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Inka Jungle trek to Machu Picchu

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This article is an itinerary.

The Inka Jungle trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular alternative trek to Machu Picchu, in Peru and South America.

It starts from Abra Malaga, take the bike and down hill to Santa Maria, in the afternoon rafting in the Urubamba river, level III IV, second day: trekking to Santa Teresa and hot sprint in the evening, third day: Zip Line in Hidrolectrica and follows a route to Machu Picchu,


Inka Jungle Trek is an alternative and adrenaline hike to Machu Picchu. The trek starts with transport from Cusco to Abra Malaga, 4,550m above mean sea level (about 4 hours) where mountain biking is done downhill to Santa Maria at 2,300m (approximately 3-4 hours). In the afternoon, there is always an option to white river raft on the Urubamba River (level difficulty: III, IV or V depending on a year season).

On the second day, trekkers hike to Santa Teresa (about 7 hours) appreciating coca, coffee, banana and other exotic fruit plantations as well as bird watching. In the evening, all participants usually enjoy relaxing pools of the nearby hot springs of Cocalmayo.

On the third day, trekkers can experience an adrenaline Zip-Line activity before they continue trekking to Aguas Calientes (a town just below Machu Picchu) following a path and later a trail. The last day is dedicted to a visit of Machu Picchu so that everybody wake up very early and climb for about 2 hours to reach this steep Incan citadel. Then, a guided tour is given (about 2 and half an hour) to later be able to continue climbing to either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain on everybody's own. The Inka Jungle Trek finishes with an afternoon/evening train and tourist bus back to Cusco.

What train to take[edit]

Beware: your return train ticket from Machu Picchu will have a large impact on how much time you can spend there and whether or not you have time to climb Huayna Picchu at all. The time of your train is probably a very low priority item. You are probably assuming that someone else made sure you have enough time to spend at Machu Picchu. But the reality is that trains get booked and your trail operator may buy you a train ticket out of Aguas Calientes at 13:00. To make it to this train, you will have to be at the train station at 12:30, which means you have to leave Machu Picchu by no later than noon, which means that you will be there only briefly, and have to leave it when it is the most crowded. Machu Picchu is the best in the first half hour after opening and during the last two hours before closing. Most people are gone after 15:00, and the light until 17:00 is gorgeous, the heat a little gentler, and you can sit on a patch of grass and take in the place. You do not want to miss this. It will make Machu Picchu yours. At 10:00, Machu Picchu is hot, crowded, loud, and bustling. You will be running around to not lose track of your tour group. At 16:00 you can really see it at your own pace, and hang out with the resident chinchillas and llamas. But to do that, you have to take a later train.

  • Vistadome: there is no point in taking Vistadome after c. 17:00 because it's dark.

When to go[edit]

Cuzco has a temperate climate with year round temperatures fluctuating between 14-35°C, with warm days and nights. The rainy season in Cuzco is from December to March . Machu Picchu has a semi-tropical climate, with warm and humid days and cold nights. The rainy season in Machu Picchu is from November to March, so be prepared to get soaked and slippery trail conditions.

The wet months are January to April, when roads are often closed by landslides or flooding.

The best months for visiting Machu Picchu are from April to October.

The High season is June to August (book well in advance).

Preparing for your trip[edit]

  • Before you leave this trip, you will need to do every day 1 hour of exercise
  • There are few companies operator and that offers this adrenaline trip: Tierras Vivas is tour operator
  • Recommend you booking in advance, because if you would like to climb to Huayna Picchu, only there 400 spaces available. First time 200 - 7 am - 8am and the second and recommended 10 am - 11 am. this time the sky and Machu Picchu is clear.

What to take[edit]

  • Passport original
  • First aid kit
  • warm top/bottom for the evenings
  • hiking boots and sandals
  • Wash kit, 2L water bottle and water purifying tablets.
  • hat, preferably something covering your neck
  • cash to guides and buy snacks along the way
  • Long pants or slacks
  • Long-sleeved shirts.
  • swimwear
  • T-shirts
  • Rain wear (you never know when will rain even if its the dry season).
  • Camera.
  • Insect Repellent and sun block (sun is always stronger in such altitude).
  • Personal toilet items.
  • A towel and toilet paper.

Stay healthy[edit]

The tap water in Peru is potable but it is not recommended to drink directly from the tap, so do not drink it. You must either boil water for five full minutes or drink bottled water. However you can brush your teeth with tap water without causing any problem to your stomach.

Because you are visiting Andean areas, don't forget to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness if you are prone to it. Be sure to try a hot tea or an infusion of coca leaves on arrival at altitude. During your first day move slowly and eat lightly, resting the first couple of hours. Sample altitudes above sea level:

  • Cuzco: 3,360 m (11,000 ft)
  • Machu Picchu: 2,400 m (7,800 ft)
  • Urubamba Valley: 2,850m (9,300 ft)


Tierras Vivas A tour operator specialising in Inca Jungle Machu Picchu since 2006.