Looking to enjoy a vacation in Machu Picchu? Without a doubt, the best decision when deciding to travel around the world. Many hikers are more than prepared to venture on the famous Inca Trail, but there are many other adventure treks to reach the Inca citadel. Fortunately, together with the experts at Cusco Peru Travel, we have the answer. The 4-day Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu!
The Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most exciting and adventurous treks in the Cusco region. In fact, it is very popular with backpackers due to its variety of fun and joyful activities, as well as its inexpensive price. The Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu combines trekking with many other adventure activities such as cycling, jungle trekking, rafting, and zip-lining. Sounds like an amazing tour with multiple activities, huh?
Most trekking companies offer the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu in a 4-day / 3-night itinerary. While others on a 3-day / 2-night itinerary. Therefore, adventurous souls and thrill-seekers, you must correctly choose which one best suits your needs. We will give you an idea of a day-by-day itinerary on the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. Are you ready for this high adventure, low-cost hike? Let us begin!
REGARDING THE JUNGLE TREK TO MACHU PICCHU
The 4-day Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu is a trek through the Peruvian jungle and much more. With so many things to do in the Peruvian Amazon, it is not surprising that this impressive route exists. The tropical trek incorporates an endless number of adventure activities in the trip that goes far beyond hiking. During the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu, you will participate in a wide variety of activities along the way. Among them, you can enjoy mountain biking descent, whitewater rafting, hiking on the Inca Trail, and zip-lining. This Machu Picchu Jungle Trail has been gaining popularity since it was first offered almost ten years ago. In fact, according to trusted data, it has become the second most popular trek to reach Machu Picchu, only after the famous Inca Trail.
THE JUNGLE TREK TO MACHU PICCHU ROUTE
The Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu is generally completed in a 4-day / 3-night itinerary. Therefore, we will present one of the most common itineraries. However, you may notice some subtle changes from one travel agency to another. For example, a 3-day / 2-night itinerary might skip the hike option between Santa Maria and Santa Teresa. Instead, they take hikers directly to Santa Teresa by car. The entire tour is undertaken to take into account our surroundings and practicing the necessary precautions not to harm the environment. If you are interested in responsible tours, you can also check about ecotourism in Peru.
Everything you need to know about the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu
- First day: Cusco to Abra Malaga
- Second day: Santa Maria to Santa Teresa
- Third day: Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes
- Fourth day: Machu Picchu
FIRST DAY: CUSCO TO ABRA MALAGA
The first day of the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu begins with a scenic ride up through beautiful Andean mountains to Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will stop to take in some of the sights. Then, the bus climbs up to the top of the impressive Abra Malaga Pass that sets at 4,200 meters above sea level… The adventure has just begun!
High in the Andes Mountains, you will start the first activity of the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu: Mountain biking. The descent will start with a chilly breeze caressing your cheeks while admiring the breathtaking and stunning surrounding scenery through curvy roads and steep drop-offs. The ride is entirely downhill so there is practically no need to pedal during the entire ride. A very thrilling ride! Without a doubt, one of the most exciting things to do in Machu Picchu.
After, approximately 3 hours of adrenaline riding through these winding mountain roads and local villages, you will finally reach the bottom of the mountain. If you are nervous about all this, don’t worry. You can go as slow as you like. Keep in mind that feeling comfortable is part of the fun. Besides, a backup van travels behind you in case of any problems, or if you get tired or wish to stop.
After cycling and burning all those calories, you will stop to have a well-deserved lunch in the town of Santa Maria. After lunch, you have to make a choice between a hike through the picturesque town of Santa Maria or go white water rafting. The rafting is an optional extra offered by some Machu Picchu excursions.
SECOND DAY: SANTA MARIA TO SANTA TERESA
After all the fun on day 1 and after a hearty breakfast, the real trekking begins on day 2. This day is a relatively hard trekking day in terms of distance (15 km approximately). Most travelers consider it the hardest but most rewarding day.
The trek begins with a steep and challenging but thoroughly enjoyable climb that will be gradually flattened. You will get to trek on parts of an authentic Inca Trail where your guide will teach you the purposes of the Inca trails and all about the Incas. Besides, you will pass through several undulating trails, stunning valleys, and coffee, Coca, and fruit tree plantations. As you have already realized, during your Machu Picchu tour from Cusco, you will witness vegetatively lush scenery.
Don’t forget you will be in the Jungle region of Cusco so you will be able to appreciate a great part of the wildlife in Peru. At the highest point of the trek, you will have truly beautiful and incredible views of the valley of Urubamba. Here, you will stop for refreshments. After lunch and a short break, you will continue trekking and come down through impressive tropical mountains, crossing farms and rivers along the way.
After the long tough day, you will reach the town of Santa Teresa where you will enjoy its natural hot springs. A great reward for all the struggle during your Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu, don’t you think? There are 4 different pools, ranging from the hottest to the coldest ones. They are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Cusco Peru Travel recommends soaking between the hottest and coldest hot springs to ensure your legs are not sore the next day. Remember to wear insect repellent and have your bathing suit at hand.
THIRD DAY: SANTA TERESA TO AGUAS CALIENTES
We think that adrenaline seekers will enjoy this day a lot! This day begins with a morning full of zip lining. The zip lining is an optional extra on a Machu Picchu luxury tour. So, check it when booking your tour. Keep in mind that the highest zip is 150 meters above the ground. For those opting not to zip line, you can choose a 3-hour hike along Inca paths.
Whether you walk or do the zip line, everybody regroups at Hydroelectric before continuing the trek together to the town of Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is the tourist town at the foot of Machu Picchu site. It is about a 3-hour trek along the railway lines at the side of the river. Be aware of these train tracks are still in use so if you hear a train coming, run!
FOURTH DAY: MACHU PICCHU
The last day of the adventurous Jungle trek to Machu Picchu starts early at around 4:30 a.m. At this point, you need to decide if taking a bus up or hiking up to Machu Picchu. Buses start running at 5:30 a.m. and take 30 minutes to reach the Inca Citadel which opens at 6 am. If you decide to hike up to Machu Picchu, you must know the hike is steep but manageable. You will arrive at the top of Machu Picchu at around 6 a.m. or just before opening time. It means that you will witness one of the most beautiful and epic sunrises of the world over this wonder.
After arriving at Machu Picchu, your guide will give you a 2-hour tour around the Sanctuary, explaining all the things about Machu Picchu. But you will be free to explore the Sanctuary by yourself and even take some selfies with friendly and fluffy llamas. Furthermore, we recommend climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain during your Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. At the top of them, you will get the most stunning views of Machu Picchu. But keep in mind that the permits to climb these mountains must be purchased along with your Machu Picchu tickets. Finally, you will go back on foot or bus to the town of Aguas Calientes and then take the train to Ollantaytambo or Cusco.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONSIDER
Before embarking on the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu, it is advisable to keep certain things in mind. First of all, it is important to choose the correct seat in the van. The truck ride to and from the Jungle Trek can be a bit dizzy. Due to the altitude, the twists of the road, and the wind one can feel nauseous. It is also recommended to take the 4 days and 3 nights itinerary. There is a shorter variant but this one skips the trekking day. Another recommended thing is to chew Coca or drink Mate de Coca. If the altitude affects you or you feel tired, this can help a lot. It’s also a good idea to stay hydrated at all times to avoid future discomfort. If you follow these simple directions, you will only be able to enjoy this wonderful route.
“TO WALK IN NATURE IS TO WITNESS A THOUSAND MIRACLES.”
In conclusion, the Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most adventurous excursions. You will not only have the possibility to know the wonderful Inca citadel but also experience an endless number of adventure activities. We highly recommend undertaking this route, especially if you were looking for alternatives to the popular Inca Trail. Together with the experts from Cusco Peru Travel, we hope we have been helpful. Remember that you can enjoy our different travel programs only by consulting with our team of qualified advisors.