Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu – Inca Jungle Trail

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Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu Details
Inca Jungle Trail

When we think of the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu, it’s more than just a journey. It’s a deep dive into history, culture, and unparalleled natural beauty. As we depart from Cusco, the ancient heartland of the Inca Empire, we plunge into the verdant embrace of the Sacred Valley. Here the Inca Jungle Trail winds its way through undulating hills and lush forests.

Our adventure starts with an exhilarating mountain biking experience. We’ll be weaving through the Inca Jungle’s canopy, feeling the rush of the wind and the thrill of the descent. Safety, of course, remains paramount. With the guidance of our skilled tour operators from Explore Peru Guide, we’ll navigate this challenging yet rewarding terrain with confidence.

Adventures Beyond Biking: Embracing the Jungle’s Pulse

But the excitement doesn’t stop there. As the path unfolds, we’ll have opportunities to elevate our adventure. Rafting through the glistening waters and zip-lining across vast canopies allow us to witness the grandeur of the jungle from multiple perspectives. Each twist and turn brings new vistas, new challenges, and new moments of awe.

Yet, amid the thrills, there’s time for rejuvenation. We’ll indulge our senses in the soothing embrace of natural hot springs, letting the warmth seep deep into our bones, revitalizing us for the journey ahead. And as night blankets the jungle, we find solace in the cozy nooks of Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu, where we’ll spend our nights, resting and reflecting.

The culmination of our trek is, without doubt, the ascent to Machu Picchu. As we make our way up, every step draws us closer to the architectural marvel that has captivated hearts for centuries. Standing atop, overlooking the ancient city, we can’t help but marvel at the journey we’ve undertaken and the memories we’ve crafted.

So, let us embark on this transformative journey, immersing ourselves in the wonders of the Inca Jungle Trail, and let the tales of our adventure echo for years to come.

Departure Time

04:30 AM

Price Includes

  • TransportationPick-up from your hotel in Cusco (or the Sacred Valley).
    Transport to the starting point of the trek (usually Abra Málaga).
    Train ticket from Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo) to Ollantaytambo or Cusco.
    Bus ticket to Machu Picchu archaeological site from Aguas Calientes and return.
  • Adventure Activities:Mountain biking (usually on the first day from Abra Málaga).
    Optional activities might include zip-lining or white-water rafting, depending on the package.
  • Accommodations:Hostel or guesthouse stays in towns/villages along the route (such as Santa Maria and Santa Teresa).
    One night accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
  • Meals:Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided during the trekking days.
  • Guided Tours:English-speaking tour guide for the duration of the trek.
    Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Entrance Fees:Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
    Optional: Entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (needs to be booked in advance due to limited availability).
  • Equipment:Biking equipment: bike, helmet, and gloves.
    First aid kit.
    Communication equipment (like radios).
  • Support:Support vehicle during the biking segment.
  • Other:Briefing session before the trek begins, usually conducted in Cusco.
    Return to Cusco at the end of the trek.

Price Excludes

  • Personal Trekking Gear:Hiking boots or shoes.
    Personal clothing suitable for trekking (e.g., waterproof jackets, layers, hats, etc.).
    Backpacks or daypacks.
    Personal first aid or medication.
  • Additional Beverages/Food:Alcoholic beverages.
    Bottled water or soft drinks.
    Snacks or meals not specified in the itinerary.
  • Additional Activities or Side Trips:Additional entrance tickets, like those for Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, if not specified.
  • Travel Insurance:It's recommended for trekkers, but usually not provided as part of the package.
  • Tips:For guides, porters, drivers, or any other staff.

Recommended To Carry

  • Clothing:Lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers.
    Warm layers (fleece or down jacket) for cold nights.
    Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants (e.g., Gore-Tex).
    Quick-drying trekking pants and shorts
    Sun hat or cap and a warm hat for chilly evenings.
    Undergarments, including moisture-wicking socks.
    Swimwear (for potential visits to hot springs or river swimming).
  • FootwearComfortable and well-broken-in hiking boots or shoes with good grip.
    Lightweight shoes or sandals for evenings or rest stops
  • Backpack:A good quality daypack (around 20-30 liters) to carry essentials.
    Rain cover for the backpack or a large plastic bag.
  • Hydration:Reusable water bottle or hydration bladder.
    Water purification tablets or a portable water filter.
  • Personal Items:High-factor sunscreen.
    Insect repellent (preferably with DEET).
    Personal medications and a basic first aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, blister patches, painkillers, etc.).
    Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, small towel, biodegradable soap, etc.).
    Toilet paper and a small plastic bag to pack out used paper.
    Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Electronics and Equipment:Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.
    Camera or smartphone with protective cases and extra batteries/chargers.
    Power bank for charging devices.
    Waterproof bags or zip-lock bags to keep electronics dry.
  • Documents:Passport (a copy might also be helpful).
    Printed copies of your Machu Picchu ticket, train ticket, and any other necessary reservations.
    Travel insurance details.
    Local currency for personal expenses and tips.
  • Snacks:Energy bars, trail mix, or any preferred snacks. Although meals are typically provided, it's always good to have some extra energy on hand.
  • Trekking Gear:Lightweight, collapsible trekking poles (ensure they have rubber tips as metal tips are not allowed at Machu Picchu).
    Small, lightweight binoculars for bird or wildlife watching, if interested.


Your journey kicks off from the heart of Cusco, the ancient Incan capital. As you leave the city’s bustle behind, the grandeur of the Andes slowly unfolds before you. Over the next 4 hours, you will cover a distance spanning roughly 240 kilometers (150 miles) as you head towards the towering Abra Malaga pass.

Reaching Abra Malaga, you’ll find yourself at the day’s highest point: an impressive altitude of 4,316 meters (14,160 feet). Here, the world feels different. The air is crisp, the vistas are panoramic, and the sense of adventure is palpable.

But the adrenaline surge is just beginning. You’ll transition from four wheels to two as you mount your bike, readying yourself for a thrilling descent towards Santa Maria. As you embark on this 55-kilometer (34-mile) ride, the Andean winds greet you, the scent of the jungle gets stronger, and the diverse landscape of the region unfurls beneath your wheels.

Late afternoon will see you rolling into Santa Maria. Nestled at a comfortable 1,430 meters (4,690 feet), this town becomes your haven for the night. Here, you can recharge and gather your strength for the adventures that await in the coming days.

Day 1 Inca Jungle Trek Statistics:

  • Distance covered: 295 kilometers (183 miles).
  • Highest altitude: 4,316 meters (14,160 feet).
  • Lowest altitude: 1,430 meters (4,690 feet).
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate to Challenging.


As dawn breaks over Santa Maria, it beckons you to begin the second leg of your unforgettable adventure. The lushness of the jungle envelops you as you start your trek, with the rhythmic sounds of nature as your constant companion.

After trekking for a couple of hours, covering about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), the rejuvenating aroma of the hot springs becomes evident. Nestled amidst the dense vegetation, these thermal waters are a nature’s gift, waiting to soothe your tired muscles. You might want to immerse yourself, letting the warm waters wash away the fatigue, preparing you for the trek ahead.

Post this invigorating experience, you’ll continue your journey towards Santa Teresa. This stretch, approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) long, offers you a harmonious blend of jungle terrains, ancient Inca paths, and river crossings. The diverse flora and fauna, the chittering of birds, and the possibility of spotting some wildlife make this leg truly exceptional.

By the time evening hues paint the sky, you’ll find yourself in the embrace of Santa Teresa. This town, with its welcoming inhabitants and tranquil ambiance, offers the perfect end to an adventurous day.

Day 2 Inca Jungle Trek Statistics:

  • Distance covered: 22 kilometers (13.7 miles).
  • Highest altitude: 1,850 meters (6,070 feet).
  • Lowest altitude: 1,430 meters (4,690 feet).
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate.


The third day beckons with new landscapes and thrilling adventures. As you lace up your shoes in Santa Teresa, the anticipation of the day ahead fills the air. The path you’ll tread today will blend the rush of adventure with the serene beauty of nature.

The first segment of your trek will take you towards Hidroelectrica. This stretch is approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) long. Along the way, you’ll traverse diverse terrains, from open valleys to dense forests, offering you a true essence of the jungle’s richness.

Upon reaching Hidroelectrica, the sight of the massive hydroelectric plant contrasts with the natural beauty around. But there’s little time to ponder, as the next leg of your journey awaits.

The trail from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes Town is a joy to walk. Covering a distance of about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), it runs parallel to the train tracks, offering a unique perspective of the region. You’ll occasionally spot trains passing by, their horns echoing in the distance. The looming silhouette of the Machu Picchu Mountain grows closer with each step.

By evening, the vibrant town of Aguas Calientes welcomes you. Nestled at the base of Machu Picchu, its buzzing streets and lively cafes provide the perfect setting to relax and gear up for the grand finale of your trek.

Day 3 Inca Jungle Trek Statistics:

  • Distance covered: 25 kilometers (15.5 miles).
  • Highest altitude: 2,040 meters (6,690 feet).
  • Lowest altitude: 1,870 meters (6,135 feet).
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate.


The pinnacle of your trek awaits on the fourth day. As the sun casts its first golden rays on Aguas Calientes Town, you’ll feel a mix of excitement and reverence. Today, you’ll set foot on the ancient grounds of Machu Picchu.

Starting early, you’ll embark on the steep ascent to Machu Picchu. This trek, spanning roughly 8 kilometers (5 miles), is a blend of natural beauty and ancient mystery. As you navigate the zigzagging stone paths, the iconic peaks of the Lost City will start to peek through the morning mist.

Upon reaching the summit, a qualified guide will lead you on a 2-hour tour through the ruins. You’ll dive deep into the history, legends, and architectural marvels of this UNESCO World Heritage site. The tales of the Inca civilization, their astronomical prowess, and the enigma of this citadel’s purpose will envelop you.

Post the guided tour, you’ll have some free time. You might want to explore more corners of the site, perhaps climb the Huayna Picchu or simply soak in the panoramic views.

As afternoon approaches, you’ll make your descent back to Aguas Calientes. From here, a train will whisk you back towards Cusco, marking the end of a transformative journey, one that will remain etched in your memory for years to come.

Day 4 Inca Jungle Trek Statistics:

  • Distance covered: 8 kilometers (5 miles) plus exploration within Machu Picchu.
  • Highest altitude: 2,430 meters (7,970 feet).
  • Lowest altitude: 2,040 meters (6,690 feet).
  • Level of difficulty: Challenging due to the steep ascent.

How long is the Inca Jungle Trek?

Typically, the Inca Jungle Trek is a 3 to 4-day adventure that combines hiking, mountain biking, and sometimes other activities like zip-lining or rafting.

Is Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu a difficult trek?

While it’s generally considered less challenging than the classic Inca Trail, it does involve long days of physical activity.

Do I need any special permits for the Inca Jungle trek?

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, you don’t need a specific permit for the Inca Jungle Trek. However, you still need an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.

What's the difference between the Inca Jungle Trek and the Inca Trail?

The Inca Jungle Trek is an alternative route that combines various activities, whereas the Inca Trail is a traditional hiking route that follows ancient Incan paths directly to Machu Picchu.

What is the best time of year to do the Inca Jungle trek?

The dry season (May to September) is the most popular and recommended time. However, the trek operates year-round. Keep in mind the rainy season (November to March) can make some activities more challenging.

7 Reviews
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Solo Traveller

The meals were a delightful surprise! I didn’t expect such diverse and delicious dishes while trekking. It was a great introduction to Peruvian cuisine. Kudos to the team!

October 22, 2023


Couple Traveller

Despite the adventurous nature of the trek, I always felt safe. The equipment provided, especially for the biking segment, was top-notch. Our guide always prioritized our safety, which was very reassuring.

October 20, 2023


Couple Traveller

What set this trek apart was the personal touch. Our group was small, which allowed for a more intimate and tailored experience. The team at Explore Peru went above and beyond to accommodate our needs and ensure we were comfortable throughout.

October 19, 2023


Solo Traveller

From start to finish, everything was impeccably organized. Transfers, accommodations, meals – everything ran smoothly. It’s evident that Explore Peru pays attention to detail and genuinely cares about their clients’ experience.

October 17, 2023


Solo Traveller

Our guide from Explore Peru was exceptional! He was not only knowledgeable about the history of the Incas and the local flora and fauna but also passionate about sharing his culture with us. His insights enriched our entire experience.

October 12, 2023