supplement).

Day 4: Machu Picchu – Cusco
We will be leaving our hotel early in the morning after having Machu Picchu by Inka Jungle Trailhad our breakfast and we will immediately take the bus to Machu Picchu at 5h30 which takes roughly half an hour. In the bus we will be amazed by the astonishing view of the sunset over Machu Picchu. Our guide will offer you a guided visit of about 2 hours and after this you will have time to visit Machu Picchu and maybe Wayna Picchu (optional, to be reserved in advance) at your own pace. When you have survived the though climb of this mountain you will be recompensed by the astonishing view over Machu Picchu. Tourist busses will offer you the descent back to Aguas Calientes, from where we will take the train to Ollantaytambo, where our bus awaits you to continue to Cusco.

Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner

What’s included

What's included

Services included in the prices:
  • Private transport that picks you up at your hotel in Cusco
  • Mountain bike with suspension, gloves and a helmet
  • Meals during the trek (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 diners)
  • 2 nights in a hostel, in Maranura and Santa Teresa (all basic services included)
  • Private room in an hostel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu, Continental breakfast or similar)
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Professional bilingual guide (English, Spanish and French on demand)
  • Train to return to Ollantaytambo + bus to Cusco

Not Included:
  • Breakfast on the first day and diner on the last day
  • Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Zipline in Santa Teresa (third day), $20 per person
  • Entrance fee to the hot springs (10 Soles)

Prices & Dates

Tour Information:

Season: April to November
Difficulty: Moderate

Dates & Prices:

More information about dates and prices upon request.


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Eric Albino
Eric Albino Lliuya
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