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Even before I started out on my backpacking trip through Latin America, Trekking to Machu Pichu was always at the top of my bucket list.

Unfortunately when I arrived in Peru it was February so doing the Inka Trail was not an option as it is closed for maintenance during that time.  I was left with 3 other options the highland mountain trek of Salkantay, Getting the train straight there (Feels a bit like cheating doesnt it?) or doing the more adventurous option of the Inka Jungle Machu Pichu trek.  As it was wet season trying to find a group for Salktantay was proving almost impossible as many tour operaters had stopped doing the trek due to frequent land slides.

So I decided to go with the Inka Jungle Trek.

trek to machu pichu

Some of scenary seen when walking through the hills during the jungle trek

So what is the Inka Jungle Machu Pichu Trek?

If trekking through the deep jungle to machu pichu didn’t sound extreme enough to you then this 4 day adrenalin pumping tour is bound to get you going, fusing a variety of extreme sports along with jungle trekking. It includes downhill mountain biking, Zip lining, White water rafting (When weather permits). You get to trek and sleep in the deep jungle, bath in hot springs and finally ascend up to the stunning ruins of Machu Pichu.

Where to book it?

There are countless travel operators selling a jungle trek to machu pichu in Cusco. I did a bit of hunting around and while  the cost wasn’t the cheapest I ended up booking it through Loki Hostel, where I was staying and partying way to much. The price including the return ticket on the train and Huayna Picchu and was $220 USD.

If you wanted to save a bit more money I’m sure you could hunt around and save $30 or so however apparently the tour offered through Loki is different to a lot of other’s as on the first night you get to spend it in the cloud forest jungle instead of the town of Santa Maria. However I am not 100% sure on this.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

Morning view from our hostel up in the cloud forest on the first night of trek

What was included:

  • Transport from Cusco to Abra Malaga (Where you start your bike ride)
  • Food from lunch day 1 to breakfast day 4
  • Professional billingual guide
  • Bike with front suspension, gloves and helmet
  • 3 nights accommodation in basic hostels
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu

They also let me store my bags in the storage room of the hostel for the 4 days I was gone which was a bonus.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek me

Me with facepaint on during the trek

Things to bring

With the tour booked I was given a list of things to take on the trek. You are also expected to bring your own snacks and water, However don’t stress about picking these up before you go as there are numerous stops every few hours where you can stock up on these as you go. The only catch is that it costs a little bit more compared to buying them yourself in a local cusco supermarket.

The list of what to bring is as follows:

  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Backpack (30 to 40 liters)
  • Comfortable clothing for trekking
  • Rain gear or poncho (rainy season)
  • Sandals for evenings
  • Clothing for warm weather
  • Warm sweater / jacket for 1st morning
  • Flashlight + extra batteries
  • Camera
  • Hat for the sun
  • Sun block
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • Personal medical kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks
  • Swimsuit
  • Spending money (soles)
  • Original passport
me on way to machu pichu

Me with my pack of things for the trek

 The night before the tour starts

The night before the tour starts we had a pre-trip meeting where I met the guide and the people who would be going on the trek. In our group we had 1 guy from USA, 2 guys from UK, 2 girls from Norway and 1 girl from Finland plus myself representing Australia. After giving us a basic run down of what our itinerary would be over the next four days, as well as getting us to sign some waiver documentation, we all headed off to bed ready for our bright and early your pickup at 6:30am.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek guide

Samuel our awesome guide

Day 1 – Bus, Biking, Jungle Trekking

My alarm went off at 6 and I stumbled out of bed as half of my dorm room where just settling in for the night after a heavy night of partying. I went to the hostel reception at 6:30 where I was met once again by our guide and other tour members. We all squeezed into a small mini van with our mountain bikes on a trailer behind us  and we were off to our first destination, Abra Malaga mountain located 4,200m altitude, But not before a quick pitstop to grab some breakfast and more food supplies from a nearby cafe.

Once at the chilly top of the mountain we were all given our protective biking gear and bikes and started our 2 hour descent down winding mountain roads, through river crossings. It was a really fun ride and you didn’t have to be super fit to do it, It would have been better if it didn’t start pouring with rain the moment we started riding. but hey you cant have everything.  By the time we made it to Alfamayo for our lunch stop most of us were drenched.

bike to machu pichu

Getting ready for mountain bike ride

After a simple meal,Some juice and some time to relax and dry out in the sun, We all jumped back into the van for a short ride to our drop off point where we all put on our pack’s and began a 30 minute jungle trek up into the mountains to our accomodation for the first night, A small jungle lodge.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek hostel

Jungle lodge up in the cloud forest

At the jungle lodge we got to buy some local chocolate and homemade juice that was delicious. We then all had a bit of fun and got dressed up in local clothes and performed a local dance for goodluck. I have a video of the whole thing however I’m pretty sure I would be hunted down by every other member of the tour if I posted it online. So this picture of me wearing a poncho will have to suffice 😀

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek me

After a bit of dinner we all headed off to bed for some much needed rest.

Day 2 – Jungle Trekking to Santa Teresa and hot spring’s,

On the second day we woke up at 7am had some breakfast and said goodbye to the resident hostel bird and mongoose and began our 16km trek to the town of Santa Teresa.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

Our guide feeding the parrot 😀

The first part of our trek was along an authentic inka trail narrowly winding through the cliffs. Definately not good  for people who are scared of heights. However it sure was an astonishing view.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

Walking up the winding path’s

While trekking through this ancient mountain pass our guide gave us a history lesson about the inca’s and  what little is known about this amazing culture. I found it to be really interesting and informative especially since our guide enthusiastic and passionate about his culture and heritage.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

Taking a break on the cliff edge to marvel at the valley below

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

The trail descended down to the tiny town of Quellomayo, where our group got to have a 1 hour break for some lunch and relax in hammocks. Before continuing through the jungle towards the hot springs in Santa Theresa.

lunch break Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek

Quellomayo for lunch

trek to machu pichu

On the road again towards the hot springs

trek to machu pichu

Trekking through the jungle

We then trekked for another few hours through a combination of dirt roads and jungle. We made a very interesting pit stop at a local’s house where they had a pet monkey and a kitchen full of guinea pigs which was a little bit biazare, But I guess it makes sense seeing as Guinea pig is eaten in Peru/Ecuador. I had even eaten some myself in Ecuador.

monkey on way to machu pichu

Monkey trying to eat our guide’s sunglasses

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek Guinea Pig

Kitchen full of guinea pigs ready to be cooked up

After another few hours trekking we finally made it to hot springs of Santa Teresa for a much deserved soak. The cost of the hot springs is not included in the tour and it’s optional however as it only costs a few dollars it is more than worth it, especially after a long day trekking.

thermal baths

Hot springs of Santa Teresa

After relaxing in the hot springs we had the option to either trek the 45 minutes into the town of Santa Teresa or pay a couple of dollars to get a minibus. As it was starting to rain everyone opted for the minibus. Once in Santa Teresa we all settled into our hostel had a bit of dinner and then retired for the evenning.

Day 3 Santa Teresa To Aquas Calientes – Trekking and Ziplining.

On the third day of the trek you are presented with a choice, You can either go on a 3 hour trek or choose to do some ziplining at over 150m high above jungle. There was a third option where people who didn’t want to trek or zipline could choose to wait around and play fooseball until the ziplining was complete, However people who chose this option had to pay a small fee for the bus.I had never done zip lining so took this opportunity to give ti a go and tick it off my bucket list.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek ziplining

Ziplining place

After a short safety demonstration we were put into our ziplining gear and went on a 15 minute trek through the jungle up to our first of the five ziplines.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek zip line

first zipline accross the canyon

After having done the banos bridge jump in Ecuador ziplining felt like a bit of a cake walk. However I still had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the scenary.

ziplining to machu pichu

Me Ziplining accross the canyon

 

ziplining to machu pichu

Gotta love that trendy awesome breaking glove 😀

The highlight of the ziplining was definatelydoing a zipline in the superman position,It was a little terrifying but definately a must. What’s the superman position? well check out my awesome video below where I believe I can fly!

trek to machu pichu

giant man made waterfall that’s part of the water power station.

After the ziplining was done we took a short shuttle bus to the Hidrolectrica station where we had some lunch before embarking on our final 3 hour trek for the day, along the train line to the town at the base of Machu Pichu Aquas Calientes.

Peru Machu Pichu Jungle Trek restaurant

Just a quick pit stop for lunch

the three hour walk along the train tracks to Aquas Caliente’s would have to be my favorite part of the trek. We were surrounded by lush jungle on either side, the walking was relatively flat, and the train rushed by every 30 minutes which kept us on our toes.

Machu Pichu train line

Machu Pichu train line

Machu Pichu train bridge

A bridge crossing

machu pichu train

Upon arriving in Aquas Calientes we were shown to our hostel and given some time to look around the town and buy some food to eat while up at machu pichu the following day. I would highly reccomend doing this as only breakfast is included on the final day as part of the tour, and the prices are heavilly inflated on Machu Pichu itself.

After sharing our last dinner as a group together, everyone headed off to bed bright and early so we could get up at 4:30am to make the final climb to the highlight of the tour Machu Pichu.

 To be continued…..

Stay tuned for part 2 where I talk about my final climb to Machu Pichu and explore the ruins.

I am in no way associated with Loki Hostel or Loki Tours, I just happened to book through them.

2017-08-29T01:42:59+00:00 4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    We visited Machu Picchu on our honeymoon — 31+ years ago — when Aguas Calientes barely existed. There were only two trains a day from and back to Cusco — the tourist train and the regular train. Our splurge was spending the night at the small government run hotel up at the ruins. In those days, because there was only one little guest house in Aguas Calientes, when the last train left at around 3:00 PM, the ruins were virtually deserted. The next day, we climbed Huayna Picchu — which makes the “fear of heights” part of your Inka Trail experience pale by comparison. I’m looking forward to checking out your post on that experience.
    Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) recently posted..Traveling through HistoryMy Profile

  2. PP January 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Hi what were the hostels you stay in like?

  3. Annalee March 11, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    DO NOT BOOK WITH LOKI TO GO TO MACHU PICCHU. Two friends and I just got back from the 3 day trek and had a terrible experience. We asked 4 different people to double check that all of us had the same exact bookings for everything and not one person actually checked. So, on the day we were meant to climb the Machu Picchu mountain, they handed us our tickets and put two of us on the WRONG mountain! Everything was already sold out so we couldn’t change out tickets so none of us could climb the mountain since we didn’t want to leave one friend alone. We had booked over 2 months in advance. Our tour guide was useless and didn’t even try to fix the company that he represents’ mistake. We also had one girl get altitude sickness and the tour guide left us alone in the pouring rain during the second days’ trek (which was along a train track, no real hiking) and we had no idea where we were going. She was throwing up and passing out and he knew she was sick but left us anyways. Then when we tried to complain at the office when we got back the manager tried to lie to me saying that our confirmation (which was in Spanish) said the tickets were subject to change. Little did he know that I know Spanish almost fluently and that I could clearly understand what the fine print actually said. It was excerpt about the train tickets. Then I told him to say it again while I video taped him and he wouldn’t. No one even tried to help us once. Then when we tried to tell the manager he just lied. So incredibly un-reputable and such a waste of our money. We came to Peru just to see Machu Picchu and that whole day was ruined.

    • Brendon March 15, 2016 at 3:02 am - Reply

      Ah that really sucks :(, Sorry to hear that your tour went so badly. I didn’t have any problems when I did the tour. My tour guide was really nice.

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