The Machu Picchu Jungle Adventure is one of the most exciting alternatives to experience Machu Picchu. You will walk through the jungle, in the lowlands, find your way descending 3,000 meters via mountain bike and even have the chance for zip-lining or white water rafting along your way. Besides taking in the incredible scenery on your adrenaline-filled journey, you will also pass through local villages to see the way of life in mountain communities such as Santa Teresa and Santa Maria. The ultimate ending to this breathtaking trip is a long-awaited visit to Machu Picchu!
Day by Day Highlights
On the first day, you will make your way to the starting point of your journey: Cuzco. You will have plenty of free time to walk around town and make any last minute preparations needed for the big trip which lies ahead. You will be expected at your accommodation in the evening to attend a mandatory pre-departure briefing. A good night’s sleep separates you from starting your exciting adventure the next day.
You will leave Cuzco by van in the morning for Ollantaytambo, arriving in time for a quick breakfast. After another hour and a half drive, you will reach the Malaga High Pass where you’ll start your adventurous 2.5 hour bike ride down into the lush and humid jungle!
Along the way, you will see Huamanmarca Archaeological site, cruise through fruit plantations and rivers, before arriving to Santa Maria village in the afternoon. A scenic 2.5 hour rafting adventure on the Urubamba River is your last activity before spending the night at a rustic guesthouse in Santa Maria.
After breakfast, a full day of hiking starts through the jungle mountains with pristine landscapes, abundant flora and fauna and friendly local people. After lunch, halfway through the trek, you will make your way to Santa Teresa village for an overnight stay in a guesthouse. The optional hot springs here are well worth the extra fee.
Day 4 is absolutely packed with pure, unadulterated joy. Fly through the treetops on a 2-hour morning canopy excursion on South America’s highest canopy zip-line. Take an easy 3-hour hike along the train tracks from Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric Station. With 3 more hours on foot you will reach Aguas Calientes town in the afternoon, with plenty of options to wind down in the form of cafés, (board) games, shops and places to relax.
Taking one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, at 05:30, you will arrive in order to appreciate the magnificent city in the early morning sunlight as the mist dissipates. You can explore the mysterious ancient site on your own after a guided walking tour. Afterwards, you return to Aguas Calientes by bus, before taking the train to Ollantaytambo. From here, the final leg of your journey will take you back, by bus, to Cuzco.
If you would like to know more about other alternative treks to Machu Picchu, check out our guide.