** Important Note: The Peruvian government can cancel these activities should they feel there is a genuine safety risk to travellers, especially while there are heavy rains in the area.
Another alternative to the Inca Trail Trek is this amazing Jungle Adventure, which offers the possibility of low altitude mountain biking, rafting, trekking and zip-lining to reach Machu Picchu. This heart stopping adventure is the perfect combination of an adrenaline pumping 3,000-meter mountain biking descent, followed by an exhilarating rafting trip on class III & IV rapids, trekking into the backwoods of the Andes and zip lining through the jungle canopy on your way to Machu Picchu. Pass through local villages to see the way of life in mountain communities such as Santa Teresa and Santa Maria. The ultimate ending to this excellent trip is a visit to the one and only Machu Picchu archaeological site!
Day by Day Itinerary:
Trek Briefings: All travellers are required to visit the Cuzco office one day prior to departure at 6:30pm for a mandatory briefing on your trip. At this meeting you will receive detailed information on the route, a list of what to bring, confirm your accommodation pick-up for the morning of the trek and be able to ask questions.
*Note: You will have a guide during the trek and on the Machu Picchu tour. However, during your bus and train transfers you will not be accompanied by a guide.
Day 1: Cuzco to Malaga High Pass, Mountain Biking to Santa Maria Village (1,400m), Rafting Activity (L/D)
Today we leave Cuzco between 6:40 - 7:00am to journey by road in a van making our first stop after 1.5 hours in Ollantaytambo where we can have a quick breakfast and buy some snacks. Then we continue driving for another 1.5 hours up to the Malaga High Pass (4,350 meters) where our guide will provide us with a safety briefing before we begin our adventurous 2.5 hour bike ride down into the lush and humid jungle. We will see Huamanmarca Archaeological site along the way, cruise through fruit plantations and over rivers, before arriving to Santa Maria village (1,400 meters) at around 2:00-2:30pm. Here we will depart on a scenic 2.5 hour rafting adventure that takes us down class III & IV rapids on the Urubamba River (also known as Vilcanota River). Enjoy your night at a basic, rustic guesthouse in Santa Maria. (If you choose not to participate in the rafting adventure you can walk around the town on your own this afternoon.)
(*Note: Accommodation options are very limited along the trekking route for the first 2 nights in Santa Maria & Santa Teresa villages. Most places have very basic, rustic facilities. Rooms often share a bathroom and sometimes do not have hot water. However, we always choose the best available option.)
Inclusions: Accommodation pickup, Van Transfer Cuzco - Malaga High Pass, Mountain Biking, Rafting, 1N Basic Guesthouse, Meals 1L/1D.
Day 2: Trek to Santa Teresa Village (1,680m) (B/L/D)
After an early morning breakfast, we will begin our day of hiking through the jungle mountains to observe beautiful pristine landscapes, abundant flora and fauna and friendly local people. Have lunch halfway during the trek and relax breathing fresh mountain air. In the afternoon we will arrive to Santa Teresa village (1,680 meters) where we will stay overnight in a guesthouse. (Optional hot springs at an extra cost).
Inclusions: 1N Basic Guesthouse, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (17km, 8hrs)
Day 3: Zip-line Activity and Trek to Aguas Calientes (B/L/D)
Fly through the treetops on a 2-hour morning canopy excursion on South America's highest and Peru's first canopy zip-line. Traverse over 2,500 meters of cables with the longest ride covering 400 meters and the highest at 150 meters. Take an easy 3-hour hike along the train tracks from Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric Station where you will stop for lunch. Continue 3 more hours on foot to reach Aguas Calientes town (most people hike this portion of the trek but there is an optional train ride from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes if you're feeling tired). There are internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax there. Overnight in a hotel tonight for a well-deserved shower and good night's sleep.
Inclusions: Zip-Line Activity, 1N Aguas Calientes 3* Hotel, Meals 1B/1L/1D. (18km, 6hrs)
Day 4: Explore Machu Picchu & Return to Cuzco (B)
We will catch one of the first buses (05:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city on your own. If you still have energy you can also climb the Huayna Picchu Peak (to be booked in advance at an extra cost). Return to Aguas Calientes by bus. If time allows, visit the local marketplace next to the train station and shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus back to Cuzco arriving around 08:00pm. You will be dropped off at the Plaza San Francisco. Please make your own way to the accommodation of your choice.
DESCRIPTION OF MACHU PICCHU GUIDED SITE VISIT: The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place. Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure.
Take an OPTIONAL hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site. This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 - 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance for an additional cost in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00am and 200 more at 10:00am). Please send us an email directly to request this extra ticket.
Inclusions: Round trip Bus Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu, Train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo, Bus Ollantaytambo - Cuzco, 2-Hour Machu Picchu Guided Visit, Meal 1B.
*If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes town can be arranged. (Please let us know whether you would like to stay an extra night when booking your tour.)
Brief History of Machu Picchu & Advice:
Machu Picchu was (relatively recently) "discovered" by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911 while searching for the legendary "lost city of the Incas". Hiram Bingham and his local guides stumbled across the site which was then covered in thick vegetation which was later cleared revealing the magical mountain-top archaeological site and opening up the possibility for archaeologists to conduct research on the site by 1915. Whether arriving via Inca Trail or entering from Aguas Calientes don't miss the excellent photo opportunities from the following spots: Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (a restored building with a thatched roof), Sacred Plaza with views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the distance and Rio Urubamba below. Take a short walk out to the Inca Drawbridge (30 minutes) and Inti Punku (45 - 60 minutes) for great views of the site as dawn breaks and the clouds lift over Machu Picchu.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: This is a moderately difficult hike, with a few long hiking days combined with multi-sport activities such as mountain biking, river rafting, and/or zip lining. We recommend you to be physically fit for the trip.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Bring or Rent in Cuzco: hiking poles, rain pants, rain poncho, trekking boots, sandals, warm socks, sweater, thermals, hat, gloves, sun hat, sun block, sun glasses, flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card (there is limited to no electricity available during the trek), waterproof bags for your camera, hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, water bottle. Bring extra cash for snacks, water, gatorade which doubles or triples in price along the trail. Bathing suit for hot springs in Santa Teresa Village (this activity is available at an additional price).
DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS: Original passport, visa (if applicable), insurance card, personal medications.
ACCOMMODATION: Single travelers will share a room with another traveler & Couples will have a private room.
** Travellers who booked their trip using one passport, then renewed or replaced it afterward, must carry the old passport they used to make the booking or a photocopy with them on the trip.
Monday, Wednesday & Saturday (Daily departures with a group of 4 or more)