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Inca Jungle Trek The Most Adventurous Experience

Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu: The Most Adventurous Experience


What is the Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu?

There’s a lot more than just a journey through the Peruvian jungle on the four-day Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. The tropical trek includes a lot of exciting activities that go beyond hiking. On the way to Machu Picchu on the Jungle Trek, you do all of the following things:


Downhill mountain biking.

Whitewater rafting,

Hiking along the Inca trail.



Since it opened almost ten years ago, this Machu Picchu Jungle Trail has become more and more popular. I  it is now the second most popular way to get to Machu Picchu, after the well-known Inca Trail. We can see the point now. The Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu is a great thing to do.


The Inca Jungle Trek first will be caught your attention because it is an exciting trip. One of the best things about taking the Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu might be how cheap it is. The Jungle Trek isn’t just one of the most fun ways to get to Machu Picchu. It’s also a cheap way to get to Machu Picchu. Prices for the Inca Jungle Trek are surprisingly low.


But I digress. If you want to go to Machu Picchu on a budget and still have a lot of fun, we recommend taking the Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu instead of the famous Inca Trail.


How Long Does the Inca Jungle Trail Last?

Most trekking companies offer the Inca Jungle trek over 4 days and 3 nights, but the trek can also be done Inca Jungle trek 3 days / 2 nights


On the Inca Jungle Trail, where do you sleep?

On the Inca jungle trek, most people stay in a hostel or a home-stay. Most of the hostels in the towns along the way are very simple, but there are a few nice ones.


You will have access to electricity and running water most of the time (even if it is not always hot). You will stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes on the last night.


Day 1: Cusco – Abra Malaga Pass – Santa Maria

The Inca Jungle trek starts with a 3- to 4-hour drive to the top of the impressive Abra Malaga Pass (4,316m or 14,160 ft). Most tour operators will either pick you up at your hotel in Cusco or ask you to meet them at their office. The time you leave varies, but you are usually on the road by 7:00 am.


From Cusco (3,400m/11,155ft), the road goes north and passes through the town of Chinchero before dropping into the Sacred Valley, where you can do some fun things during your trip. Here is where you’ll get your first look at the Urubamba Cordillera. Get ready to be amazed.


You will cross the Urubamba River into the same-named town and keep going to Ollantaytambo, which is 2,792m (9,160 ft) above sea level. Breakfast is served here for some tour groups. After eating, you’ll keep going up a very windy road until you reach the top of the Abra Malaga Pass.


The highest point of the trek is the Abra Malaga Pass, which is 4,316m (14,160ft) high and has great views down into the highlands (see pics below). At the top of the pass, you’ll get off the bus and get ready for one of the most thrilling bike rides of your life. From the top of Malaga Pass all the way to the endpoint, the path is all downhill. A staggering drop of 4,316m (14,160ft) to 1,196m (3,924ft) and a distance of just under 60km (37.3 miles). Most people take between four and five hours to bike this section.



Inca Jungle trek to Machu Picchu/ Biking

Even so, the ride is not very hard. Most of the time, you can ride without pedaling, and you’ll use the brakes more than the pedals. But the road can be dangerous because it has a lot of turns, so please be careful. There are many blind turns on the winding road. Cars are few and far between (which is good), but they drive like crazy!


Make sure your tour company gives you high-visibility vests, good mountain bikes, and safety gear. You need a full-cover helmet, and you should also be given body gear. The second one might be too much for some, but it’s better to be safe.


A backup car usually drives in front of you on these bike rides, which is a nice touch. You can hop in the car if you get tired or want to stop.


On the way, you’ll stop for lunch, and you’ll get to Santa Maria (1,196m or 3,924 ft) in the middle to late afternoon. If you have time and it’s the right time of year (usually between October and April), you can go river rafting.


River rafting is an extra that some tour companies offer as an add-on, and it is sometimes charged for separately. Each person will pay about US$50. You will spend the night in Santa Maria after your bike tour. Your stay is usually set up through a local hostel, so don’t expect anything fancy when you get there.


Day 2: Santa Maria – Santa Teresa

In Santa Maria, get up early to eat breakfast. The second day of hiking is about 15 km (9.3 miles) long, but none of it is at a high altitude. The trek starts with a steep, hard climb that gets easier over time. It then goes through a number of hilly trails, one of which is a real Inca trail.


Since you are in the jungle area of Cusco, the scenery is full of plants. Remember to wear bug spray, and watch out for sand flies, which can give you itchy, red bites that can last for weeks. On the trail, you will see plantations of coca, coffee, and many different kinds of fruit trees. In the jungle, everything grows! You will reach Cocalmayo, which is known for its hot springs, after lunch and 6-7 hours of hiking.


Most trekkers stop here to take a swim, so bring your bathing suit (see our packing list below). From the hot springs, it only takes 30 minutes to walk to your hostel in Santa Teresa (1,550m/3,773 ft).


Day 3: Santa Teresa, Hydroelectric Station, and Aguas Calientes


Ziplining is sometimes an extra thing that can be added to tour packages. Make sure to ask if ziplining is part of the price of your tour when you book it.


If it is extra, it costs about $40 and includes transportation to the zip lines, which have between three and five cable slides, the highest of which is 150 meters (492 feet) above the ground.


After you go ziplining, you’ll walk another two to three hours to get to the Hidroeléctrica station. Along the railway, it takes about two to three hours to walk from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes. If you’re tired, you can take a train from the Hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes. It takes about 45 minutes and costs about $25.


If you don’t want to go ziplining, you’ll start this hike as soon as you wake up. You might also have to wait in Santa Teresa until the zip-lining members of your tour group are done with their trip.


Day 4: Aguas Calientes – MachuPicchu – Cusco

Day 4 usually starts with a wake-up call from the front desk of your hotel. This is to make sure you get on one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. Buses start running at 05:30. Machu Picchu is a 30-minute ride away and opens at 6:00.


If you go hiking during the busy season (May–September), you can expect to wait in line for a bus before 5:00 a.m. If you get up early, it’s probably because you want to watch the sunrise from Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From the Citadel, this famous doorway is a 40–60-minute walk up a gradual slope, so it’s best to get up early.


After you get to Machu Picchu early (really early if you went to see the sunrise), you’ll get a 2–3-hour tour of the Citadel. Most of the time, your tour company plans these trips. Outside the entrance to Machu Picchu, there are also a lot of tour guides who will try to sell you something.



The best travel experience in Machu Picchu / via the Inca Jungle trek

Certified guides will wear identification cards around their necks. Prices change based on how many people are in your group, so don’t be afraid to bargain a bit. Expect to pay between 40 and 50 Soles per person if there are two or more of you, and between 80 and 100 Soles if there is only one of you.


If you still have energy after touring Machu Picchu’s Citadel and don’t have a fear of heights, hiking Huayna Picchu is a great idea. The climb is difficult and steep, and it takes the average hiker about an hour to get to the top.


Even though it was hard to get to the top, the views were well worth it. There are only 400 climbing permits per day, so you need to book early.

After you’ve seen Machu Picchu, you’ll have to take a bus back to Aguas Calientes so you can catch the train to Ollantaytambo. Most tour companies will book your train ticket and get you from Ollantaytambo to Cusco by bus or private car.


You can take a bus from the Hidroeléctrica Station to Cusco if you don’t want to use a tour company and are on a tight budget. This way takes a lot longer (7-8 hours).


Is It Worth It to Hike the Inca Jungle Trail?

The trek is a natural choice for people who like exciting, adrenaline-filled adventures. If you book the Jungle Trail through a tour company, you can do a lot of things in just a few days.


If you want to go trekking in the Andes and enjoy camping, this is not the trek for you. People who don’t like mountain biking or are afraid of heights won’t enjoy it either.


When to go on an Inca Jungle Trek?

In the subtropical Peruvian Andes, there are two main times of the year:

The dry season is from May to September.


From October to April, it rains.

The Inca Jungle trek can be done at any time of the year. Heavy rains in January and February, on the other hand, often cause landslides that block the trail and road between Santa Maria and Santa Teresa. This is why the Inca Jungle trek is usually closed from January to February.


The best time to go on an Inca Jungle trek is during the dry season or in the months of March/April and October/November, which are in the middle of the dry season. If you want to go river rafting in Santa Maria, the last shoulder months are the best time.


During the dry season, more people use the trail. Still, it never gets as busy as the Inca Trail, so you can still enjoy this amazing trek without all the usual people.


Temperatures are pretty stable throughout the year, with warm days reaching 20°C (68°F) or higher. Temperatures often drop to 0°C (32°F) or lower at night and in the early morning. During the dry season, the temperature can also drop below 0°C/32°F.


You should bring hiking clothes that you can add or take away layers from. The weather changes every day, and when you’re active, your body heats up quickly. See the list of things to pack below for details on how to layer.


Lastly, the main weather force in the Andes is microclimates. Bring some rain gear, like a simple poncho, just in case. Rain can happen at any time of the year.



Could I Experience Altitude Sickness While Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail?

Technically, the Inca Jungle trail is a high-altitude trek. In reality, you only spend a very short amount of time at altitude.


Abra Malaga Pass, which is just over 4,300m (14,108 ft) high, is the highest point you will reach. From here, going downhill on a bike will go pretty quickly. You will end the day just under 1,200m (3,937 ft) above sea level, which is pretty low for the Andes.


The trail goes up and down for the rest of the tour, but it never goes higher than 2,000 m / 6,562 ft. Machu Picchu itself is 2,430m (7,972 ft) above sea level, which is still not very high.


This means that very few people get altitude sickness on the Inca Jungle trail. It’s not nearly as popular as some of the other trails in this area, where trekkers spend a lot of time hiking over 4,000m/13,123ft passes.


In fact, you are more likely to get sick from high altitude before you even start the trek. Most people who want to go to Machu Picchu first fly to Cusco, which is over 3,400m (11,155 ft) high.


People who visit Cusco often get headaches or feel sick because of the high altitude. Before going any higher, you should stay at this altitude for a few days to get used to it.


If you have time, it’s also a good idea to go straight down from Cusco to the Sacred Valley, which is about 1,000m (3,281 ft) lower. You can rest here for a few days before going back to Cusco to meet the rest of your tour group for the Inca Jungle trek.


We’ve put together a detailed guide on acclimatization and altitude sickness that you should take a few minutes to read.


How fit do you need to be to do the Inca Jungle Trek?

Inca Jungle Trek is a varied trip that includes hiking, biking, white-water rafting, and zip lining. The trek is best for people who are young at heart and want to try new things.


The mountain bike ride is all downhill, so even people who haven’t done this before can do it. Over the course of three days, you will hike a total of 49 km (30 miles). Most of this hike is on flat ground, and there are no high passes.


Inca Jungle Trek Costs

In the last few years, there have been a lot more trekking companies that offer the Inca Jungle trek.


Some operators have great deals, use great bikes, and give great service all around. But because the route is not regulated, you should watch out for a few sharks. These people offer cheap tours that definitely cut corners (hopefully not on Abra Malaga Pass!).


The Inca Jungle trek costs anywhere from US$250 to US$700 per person, depending on which company you go with. For a typical Inca Jungle Trek tour, it’s a good idea to set aside between $400 and $600.


What You Can Expect From an Inca Jungle Trek


Transportation for the whole trip.

There were hostels on the hike and a hotel room in Aguas Calientes.

Cycling equipment.

Guides and gear for river rafting (not always included).

Machu Picchu entrance ticket.

After the tour, the train or car ride back to Cusco.

Most of the time, the following are not included in the price of your Inca Jungle Trek:


Zip-lining ($40)

Bus to Machu Picchu ($24)

Hot Springs ($50)

Climbing Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain ($25)