Highly recommended: the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

18 Sep
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Highly recommended: the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu
Friday September 18, 2015 - Posted by to Cusco, Destinations

Highly recommended: the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

 
As the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is always sold out much in advance, for me and my three fellow travelers in Cusco, one of the nicest alternatives was the Inca Jungle Trek, since we were looking for both adventurous activities and good hiking trails. The Jungle Trek offers a perfect combination of activities such as biking, rafting, zip lining and hiking and is a wonderful way to get to know the Peruvian jungle.

 
 

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READ INCA JUNGLE TREK DAY- BY- DAY
 
Day 1

On day one we were picked up in Cusco at 7.30am and met our guide and other four travelers, who joined our group. The driver took us on a 3, 5-hour bus ride through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the mountain Abra Malaga of 4,316 meters a.s.l. Here we would start the first part of the Inca Jungle Trek: the biking part.

After the guide equipped us with helmets, kneepads and jackets we were ready to get on the bikes to commence the 2, 5-hour downhill ride to Santa Maria which is on 1,200 meters a.s.l. Soon, we already started to feel the change of climate, flora and fauna. As Santa Maria is a gateway to the Peruvian jungle and much lower than Cusco, the temperatures are much higher; especially at nights you feel the nice, tropical atmosphere. Unlike Cusco, there are many mosquitos, so be prepared and bring lots of repellent.

shopping-in-cusco

We had lunch in the small village of Santa Maria and after moving into our accommodation for that night, the next highlight was already waiting for us: wild river rafting! The river Vilcanota, which is recommended for both beginners and advanced learners, was only a few minutes from our hostel. There we got a quick instruction on the commands for paddling and soon we were in the rapids of the river. After a few minutes we were completely soaked but started competing with the other boats, trying to push one another in the water. After about 13 km on the river the tour ended and exhausted but happy we headed back to our accommodation for dinner.

 

 

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Day 2

The next day we had an early start at 7am for hiking up the mountains towards Santa Teresa. We passed beautiful scenery, rivers, typical flora and fauna such as coffee and coca plants. Parts of the trail are original Incan roads. At the end of the 7-hour hike we were rewarded with bathing in the thermal hot springs of Santa Teresa.

shopping-in-cusco

Day 3

On day three we woke up to pouring rain and already thought that today´s activity, the zip lining, would have to be cancelled. Our guide however assured us that the weather was like the “mujer cusqueña” (a local woman) and very changeable. And he was right. As we arrived at the zip line office and got our gears, the sky had already cleared up and we were ready for the next adventure. There are five zip lines, varying in length, altitude and challenge. The guides showed us how to do different turns, like for example “the super man” or “the upside down pose”. It is also possible to ride the lines in pairs of two or three, which is even more fun.
After we were fueled up with enough adrenalin we continued our hike of 2, 5 hours to Aguas Calientes. While hiking along the rails of PeruRail our guide pointed out the mountain Machu Picchu and we got more and more excited about reaching our final destination and seeing one of the Seven World Wonders.

Day 4

As we decided to hike up to the ruins of Machu Picchu instead of taking the bus, the next morning we had to leave our hotel in Aguas Calientes really early, at 4.30am. The infamous stairs were just as exhausting as everyone had described. After about 1, 5 hours we reached the top and after a quick snack we entered the gate to the ruins. Our guide gave us an interesting tour of about three hours, explaining the life and ceremonies of the Incas and the discovery of Machu Picchu.

When our guide left us, as it was the official end of the tour, we started our hike up the Montaña Machu Micchu, which is on 3,061 meters a.s.l. The ascent was even tougher because the steps are very uneven and steep, but from the top we had an absolute stunning view over the mountains, the river and of course the ruins.

shopping-in-cusco

When we came back down we still had time to take some nice pictures of Machu Picchu before we had to head back to the train station in Aguas Calientes.

After changing to the bus in Ollantaytambo we arrived back in Cusco at 10pm, still excited about all the adventures we had experienced and beautiful landscapes we had seen.

All in all, the trip was perfectly organized. Great food, comfortable accommodation, a nice group and a very helpful and caring guide made the trip unforgettable!

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